March 14, 2011

Spotlight On...Mary Campisi

Today I have author Mary Campisi with me at the keyboard. Welcome, Mary, can you tell us a little about yourself?

I grew up in a very small town in northwest Pennsylvania with two older brothers and a younger sister. There were no malls, no McDonalds, and one movie theater that closed in the summer to avoid competition with the drive-in. (One man owned both.) One thing this town did have was a wonderful library . . . about 2 miles away. I walked there at least once a week and fell in love with the characters and places I read about. It was then I began creating different endings to some of the stories I read, and if I didn’t want the story to end, I continued it on in my head – exactly the way I wanted it! Though I moved away and lived in different cities and states, family and the small town community have always stayed with me and are often central themes in my stories. I currently live in a small suburb in Ohio with my husband, youngest daughter, and lab rescue mix, Cooper. My husband and I blended our families almost sixteen years ago, (his two, my three.) Four of those children are now self-supporting young adults! I like to cook, work in my perennial garden, read, walk my dog every morning, and ride on the cushy back seat of my husband’s Electra Glide Classic.

Tell us about A TASTE OF SEDUCTION and where we can find it.

The idea for A TASTE OF SEDUCTION started years ago, actually when I was lying on a hospital bed waiting for outpatient surgery. I think it was the first of what would be three surgeries in two months and the last ended in a complete hysterectomy for severe endometriosis. I was trying to take my mind off of surgery and started playing around with the ‘what if’ scenarios. That’s where the idea for Anthony and Meriel was born. I wrote the book but my editor wanted contemporary romances from me, so the story was shelved. Years and several revisions later, A TASTE OF SEDUCTION was born! This book is a classic tale of good sister/evil sister and the man they both want.

A TASTE OF SEDUCTION is available at The Wild Rose Press and Amazon

Describe your writing in three words.

Emotional, intimate, conversational

Which comes first, plot or characters?

I come up with a very basic plot but it’s the characters who drive the plot. Wrong characters and the story dead ends.

When I’m contemplating a new story, this is what happens:
First I come up with a premise. It’s got to be something that grabs me and won’t let go. Maybe it’s based on something I’ve read in the newspaper, saw on television, or experienced. I keep thinking about it - for weeks, sometimes months or years until it consumes me. Once the obsession for details starts, it’s time to write the story. I know the beginning and end, but most of all, I know the emotion I want to evoke. I play what if scenarios and that’s when the characters come alive. I usually allow myself to start planning out the story when I’m about three quarters of the way through my current project. I focus on one story at a time, so I can keep the momentum going and don’t get caught up in the honeymoon phase of a new tale which could tempt me to ditch the current piece that’s not cooperating or has me stuck. I’ve prided myself on completing every book I’ve begun and I think one of the main reasons I’ve succeeded is because I only choose projects I’m over the top in love with and won’t start another book until the current one is finished.

Which of your novels most reflects who you are as a writer?

The one that most reflects who I am as a writer today is the piece I recently sent to my agent, a contemporary romance titled, IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU. This is a story of love, forgiveness, and second chances, not only from the hero and heroine but from the extended families and the community. There’s a certain amount of levity that’s not present in all of my contemporaries but which I find gives balance to the more poignant moments. I love this story and fingers crossed editors will too.

What is your top writing career goal?

I could say the NYT Bestseller list and that would be a nice benefit, but my biggest goal is to publish regularly, continue to grow readership and be compensated accordingly.

What surprised you the most when you became published? 

Oh, there were many surprises but perhaps two that really got me. The second book was as hard to sell as the first. I wrote A TASTE OF SEDUCTION (admittedly, a much weaker version), but the editor turned it down, saying it wasn’t quite right. That was tough. I had spent months writing this book and there was no significant feedback as to why it didn’t work for her. I had no other direction and didn’t know what else to do with it, so I set it aside and wrote a contemporary. The same editor loved the story and bought it. Though I wrote several more contemporaries, I never gave up on A TASTE OF SEDUCTION and years later, I brought it out, revised, sold, revised again, and ta da, here it is. The second shocker was that people I talked to thought I was on my way to wealth and Hollywood SMILEY

Where do you see your career in five years?

