Tag Archives: Mary Pat Hyland

20 Questions with Mary Pat Hyland


1. Name: Mary Pat Hyland

2. How long have you been an indie writer? Since 2008

3. What formats do you publish in? Paperback & ebooks

4. What genres do you write in? Short stories, chick lit, suspense, humor, family saga

5. Are you on Twitter or Facebook? Both!



6. What’s your current book? In the Shadows of the Onion Domes, Collected Short Stories

7. How do you want your readers to feel after they’re read your book? This book is like a Whitman’s Sampler of my writing styles. I hope it will bring smiles, maybe a few tears, and leave you thinking.

8. What’s your next book about? It’s a humorous suspense novel that I’m currently writing as part of National Novel Writing Month.

9. What types of jobs have you had other than writing? Cook, journalist, art director, portrait artist, greenhouse assistant

10. What did it feel like when you were first published? Finally, a long-held dream came true.

11. What’s your go-to song when your writing muse needs to be recharged? “Coyote” by Joni Mitchell. Her writing is exquisite and I love the sense of being on a road trip somewhere through the strumming of the guitar chords and Jaco Pastorious’s beautiful bass notes.

12. What do you do when writer’s block strikes? Go for a walk. There’s something about the fresh air and change of scenery that helps re-charge the imagination.

13. What’s the best compliment your writing ever earned? That the reader kept thinking about the characters and what they were up to, months after reading the book (The House With the Wraparound Porch).

14. If you’re stranded on a desert island with a solar battery recharger, what would you be reading on your Kindle? I think I’d need something humorous. My Life and Hard Times by James Thurber.

15. If you could have dinner with three other writers, who would they be? Dorothy Parker, Eudora Welty and Frank McCourt. All dead, unfortunately, but if it were possible, the conversation would be anything but that.

16. What’s your blog and/or website address?



17. Cats or dogs?  Dogs. Border collies, to be specific

18. Cake or death? (To soothe the boisterous Eddie Izzard lobbyists…) Cake with thick chocolate frosting

19. What fictional character do you identify with most? Sybylla Melvyn in My Brilliant Career

20. What’s the closing line of your latest book? At that moment, knowing she was nearing the bridge between this world and the next herself, nothing else mattered but the fact that for the first time in six years, she felt fully alive.



NEW RELEASE: In the Shadows of the Onion Domes, Collected Short Stories by Mary Pat Hyland

PRICE: $2.99 / £1.92 / EUR 2,68

GENRE: Short Stories, Humor, Literary


By the confluence of the Susquehanna and Chenango rivers in New York’s Southern Tier lies a verdant valley called the Triple Cities.

The shoe factories that originally drew thousands of immigrants from across Europe have long moved on.

What remains are the distinct ethnic flavors of a gritty community determined to overcome economic woes, adapt to the rapid changes in society and find true meaning in life.

Consider these eighteen stories as pages ripped from a sketchbook. Some are quick studies; others are more detailed portraits inspired by observed characters, whispered gossip, overheard conversations and the local lore of the residents whose neighborhoods are framed by the gilded Orthodox Church domes that span this valley.

You’ll find that each tale has its own tone: some are humorous or poignant, others are surprising and haunting.

About Mary Pat

Mary Pat Hyland is an Amazon Top 100 bestselling author and has published six novels and a collection of short stories. Her short stories have
appeared in the anthologies Seasons Readings and Lost Love Letters: An Indie Chicks Anthology. In 2013 the Arts Council of Yates County selected her as an Artist in Residence. She is a graduate of Syracuse University and has worked in the commercial/fine art, journalism, education and culinary fields. Mary Pat resides in upstate New York, the setting for her novels, and enjoys organic gardening, gourmet cooking, visiting the Finger Lakes and teaching the Irish language.




















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Posted by on November 28, 2014 in e-books, Indie Interview, Kindle, NOOK, What's New


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The Next Big Thing Blog Tour

The Next Big Thing Blog Tour.

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Posted by on November 21, 2012 in indie author, Indie Interview, What's New


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Indie Author’s 20 Questions: Mary Pat Hyland

What can I say about my latest guest other than she’s an absolutely amazing IWU friend and author! Under her writing belt she has four books available for your reading pleasure. One of them is an Amazon Top 100 Bestseller! So instead of making you wait any longer to read what she had to say in response to my questions, here she is!

1.) Tell me a little bit about yourself.

My “brilliant” career has wandered down several wayward paths, and four years ago I set course for
what my heart wanted to do years before, write novels. I live in upstate New York, where my novels and short stories are set. I play Irish music, can salsa dance and make a mean weiner schnitzel.

