Welcome to Mary Pat Hyland, author of The Terminal Diner!
What about this story made you have to write it?
“The Terminal Diner” started out more than a decade ago as a short story called “Spice of Life” that I wrote for a contest. I love to cook (my day job now is personal chef) and it was around the time that I’d discovered the garam masala spice blend—a wonderfully aromatic combination of flavors. I imagined how awful it would be if a character—in this case a wife—could never use spices in her cooking and had to make the same bland meals over and over for her husband. The story didn’t win and I tucked it away in my files. When I dug it out again, I imagined the husband being in the military and he was used to routine and a particular dietary regimen.
In 2009, I decided to rework the short story into a novel and enter it into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. I’d lost an old friend on Sept. 11 and was deeply affected by it. I decided to weave the events of that day into the story, partly as a catharsis for the pain still present. The result, in a sense, is its own masala blend of family trials in post-Sept. 11 American society.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned during the creation of this book?
I’d never written suspense before, yet enjoyed working in the genre very much. This could lead to other works written in this vein.
What was the hardest part to write?
Revisiting the events of Sept. 11 was very difficult. On that day I was an editor working at a daily newspaper and my task was to scroll through the Associated Press photo wire to select the images that told the story of the day best. I’d managed to tuck away in the back of my mind the absolute fear and horror of that day. My friend worked in the North Tower of the World Trade Center and to re-read what went on there before the collapse was heartbreaking.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I have too many interests and so little free time: photography, music, painting, gardening, dancing, languages, gourmet cooking, and hill walking….
Can you share a little of what you are working on now?
I just got the idea for the opening scene for my next-next novel, “The House With the Wraparound Porch.” I’ll be working on it full time for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in November. This work is a family saga. The idea came to me while kayaking and swimming in the Finger Lakes on vacation.
My next novel’s first draft is written. I’ll be starting the second draft of that soon. It’s the third and final book in my Maeve Kenny series. Also bouncing around in my head is putting my short stories into a collection. What was I saying about free time?
What advice would you give a new writer?
There’s a lot to be learned from the NaNoWriMo model. It instills in you the necessity to write every day, to not edit while you write the first draft (there’ll be plenty of time for that later) and to become part of a writing community. We formed a writers group here because of our NaNoWriMo sessions and they have inspired and supported me immensely.
Links: The Terminal Diner
Amazon U.S. Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/The-Terminal-Diner-ebook/dp/B005BYPB8Q
Amazon UK Kindle: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Terminal-Diner-ebook/dp/B005BYPB8Q
Amazon DE Kindle: http://www.amazon.de/The-Terminal-Diner-ebook/dp/B005BYPB8Q
My eStore on Amazon (paperbacks): https://www.createspace.com/3627529
My other works & official website: http://marypathyland.com/works.html
Thank you, Sarah, for the opportunity to visit your wonderful blog. Best wishes and much success to you!