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inkwell.vue.217 : Mary Mackey, "Sweet Revenge"
permalink #51 of 98: Mary Mackey (mm) Fri 25 Jun 04 21:35
    

We traveled in a small three-deck boat which had a motor and anchored it
away from the shore in order to escape the nightly raids of blackflies,
mosquitoes, etc. Using the boat as a base, we launched the canoes and did
quite a bit of paddling, but not enough to give me Popyeye arms since there
was a small motor we could use in some of the open stretches (but mostly we
were going into dense brush-or rather into the canopy of the submerged
trees).
  
inkwell.vue.217 : Mary Mackey, "Sweet Revenge"
permalink #52 of 98: Mary Mackey (mm) Fri 25 Jun 04 21:36
    

As for the piranhas, I swam in the river dozens of times because I had been
told that the piranhas were not particularly hungry or aggressive during the
wet season. This seemed to be true because, although it was possible to
catch them and even eat them (piranha stew is sometimes called the "Viagra"
of the Rio Negro), none of them so much as nipped at my toes-which is a good
thing since the Rio Negro is the color of dark tea so you can't see what is
in the water with you when you are swimming. Also, I stayed away from the
trees when swimming because that is where the jacares (alligators) hang out
and they can get huge.
  
inkwell.vue.217 : Mary Mackey, "Sweet Revenge"
permalink #53 of 98: Carlos Martins (arariboia) Sat 26 Jun 04 11:51
    
That's what I've heard about piranhas too, but if anyone here is
planning a trip up the Amazon (or to the Pantanal for that matter -
have you ever been there, Mary?) be sure to check with the locals
before you go for a swim...

Which doesn't mean that there aren't all sorts of other critters "that
crawl and creep and bite", cf. <mm>'s narrative of the bicho do pe
misadventure in the Health conf.

Mary, I'm curious about that historical novel set in Brazil. What
epoch would it take place, and do already have a storyline?

(BTW, it's Iemanjá, among other things the patron saint of fishermen,
hence her connection with the sea and the tributes paid to her on
beaches. She's not the object of a goddess worship as such, but rather
one - a distinguished one - of the many orixás, male and female, of
Candomblé. My mother saint, I've been told, is Iansã, wielder of storm
and lightning, usually sincretized with St. Barbara.)
  
inkwell.vue.217 : Mary Mackey, "Sweet Revenge"
permalink #54 of 98: Mary Mackey (mm) Sat 26 Jun 04 14:02
    

I've been to the Pantanal, and I think it is a much better place to see
birds and large, beautiful tropical mammals than the Amazon because they are
not up in the canopy or hidden in the brush. I saw more amazing wildlife in
six days in the Pantanal than I did in six years in the jungles of Costa
Rica. But the Pantanal  doesn't have the immense, wild remoteness of the
Amazon, nor does it have the endless lush jungles (at least not the part of
the Pantanal I was in).

As for whether or not the tributes paid to Iemanja constitute goddess
worship, we probably differ on the definition. I have a whole, long complex
analysis of what constitutes goddess worship at the present time, that I
don't want to go in to here--not enough space or time or, frankly energy--
but there have been numerous books written by contemporary feminists on
various aspects of the  subject (you might check out Charlene Spretnak's new
book on reclaiming the
Virgin Mary if you are interested).
  
inkwell.vue.217 : Mary Mackey, "Sweet Revenge"
permalink #55 of 98: Carlos Martins (arariboia) Sat 26 Jun 04 15:30
    
Far from me to dispute the point, Mary... I only meant to enlighten
(he) the non-Bananalanders (and non-Bananaland initiated) in the
audience to the fact that Candomblé is not a matriarchal religion. To a
certain extent it's male-dominated, as the head honcho Orixá is a male
- but its pantheon, as it were, is pretty much equal-opportunity.