Writing, selling, writing, selling . . . Two books a year and a novella, plus I’d like to mentor other writers and making a few lists would be nice too.

Where can we find you on the web?
My website:

My e-mail is:

Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?

What makes you decide to give an author you haven’t read before a try?

Thanks for visiting with me today, Mary.

Mary Campisi
The Wild Rose Press

A young woman of noble blood, raised as a peasant girl...

An orphaned stable boy, now grown and the surrogate son of a powerful earl – the same earl who just so happens to be the young woman’s father . . .

Meriel and Anthony have nothing in common – she runs barefoot and talks to animals, he won’t loosen his cravat unless the bedroom door is firmly closed. Meriel believes in love, hope, and happily ever after. Anthony believes in keeping a safe distance from anything resembling an emotion. They have nothing in common but an undeniable, burning desire for one another they can’t ignore or understand, and an ailing ‘father’ who will do anything to see them together. Unfortunately, there are others, who will stop at nothing, willing even to kill, to keep them apart.


"Thank you, Anthony," she said, a small smile lighting her face. "You’re very kind." She leaned over and planted a chaste kiss on his cheek

Kind? He wondered if she would still think him kind if he told her that right now all he could think about was tasting her lips, touching her breasts, feeling her bare skin. Kind? Hardly.

He cleared his throat and met her gaze. He had to set her straight before she started imagining all sorts of other crazy things about him. "Kind? That’s not a term that’s usually associated with me."

She laughed, a tinkling sound that ran through his body like fire. "That’s because you want everyone to think you are some sort of cruel beast. You even had me fooled for a while." Her voice dipped to a low purr. "But you aren’t a beast, Anthony, not at all. No beast would eat my bread just so he wouldn’t hurt my feelings." 

He frowned, hoping his scar stuck out white and ugly. "You should be afraid of me." Men twice her size couldn’t look him in the eye.

"How can I be afraid of you when you’ve got butter on the side of your mouth?" She reached out to brush it away with her forefinger. "And all over your lips," she murmured, tracing her finger over first his upper and then his lower lip.

Anthony caught her hand. She was playing a dangerous game and she didn’t even know it. He opened his mouth and flicked his tongue along the tip of her finger. He heard the small catch in her throat. His tongue traced another finger, and then another. Sweet Jesus, but he wanted her.

"Come to me, Meriel," he whispered, planting a kiss on the inside of her palm. "Let me taste you."


Sarah Grimm said...


Welcome! Thanks for visiting with me today. I need a great blurb and excerpt. Even when I'm told I 'have' to read something, I always check out the blurb and an excerpt first.


Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Mary,
Great interview. Lovely to find out more about you and your writing.

Best of luck with all your writing ventures.



Mary Campisi said...

Hi Sarah:

Thanks for having me today. I agree- blurbs pull me in, excerpts make me want to stay! Once I discover a new writer, I go crazy looking for everything by that writer!

Jennifer Jakes said...

Good question!
I'd say the back cover blurb -- then if possible I'll read the first page. I like a story with some suspense. Plus if it's western historical (my favorite) I'm in:)

Happy writing!

Karen Michelle Nutt said...

Hi Mary and Sarah.

Love the post. What makes me give an author a chance?

I'm one of those people who does judge the book by its cover. If I'm drawn to the book cover then I'll check out the blurb. If the blurb hooks me then I'm sold.

I wish you the best with your release!

Mary Campisi said...

Yes, that book cover is pretty important! Rae Monet did this one and she captured the essence of the story- not always easy to do. She did it twice- for this one and my next, Innocent Betrayal. It's smoking hot! It's posted on my website:

Karen Michelle Nutt said...

I love Rae Monet's book covers and websites. They're beautiful! You're a lucky lady :)

Savannah Chase said...

Sarah what a great interview. Mary it is a pleasure to meet you.

Sarah Grimm said...

Thank you all for stopping by and for your continued support.


Anonymous said...

Hello Mary, Your own history reads much like mine. Good to get acquainted through Sarah's blog. It's interviews like this that make me read an author's book. Getting to know an author and how they create their art makes it a personal read for me.