Mary Adler in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF” w/@Nonnie Jules – #RRBC #RWISA @MAADlerWrites

Hello, and welcome to “WHO’S ON THE SHELF?” with yours truly, Nonnie Jules! Since we are a book club, you know we had to offer something that included a bookshelf. A lot of interviews merely cover an author’s work or an individual’s career stories. Here on this “SHELF,” we get down and dirty and ask the questions no other interviewer dare ask. We ask the questions that you want to open up a book and find the answers to on your favorite authors and fellow book club members, but, no one has dared to cover them. We get personal! Because, when you sit on this “SHELF,” YOU are an open book! Even if I have to pry you open!

Today, we have a very special guest on the SHELF with us, RRBC member and RWISA Secretary, and also our first “SPOTLIGHT” Author of the year, MARY ADLER! We have been celebrating her all month long and today, she gets to sit on the shelf with me!


NJ:  Before we get started, how do you like the design and feel of my new shelf?  We updated it in 2017 and in all honesty, I can’t recall any accidents lately, so I think this redesign is working.  Are you comfy, Ms. Mary-on-the-swing?

Mary:  “You can’t recall”? My trained legal mind notes that you did not say there have been no accidents lately. Just that you can’t recall any. Remember those congressional hearings? I don’t know how I can get comfy after that statement. Isn’t there a seat belt?

NJ:  Seatbelt?  Where would the fun be in having those around?  I mean, I didn’t build this 30-shelf bookshelf for nothing!  So, let’s get into this interview which is starting a bit late because our dear guest wasn’t properly attired.  Mary, will you start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name:

Mary:  Mary Adler is not a pen name. Nor is it my birth name. (It is my birth first name and married last name.)

NJ:  Well, that’s nice to know,  So, tell us where you were born?  Do you still live there now?  If not, what city and state are you calling home these days?

Mary:  I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I live in Sebastopol, northern California, and love it. Sometimes we go into San Francisco to see “real” people because Sebastopol is a bit counterculture and rooted in the sixties and we have to remind ourselves that not everyone everywhere wears tie-dye and Birkenstocks. Although lately San Francisco has become a bit strange with the influx of Silicon Valley tech workers who are changing the beautiful, diverse culture of old San Francisco as they push out less affluent people.



NJ:  Mary, are you married or single?  (…And, have you driven him to start drinking yet?)

Mary:  I am married to a wonderful man who encourages me to write and supports my writing career even though it probably soaks up more financial resources that a sailboat would.  (For non-sailors, a sailboat is a hole in the water surrounded by wood into which you throw money.)

NJ:  OK.  Do you and this wonderful man who encourages you to write, have any kids?  What kind? And, do you like them?

Mary:  Three kids. All human. They are wonderful people, so, yes, I like them (as well as love them, which we know isn’t always the case with kids.)

NJ:  Really?  We don’t always love our kids?  I thought it was the other way around…you know, sometimes you don’t like them, but Mary, since I don’t want you to be in any legal trouble, I think it’s against the law to not love them all the time.  FYI.  Now,  if you’re not there already – when you’re old and cranky, which one will keep you at home to care for you themselves, and which one started seeking out the A PLACE FOR MOM franchise facility in your area when they were 9?

Mary:  Nonnie, I’m way past old enough to be cranky.  I’m old enough to tell younger people to appreciate their knees while they have them.  They have no idea what I’m talking about or what the future has in store for their nimble selves. Back to your question: After a dear friend had to put his mother into a home, I asked my 14-year old son if he would put me in a home when I was old. He answered, without missing a beat, “That depends on how you get along with my wife.” I immediately answered, “I love her!!”  I think our daughter who is a principal at a school for autistic children has the patience and skills to deal with me when I’m old. Maybe. Besides, I’m not going anywhere without my dogs.

NJ:  Well, aren’t you sharp in the wit department with that swift response to your son’s bold statement?    Mary, do you guys have any pets?  If so, what kind?  And since they tend to act like kids, too, I have to ask the same question…do you like them?

Mary:  At the moment, we have Lily, a 12-year old Rottweiler with serious health issues, and Charley, a 25-pound mixed breed affectionately known as a “Mexi-Mutt” by the rescue organization that goes to Mexico to save these dogs from horrible lives. I love them both but do wish Charley would stop closing my laptop on my hands. Ouch!

NJ:  Well, that’s not very nice, Charley,  but moving right along…Mary, what’s the food that’s so good to you, you go to bed dreaming about it, and you forego breakfast just to get to it?

