Mary Paddock was born in the mid-60s to a cowboy and a hippie. She spent her formative years in Zinc, Arkansas, a former mining town known regionally for its clear springs, colorful population, and a swinging bridge. Summers were long and her family only got one channel on the TV. When she wasn't swimming in the creek or riding her horse, Mary was reading. Fortunately, her mother believed in frequent trips to the public library and had an extensive personal collection of books that she gave Mary unfettered access to. When she ran out of things to read, Mary began writing her own stories and poems.  A high school English teacher spotted Mary's love of words and encouraged her to write.  

She majored in psychology at School of the Ozarks. During this time, she made lifelong friends, met the man who was to become her husband some years later, played a lot of amateurish music, went on long walks, worked as a (less-than-competent) waitress, and at a museum. She didn't spend much time studying and her grades reflected it.  But she did write copious amounts of poetry, some of it passable, much of it not, and managing to publish a couple of pieces. 

After transferring to Southwest Missouri State University, she worked in childcare and as a telemarketer for a public tv station. Her grades improved marginally and she made a couple more lifelong friends. She wrote some, read while traveling between jobs, rescued a few stray cats, kept fish and rats, and continued to play amateurish music. The man who was to become her husband decided it was time to ask her out, which was a good thing because she'd decided that she was going to have children with or without him.

Shortly afterward she married that man. They wasted no time in starting a family (four boys to be exact). Mary homeschooled, gardened, read quite a bit, wrote equal amounts of bad and passable poetry, and her first novel.  She played a lot of music at her church and at home, worked as a church secretary, a substitute teacher, and a youth associate for the University of Missouri. Along the way, she colleted dogs and cats and flea market china. She joined some writing workshops, blogged, made some great online friends, and published some short fiction.

The boys grew up, she had a midlife crisis, went camping, met a hermit with an ax, wrote a book about it, and went back to college. By the end of her midlife crisis, and with a bit of trial and error (and considerably more effort than she'd exhibited in her 20s) she acquired a degree in Creative Writing and a writing contract.   These days, Mary lives in SW Missouri with her husband. They continue to share their lives with numerous dogs and cats and enjoy spending time with their grown sons. In addition to Bright, Mary is the author of two short story collections and an indie published novel. She is hard at work on her next book.
                                                                                     Minerva helping me write

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