Mary Morrison, who also writes under the name HoneyB (one word), walked away from a six-figure government job to publish her first novel, “Soulmates Dissipate.” That gamble, along with Mary’s incredible talent and drive to succeed, led to a series of novels and the optioning of the film rights. “Soulmates Dissipate” is being made into a feature film this year. HoneyB’s novel “Single Husbands” was developed into a stage play. Mary served as playwright and executive producer for that project.
Needless to say, when Mary Morrison makes up her mind to do something, the only choices people around her have are ‘lead, follow, or get out of the way.’ And yet, though an immense talent, a driven woman who knows no limits to her abilities, she remains a kind, generous lady and mother. When elementary school teacher Lou Richie approached Mary with an idea that would allow Richie’s students to write stories and see those stories published, Mary readily sponsored the project and “Diverse Stories: From the Imaginations of Sixth Graders” transformed from dream to reality. She also formed the non-profit Lift Every Voice and Write, an organization established to increase literacy and support students interested in pursuing writing careers.
To date, Mary has eighteen novels to her credit. Her latest, “I’d Rather Be With You,” the second book in the ‘If I Can’t Have You’ series, continues the author’s expertly blended mix of steamy fiction with situations and characters that readers many times feel could well be a chapter in their own lives. “I’d Rather Be With You” is a prime example of the author’s expertise at providing readers sensuality amidst page-turning suspense.
Born in Aurora, IL, raised in New Orleans, Mary resides in Oakland, CA with her son Jesse Byrd, Jr., an author, business owner, and film producer. For readers seeking intensity, strong women not afraid to take no prisoners, and yet, happy endings, Mary Morrison’s books should definitely be a ‘must buy, must read’ addition to your collection.
Q) Writing a book does not guarantee wealth and success – quite the contrary. Most authors are
A) Faith. I believe no matter what I do or what happens to me, God will always take care of me. I’m not afraid to fail. Eddie Murphy said, “If you want to achieve success, you must let go of something and never look back.” For me, that something was my good GS-14/15 federal government job. Living in this space we call earth, more specifically being an American, I want to make the world a better place one word at a time.
Q) You have to be proud of your son. What advice did you give him when you learned he wanted to become a writer and film producer besides own a clothing line?
A) I told my son, “You never have to work a day in your life for anyone else. But you must know what you want to do with your life.” When Jesse suffered a basketball career ending knee injury at UC Santa Barbara, unbeknownst to me he’d already started writing his first novel, “Oiseau.” After he graduated with a degree in Sociology, he started Oiseau Clothing. He applied to graduate school at USC for their film program and did not get in. When we signed our film deal, I included Jesse as a producer on the project. This brings me back to the word faith. When we know what we want, the universe gives us the opportunity to succeed.
Q) “I’d Rather Be With You” is about a woman who has to tackle competition, a stalker, a philandering husband, and somehow find happiness. That’s quite a combination. What sent you down that path?
A) Deception is deeper than love. It’s easy for people to identify when someone has wronged them. This is not the case when we mistreat others. Experiencing karma can help a person find happiness. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? I enjoy penning characters that allow the readers to interpret the significance of each situation. Like my dad used to say; “Don’t read a medical book for cures because you’ll think you have every symptom in the book.”
Q) My own curiosity: Originally, you weren’t interested in turning one of your books into a stage play. Yet, you did. What ultimately changed your mind?
A) Wow, you’re good! I always envisioned seeing my novels on the big screen never on the stage. My bags were virtually packed. I was preparing to move to Hollywood to network for getting a film deal. One day I received a call from someone at the Black Repertory Theater in Berkeley asking me to produce a play. A few days later I got a call from a person at the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts in Oakland asking me to do the same. I chose Oakland because that’s where I live. My son Jesse co-wrote the play and co-executive produced the stage play. Single Husbands was amazing. The greatest reward in addition to meeting film director/producer Leslie Small was working with thespians. I’m hooked on theater and can’t wait to do a national tour.
Q) To promote yourself and your books, you started an online boutique, created a radio show about relationships, and conduct relationship seminars. Through hard work, you built your own ladder to success. Any regrets? I mean, was there a personal cost that you didn’t expect?
A) I have no regrets in building my brand. I’m more than an author. I’m an artist. From financing the publication of my first novel to investing $50,000 in my stage play, I would risk everything I have to live my dreams. I’m fortunate to have received dividends. But I’m not done yet! Now that the films are underway, I want to host a talk show for authors, write for a television series, open a social media restaurant for adult networking, and complete my non-fiction relationship book. I’d better get busy finishing my next novel first. FYI, my next series is entitled Single Moms.
Q) Any parting comments for fans and readers not yet familiar with your work?
A) One of the main reasons director/producer Leslie Small wants to do films based on my books is, I write strong female characters. No matter what obstacles the woman encounters, she always overcome. I hold this value high in real life. Women are the lifeline to our existence. Men should never abuse women and little girls. As a child that was molested by my great-grandfather, a teenager that was raped on the street of my hometown in New Orleans, a wife that was battered my ex-husband . . . well this is my story for another day. Thanks for the interview.
DA Kentner is an award-winning author www.kevad.net