Mary:  I hear the siren song of caramel-pecan turtles in my dreams, on walks, while cleaning the house … you get the picture. That said, if I had to eat only one kind of food for the rest of my life, it would be pasta.

NJ:  Really?  Pasta?  Not pizza?  WOW!  So, what’s your favorite color?

Mary:  Blue.

NJ:  Favorite sport…

Mary:  Canine Nosework which my husband says is as exciting as watching paint dry, but the feeling of teamwork with my dog as I support him while he does all the work with his extraordinary nose is deeply satisfying. My least favorite aspect of all sports on television is overtime.

NJ:  Hahaha!  Would that be overtime in anything?  LOL.  OK, your favorite TV Show…

Mary:  Commissario Montalbano, an Italian detective series starring Luca Zingaretti — that’s my pounding heart shaking the shelf, Nonnie.

NJ:  OK.  Never heard of that.  Who’s your favorite Actress/Actor…

Mary:  See above for tv actor. I loved Raoul Julia, too. Favorite actress: Audrey Hepburn for her elegance, the way she caressed the English language, and for her dedication to helping children in war-torn countries.

NJ:  She’s one of my favorites, too.  Mary, do you like to exercise to stay fit OR do you not mind walking around with a beer belly?

Mary:  I don’t drink beer (unlike Elizabeth Warren) so I don’t have a beer belly. However, remember my answer about the caramel-pecan turtles?  Walking is my only exercise. It takes too long for me to get back up off the floor for me to do exercises. Half the day would be shot!


NJ:  We’re going to take that as a NO.  OK.  What’s your biggest pet peeve that makes you want to spit nails?  (For the record, NJ does not condone violence, but she does believe in being honest, so she admits that there are those times and there are those people, who do cause her to want to spit a few nails in the direction of their foreheads.  Hey, just being honest.  It’s the only way I roll).

Mary:  Do I have to pick just one?

NJ:  Yes.

Mary:  I suppose it’s people who won’t accept responsibility for their own happiness. I learned a long time ago that we can “give up our suffering.” It seems to be impossible for some people to do that, and they go around whingeing about their first world problems instead of doing something to help people with real problems, like homelessness or hunger. Of course, I can’t tell you what I want to do to people who abuse animals or children.

NJ:  Good.  I already feel as though I should have an attorney on stand-by when you leave my shelf.  Are you neat or messy?

Mary:  Both. It depends on which one of me is in charge that day.

Shocked looking dog

{She is freaking me the hell out right now}

NJ:  I’m almost afraid to ask this but Mary, are you nice or mean?  And would your response be your perception of you, or what others think of you?

Mary:  People think I am nicer than I am. (You probably know about that.) But I am kind and would never intentionally hurt anyone. Except those people who abuse animals or children or anyone too weak to stick up for themselves.

NJ:  I know you better than most here.  You are nice and sweet but I also know better than to get on that other side of you, too. I mean, in a WonderWoman to WonderWoman catfight…you just might be able to get “a” punch in.  {Notice I only gave you one}. Now, which do you prefer…Facebook or Twitter?


Mary:  Oh, dear. I am completely incompetent where both are concerned, but because of RRBC I do use Twitter more.

NJ:  {Snarky laugh}  Hahaha, oh look, you mentioned little ‘ole RRBC.

angry dog

Mary, we’ve come to realize that the internet is giving way to tons of budding friendships.  Who would you say is the one person you’ve connected with the most…your internet BFF or buddy?

Mary:  When my first Rottweiler was diagnosed with bone cancer, I found an online group — BoneCancerDogs– that had more helpful information than the vet did. Because of them, my Emma had a good life for a full year post diagnosis.  (She had been given six weeks.) I formed online friendships that have lasted twenty years and I have been lucky enough to meet some of my buds at actual real-life reunions. There are four of us who are there for each other no matter what. I treasure them.

NJ:  That’s awesome that you found the type of support you needed, at just the right time.  Good for you for doing your research.  Mary, who’s the one person that you’ve met online who makes you laugh the hardest?

Mary:  Denise Fenzi, a marvelous dog trainer, whose dog takes over her Facebook page. I suppose I should say Denise Fenzi’s dog. (Not really a person.)

NJ:  Who do you favor most:  Nonnie Jules or WonderWoman? Be honest

Mary:  You mean they are not the same person?

NJ:  Do you think that they are?  We all know that WonderWoman has her truth lasso and Nonnie has…well, just her truths, in the no-nonsense way she forces us to be honest and tell it like it is, whether it makes others uncomfortable or not.  In your opinion, which one does a better job of making the world a better place?  You can be honest here, as well.

