What is my background? Around ten years of age, the arrow pointed out the direction: acting and directing. I studied the art form and worked not only in student theater, but also professional equity productions, and even network TV, including appearances on soaps such as "The Guiding Light" and "Another World." (I am not a nurse, but played one on TV ... )

Surprise! Arrow swayed a bit. Offered a fellowship in Northwestern University's prestigious "Interdepartmental Drama Program," I pursued a doctoral program. That led to full-time teaching of literature at St. John's University of New York. ("Go Red Storm!") In those "publish or perish" days, much of my writing appeared in international journals. To brag a bit, this included acceptance, on two occasions, of essays for the prestigious, annual UK "Shakespeare Survey. (As an American, visiting the Shakespeare Festival Theater in Stratford, England and seeing, on display in the lobby, my first article about Shakespearean production was a goose-bump thrill.)

What about fiction and mystery writing? For a long time it was a relaxing avocation. Now, it has become my full-time writing career. How do the earlier careers merge, contributing to my life as an author? I believe that my theatrical background has been an unbelievable asset. Drama is conflict. Conflict can occur on the level of plot, dialogue, and character. The very best drama occurs on all three levels. Development of characters, with body language, habits, and speech patterns unique to each, is as important an element in my work as conflict in the twists and turns of plot.

Before release of my premiere novel, my short mysteries were featured in popular national magazines, such as "Woman's World," as well as on-line outlets. An active member of Mystery Writers of America, I attend seminars, even moderate panels. Luckily, to date, I've had access to a small Cessna and career USAF pilot for commuting. With release of my debut novel, "The Buried Life," book-signings will be added to the on-time schedule.

Where can you purchase "The Buried Life?" Besides your favorite bookstore, my novel is currently stocked and available, on 24-hour notice, at Barnes & Noble on line (www.bn.com) as well as Amazon sites in both the US and Europe. (In search box, type "Mary Margaret Nilan" or ISBN 1588320111) Should you wish information about an autographed copy, contact me.

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