I’m interviewing Maralee Lowder today, the author of “The Mortician’s Wife”, a paranormal mystery novel.
Please tell us about yourself.
When it comes to writing, I’m a bit of a late bloomer. Although I loved to read it never occurred to me that I could actually write a book myself until the day I threw a book across the room with the comment that I could write a better book myself. I took my declaration as a challenge and began to write a historical romance. The book was never published, but I’d been bitten by the “what if” bug and I’ve been writing ever since.
Something happened while I was writing that first book that always strikes me funny. I was working for a large business that was going through a very slow period, leaving us secretaries way too much time on our hands. As I finished each chapter I sent it around to the other secretaries, just for fun. (At that time I considered my writing as more of a joke than anything else.) My first sex scene came in the 8th chapter, which I sent around, just like I’d been doing with all the others. One day one of the secretaries came to my desk and said, “Donna and I are freezing! Could we please have Chapter 8 back? It’s the only thing we can think of that will warm us up.”
Don’t ask me why, but that was the moment I realized I had become a writer.
Tell us about your book.
The Mortician’s Wife set my writing career off to a genre that I never expected to write. Up until then I had written several different romance genre novels, but never something so dark, and with only the slightest bit of romance.
The Mortician’s Wife has paranormal elements as a background to an unsolved murder. It tells the story of Ada, a woman who had been born to privilege who loses her heart to a man who is the opposite of the image he projects. While enduring years of abuse, she discovers secret ways to make her life bearable. But then something happens that is so terrible the only thing she can think of is how she can end the life of the man who has made so many suffer.
The story does not end there. Ada continues living as a captive of the house she had shared with her mortician husband. When she is nearing the end of her life, Ada shares her story, and the burden of her guilt, with Emily, a woman who had befriended her many years before. In telling her story, Ada reveals that she caused something evil to live within the walls of her home, something too evil to be allowed to contaminate others.
What inspired you to write The Mortician’s Wife?
The Mortician’s Wife is the direct result of a conversation I had with two friends one lovely spring afternoon. We were sitting outside, discussing this and that, when one of us brought up the question of whether or not the unoccupied old mortuary really was haunted or not. Jeff mentioned his own experiences while he worked on the house. He also told us about the last mortician’s wife. How, when her husband died, she moved into other rooms of the mortuary, never to leave them until the day of her death. (This was not completely accurate, but near enough.) Then, Kathleen said, “I know why she didn’t leave. She killed her husband. She moved out of the rooms they had lived in because she couldn’t stand being there after what she’d done.” This, of course, was not what happened! But what a neat story!
In case you’re wondering…yes, the mortuary is very, very, haunted!
How many hours per week do you spend writing?
Good question! Unfortunately, I don’t have a concise answer. My actual, hands at the computer pounding out the words time, is fairly limited…anywhere from five hours to ten hours, I suppose. But that does not mean I’m not writing while I’m away from the computer! When I take long walks, I’m thinking. As I do dishes, I’m thinking. Taking a shower, driving, etc., I’m thinking. Then, when I finally sit down to write all that thinking pays off and my fingers fairly fly!
If you could meet three authors, which authors would you choose?
Well, Stephen King, of course! Who wouldn’t want to meet the King?
I just finished reading The Locket, by Richard Paul Evans, who also wrote The Christmas Box. It was a wonderful read. I loved the way he was able to touch my heart with his words.
For my third author I’ll have to choose J.K. Rowling. I can’t think of any author who can take me out of my world so completely. I always tell people who are depressed that they need to read a Harry Potter book. When you’re with Harry you can’t be anywhere else!
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m glad you asked! Right now I’m working on The Mortician’s Legacy. It’s the third book in the Mortician trilogy. The second book, The Mortician’s Revenge, will be released sometime this month. The plan is for the Legacy book to come out sometime next year. Right now I’m not planning on continuing with the Mortician series. I have a ton of ideas for other genre books. However, you never can tell. There is another Mortician story wriggling around in my brain that I’m trying very hard to ignore!
The Mortician’s Wife
Author: Maralee Lowder
Genre: Horror, Paranormal
Horace Carpenter has it all…a lucrative business as the only mortician in town, a home he can be proud of and a reputation of being one of the most popular men in town. Maybe he should be content with what he has. But he wants more.
Ada Hawkins, the daughter of the town’s only physician has lived a sheltered yet, privileged life. When she meets Horace at her 18th birthday party, the shy, physically plain girl is entranced by his good looks and suave manners. In six months they are married, and in less than one week Ada suspects she has made the mistake of her life.
And that is where the story might have ended…should have ended. Ada is to endure years of torment until her husband commits the most unforgivable act possible. From that day forward she lives for one thing only, not just to end the torment, but to do it in the hateful way possible.
She achieves her goal, only to discover true evil does not die.
Maralee Lowder saw herself as strictly a writer of romance novels…until she discovered a haunted old mortuary. There was something about the place that simply would not let her go. Was it really haunted? Were the stories she’d heard true that when the last mortician’s wife died over fifty years before no one had ever removed her possessions? That it remained exactly as it had been all those years ago?
As could be expected, her curiosity drove her to seek answers to those questions. And what she saw when she was given a complete tour of the building, from the rooms on the first floor where the mortician did his work, all the way to the fourth floor apartment at the top of the building, inspired even more questions.
Being a writer of novels, rather than doing research on the actual last mortician’s wife, she chose instead to let her imagination take over, answering the question, why did she choose to stay all alone in the huge building all those years? Was it haunted? And if it was haunted, who was doing the haunting, and why?
The answers to these questions are answered in Ms. Lowder’s fictional book, The Mortician’s Wife. As happens so often in a writer’s life, more questions came after she had finished writing The Mortician’s Wife. Some of the answers to those questions are answered in The Mortician’s Revenge, a sequel to The Mortician’s Wife that will available in October, 2013.
Ms. Lowder is currently busy asking herself more questions.