Dream Big

Maureen Mack discusses debut novel Wild Dreams

Stephanie Janssen, photos by Andrea Paulseth

Local writer Maureen Mack will release her first novel, Wild Dreams, on Sept. 30 at the Visit Eau Claire facilities in the Pablo Center at the Confluence.
Local writer Maureen Mack will release her first novel, Wild Dreams, on Sept. 30 at the Visit Eau Claire facilities in the Pablo Center at the Confluence.

Deirdre Moran is a young woman who has one leg planted in Cork, Ireland and the other in the dance world of Chicago. She is born in Cork and grows up on a rather antiquated estate. Her mother dies when she is very young and her father doesn’t really deal with it except to immerse himself into his hotel business, leaving Deirde on her own. The house is managed by her aunt, who is increasingly worried about Deirde not having a formal education.

This is Wild Dreams. 

Maureen Mack, author of Wild Dreams, has loved writing as long as she can remember. She was an English major and a Health minor in her undergraduate days of college. She loved writing about women’s health in her classes – Especially since one thing she noticed was that none of the professors she had were women. 

Since then, she has written extensively on women’s issues. Her nonfiction works include Finding Center: Strategies to Build Strong Girls and Women, and Women of Madeline Island. However, Mack now wanted to tackle fiction and write a novel that was very relatable for women. 

While writing Wild Dreams, Mack’s goal was to write for four hours a day and try to write two thousand words in that time. Each day she would try to physically move locations so she wouldn’t be writing in the same place twice. Mack says that the writing life is definitely not as exciting as most people make it out to be. She tries to write every day, but sometimes she just needs to get out and do some yoga. 

“You really have to get addicted to the notion of creating something using words, as opposed to paint or knitting or a dance form, because it’s not inherently reinforcing while you’re doing it,” Mack said. 

Since Mack had never written a novel before, she wasn’t sure where to start. The one thing she knew was to attend a writer’s workshop to get help. When she signed up for the class, she had a clear plan in mind – very like her to always have a plan. She would ask for the workshop instructor to help her on her journey. After some convincing, the professor became Mack’s first editor, really working with her on the structure of her novel. Mack traveled to Ireland for research and hired a copy editor soon after. It took Mack a year to get an agent and she settled in with Orange Hat Publishing. 

A couple of significant themes within Mack’s writing are her seriousness and dedication to addressing issues concerning young women and girls, she says. 

“This is because I think not much has changed,” Mack said. “In terms of the conditions of girls, there has been concern about safety, self esteem and identity. It seems like we’re just rewriting the same chapters with different names. I thought I could look at those themes once again through a character like Deirde and just see where that goes.” 

Mack hopes that readers of her novel, especially women, will relate to the story and enjoy what they read. Above all, Mack hopes that people will fall in love with reading again and support bookstores everywhere. 

Mack will continue writing, and plans to do a book tour of independent bookstores in Cork, Ireland next summer. You can find her author page on Amazon, or her Twitter page or Instagram page.


Maureen Mack’s first novel, Wild Dreams, is available now for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Her book release event is on Sept. 30 at Visit Eau Claire/Pablo Center at the Confluence. 

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