Mary T. Kincaid

I'm a prairie storyteller who is interested in many things. I don't dwell in the past. I like humor that is subtle and a little sophisticated. I don't like cruelty in any form, or bullying. I live on the prairie with my husband and two grumpy cats.



Mary T. Kincaid, author of Mortimer: A Chapter Book, joins LitPick for Six Minutes with an Author.

***How did you get started writing?

I have always written. Expressing myself with words has always given me great joy. It is in my nature to listen to things that are really complicated and boil them down to their essence. I like to look at the true essence of things. So I write for clarity because when you can write about something, you really understand what it is all about. Story telling is a way of reaching out to the world and saying look at it this way. That’s what I’m all about. This is the truth as I discern it.

***Who influenced you?

I have had many influencers. I am a voracious reader, and I read everything that comes my way. I have had to discipline myself since I started writing so that I only read the things I need for my research and works. It is hard to do that. Some of my favorite authors were nineteenth century Americans: Nathanial Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Henry David Thoreau, Emerson. They were great thinkers and wrestled with the ideas confronting them. I respect their insights, honesty, and bravery. Moby Dick is one of my personal favorites. I also have many authors that are current such as Kate DiCamillo and several others. Winn Dixie is a personal favorite. I love a good story weaver.

***Do you have a favorite book/subject/character/setting?

Trite as this sounds, my characters come to me with their own settings and subjects. Mortimer is a result of asking what if you were confronted with an alternative to your expected traditions? Would you risk a change? Would you explore a new idea? I am working on a series of stories right now that explores the idea of a family of mice meeting a zombie cat. Another story is what if you saw little people that no one else could see?  What would a mythic female heroine look and act like? The universe is full of ideas waiting for a writer to sit still and see them.

***What advice do you have for someone who wants to be an author?

My advice is stay still long enough to know that is what you really want to do and then do it with all your heart. The secret to good writing is to write and read. Keep a journal and discipline yourself to make entries. Write to your clarity and find your inner voice. Everyone has one, and a writer has one he can share. Writing is hard work, and you write for many years before you feel like you can show it to anyone.

When I showed my first work to an editor, after I started to write diligently, I was told: 1. It was awful and needed a lot of work.   2. It was six or seven stories, a whole fantasy world. So I say don’t give up, keep at it, you’ll find your way. I am still working on all the things I see.

***Where is your favorite place to write?

I have an office in my home. It is like a little cave and I retire into it and write. I have plants under their grow light, and they’re all I need for company. My family is considerate

about coming to the door when I’m in there. I have a couple of mountain pictures for escape. I have my father’s dictionary. I have boxes, stacks, and drawers of ideas. If given the choice of dusting and running the vacuum or writing, I’ll always write, so I have spider webs and dust. When you start writing you’ll find out that it isn’t just about the keyboard; it is about ideas, and how characters will talk, and where they will live. You find yourself thinking about them all the time, an imaginary family. Scary isn’t it?

***What else would you like to tell us?

Be faithful to yourself. Every person spends time making decisions, playing, and growing. You bring with you these things as your past. Your inner thoughts, ideas, and convictions are what the world is looking forward to seeing. Don’t try to hide from them. They are the real you. Bring them to whatever you do and you will be fine. The hardest thing to learn is to forgive the past. Don’t be hung up on; let it go, and go forward. Forgiving is as hard a work as writing, but you must move forward.


Mary, thank you for joining LitPick for six minutes. Thanks for your advice about being yourself, and we look forward to reading your next books.



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