Weeding, what writers call revising, makes for an improved flowerbed and story. Mary Lou learned this lesson early in her writing career when she wrote a lifestyle column for a business publication. She turned in more than four pages and her editor told her, “Pull the weeds.” Good advice for a writer.

When she studied with Ernest Gaines, he advised her to use the emotional heft of her life in her work. Pat Conroy told her he celebrated his loved ones when he used his life in his writing. Silas House taught her the value of mystery in stories.

The words she writes – novels, short stories, plays – come from the people and places she has met along the way. While an advisor to two mayors, she completed her MFA. Always writing, she advocated for improvements to her urban neighborhood. As a teenager and later as a mother, she worked as a soda jerk, cement counter, and tuna checker, all of which taught her about character and conflict. She works to make her stories about “great distances, and starlight” and to give the reader “deep delight.”