Today I pleased to introduce you to Mary Hagen, whom I first met many years ago at a Colorado Romance Writers meeting.
Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Mary. Tell us, what inspired you to write your book The Chase?
Years ago, I read about four women on a backpacking trip who were attacked by four men while at their campsite. They managed to get away from the men but had to travel fifteen miles before reaching a road and getting help. I don't remember if the men went after them, but a farmer who had given the women permission to camp on his land, found their site and knew something was wrong. He called the police. When the women reached the road, they got help and the men were captured.
In my book, the women are attacked by convicts running from the police. They managed to escape and must run for safety. The actual incident took place in the east. Mine occurs in a Colorado wilderness. The women must not only escape the convicts, but they must survive a treacherous climb over a mountain pass in bad weather.
How do you use setting to further your story?
Setting is extremely important in the story. Every obstacle is the result of mountainous territory and bad weather. I'm an avid hiker and backpacker so my experiences play a role in the story, but with exaggerations. I hope readers will feel the cold, the fog, the snow, and the rock slides in the story. Some of my characters have more experience and some a stronger will to survive. In the book, they must come to terms with their beliefs in right and wrong, and how far they will go to survive.
How do you construct your characters?
Sometimes I base my characters on people I have known. The characteristics are woven into the fictional qualities of my characters. I like to know what makes my character react the way she does in the story and how she deals with her reactions that are linked with her background. I usually do a character sketch of how she looks, her size, her occupation, her personality, what makes her do what she does. Sometimes the character may take on added traits I never considered in the sketch and surprise me in her actions.
How is your main character completely different than you?
I have four characters in the book with one leading character. We are as different as day and night. The only thing we have in common is a love of hiking and backpacking. She is from a different ethnic background, her occupation is unlike mine, and her goals are not the same as mine. She is determined to have her way, has trouble bending to the will of others even if it may be to her advantage, and will sacrifice love if she thinks she is right. With this character, I learned a new set of rules for living.
Tell us something about yourself we might not expect!
This is a difficult question for me. I considered myself a common, ordinary, middle class house wife with few exciting qualities. My friends and family know me well, so how do I answer the question. I guess I would say most of them don't know I don't like water and swimming, although I do swim but mostly for safety reasons should I fall in when crossing rivers and streams. I do like to canoe.
The Chase is a women in jeopardy survival story with one woman putting the others in danger because of her inability to keep climbing. How far will the women go when their survival becomes a moral dilemma for them and how will they be changed if they survive their actions?
Because I grew up on a ranch in Wyoming, I like western history and the history of Wyoming. I'm always learning something new. While writing my latest book, Day of Reckoning that comes out in March, I learned Fort Sanders was only about ten miles from my parents' ranch and that I was close to the Overland Trail. Growing up I never heard of Fort Sanders.
Today, I live on a farm not far south of the Wyoming border, so I can spend time exploring the state.