Wednesday, June 20, 2012

10 Questions: With Maryanne Mackenzie Wells

Bio:  Maryanne Mackenzie Wells is a Texas attorney turned ficiton writer. She lives, works, dreams, and writes in the Texas Panhandle. Through her current fiction series, the Undead Bar Association, Maryanne chronicles the squirmy gray place in life where the law and supernatural collide. When she's not busy writing, Maryanne applies her legal and business knowledge to solving problems in the corporate world. Occasionally, Maryanne shakes off her pen name and appears in a local theater production or ballet. Her last name, Wells, was inspired by her role in a theatrical production of Dracula.

#1:  First things first. You have a new novel,  Matriculated Death,  set for June, 20, 2012 release. Tell us about it.

Matriculated Death contains two novellas, Black Letter Law and Corpus delicti. Students at a Texas law school stumble on a mystery in the library. It pulls them into the middle of a war between powerful undead factions. In the second story, the students really gel as a team. They defeat a zombie plot at the law school, and officially form the Undead Bar Association. 

#2:  Your website says book 2 will be out this November. That's an aggressive schedule. Is book 2 already written?

Outline and story board are complete. Ten percent of the scenes are on paper; the rest is mentally written. Yes, the schedule is aggressive, but as anyone who's battled me in a fencing tournament will tell you, so am I.

#3:  I am perhaps the only person in the world who doesn't appreciate vampires or zombies, yet your Undead Bar Association grabbed my attention as an idea so good it has to succeed. Tell us about it and how it got started. 

First, thanks for the compliment! As for the real origin all started in law school. I fell into a serious debate with some friends about property rights for zombies. My friends in law school were total geeks. And it didn't hurt that we had a Dean who dressed up as a vampire for Halloween. Anyway, the idea of combining law and supernatural stuck with me. I made it the focus of the original Undead Bar Association blog stories. Readers of the blog encouraged me to write ebooks, and here we are. This is the beginning of a series about young lawyers saving and fighting the undead, in the court room and beyond.
#4:  Maryanne Wells is a pen name. Did the fact that you are a corporate attorney influence your decision to use a pen name?

Yes. I started using the pen name / alter ego with the Undead Bar Association blog, when I was out in private practice. It's been going on so long, I look up if someone says "Maryanne" in a public place. 

#5:  Are you self-published or traditional, and how did you decide which route to take?

Self-published. I didn't even try to shop the Undead Bar Association series. Why? I like having the freedom to set my own publishing schedule. Of course, if the right ranch comes along and offers me a post, I'll ride for the brand. For now, I ride alone.

#6:  How does being an attorney help you when it comes to the business side of self-publishing a novel?

It gives me a healthy paranoia. Hmm. Actually, writing gives me a healthy outlet for my unhealthy general paranoia. Law school and private practice can make you scared of everything.

#7:  You sometimes appear in local theater and ballet productions. Is it safe to assume you had a lot of exposure to the arts as a child? 

Tons, but not for typical reasons. I was a pretty sickly kid, and had some orthopedic problems. Doctors gave my parents a choice between corrective surgeries or intensive physical therapy. Mom chose the latter; that's how I ended up in ballet. Singing lessons were supposed to help with breathing, and there were speech lessons too.  It all worked the way Mom hoped, but somewhere along the way I fell in love with theater. LOL. She was not pleased. She got over it, eventually.

#8:  You call yourself a Texas attorney. Is the strong sense of state pride so often associated with Texans real or a stereotype?

Heck yeah, it's real! Know why? Because it's well deserved. Texas is the Batman of states. You just walk into a room and say, "We're Texans." Argument won, day saved, mission accomplished.
#9:  Suppose you become successful beyond your wildest dreams. What one charity would you most support and why?

Canine Companions for Independence (CCI). They provide trained help dogs for people with disabilities. One of my best friends in junior high had a CCI dog, and I was amazed at the freedom and confidence it gave her. I want to support an organization that gives people freedom to live the best lives they can.

#10:  Let's do something different. There has to be a question you were hoping I would or wouldn't ask. Ask yourself that question, then answer it.

No, I haven't. Not yet. But I've encountered evil in many living forms. I can never recall the first moment I looked in the eyes of true evil without feeling sick and angry. That feeling drives a lot of the tension in my writing.

Thanks, Maryanne, and I wish you success with your release of Matriculated Death

You can also find Maryanne at the following places:


  1. Great interview! Made me smile! New follower via GFC. Found u on twitter. I have blogs at Musings on Fantasia and LKHill if you're interested. :D

    1. Thanks, Liesel, and thanks for following. I'll check out your blog.