Mattie's Meltaways by Mary Manners

Mary Manners lives in the beautiful foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee with her husband, daughter, and two cats they rescued from local animal shelters. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Smoky Mountain Romance Writes. During the school year, she teaches middle-schoolers reading and Algebra. In her free time, she loves to garden, take long walks with her husband, and read romance novels in a hammock beneath century old shade trees.

Welcome to Piedmont Island, Mary. Northern Minnesota is spectacular at this time of year, although, it is a tad chilly. But no matter. We’ll be cozy by the fireplace, sipping our favorite hot beverage, and munching warm cinnamon buns fresh out of the oven. (Ah, the wonders of cyberspace. It’s a place where everyone, including me, can be a domestic goddess!) And just look at that view of Lake Superior. Isn’t it spectacular? Now, if you’re comfy, let’s talk writing!

Anne - When did you first realize you were destined to be a writer?

Mary - I joke that I was born writing! Really…my earliest memory is of me at about the age of three, standing in my family’s basement, leaning on the dryer with a pad of paper and a pencil, scribbling a ‘story’ (I didn’t even know how to print my name yet). I just knew that words told stories, and I had something I wanted to tell. From then on, I have always carried a passion for writing. I cannot imagine life without writing.

Anne - Tell us about your book.

Mary – It’s called Mattie’s Meltaways. Mattie Spencer has spent the last decade raising her three younger sisters and grooming Sweet Treats Bakery into a thriving business. Over the years, she's watched her sisters grow into beautiful women and find the men of their dreams. Now it's her turn, but, at thirty-five, she feels too old to dream of a husband and children of her own.

Tyler Jacobs, a firefighter in the small town of Mount Ridge, keeps busy raising his seven-year-old daughter. The death of his wife during three years ago still haunts him, but morning stops into Sweet Treats, along with a dose of conversation and a handful of Mattie's delicious mint meltaways, kindle a desire he thought was extinguished forever.

Now Tyler has just one goal—to convince Mattie that love knows no age.

Anne - What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself from writing? 

Mary - I have learned on just how little sleep I can function! No, seriously, I have found that I can go hours at a stretch lost in my own little world of romance and intrigue, without speaking to so much as another living, breathing soul. That’s an odd accomplishment for a woman who has spent more than half of her life standing up in front of a classroom full of kids, teaching!

Anne - Any words of advice for struggling, unpublished writers?

Mary - Write, write write…never stop writing. Write about what you love, and believe in yourself. Join a writers’ group (or two) and enter contests. Go to workshops and immerse yourself in learning. Most importantly—have faith in yourself and never give up.

Anne - Have you experienced writer's block? If so, how did you work through it?

Mary - My writer friends at White Rose Publishing know that I have experienced writer’s block from time to time, and when it strikes I…mow. Yes, I push mow my two acres, and the stories just flow. There’s no better medicine for writers’ block than a few hours of push-mowing!

Anne – Would you share an excerpt from Mattie’s Meltaways with us?

Mary – Certainly!  

Tyler was thankful for the bite of a cold breeze as he trekked across the square to the fire hall. The chill cleared his head and brought his heart rate under control. Seeing Mattie did weird things to his insides…things that felt unsettling and pleasant at the same time. He couldn’t put his finger on it. But the brush of her hand kindled a need buried deep in him…how long had it been since he’d felt the gentle touch of a woman?
And Tessa, asking him to feel the baby growing in her belly…it brought back memories of Lydia, and the devastating childbirth that took both her and his son. Jessie should have a baby brother, but she remained an only child—and motherless, to boot.
Tyler tried not to dwell on the loss. Three years had passed since he’d lost Lydia and Noah. He’d stumbled through all the classic stages of grief and shaken his fist at God more times than he could count. There were no answers…he simply needed to trust. And he did. Yet sometimes the loss still burdened his heart.
But not around Mattie. No, never around Mattie. She filled something in him that was missing. He wanted more, but he didn’t know how to go about asking for it. He was nearly twenty years out of the dating scene, and the game was beyond terrifying. But he’d asked her to dinner, and she’d said yes. Tyler picked up the pace, his chest suddenly a bit lighter. Maybe it wasn’t so bad…navigating through the dating waters.
But was it a date? Did Jessie’s birthday party count? He shook his head, the slight bit of confidence shattered. Oh, well…
He delved into the pastry bag, took one of the square meltaways and tossed it into his mouth. The chocolate—smooth with a hint of mint—dissolved on his tongue and left him longing for another taste.

Anne – Thank you! That sounds like my kind of story. Mattie's Meltaways is definitely going on my TBR list. Where can readers reach you online?

Mary – At my website, and on my blog, Creative Writing Forces

Anne – I wish you every success, Mary with Mattie's Meltaways. Thank you for dropping by Piedmont Island. Come back any time!

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Happy reading!

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