Come In From the Cold with Mary Sullivan

Welcome Back, Mary Sullivan

Mary Sullivan, a born-and-bred city girl of Irish descent, grew up amid the cultural fizz of Greektown in Toronto, eating Greek pastries on the Danforth, noshing on grapes from her Italian neighbor’s vines, and drinking Turkish coffee with her Macedonian friend whose mother read the grounds and postulated about her future. Funny that she never predicted that one day Mary would become a published author.

A hopelessly inept athlete, Mary never stops trying. A couple of years ago she took an Outward Bound course—dogsledding in February in breathtaking Algonquin Park in northern Ontario. She came home bruised and euphoric.

She has been a finalist in many contests, including RWA’s Golden Heart, and has won Booksellers’ Best, RomCon and RT awards. Who knew daydreaming could be so rewarding?


Mary Sulivan's latest Harlequin Superromance, IN FROM THE COLD, is a February release about a man who owns a dogsledding business. Note the gorgeous new style for the 2013 Superromance covers. So warm!

 ‘A city girl to her core, Callie MacKintosh doesn’t do rugged. She does do her job, however. That’s why she’s here in this Rocky Mountain town getting more of rugged than she ever wanted. All she has to do is persuade Gabe Jordan to sign over his share of the family land so her boss can develop it.
Too bad the situation is not that simple. Gabe is her boss’s estranged brother. And Gabe is the most fascinating man she’s ever met. Her focus is severely compromised by his strong, sexy ways. More than that, having spent time on this land, she’s no longer convinced a ski resort belongs here. But she thinks she might. Because for the first time, with Gabe, she feels as though she’s come home.’

Okay, now that we have the promo out of the way, let’s chat! Thank you so much to Maureen and Get Lost in a Story for hosting me today. I always enjoy visiting this fabulous blog.
MAUREEN: Where do you like to read and how often?
MARY: I most like to read at home, in the evenings when it’s quiet. In September, I gave up my TV cable subscription. I’d been watching far too much of it and was seeing it more and more as a waste of time. In the months leading up to Christmas, I knit a lot of gifts while listening to my favorite music, took long walks to try to lose weight, and then read before bed every night. My biggest problem? Stopping at a reasonable hour, but honestly, don’t you love those books you can’t put down until you finish them, even if it means reading until 4 in the morning?
On a side note, the walking worked, but how is it possible to lose an inch and a half from my waist since August, but not a single pound??? Sigh.
MAUREEN: Where in the world would you most like to visit?
MARY:  Alaska, the Yukon, the Northwest Territories. Strangely, for a girl raised in the city, I’ve always been intrigued by the wilderness, by any rough and rugged terrain, and by stories of survival in hostile physical environments. One of the best books I read recently that I loved was a kid’s novel, Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. Just fabulous.
Perhaps it all started with my dad who was a construction worker and took jobs all over Canada. In 1953, he traveled north of the Arctic Circle when there were no passenger planes flying to the Arctic. He flew in his winter longjohns and big parka and packed his own sandwiches and thermos of coffee.  At that time, it was so unusual to fly that far north that he received a plaque that stated that he’d flown north of the Arctic Circle. It hung on one of our walls until long after his death.
The photographs he sent home of the scenery and of the Inuit building igloos fascinated me.
MAUREEN: Cats or dogs?
MARY:  I love them both, but I adore dogs, which led me to my adventure with dogsledding. While the physical activity, the adventure and the breathtaking beauty of northern Ontario in the winter were all wonderful, the best part of the Outward Bound course was the dogs. They were phenomenal, just full of heart and the desire to run their hearts out for us. In return, they were treated like gold. After five or six hours of sledding, when we returned to camp we took care of the dogs before we did anything else, certainly before we did anything for ourselves. My hero, Gabe, own a dogsledding business, and I used my experience to fill the book with details, but what I wanted to convey most was how much our guides loved, respected and cared for the dogs.
Here’s my favorite photo of one of them. They were happiest when they were running and pulling the sleds and, if we stopped for any reason, they became impatient and barked, yipped and jumped until we got moving again.
This is Keebler jumping up in the air trying to make the sled move while Azul looks like a very patient older sibling:

So much joy in the dogs!
MAUREEN: Hiking boots or high heels?
MARY:  Both, as a city girl with a fascination of the wilderness, but also complete, utter envy of my sister’s shoe closet!
MAUREEN: What book would you want with you if you were stranded on a desert island?
MARY:  LaVyrle Spencer’s Morning Glory. I was in my early forties when my mother suggested that I read it. I did, but very reluctantly, because I refused to read romance. My mother raved about MG, so I capitulated. The story and the writing blew my mind. I devoured Spencer’s other books and decided I wanted to write romance. I still marvel that one simple act by my mum started me on this wonderful journey.
MAUREEN: What’s next for you as an author?
MARY:  Just before Christmas, I sold three more stories to Harlequin. My editor had a slot she needed to fill for October, so I agreed to finish the first story by February 15th. An 80,000 word novel in two months is quite a rush for a slow thinker like me ;-)
Here’s an excerpt from IN FROM THE COLD:
Nick no longer knows his older brother. Callista’s boss had warned her that Gabe would put up resistance to their plan, but not to worry, that Nick had ways to get around him. Seeing Gabe in person, Callie wasn’t so sure. He didn’t look like the pushover Nick had described. This man had substance, presence.
Handsome in a rugged mountain-man way, the antithesis of lean and refined Nick, Gabe wore a plaid shirt and blue jeans, the shirt wrinkled in the spots that weren’t stretched tautly over muscle, and the blue jeans old and pale with wear on his thighs. Not only did Gabe look as though he could eat a bear, but he could probably wrestle it into submission with his bare hands.
            His unruly beard and moustache, his black eyes and high cheekbones in a stone-chiseled face spoke of hard-earned character. But what kind? Was he as devious as Nick, as willing to do whatever it took to get a job done?
            Maybe not, but Callie had the sense that he would fight for this land tooth and nail, and that her job had just become a whole lot harder.
            He watched her with shadowed eyes.
            He has baggage. If Callie could peek inside his head at the contents of those suitcases, she would know better how to approach this man.
Still he said nothing, just stared with mute wariness, held by a deep, unnaturally quiet…waiting.
            He had a right to be wary.
            Callie was about to blow his world apart.
My question to each of you is, have you ever been dogsledding? If not, what is your favorite wintertime activity?

