I am so lucky to have stumbled onto a great Writing Group in my area. I said it once, and here it is again, these people are amazing. One of those great people is Mary Woldering, author of the Children of Stone epic fantasy series.
Mary writes. I know that’s a silly way to say it, but I can’t think of a better introduction. Mary writes. Over the course of the past year, I’ve had the chance to take a good look at some of her writing. She works, not on novels, but on epics. And I mean epics. Not one hundred or two hundred or even three hundred pages, but monstrous books, filled with monstrous ideas. I’ve been privileged enough to offer some insights into her writing, and it always amazes me when the advice is “be less imaginative.” Yes, I realize that sounds horrible, but Mary has enough imagination to outfit an entire college writing class for five hundred years. I really wish that were hyperbole too. And, fine, jealousy is a green little monster that you don’t want to throw water on, but if I just had one tenth of her ideas, I’d be set for life!
So, after much coercing and pleading and getting on my knees with hands clenched, that might be a bit far but you get the idea, Mary was kind enough to take a few minutes of time away from her epic and share in this brief interview with me.
Please welcome: Mary R. Woldering
Who is Mary R. Woldering? Tell me a little about yourself as a writer.
I’ve always written. Before that, I told tales of dreams. I used to dream about stories. They were inspired by movies I saw as a child. One of the important ones was the original Moby Dick with Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab. I read as much of the book as I could at age 8. Later dreams took precedence. I documented them and turned them into stories.
When I was 15 I wrote a novella about some teenagers who stole the movie ship HMS Bounty and sailed off on an adventure. They were shipwrecked and a few survived. Imagine my surprise when years later, the movie ship piloted by young people SANK in a storm. Things like this happen to me.
My granddaughter was born years after the character Naibe was developed. They share many of the same physical shapes (before her changes) huge brown eyes, recessed chin, short almost dwarfish stature, non-verbal communication.
Where on Earth did this series idea come from? Or, I suppose, out of this world would be an apt descriptor as well…
In college I got involved in spiritualism. I was doing past-life regressions & channeling with interested friends and taking notes. Soon I had an entire gang of “crazies” who seemed to have known each other throughout the centuries.
About that time a “ghost” from a burned out haunted house began frequenting our group…Many of us saw him and witnessed him. He had several names, but we settled on the name Raem. (Pronounced RAM) He was a black dog, a part-wolf and a muscular Egyptian man. I sorta drafted him.
Meditations drew us to Ancient Crete before the explosion of Santorini, My best friend Annette and I became aware of regular shared dreams involving the genesis of the gods. That was the start.
Why did you chose to set your story in Ancient Egypt?
We had several visions of Ancient Egypt. They weren’t at all clear, but the pictures flowed from our sketches and notes. I realized there was a connection between Egyptian gods and the Greek and asked the question: “What if the gods were just ordinary men given something extra?” This was the era of Von Daniken’s “Chariots of the Gods” I had another story line about these Aliens who came to Earth.
The simple answer is: That’s where it takes place.
Can you talk about your process at all? How did this series come about?
By this time I had drawn a crooked line between all of my experiences and dreams. I started writing a number of stories based on mostly Annette’s and my ruminations. Alien, Egyptian, Cretan, Roman, Celtic, Renaissance, 19th century…
Life moved on. I began the novels in some form in about 1974, focusing on what became the “Children of Stone” series in about 1984, but wasn’t published until 2013.
Why did you choose self-publishing rather than working with a traditional publishing agency? I submitted the novel traditionally 2-3 times in the 1984 and was rejected. When I finally got around to publishing I weighed my age and temperament against the traditional and decided I would try self-publishing and live to see the series printed. I did that for my children and grandchildren and a legacy, understanding fame might not be mine.
What's in store for Marai and Ari (my favorites) as the series continues?
A lot. I could tell, but It would be a spoiler. I can tell you that ALL of the characters continue to evolve and grow. Marai and Ari do become deities, reluctantly. So do other characters. The reader will enjoy figuring out which deities they become. I have had several endings to the series, but could change it.
Do you have any plans for other books outside of this series?
That depends of the state of my mind & health. At this rate I’ll be 72. There is still a vague line between all of the stories, as they are part of my personal mythology. I’m thinking of a couple of prequels for this, and then the Celtic cycle. I have a modern Dionysus story I wrote.
Let me just end with a heartfelt Thank You to my very creative, too damn imaginative, very good friend, Mary Woldering. I’m looking forward to reading Going Forth by Day and can’t wait for your next book to hit the shelves. When can we expect to see Marai again?
Out now on Amazon and CreateSpace: Opener of the Sky, the Third Installment of the Children of Stone Series!
For more information and updates on Mary and her writing, visit her website at:
And don’t forget to visit Amazon and take a peek at her amazing work.
Other Ways of Reaching Mary:
Opener of the Sky
I had grown fierce and hard Thrilled by death, torture, blood the madness of it when I tasted its warm saltiness A warrior god.
... from the poem Howl by Mary R. Woldering - as told by Raemkai 2012
Marai, a former shepherd who discovered a fallen 'star' and was gifted with amazing abilities by the unearthly Children of Stone, has been separated from those he loves. He begins a desperate mission to find them, but the spectre of wickedness and corruption is never far behind and his journey to wisdom becomes even more uncertain. While Opener Of The Sky, the third book in the Children of Stone series, is the story of Marai's magical search for his companions, it is also the story of Maatkare Raemkai, a sadistic, shape-changing warrior-prince whose twisted relationships once propelled him into power and then nearly destroyed him. Through sorcerous manipulation of the women Marai loves, he has planned his own revenge. The shepherd turned sojourner is just in the way. Will Marai be too late to save those he loves or will he have his victory?