About Mary Sullivan Esseff:
Mary Sullivan Esseff is the author of the Rebecca Butler & Khalil Khoury Novel Series including: “The Butterfly & The Snail”, which won a top prize in the 2012 Transformational Authors Writers’ Contest. She also wrote two books to complete the Rebecca Butler & Khalil Khoury Trilogy: “Wedding Tales, Book One: Love’s Journey”
and “Wedding Tales, Book Two: Honeymoon Caper.”
Laughter and enjoying life is an intrinsic part of her being. Her stories can make you laugh or bring tears to your eyes. She has been able to draw on her tenacious wit and rare humor even when difficulties arise in her life. When she had breast cancer, she invited friends to attend her April 1st hair-razing party, either wearing a hat or with a shaved head—well, no one actually arrived with a shaved head. During her year of treatment, she published an on-line e-journal, Amazing Grace, Notes From a Breast Cancer Survivor. Mary is always searching for what is good, true and lovely. Always fair in making decisions, her husband says, “If you need a judge, ask Mary.”
A problem-solver, Mary sees the whole picture, focuses on the real issues. Her characters exhibit many of these same qualities. Her husband Peter’s Lebanese culture has inspired her series of “Khalil Khoury” stories, including, Love Made Visible, published in the anthology “Three Naked Ladies Playing Cellos”.
Mary and her husband, Dr. Peter J. Esseff, are co-founders of a training company, Educational Systems for the Future® that offers workshops and instructional materials to enable Fortune 500 employees to become professional trainers. Since 1969, they have co-authored a series of Guaranteed Learning® books, conducted workshops to teach trainers how to be professional trainers, and written hundreds of instructional modules for Fortune 500 companies all over the globe.
In 2005, Mary was honored by her Alma Mater, Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia, PA, to be a Charter Member of the Libris Society, which exemplifies one or more of the qualities celebrated in the College’s motto Fides-Caritas-Scientia (Faith-Charity-Knowledge).
Mary also loves to travel and has visited countries all over the world for business and pleasure, most recently traveling to Lebanon where Peter’s family gathered for a fabulous wedding—and to give her fodder for future stories. Mary and Peter have three children and three grandchildren and live in Tampa, FL.
What inspires you to write?
My parents were both writers. They inspired me to be all I could be and express my creativity. I have been writing since I was in elementary school. I co-edited the Literary Magazine when I was in high school and continued writing through college and graduate school. Some Christmases, I wrote a story for my children. For 45 years I created instructional materials for clients around the world. When I reached 70, I told myself I had to get these stories published that I’ve been carrying around both in my head and on paper as my husband can attest as he fills yet another filing cabinet with another draft of a book still unfinished. In 2013, after winning a writing contest, I felt empowered to publish my first book, The Butterfly & The Snail”. My readers begged for more so in 2015, I wrote two sequels: “Wedding Tales, Book One, Love’s Journey” and “Wedding Tales, Book Two, Honeymoon Caper.”
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m the type of person that see the whole picture of what I’m doing right at the beginning of a project. I sit down at my computer and create a timeline, write a list of the characters, envision what they look like, and sketch out how they interrelate. That brief overview changes constantly as I get to know the characters better. I let them guide me in what they want to do and say. I always feel inspired or guided when I’m writing. I often read what I’ve written later and wonder how I even thought of one thing or another. I like to have fun when I’m writing. I’ll often laugh out loud if I envision the characters in a funny circumstance or feel choked up when something tragic happens to them. My stories are based on real events in my life, but I allow the characters to redefine who they are and what they do and say.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
That brief overview changes constantly as I get to know the characters better. I let them guide me in what they want to do and say. I always feel inspired or guided when I’m writing. I often read what I’ve written later and wonder how I even thought of one thing or another. I like to have fun when I’m writing. I’ll often laugh out loud if I envision the characters in a funny circumstance or feel choked up when something tragic happens to them. My stories are based on real events in my life, but I allow the characters to redefine who they are and what they do and say.
What advice would you give other writers?
Don’t wait until you have time to write. I put it off for years and am now playing catch up to get everything written before it’s too late.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I’m at the age that if I had to wait six months to see my work in print, I might not be here to enjoy it. With the way technology has changed there are so many opportunity to publish your book. Sure it would be great to get a big advance with a major publisher, but I want to share my stories now. So I publish them myself.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Authors will be taking more responsibility for publishing their works and not wait forever to see their ideas in print. eBooks are fast becoming an easy way to carry thousands of books around, but print books will continue to exist because people just like the feel of a book in their hand.
What do you use?: Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?: Spiritual Fiction, Inspirational Family Saga, Tales of Ancestors, Fiction based on Fact, Historical Christian Fiction
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit, to allow you, the reader, to hear the author in their own voice.