Mary will giveaway a copy of IN FROM THE COLD to one lucky commenter!


  1. Welcome back to GLIAS, Mary. Enjoy your release !!

  2. Love the interview and excerpt, thank you. Sounds like a good read.


  3. Love the interview! :)

    And no dogsledding for me... Not a big fan of winter and the snow... I do enjoy hot chocolate! That's my favorite thing about winter... :)

    maybe31 at yahoo.com

  4. Ingeborg, thank you for stopping by!

  5. May, everything we ate and drank tasted better after a few hours of sledding out in the snow and fresh air, especially the hot chocolate ;-)

  6. No dogsledding here. I DO enjoy tobogganing on occasion, though! We attend a neighbour's New Year's Eve party every year, and five years ago we went to a ski hill with GT sleds (with skis and a steering wheel). My GF and I went down the hill at the same time and suddenly were heading for each other; we both toppled off to avoid a collision, and laughed buckets. I told my kids I'd like a wooden toboggan for Christmas the next year, as it would be easier for me to get down onto it. Well, it rained the following three years in a row, so no snow! This past New Year's Eve, though, we had snow, so off we went! I was the oldest woman on the hill (53), with the next being about 30.... My husband and our neighbours were the eldest at 63 and 64, with the next being about 35. We had a blast! I even tried the GT racer again, but I was scared s**tless and intentionally fell off, as I was going way too fast for my liking. I'm glad I tried it, though....

  7. Mary! Welcome to Get Lost in a Story. Spencer's Morning Glory is one of my favorites. Sorry, can't say I've ever been dogsledding but I have been snowmobiling and skiing, does that count. Love Superromance. Congratulations on your additional sales!

  8. Laney, I'm impressed that you would try a GT racer! No way would I ever do that. Not sure I could even toboggan these days, but it sounds like you had a great time!!!

  9. Hi Mary,

    I have never tired dogsledding. The dogs are sure cute. My favorite winter activity is staying indoors and reading and drinking hot chocolate.

    Your new book sounds great.

  10. Donnell, snowmobiling and skiing definitely count!

    Superromances are getting even better. I forgot to mention that they are 10,000 words longer now. All 2013 Supers will be 80-85,000 words, so a really substantial read.

  11. Hi Tammy! Drinking hot chocolate and curling up with a book is one of my favorite winter activities, too ;-)

  12. Never went dogsledding, but love the dogs that pull the sleds. My favorite Winter thing besides cuddling in a blanket reading is capturing pictures of special moments during the season.
    Congrats on your book.
    grandmabkr at yahoo dot com

  13. Doglsedding looks like a lot of fun! I've never tried it but I have gone regular sledding. I like ice-skating and trying to build an igloo when there is enough snow.


  14. Brenda, yes, the dogs are really special!

  15. Na, trying to build an igloo sounds like a real challenge. It sounds like something I would enjoy ;-)

  16. No, I haven't, but it sounds like fun. Reading a book


  17. Hi Mary,
    I loved your interview for so many many reasons -- not the least of which is that the book sounds wonderful! I also love that you were raised in Toronto. My family and I spent a year there (well, in Mississauga) way back in 1987 and I've never gotten over my love for that city! We did a lot of traveling to northern Canada back then because it was beautiful--although we certainly didn't go to the Canadian Arctic Circle!!

    But, from 2006-2009 DH and I did get a chance to spend three years in Anchorage, AK. And while I didn't really do any mushing, I did see the Iditarod start three times, watch shorter distance sprint races in Anchorage and Fairbanks and I rode in a dogsled twice. What an amazing feeling of power.

    I, too, have a fascination for the wilderness, and i think your Outward Bound adventure sounds fabulous. I love sled dogs, and I love how much they're revered by their owners. Minnesota has a lot of dogsledding in the north, too! So--needless to say, I'll be grabbing up your book and devouring it. I'll be finishing up an Alaska series soon, and one of those heroes has dogs too. Can't wait to learn from your story!!

    Congrats and good luck with the Superromance--and all your books!

  18. I've never gone dogsledding.
    My favourite winter activity is snow shoeing.

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  19. Lizbeth, it sounds like we would have so much to talk about if we ever had the opportunity to sit down together! It's funny, but in 1987, I lived in Mississauga, too! It's where I owned my first house and where my daughter attended grade school.

    Oh, wow, I'm so envious that you had the chance to live in Alaska and saw the Iditarod! You've certainly been indulging your fascination with the wilderness far more than I have.

    I would love to know when your Alaska series comes out! Can you let me know?

  20. I live in the tropics; I've never seen snow before! I'm deprived! I'd love to try dog sledding and tobogganing. I'm a terrible klutz, I doubt if I could manage skating or skiing.

  21. Hi Linda! I found dogsledding easier than skating. I have terrible balance! If you ever make it to a snowy location, try tobogganing. It's so much fun!

    Mary selected a winner and has contacted her.