Mary:  WonderWoman and Nonnie really aren’t the same person?

NJ:  Name two favorite INDIE books that you’ve read by RRBC members:

Mary:  I loved Harriet Hodgson’s book, The Family Caregiver’s Guide. I have bought and given away multiple copies because I think everyone who is being cared for or is a caregiver would benefit from Harriet’s plain speaking commonsense and wisdom. I have a copy for my children because I want to be treated with the respect and dignity Harriet advocates, and I want them to take care of themselves, too, and her book explains how to do that.

I also loved The Alternative, by Suzanne Burke, A Heaven for Toasters, by Nicholas Rossis, and Finding Billy Battles,  by Ron Yates.

Really dog

{Here goes another one who can’t count…1, 2…STOP!  It ain’t rocket science, people}   

NJ:  ONE, ONE, ONE, ONE good INDIE book you’ve read written by an RRBC member that was so good you wish the entire world would read it…

Mary:  Once again, Harriet’s The Family Caregiver’s Guide.

NJ:  What was so great about that book, Mary, that you were moved to buy copies for other people…even your own children?

Mary:  It is a blueprint for compassionate care for loved ones.

NJ:  {Yeah, I don’t like those kinds of books…I’m joshing} After you read books, do you post reviews?

Mary:  Usually, now that I understand how much authors need them.

NJ:  What do you think readers should base their reviews on?

Mary:  First, the quality of the storytelling and writing. Second, whether the book exposes the reader to new ideas, new ways of seeing the world.

NJ:  OK.  Are you one of those afraid to be honest in their reviews lest the author gets upset with you, or is honesty your best policy, especially in reviews?

Mary:  I am honest in my reviews, but I don’t review everything.

NJ:  Read any poorly written books lately?

Mary:  Yes, but not all the way through. Life’s too short.

NJ:  How many poorly written books have you read that you gave high marks to in your reviews when you knew they were horrible reads?  Be honest, I won’t ask you to name the books here in public.

Mary:  I don’t review poorly written books. If I think the authors would be receptive, I will write them a note in the hope that it will help them.

NJ:  There are some INDIE authors who have come onto the scene and have given our literary playing field a new look.  Can you name two INDIE authors who have done this in your eyes?  And, how have they changed the field for us?

Mary:  I can name a woman who sometimes thinks she is WonderWoman who has changed the literary playing field by encouraging writers to support each other and strive for their best. She has also created a  number of forums for people to interact and learn in. Maybe I won’t name her. Her head might swell and knock me right off the shelf.

Blushing dog

{Whoever could you be speaking of, Mary Adler?}

NJ:  Are you an author?

Mary:  Yes.

NJ:  Well, since we’re being honest (and big-headed here) are you a good one?

Mary:  Absolutely!

NJ:  {Now, I could take that response and run with it one of two ways….but what the heck, I’m running with it both ways!}


{I can’t hear you, I’m busy blasting my quads…} AND

Dog drinking

{I’m too wasted to care that she just said that}

Well, okey dokey!  Mary, how long have you been writing?

Mary:  It seems I have been writing my whole life, but much of what I wrote was nonfiction.

NJ:  Are you able to take constructive criticism of your written work?

Mary:  With the emphasis on constructive, yes. I welcome criticism from people who know what they are talking about.

NJ:  Well, let me criticize you just a little here, Missy!  Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot my mic was still on.  Anyway, share the name of two books that you’ve written?


In the Shadow of Lies: An Oliver Wright WWII Mystery (Book One)

In The Shadow of Lies by Mary Adler

Shadowed by Death: An Oliver Wright WWII Mystery (Book Two)  

Shadowed by Death by Mary Adler

’18 KCT ILA Top Finalist – Blue “Treat” Award

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

Mary:  I learned a lot about craft while writing In the Shadow of Lies,  and I listened to what some readers said about its complexity. So after I wrote Shadowed by Death,  I revised the first book. Oliver now tells the story in first person, and I simplified some of the plot complexity. I also resurrected a character I regretted killing.  Yay! I love both books for different reasons.

NJ:  I’m sure you do.  They are good books.  Mary, do you have a blog or website?  I love GREAT blogs, so would you say that yours is written well enough for harsh critics like me to enjoy?

Mary:  I have a website, but I don’t write on it regularly. However, what is there is GREAT and written well enough for even harsh critics like Nonnie to enjoy.

NJ:  Since you’re sitting on the SHELF, you’re obviously a RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB member, so what do you think of the club?