(Candomblé is by and large an animistic religion and came from Africa,
brought by the enslaved populations of several African nations, and
got sincretized in America. Similar cults exist in other parts of
America, most notably the Santería of Cuba, Venezuela etc. As long as
I'm off on this tangent, it never hurts - Eparrê, Iansã!)

Pantanal is mind-boggling. The birds alone are more than worth the
trip. Sadly, it's being increasingly - what isn't - encroached on by
"agribusiness", which is also expanding further and further into the
Southern borders of Brazil's Amazon.

Alas.

Now back to them sources of pleasure that come between covers. Mary, I
didn't know about your pen name, and am now just itching the buy - and
read - your novels of a more comical nature. Oh joy.
  
inkwell.vue.217 : Mary Mackey, "Sweet Revenge"
permalink #56 of 98: Hoping to be a goddess, but settling for guru (paris) Sat 26 Jun 04 16:03
    

And back to "Sweet Revenge" for a moment or two...

I'm not sure if the folks reading this topic are aware that "Sweet 
Revenge" is a murder mystery as well as a comic novel.  At the start of 
the novel, we discover that Nora is in hot water regarding a murder 
committed by one of her clients, not your usual start to a comedy.  I 
don't want to reveal too much about the plot beyond this, but would 
welcome your talking about a couple of things: first, the juxtaposition of 
a murder and a novel that is quite funny and, second, how much of the 
mystery we can reveal without giving too much away.
  
inkwell.vue.217 : Mary Mackey, "Sweet Revenge"
permalink #57 of 98: Darlis Wood (darlis) Sun 27 Jun 04 10:50
    
So Mary, can you say more about revenge fantasies as a healing/release
vs. revenge fantasies as an inspiration?

You make a good case for using fantasies as a way to overcome anger,
but you also give some pretty convincing examples of people acting them
out. Do you come down on one side or the other, or is it just not that
simple?
  
inkwell.vue.217 : Mary Mackey, "Sweet Revenge"
permalink #58 of 98: Mary Mackey (mm) Sun 27 Jun 04 17:05
    

Good description of Condomble, Carlos. Thanks.

Perhaps it's time for a bit of plot summary. "Sweet Revenge" is indeed a
murder mystery. From the very first page you know that Nora, the main
character, has been running a revenge consulting service and that one of her
clients has just been arrested on suspicion of murder. You don't know which
client, of course, nor do you know the particulars of the case
  
inkwell.vue.217 : Mary Mackey, "Sweet Revenge"
permalink #59 of 98: Mary Mackey (mm) Sun 27 Jun 04 17:06
    

The novel flashes back from to one year earlier, and we see Nora before she
got mixed up in this mess. She's running a very successful dating service in
L.A. called "Love Finds A Way," and she is about to be married to Jason, a
man who is absolutely perfect for her because she picked him from her own
data base. From that point, we enter a world of surprise, betrayal, and
unexpected plot twists. Of course I can't tell you how the murder part comes
out, but I can tell you that Nora gets dumped at the altar in front of
several hundred friends and business associates, starts a revenge consulting
service called Payback Time, and soon discovers that someone-maybe the
murderer-is taking revenge on her. (Don't even ask what happens to her Koi
or what the guy next door who collects plaster lawn statues of Disney
characters is up to.)
  
inkwell.vue.217 : Mary Mackey, "Sweet Revenge"
permalink #60 of 98: Mary Mackey (mm) Sun 27 Jun 04 17:06
    

So, in answer to your question, Libbi: it appears I can talk about the comic
thread but not the mystery thread; but both come together at the climax.

