Meet talented author, traveler, teacher of writing, and adventurer Mary Ann Henry. Mary has written a book of stories “Ladies in Low Places”, and I can highly recommend this book for the insights, wit and descriptions. “Set in the coastal lands of the South Carolina and Georgia Lowcountry, each story in this unforgettable collection captures the moments in women’s lives where they must confront some aspect of their authentic selves. Whether they’re seventeen or seventy nine, the characters bring to life the Grit, Wit, and It of the southern female psyche as they search for friendship, love, family and home.”(Blurb from back cover)
Thank you to Mary Ann Henry for such an honest and interesting interview with me.
This is our lovely, talented author Mary Ann Henry. I love the scenic background.
This is Mary Ann Henry and backpack ready for adventure.
LINDA: You are a writer and a “solo adventuress”. Do your travels inspire your writing?
MARY ANN: I’m sure they do, but unconsciously. I had to be brave when I first started traveling on my own. And I have to be brave to sit down at the computer and make my fictional characters seem like real flesh-and-blood characters with all their quirks, flaws, hopes and dreams. I’m sure there’s a tiny bit of me in many of my characters and Readers are smart: they can spot the truth when they read it!
LINDA: If they’re not in exotic locales, tell me about your settings for your writing.
MARY ANN: I only use settings I know deeply. The short story collection, Ladies in Low Places, which is available now and I have to plug here, on sale for 99 cents on Amazon for the kindle version, has the beautiful Lowcountry of South Carolina for its setting. It’s a great backdrop for the stories. Where else could you get a plot where a former beauty queen forces her granddaughter to compete in the Miss Hell Hole Swamp Beauty Contest? My new novel that’s ready to meet the world SOON is set in West Virginia, where I was born. The next one ist back in the Lowcountry. But I’m sure I’ll place a book in Ireland for the next one.
LINDA: So, how did you start out traveling solo?
MARY ANN: I was traveling for the video and film production business anyway and I thought: why not add a couple of days before or after the film shoots to experience a place by myself? I was the mother of a young child at the time and had to juggle schedules with my husband but it worked out fine. I remember the first time I spent some days alone, I was in North Miami Beach. It was where I discovered the remarkable thing that happens when you’re dining alone.
LINDA: And that is?
MARY ANN: People talk to you. Waiters, servers, other guests, the chef may come out: dining alone is a joy. Plus, when you’re not talking with others, you can relax and people-watch, or read while you dine. By the way, “Dining Alone” is the number one fear for women travelers.
LINDA: It is? What can women do to overcome it?
MARY ANN: I suggest: go out to dinner in your home town a few times first. Get comfortable with the process. Then, when you’re traveling, it’s no big deal. You can look forward to it at the end of your travel day. Go early in the evening. Dress up for yourself: put on some lipstick and a beautiful shawl. Take your e-reader with you. Order a glass of wine and relax, you’ve earned it. And, as always, be sure you’re in a safe part of a city, if you’re in a city. Above all, be proud, knowing you are exuding confidence. Even if you don’t feel it the first few times, you will).
LINDA: What do you suggest for a safe way for a woman to start out traveling alone?
MARY ANN: Take a short, weekend trip somewhere. If you’re on an train route, that’s the easiest and safest way to take a short trip and be “alone” on the journey but in the safe hands of a good train conductor. Even a bus ride. Or just a short jaunt to a neighboring town to spend the night.
LINDA: What’s the best part about Solo Travel for Women?
MARY ANN: It’s confidence-building! There’s nothing like knowing that at any age, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and beyond, you can make your own way in the world. We’re a fast-growing phenomenon in the travel business, by the way. We women are out there exploring and experiencing.
LINDA: Packing Tips?
MARY ANN: I could write a book! But, for now, readers can check out my How To Pack for 30 Days in a Tiny Backpack on my Author site. Scroll down until you see a photo of me with my backpack. https://www.facebook.com/MaryAnnHenryAuthor/ Be sure to Like and Follow the page: my next trip, coming up in one month will be extraordinary! Pictures are just above!
Thank you so much Mary Ann Henry for chatting with me, and granting me such a wonderful interview. I love your thought and your advice about safe travel!!! Many thanks again!!!!