Mary:  I love being part of RRBC. I feel as if I have found a wonderful community of friends who are also writers and readers.

NJ:  Have you come across any other online entities like it?

Mary:  Absolutely not. It is unique.

NJ:  Would you recommend it to your friends and family?

Mary:  Yes.

NJ:  Mary, what’s your most favorite program or place here within RRBC?  (#PUSHTUESDAY, RAVE WAVES Shows, Block Parties, Writers’ Conference & Book Expo, BOOKS OF THE MONTH discussions, “ON THE SHELF” interviews, etc.)

Mary:  I love Rave Waves shows. It’s great to hear people’s voices and listen to them talk about writing and their books. I appreciate that they are archived because I sometimes can’t make the live broadcast. I also love the Writers’ Conference & Book Expo because I “met” people, discovered their books, and learned many things about writing.

NJ:  This shelf is getting hard on my hiney, so we’re going to wrap this interview up.  Any final words for our listening audience today?

Mary:  I have loved being Spotlight Author this month. I want to thank you, Nonnie, for creating it and for choosing me. I also want to thank each and every member who commented on the blog tour and responded to the Rave Waves show. We have wonderfully compassionate and articulate members and I loved getting to know many of them better this month.

Whoops, I seem to be slipping off the shelf. Whip out that magic lasso WonderWoman!

NJ:  Mary, thank you so much for joining me here today and thank you for being such a supportive member, the route that landed you in this beautiful hot seat this month.

To my guests, please pick up a copy of either of Mary’s books.  I assure you, you will enjoy both.

Have you joined RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB yet?  Well, here’s your chance!  And, since Mary was on the “SHELF” today, tell them she sent you.

Until next time, take care.  We’ll see you next month, right here on the “SHELF” with another INTERESTING GUEST!!


DISCLAIMER:  RRBC does not alter the writing of any guest who has participated in our interviews.  We post material exactly as it is submitted to us.

23 responses

  1. This was such fun! The banter between you two is fantastic! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yvette, thank you for your comment and for your ongoing support here in RRBC land!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. D.L Finn, Author | Reply

    That interview was a lot of fun. You both had me laughing and I learned new things about you Mary:)


    1. Thank you, Denise! It was fun, although dangerous, to be on the shelf. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. D.L Finn, Author | Reply

        I can imagine, I’m afraid of heights:)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Mary, that was such a fun interview!
    Nonnie, I love On The Shelf and the little tidbits that are revealed about the people who sit
    there. I hope you keep doing these wonderful interviews.


    1. Thank you, Rhani for your comment. I hope Nonnie keeps doing those interviews, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great fun – thanks Nonnie and Mary.


    1. Thank you for visiting, Wendy!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved this interview, Mary and Nonnie! Very well done! Congratulations once again, Mary!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Laura. It was fun!


  6. It’s difficult to type when I’m laughing. How I’d love to sit down and share a face to face coffee fest with you both. It’s only a seventeen-hour flight and a five-hour train trip to get here. I’ll get that coffee brewing.😊


    1. How wonderful that would be, Soooz! You might have given Nonnie another idea for getting us all together! I gave up flying a long time ago, but I will drive and take trains. Maybe we need a boat ride. How many hours would that be?!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Let’s see now, the shortest cruise I can find to the U.S of A is Sydney to Los Angeles (For instance) is 27 days that translates to 648 hours. I’m another one that can’t travel by plane. I’ll put that coffee on a very low heat.😊

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh well, talk about a fun show… This was really entertaining! Tell me, Nonnie, where do you find those crazy dogs? They are real, right? You can’t make those up! Well done both of you for giving us such a fun show. 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Joy. I do wonder where those dogs come from. They are hysterical.


  8. Shirley Harris-Slaughter | Reply

    This is the first post of the New Year and I enjoyed it very much. Congratulations Mary. Thank you NJ for your usual fine interviews.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Shirley. You are a wonderful RRBC supporter!


  9. Thank you, Gwen. You — and Jan — are definitely two of the people I am so happy to be in this group with. Thank you for all your support.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This interview had me in stitches! Mary, you have a wry sense of humor and of course, so does Nonnie. It was most entertaining. I loved all your answers, Mary – even the smart-ass ones. 🙂 Great interview. Congrats again on being the January 2019 SPOTLIGHT AUTHOR!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jan. I loved being on the shelf with Nonnie. I think the bruises will fade in a few days. 🙂


  11. Wonderful interview and discussion! I felt as though I was in the room with the two of you. Thank you for sharing bits about your life, your loves, and writing!


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