What were you in your life before you became a writer? Did this influence your writing?
I was working for what was then called the New York State Department of Mental Hygiene first in personnel administration and then in the institutional services department which oversaw medical records, housekeeping, laundry, food service, etc. at our various facilities for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled clients throughout the state. It could be very emotionally draining, so I used my evenings and weekends to write a two book, post-apocalyptic series to get my mind off work. Though I was based in Albany I traveled throughout the state with both jobs. When the state was sued for providing inadequate care for residents at the Willowbrook Developmental Center on Staten Island, I was assigned to accompany the many experts who were hired to inspect the facility as part of the court-ordered consent decree to determine what needed to be done to correct the conditions there. One day when we were observing clients in the outdoor yard of a non-ambulatory building which was supposed to be housing profoundly retarded residents who were wheelchair-bound, non-verbal, incontinent, etc., a woman came to the fence and started speaking to us. We assumed she was a therapy aid who worked there and were shocked to find she was a resident. Her parents had institutionalized her some 30 years before in one of our children's psychiatric centers because she was "boy crazy." She had been able to read and write when admitted, but had fallen through the cracks being transferred from the psychiatric institution to others that housed developmentally disabled residents without anyone seeming to notice she didn't belong there. She'd been assigned to that particular building at Willowbrook because she'd developed phlibitis and couldn't walk stairs but could walk the wheelchair ramps. Meeting her inspired me to write my novel Silent Song about a woman who was wrongly institutionalized.
2. Are you genre specific or general? Why? I don't mean genres like romance, mystery, fantasy etc. There are many subgenres of the above.
I am all over the place. My novels incorporate several genres in each book. I write traditional science fiction; but I prefer to write post apocalyptic stories that have romantic elements, and dark fantasies, leaning toward horror and the occult with demon lovers and murders and others about Satan and his minions. I write erotic romance murder mysteries and steamy romantic suspense with feisty take charge heroines and millionaire/billionaire alpha males. I enjoy writing children's picture books with problem solving themes, early chapter books that are funny/scary or focus on a little girl detective. I also write mainstream fiction. The one constant about everything I write is my heroines. Even the pint-sized ones are take-charge characters who are smart, clever, brave, and strong.
3. Did your reading choices have anything to do with your choice of a genre or genres?
I love reading mysteries: Sara Paretsky, Ellis Peters, Ngio Marsh, Agatha Christie, Barry Maitland; and I enjoy steamy billionaire and western romances so I guess it figures that the last few years my adult novels are a mixture of both.
4. What's your latest release?
My newest book Little Girl Lost came out June 15th. It's steamy romantic suspense and written under my Mia Frances pen name which I use for all my steamy romances. It's about a conservative Wyoming county sheriff named Zac who butts heads with a liberal librarian from upstate New York named Ali. She's hanging around truckstops, masquerading as a hooker, trying to track down a 13-year-old runaway who attended one of her library's youth programs. They can't abide each other at first, but when they work together to investigate a case of kidnapping, human trafficking, and murder...sparks begin to fly.
5. What are you working on now?
I am always working on several projects at once. I've just finished the final edits on two early chapter books and have started a third which is the Halloween mystery in my Millie Muldoon children's mystery series. All written under the Mary Vigliante Szydlowski pen name. As soon as that's done I'm starting another romance which is all plotted out in my head. The only thing I haven't decided yet is whether it will wind up being a series like my IN HIS KEEPING books or a long, stand-alone book like Little Girl Lost.
6. Where can we find you?
I live in upstate NY. But if you want to learn more about me you can find me on the web at:
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