#WednesdayGuest l Blog Tour l Getaway l Maureen Brady

Though Maureen Brady wrote the humor column of her junior high school newspaper, she didn't actually comprehend that she was a writer until after she had moved to New York City in her twenties, where she began taking writing workshops at The New School and then fell headlong into the consciousness raising groups of the early 1970's.

She published her first novel, Give Me Your Good Ear, in 1979, and it was published by The Women's Press in England in 1981. Her novel, Folly, was excerpted in Southern Exposure, received wide critical acclaim, was nominated by Adrienne Rich for an ALA Gay Book Award and was reprinted as a classic by The Feminist Press. She published a collection of short stories, The Question She Put to Herself, in 1987, then turned to writing nonfiction in the '90's, publishing Daybreak: Meditations for Women Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Midlife: Meditations for Women. She returned to fiction with the novel, Ginger's Fire, and her most recent novel, Getaway.

Her recent work has appeared in Sinister Wisdom, Bellevue Literary Review; Just Like A Girl; Cabbage and Bones: Irish American Women's Fiction, Mom, In the Family, and Intersections: An Anthology of Banff Writers. Brady's essays and stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and were finalists for the Katherine Anne Porter Fiction Prize and the Nelsen Algren Short Story contest.

An Adjunct Assistant Professor, she teaches creative writing at New York University and New York Writers Workshop @ the Jewish Community Center, and works as a free-lance editor and tutor, helping writers across the spectrum take their writing to the next stage.

A co-founder of Spinsters Ink, Brady edited such books as The Cancer Journals by Audre Lorde and The Woman Who Breathes Fire by Kitty Tsui. She also served as a panelist for The New York State Council on the Arts Literature Program and as a fiction judge for Oregon Literary Arts. She is a founding member of The New York Writers Workshop and has long served as Board President of Money for Women Barbara Deming Memorial Fund.

She has received grants from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation; New York State Council on the Arts Writer-in-Residence; New York State Council on the Arts CAPS grant; Holding Our Own; Briarcombe Foundation; and The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts Fellowship to The Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Ireland. She was the winner of the Saints and Sinners short story contest for 2015 and is also a Saints and Sinners Hall of Fame winner.

She lives in New York City and Woodstock with her long term partner, Martha, and their joy dog, Bessie.

 Visit Maureen’s website at www.maureenbradyny.com.

About the Book:

After stabbing her abusive husband and leaving him dying on the kitchen floor, Cookie Wagner flees to remote Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. For a moment, she seems to have gotten away with murder. But,
consigned to a secretive life with a new name and the need to be on constant alert, she faces all she has not gotten away with. She is helped by the recently widowed Mrs. Biddle, who offers her a place to stay, and the lobster fisherman Butch, who gives her a job and later falls in love with her. Walking the cliffs and beaches, taking in the scruffy windblown plants that survive the buffeting wind by growing at an angle, she begins to heal.

Yet, there is no leaving behind the notion that Warren is dead as the result of her action.
Or is he? And if not, will he one day come to find her?

Sexual harassment and abuse are all over the news these days, often involving celebrites and other well-known figures, but Cookie, the protagonist of Getaway, is no celebrity. She’s an ordinary woman married to a working class guy who drinks too much and resorts to violence. Their story reveals how endemic the phenomenon of abuse is, and the quandary Cookie lands in when she fights back.

Praise for Getaway:

“Sensitive, sensual, and stirring. "Getaway" is a true page-turner, but one with heart and with context. I couldn’t put it down until I got to the end, not just to find out what happened, but also to discover who these intriguing and complex characters would develop into. An extremely satisfying read!”

Danielle Ofri, author of What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear, Editor-in-Chief, Bellevue Literary Review.

Getaway is available at Amazon.

What’s inside the mind of a fiction author?

Hopefully, a lot of brain cells and then the mysterious imagination that thrived as a child and still thrives when nourished.

What is so great about being an author?

The opportunity to express oneself through making up a story that will explore the themes that are compelling to the author. When published, the experience of finding out what others are making of what you have written.

When do you hate it?

I don’t think I ever really hate it, but I do struggle sometimes and feel like it is just too hard, but then I’ve learned how to persist until something good comes to me and uplifts my mood.

What is a regular writing day like for you?

 I try to write before everything else gets started in the mornings. I work as a teacher of fiction and a freelance editor, so I often have to turn my attention to reading the manuscripts of others, so if I can get in a couple of hours on my own work first, that works best for me. Other things compete, too, like planting my garden in Spring and harvesting in summer and fall.

How do you handle negative reviews?

 I try not to take them too seriously, knowing how arbitrary tastes factor into readers’ responses.

How do you handle positive reviews?

I love them, print them out and hope to have a fat file of them!

What is the usual response when you tell a new acquaintance that you’re an author?

Interest in what I write about and whether my books have been published.

What do you do on those days you don’t feel like writing? Do you force it or take a break?

Depends. Sometimes I take a break but if it’s just the dread of facing the blank page, I might do a writing exercise. Tell myself I am only allowed to write for 20 minutes and set a timer and go for whatever comes up. The 20 minute limit take the pressure off.

Any writing quirks?

I like to lie down in my studio and get into a state that is almost but not quite a nap and see if I can hear my characters talking. Then, if I can keep myself from falling asleep and losing it, I get up and write down the conversation I overheard.

What would you do if people around you didn’t take your writing seriously or see it as a hobby?

I wouldn’t take them very seriously.

Do you think success as an author must be linked to money?

Definitely not. Any writer who writes what he or she wants to write and finds expression that way is a success on some level. I’ve had success in numbers by publishing a book that has sold over 45000 copies and paid me a decent advance, (Daybreak: Meditations for Women Survivors of Sexual Abuse), but most people have never heard of it, yet it has been in print since 1993 and I receive many letters from those it has helped. I have also had novels that were successes at time of publication. In more recent years success has seemed harder to come by, yet I consider completion of any work a success.

What has writing taught you?

Writing has taught me that I have a lot of wisdom to offer and a well-developed craft that I can use to express myself. Also, that it is the greatest challenge and growth factor in my life and never really gets easier and as a consequence, never bores me.

Leave us with some words of wisdom.

Stick to writing the book you want to write. Enjoy the process, both for how it will stretch you further than you thought possible, and for the privilege of having an endeavor that you can give your all to.


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