A Chat With Author Mary Stewart Atwell

New to the writing scene, Mary Stewart Atwell released her first novel Wild Girls this past fall.

About the book:
Wild Girls follows Kate Riodan in her small town of Swan Rivers, which is known for the infamous “wild girls”–killers who terrorize the community. Kate is frustrated with the idea of living in her town forever and becoming a wild girl. Attending the posh Swan River Academy, Kate is torn between her small town life and the upscale school environment. With some friends who are poor influences, Kate must find herself before she becomes her worst nightmare: a wild girl.

Wild Girls by Mary Stewart Atwell

Faze sat down with Mary Stewart Atwell to learn about her journey to becoming a published author.

Your two previous novels were not published: is that hard for you to let go of those stories?

You spend four or five years on a book and giving it up is hard. I know writers who then don’t like their first book. They’re not proud of it, so I’m really happy that this is something I can stand behind.

Who would you say was the hardest character to write about?

I think Willow; I sort of loved her and hated her at different times. I think getting her to the right balance where she does some bad things, but I wanted her to be very human and the kind of girl you would kind of look up to at that age. And I wanted to like her and understand why she makes the choices she does.

Do you remember at what point you decided you wanted to turn writing into a career?

I was one of those kinds of obnoxious kids that decided I was going to be a writer when I was seven or eight. I was just really lucky to have support from my family. The flip-side of that is you assume everything you put out there everyone is going to love because your family does. So for me, I finished my MFA when I was 22 and I wasn’t immediately embraced by the publishing industry. It was hard to realize that it doesn’t always happen right away; you have to keep working.

What would you say is the hardest thing of having a career as an author?

When you get published, you start getting feedback, which is fantastic that people are reading your book. But in a way, it’s hard to suddenly know that this thing that’s so important to you now belongs to anybody who wants to read it. Letting go of your own possession of that story, it’s hard.

To learn more about her, check out Mary Stewart Atwell’s publishers page here.

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