2.) How long have you been writing?

I started writing parodies when I was a kid. (Was on a steady diet of MAD magazine at the time.) Wrote tons of
angst-filled songs in my teens and moved on, thankfully. After college, I began working on my first novel.

3.) Do you have a preferred genre that you read?

Is it the same as what you write? If the writing is good, any genre appeals to me. I gravitate toward literary works, but a good sci fi or thriller is just as enjoyable. My works fall into mainstream (leaning toward chick lit), parody and suspense (the latest).

4.) What is the title of your book and where can it be found?

The Terminal Diner is available in paperback and digital formats from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, The Sony Store, and Smashwords.

5.) Describe your novel in 15 words or less.

Mother flees with Missoula trucker. “Men like pie.” Diner-owning family stunned, then 9/11 changes

6.) Where did the inspiration for your story come from?

This tale began as a short story about a woman who had to cook the same seven meals every week for her husband. In my other life I’m a cook, and the inspiration came from the first time I used a masala spice blend. It was so fragrant and exotic, and it made me think how sad it would be to go through life never experiencing new flavors.

7.) How long did it take you to complete this novel from concept to published?

The first draft was written in a month. Subsequent drafts and editing took about six more months.

8.) When you sit down to write, how does that process go?

 Do you outline or just let it evolve? I have notes that I jot down while the ideas are bouncing around in my mind. They might be vivid descriptions of characters or a scene, a setting. Sometimes they’re just an overheard quote. I have an idea where I’m heading, but I leave the map and GPS at home and let the characters drive. I always write in longhand first to let ideas flow freely and uninterrupted. The second draft in entered into the computer.

9.) Are there any aspects of writing you struggle with?

 Sometimes I do a restlessness dance before I first sit down to write. Make a cup of tea. Web surf a tad (evil habit). Do a sudoku or logic puzzle to warm up the brain. This can take anywhere from 15 minutes to a couple of hours. Once I’m in the zone, no interruption gets in my way.

10.) Are there any aspects that you simply glide through?

Dialogue is probably the easiest for me. I love overhearing conversation and paying attention to the cadence of speech, colloquialisms and watching the body language of the speaker and listener. Sometimes I wonder if I should have pursued detective work.

11.) What sets your book apart from others in the same genre?

The Terminal Diner shows the effects Sept. 11 on people far away from the scene of the attacks. That aspect is inspired by events in my own life. An old friend died at the World Trade Center and I’ve watched the slow process of his family healing from that terrible wound.

12.) What is the location of your story setting and why did you choose that place/time?

The story is set at a diner just around the bend from an upstate New York airport. I know the location well and selected it to play off themes woven into the Sept. 11 storyline.

13.) Your main characters, tell me about them. What is their back story?

How did they find themselves where they are now? Elaina Brady is the main character. Her mother was the piemaker at their family diner until the day she ran off with a trucker from Missoula who took a fancy to her lemon meringue pie. The last words she spoke to Elaina were “Men like pie.” That theme is a ribbon woven into the fabric of the story. When the story opens, it’s ten years later and Elaina is stuck making pies at the
diner—it’s her entire life. She has one friend and that term fits her loosely. There’s no man in her life. All she knows to be true about men is that thing about pie.

14.) I’d like to know more about your book.

 Tell me all about it. It’s a suspense novel that shows how a family deals with a loss and then how a nation reacts to loss triggered by acts of terror. There’s a saying in Irish that translates to together we live in each other’s shadow. I’m always fascinated to see how chance encounters can change lives forever. That’s what happens to Elaina on Sept. 10, 2001 when she meets some new customers at the diner who will become important in her life as the ripples of Sept. 11 make their way into upstate New York. They bring her humor, inspiration and even her own terror.

15.) What do you want readers to take from your writings?

 I want to transport them into my imagination and make them care about memorable imaginary characters that will make them laugh, cry and ponder their own lives.

16.) Are more books to follow or is this a stand alone?

I see this as a standalone, but several readers say they want a sequel. Perhaps….

17.) Where can readers find you?

18.) What are 3 random things about yourself that readers might like to know.

In the 1980s I painted portraits for a living; my hobbies include
handwriting analysis; I know what a spiedie is.

19.) What do you do in your down time? For fun.

Gardening. Hill walking. Wine Tasting.

20.) How about letting me have a sneak peak at chapter one?

The Terminal Diner -sample-

Thanks so much, Melissa for welcoming me onto your blog. Always wanted to try my hand at your twenty-question challenge. 🙂

Mary Pat

Mary Pat, I enjoyed having you! Please come back again and again!

Melissa 🙂


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