As a child, I was a reluctant reader. I told my parents I didn’t want to learn to read. It was hard. Later, I didn’t read because I thought it was uncool. I thought nerds and sissies read books. When I got older, I was just too busy.


I’ve always loved owning and collecting books, but was never much of a reader, apart from a stint at ten when I was into horror writers like John Saul, V.C. Andrews, and Stephen King, and a brief time at about 19, starting with Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which put me on a journey of existential discovery. Like many Americans, I mainly read one book per year, during the summer, while lying in the sun.


This is a terrible shame because there were countless times growing up that my life would have been greatly enriched by the delicious escapism reading brings. Because I wasn’t a strong reader and had my supposed rep as a cool kid to protect, my escapism of choice was always film. I still love film, but realize now that story can be so much richer when experienced through literature.


I became a “reader” after finally finishing my undergraduate degree at 39. As the year 2010 dawned, several unrelated events occurred that led to the inspiration for a historical novel that I knew I had to write. Since writers need to read—a lot—I started reading for research, reading for craft, and reading for pleasure, often at the same time.


In addition to becoming a reader, I began my quest to learn the craft of writing. I’d done some creative writing in high school and college and had planned to major in writing, but I fell off the rails at some point and hadn’t written anything—except journaling—in more than twenty years. I didn’t know how to write a novel.


Many classes, workshops, critique groups, and conferences later, I’m still working on it. And I have become someone who takes great pleasure in leisurely savoring a good book—even in public. Reading is hip!


My house has been filling with stacks and piles of books (I might have a tiny problem). I love them and cherish them and I will never give them up in exchange for an

e-reader. Some day I hope to have a few of my own books gracing those stacks.


Even though I still made time for reading, my writing was on hold for a while, however, while I pursued a Master's in Strategic Communication at Washington State University—Go Cougs! My goal for the M.A. was to learn to build a compelling and successful author platform and also to give me the skills I needed to change careers. I now work in communications and design in the public sector, which is a good fit for me, as I have always been happiest when creating something. When I'm not working, I try to find time to work on short stories, essays, and the never-ending task of revising my novel.


View the trailer for my novel-in-progress

Favorite Quote


"We need to make books cool again. If you go home with someone and they don't have books, don't fuck them."

                                -John Waters

© 2014-2020 Mary Senter

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