As for darlis's very good question: I do believe that fantasies are a great
way to overcome anger, but you have to be a sane person who knows the
difference between fiction and nonfiction. Personally, I would never start
an actual revenge consulting service because you can't effectively screen
out people who are dim on the difference between imagining handcuffing
someone and making him watch "Ishtar" for 72 hours, and actually putting
"Ishtar" at the top of the Netflix queue and going to CostCo to buy a roll
of duct tape.
  
inkwell.vue.217 : Mary Mackey, "Sweet Revenge"
permalink #61 of 98: Hoping to be a goddess, but settling for guru (paris) Sun 27 Jun 04 17:39
    

Um...if I ever see you in line at CostCo with one of those containers of 
duct tape, I'm gonna head for the hills, Mary!
  
inkwell.vue.217 : Mary Mackey, "Sweet Revenge"
permalink #62 of 98: not heartb roken, (mim) Sun 27 Jun 04 22:45
    

So I'm curious about the hybrid of mystery and comedy... did you decide
first tow rite a comic novel and then i turned into a mystery, or visa
versa? And did you start out knowng exactly how the plot was going to go, or
did you let your characters lead you along as you wrote?
  
inkwell.vue.217 : Mary Mackey, "Sweet Revenge"
permalink #63 of 98: Allegro ma non tofu (pamela) Mon 28 Jun 04 09:21
    

And let me jump in and say how real the LA ambience felt--I know you live in
the Bay Area, so you must have done research on that too.
  
inkwell.vue.217 : Mary Mackey, "Sweet Revenge"
permalink #64 of 98: Mary Mackey (mm) Mon 28 Jun 04 09:21
    

I knew it was going to be a mystery from the very first, but I didn't know
what sort of mystery. My core idea was to write a novel about a woman who
starts a revenge consulting service and then becomes the object of her own
techniques. In fact the working title of the novel was "Payback Time"--which
is still what the file is called on my computer. Since it was a mystery, I
had to outline the entire plot in advance. In other less plot-dependent
novels, I often let the characters lead me where they will, but you can't
start writing a mystery novel until you know how it will end. However,
sometimes you discover an even better ending than the one you originally
intended to write. This happened which meant that I could be more or less
sure that the reader would not figure out who the villain was since I had
did not know myself until the last month or so. That said, the original idea
was comedy, not mystery. When I got the idea of combining the two, I was
delighted by the result, since I think it made the novel much more
interesting (and more fun to read).
  
inkwell.vue.217 : Mary Mackey, "Sweet Revenge"
permalink #65 of 98: Mary Mackey (mm) Mon 28 Jun 04 09:25
    

Thanks, pamela, for the vote of confidence on the L.A. setting. I did a lot
of research and made numerous trips down to SoCal trying to get a feel for
what it would be like to live in L.A.--not just in L.A., but in the
particular world Nora inhabits: not quite in the movie industry but on the
fringes where every once in a while she gets a movie star for a client.
Then, of course since her fiance, Jason, is a real estate developer, I
looked at urban sprawl and development as well.
  
inkwell.vue.217 : Mary Mackey, "Sweet Revenge"
permalink #66 of 98: Hoping to be a goddess, but settling for guru (paris) Mon 28 Jun 04 10:12
    

What other research, if any, did you get involved with when planning the 
novel, Mary?  
  
inkwell.vue.217 : Mary Mackey, "Sweet Revenge"
permalink #67 of 98: Mary Mackey (mm) Mon 28 Jun 04 12:33
    

I had to learn how murder suspects are arrested, how sailboats sail, and
what the political situation is like at the border between Brazil, Paraguay,
and Argentina.Then there was the IRS, Krazy Glue, Lowrider cars, packrats,
street paving techniques, Photoshop, and fine wines. The research on a novel
is strange, eclectic, and potentially endless. Fortunately, I love to
collect stray facts. It's my hobby.
  
inkwell.vue.217 : Mary Mackey, "Sweet Revenge"
permalink #68 of 98: Donna Odierna (strega) Mon 28 Jun 04 13:01
    
And it's a hobby that benefits your readers!

Mary, I experienced SR and the Stand In in a more visual way than I did your
Earthsong triligy books (the new covers are stunning, btw. Too bad I spent
some weeks last year looking for the first book to complete the set I sent
to a relative as a present - if I'd waited, she could have gotten a set of
the new ones with their beautiful cover illustrations).

