I’m so pleased to have contemporary and historical romance author Mary Campisi visiting with us today. Mary has been published with Kensington Publishing, Carina Press, The Wild Rose Press, and Jocelyn Hollow Romance. Two years ago, she began digitally self-publishing her front and backlist books. In October, four short months after she offered her contemporary romance, A Family Affair, as a free download on Amazon, Mary had over half a million downloads!
Wow, that’s amazing! Let’s have a little chat with Mary and find out what else is going on in her world.
You have both contemporary romances and historical romances under your writing belt – do you prefer one genre over the other? What attracts you to these two different genres?
I began with historicals for the pure joy of falling into romance through a fairytale setting. The beautiful young women, the wealthy men, the titles, the gowns, even the villains are pure fairytale material reminiscent of Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and Sleeping Beauty. The historical lifts me up and carries me away into happily ever after. And here’s a confession; I watch Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice at least once a month. (The Matthew Macfadyen and Keira Knightley version.) I know many Austen critics say it’s not true to the story, but I can’t help it, the chemistry is there for me. I love the scene in the rain when Mr. Darcy professes his love for Elizabeth and proposes — she rejects him and then there is the ‘almost’ kiss. And when Mr. Darcy hands Ms. Elizabeth into the carriage and squeezes her hand, I can feel that emotion.
Writing contemporary romance comes naturally to me. Most of my contemporary works are hybrids; combination contemporary romance and women’s fiction. I love to explore relationships and how they are affected by things like betrayal, deception, death, or dealing with the aftermath of a difficult decision. I’ll toss these things at the main characters and see how they do or do not deal with these issues. Once they’ve struggled enough, I’ll follow them along on their character growth trail and cheer as they find that second chance at life and love.
Your books have a lot of heart and you don’t dodge the tough stuff. Why is that?
I guess I write about tough situations because I’ve lived through quite a few of my own. I know what betrayal feels like, and loss—of dreams, hope, a marriage— and I understand the pain, the self-doubt, the not knowing if you’ll ever feel whole again. I use these emotions to create my characters and to explore relationships that are less than perfect – but are real life as I see it. It’s interesting that you should mention this because I’ve recently begun analyzing the recurrent themes in my books and I’m compiling a collection of short stories with a commentary tied to each which addresses the reason behind the story and the novel/s with like themes that grew out of those stories. My biggest and most used theme is second chances. And of course, I often write about that one true love that surpasses time, situation, and circumstance.
What can you tell us about your upcoming release, Simple Riches?
Simple Riches is a contemporary romance set in a small town much like the one in northwestern Pennsylvania where I grew up. Here’s the blurb…
Alexandra Chamberlain is a cosmopolitan woman whose uncle taught her to discard everything but the bottom line on a balance sheet. She’ll do anything to earn his approval and prides herself on excelling at her job, which is selecting small towns to buy up, flatten, and replace with luxury resorts. When Alex decides to investigate Restalline, Pennsylvania as a potential site for the next resort, she enters the town under the guise of a researcher gathering information for a documentary. It should be easy, just like all the others. But this town is different, from Alex’s zany landlord to Nick Androvich, the town doctor with a battered heart who questions Alex’s motives yet can’t deny his attraction to her. As Alex and Nick explore their growing relationship, they must face the truth about each other and themselves as they search for their own Simple Riches.
And now for the fun question: If you were stranded on a deserted island with the man of your dreams, what two luxury items would you bring along with you?
A razor? Hmmm. A toothbrush and Colgate Total Advanced Clean toothpaste? Oh, no…my very favorite Caribou coffee – decaf and regular, depending on morning or evening. And I’ll need cream. Or are there animals that produce milk on this island? Black coffee bothers my stomach. I guess I can forgo the coffee machine because there won’t be electricity but the man of my dreams is highly intelligent and capable of constructing an apparatus to brew coffee. I suppose I can craft a mug of some sort – I’m quite crafty…Ooops..forgot about soap. I’ll need quite a bit of that. Maybe a tube or two of Bath & Body mentha chapstick and moisturizer…and shampoo. Did I say dental floss? Hmmm. Where will we sleep? And what about pillows? We can share T-shirts but not shorts – I am a bit curvier than the man of my dreams! Do you know what kind of food will be available on this island? Exotic fruits? Veggies? Fish? I bet I’ll have a lot of time to write, so will need several notebooks and pens. I think that’s it. Let me think. Oh, no. What about toilet paper? I bet THAT’s not provided. Well. I’ll have to think about that. I’m not going to ask the man of my dreams if he’ll need anything, because he’ll have me – what else could he possibly need?!
So, I can really only pick two things? Okay. Two suitcases stuffed with all of the above!
Clever, Mary! I just might let you get away with that. For my readers today, Mary is giving away a copy of Simple Riches. For a chance to win, just tell Mary and me what are a few of the simple riches in your life.