Author Interview: Mary-Lou Stephens, author of ‘How To Stay Married’

Mary-Lou StephensMary-Lou Stephens studied acting and played in bands before she got a proper job -in radio. She writes whenever she’s not behind the microphone or heading off to a meditation retreat.

Mary-Lou has garnered rave reviews for her memoir Sex, Drugs and Meditation, the true story of how she changed her life, saved her job and found a husband, all with the help of meditation. She lives in Australia with that very same husband, their dog and a hive of killer native bees.

How To Stay Married is the sequel to Sex, Drugs and Meditation and is the truth behind the happy ending.

Mary-Lou is a blogger for The Huffington Post, a columnist for Holistic Bliss and a regular at writing festivals and events.

Visit Mary-Lou’s website at



About the Book

How to Stay Married 2Title: How to Stay Married
Author: Mary-Lou Stephens
Publisher: Nelson Bay
Pages: 203
Genre: Self-Help/Relationships/Love and Romance
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

Do you dream of finding the right person to spend your life with? Are you in a strong relationship already and want to keep it that way? Or perhaps your marriage is a little tarnished and you hope to make it shine again?

You’ve come to the right place. While How to Stay Married isn’t your regular ‘how-to’ book, it is about creating the kind of relationship you want.

This is the story of a marriage; a journey from fear, resentment and financial devastation, to a place of love, joy and trust.

Mary-Lou Stephen’s first book Sex, Drugs and Meditation chronicled how meditation changed her life, saved her job and helped her find a husband. How To Stay Married, is the truth behind the happy ending.

How to Stay Married takes us around the world; from the glitter and glare of Las Vegas to the sub-zero temperatures of the French Alps and the tropical heat of Thailand, all with cabin luggage only.

The discoveries Mary-Lou makes regarding herself and her marriage are a modern day parable about learning to travel light in life, love and relationships.

What made you decide to become a published author?

I never thought I’d be an author. I wrote songs for years when I used to play in bands. I didn’t think about writing prose until about 12 years ago when I went on an overseas holiday and came back with a few out of focus photos taken on a disposable camera. A friend said “Clearly photography’s not your thing. Why don’t you write about your holiday instead?” So I did and I’ve been writing ever since.

I wrote newspaper columns and short stories but never anything longer. I saved up my money and took six moths leave without pay. I wanted to find out whether I could write an entire book and then having done so if I ever wanted to do it again. The answer to both questions was yes.

When I read self-help books I turn straight to the case studies, the stories. I think human beings are hard-wired for stories, we love them. When I realised my life read like one of those case studies I wondered if other people would be interested in my story. The answer again was yes. How To Stay Married is the sequel.

Would you consider your latest book, How To Stay Married, to be a one of a kind? How so?

How To Stay Married, is a brave and personal book. It touches on areas in a relationship that not many people have the courage to expose. My husband has been my biggest supporter. He gave me permission to write anything I needed to, even though some of it was very tough on him. I’ve been toughest on myself though, often not painting myself in a very good light, but that’s what being honest is about.

Where is your writing sanctuary?

The couch! I love writing on my laptop on the couch when The Hubby isn’t home. It’s such a comforting hug of a couch filled with feathers. I do have a writing room with a desk but that feels more like work – and I do enough desk time at my day job. So the couch it is.

What do you believe a writer should not do as far as getting his or her book published?

Never send first draft material to anyone. I did and it was a big mistake. I had some interest early of for my first book Sex, Drugs and Meditation. A literary agent got hold of the first chapter and asked to see everything I’d written. I was naive and did just that. Big mistake and I blew my chance to be signed to a major literary agency. She did give me some great feedback though and many years later I finally finished the book and landed a publishing deal with a major publisher. As Stephen King says, “Write the first draft with the door closed and the second draft with the door open.”

You’re concocting a recipe for a best selling book. What’s the first ingredient?

Love. Love for your readers, love for your characters, love of words, love of writing. And most of all love of a good story, no matter what genre you write in.

Aside from writing, what’s your passion?

I’m a radio presenter for the ABC on the beautiful Sunshine Coast, the Australian one not the Canadian one. Radio is a great job. I get to meet fascinating people every day and ask them questions. I’m very curious so it’s perfect for me. I also love to cook, except for the times when I have to. My husband is my greatest love and we both adore our funny old rescue dog.

What’s next for you?

Fiction. I’ve written a novel that I’ve been told doesn’t work but I may revisit at some stage. If not it was a good practice book. I have plans for three other novels; one set in Scotland, one in New York City and the other in the wilderness of south west Tasmania. Plus a YA series or two. Watch this space 🙂

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