What I mean is that some of the scenes (is that the right term?) in the
comic novels had an almost kinesthetic feeling - the images that they
conjured were vivid and carried a sense of movement. It was almost like
watching a movie. I'm not a writer, and this seems very mysterious to me. Do
you do that intentionally, or does it just come out that way? Does something
similar happen when you're writing a screenplay?
  
inkwell.vue.217 : Mary Mackey, "Sweet Revenge"
permalink #69 of 98: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Tue 29 Jun 04 11:06
    
And strega's question makes me wonder whether when you're writing a novel
you're also thinking how it "presents" as a potential screenplay?
  
inkwell.vue.217 : Mary Mackey, "Sweet Revenge"
permalink #70 of 98: Mary Mackey (mm) Tue 29 Jun 04 22:48
    

I think the visual images that you say you get when you read "Sweet Revenge"
come, for better or worse, from the fact that I have always had a very
visual imagination. Often, as I am in the process of imagining the scenes in
a novel, I run them in my mind's eye as if they were a movie. I also have a
visual memory. For example, when I read something, I can close my eyes later
and see which side of the page the words are on (and if there are any peanut
butter and jelly stains in the immediate area). I have been doing this since
I was a small child. In fact, I can remember how amazed I was when I learned
that there are people do not instantly see pictures when they daydream or
imagine something.

I didn't intentionally try to make "Sweet Revenge" feel like a film, nor did
I think much about the cinematic potential of the novel as I worked on it.
(I did, of course, wonder if the film rights might be optioned as the rights
to my previous novel "The Stand In" had been, but I've always felt to think
about film as one writes a novel tends to limit the literary scope of the
work and tempts the writer to neglect novelistic resources that can't be
translated into to a film script.
  
inkwell.vue.217 : Mary Mackey, "Sweet Revenge"
permalink #71 of 98: Mary Mackey (mm) Tue 29 Jun 04 22:49
    

I write filmscripts. In fact, I am a member of the WGA, West (the
screenwriters' guild). But I write them not because I learned to see the
world in motion when I close my eyes, but because I can not stop seeing it
that way. I'm glad you're enjoying the effect.
  
inkwell.vue.217 : Mary Mackey, "Sweet Revenge"
permalink #72 of 98: Hoping to be a goddess, but settling for guru (paris) Wed 30 Jun 04 08:38
    

Definitely!!

Mary, you've done so many interesting (and unusual) things in addition to 
an impressive portfolio of poetry, prose and your teaching career.  

Before this interview ends, would you spend a little time talking about 
more of your travels, especially as they relate to your novels?

Oh, and the ant story is always - um - interesting!
  
inkwell.vue.217 : Mary Mackey, "Sweet Revenge"
permalink #73 of 98: Allegro ma non tofu (pamela) Wed 30 Jun 04 19:36
    

[jumping up and down and clapping] Yes, the ant story!  Dammit, Mary, I
never walk past an anthill (and we have a bunch of them down here in Santa
Fe) without thinking about Mary's Ant Story, which is not the same as
Charley's Aunt.
  
inkwell.vue.217 : Mary Mackey, "Sweet Revenge"
permalink #74 of 98: We don't need drugs. We've got (tinymonster) Wed 30 Jun 04 20:16
    
[also clapping because somebody else has heard of:]

> Charley's Aunt.

From Brazil.

Where the nuts come from.
  
inkwell.vue.217 : Mary Mackey, "Sweet Revenge"
permalink #75 of 98: Mary Mackey (mm) Thu 1 Jul 04 12:10
    

Okay, here it is, back by popular demand: the Ant Story (I am not going to
hide this rather long post because I don't think people who come in through
Engaged would be able to read it were it hidden). This is only one of the
many strange stories I have about the places I've traveled to. Someday, I
must write about the volcanic eruption, the vampire bats, and--of course--
the big flood in India with the swimming rats.
  

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