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Dublin High Class of ’85 Grad Mary Kropf Publishes 1st Book in “The Aurator” Series

March 18, 2012

According to just-published Dublin High School Class of 1985 author Mary Kropf, the key to fulfilling a lifelong dream (and the hardest step) is getting started. Mary grew up in Dublin, attending Murray Elementary School, Frederiksen Middle School (before it was converted into an elementary school) and Dublin High School. After graduating with the Class of 1985, Mary earned a degree in Nursing at Cal State Hayward (now Cal State East Bay), setting aside a childhood dream of publishing a book for sixteen years.

That dream was recently realized with the release of “Deadly Secrets”, the first book of the The Aurator series, now available on Amazon.com. The fictional series, which blends Greek mythology with medical history, follows Megan, “a nurse, wife and mother who learns that her lifelong heightened sensory perception puts her among an ancient elite group known as Aurators – those who can read people’s auras.” (www.TheAurator.com).

OneDublin.org recently spoke with Ms. Kropf to learn more about how she realized her dream of publishing a book.

OneDublin.org: Has writing and publishing a book been a lifelong dream?

Mary Kropf: “It’s been a bucket list item since elementary school, even though science has always been my best subject and English and math weren’t until I reached college. I always wanted to write a book, but didn’t feel I had an original idea – so I never had enough to write down. I always looked up to my uncle, Larry Lowery, who is well-published in the education field. I’d go over to his house and he’d have yet another book that he’d published. A 6th grade teacher of mine at Murray Elementary School really got me into poetry, which sparked my first interest in writing.”

“I loved Dublin High. When I graduated I thought those were the best years of my life. I was Student Body President and Band President, I played varsity soccer – I was very involved socially, politically – it was a great time for me. I grew up.

“Music was a big thing for me, I played with several local symphonies, including the Diablo Valley Youth Symphony, but I realized I wasn’t going to make a long-term living in music. I travelled for a couple of years and then at the age of 22, went to college at Cal State Hayward [now Cal State East Bay] and earned a degree in Nursing, where I was State President of the Student Nursing Association. I was really considering a political / nursing career until I discovered the emergency room and that was it. I loved the emergency room and worked there for quite a while, and had a family, which slows things down.”

OneDublin.org: What sparked the idea for “The Aurator” series?

Kropf: “I was driving around town, we live in Concord, in May 2009 and I got this image in my head of a scene, a scene that I ended up using as the sneak peek for the book. I was on my way for a doctor’s appointment and I told them to keep letting people go in front of me because I had to keep writing this idea down. I got home and typed up what I’d written and seven months later I realized I had a book written, with outlines for books two and three written. It wasn’t something that I’d sat down and planned, or taken classes for, or gone through steps like character development or all of the things serious writers do.”

OneDublin.org:  As a first-time author, what role did your editor play in the process?

Kropf: “The editing process was extensive – we went through multiple edits and every time my editor, Anita, made my writing better. I’ve re-read the book and go ‘Wow, did I write that?’. She was so good. She took my words and made them sing. It was painful, though, I wanted to kill everyone when I was done with the editing project! I know there is a lot of push and pull between writers and editors, but I didn’t experience that. We were a great match. Coincidentally her husband is an artist and he created the cover art for the book.”

OneDublin.org: How valuable was writing about subjects you know, like nursing, and what role did research play?

Kropf: “It’s probably a 50/50 mix. Writing the book was like watching a movie and trying to keep up with it and writing what was happening. That’s how it felt. I don’t know if that’s how writing a book should feel, since this is my first book, but there were times when I’d get stuck and I’d have to research, in particular the Greek mythology and medical history in the book, and the real people and events I’ve infused into the story. The points that were the most enjoyable were when I wrote about my own experiences being in the E.R., being with a patient.”

OneDublin.org: What was your experience getting the completed manuscript published?

Kropf: “I went the traditional route and sent query letters out – a lot of them – but the book industry is changing. I’ve done a lot of research – agents are picking less, publishers are picking less – as the brick and mortar book store industry struggles. Publishers are investing far less in new authors. So I went and found myself a publisher and struck a deal without an agent.”

OneDublin.org: Did you create the e-book edition yourself?

Kropf: “No, the publisher did that. I had considered doing it on my own, but when I saw the number of people self-publishing who’ve had to pull and re-submit their e-book because of mistakes, I decided I don’t have time for that. I work, I have a family. I had the publisher create the e-book to have it done right the first time.”

OneDublin.org: What advice do you have for people with bucket list items they don’t believe they’ll ever get to?

Kropf: “Just pick one thing and start it. I think starting something is the hardest thing. It really is. ‘I want to, someday I’m going to, oh I wish I could’, one day I just sat down, granted with an inspiration, and started. That one experience has sparked me to accomplish other bucket list items. Time is ticking and rather than having the mindset of ‘it’s a bucket list, it’s something I want to do before I die’, just get started. Imagine how much you can accomplish if you start one new thing today.

“When I was doing this book at one point there was a woman in southern California who is a movie producer, a friend of a friend, who was interested in the book. She wrote back to me after she had read the book and said ‘Wow, this is really good, but you just need to change the main story line and it will be perfect.’ I was devastated. I went to my uncle for advice and he said ‘Just do it. You will regret it if you don’t do it.’ And he was exactly right. I put my heart and soul back into the book, I re-wrote it, and the book is much better. And I acknowledged her in the book as a result. I never let any sort of emotional roadblocks get in the way of a bucket list item.”

OneDublin.org: Where are you at this point with the remainder of the trilogy?

Kropf: “I’m halfway through the second book, my editor is already going through it, and book three is completely outlined. The same artist is going to create the covers for books two and three which is what I wanted.”

The Aurator Book 1 – Deadly Secrets is available on Amazon.com as a paperback / hardcover and as a Kindle eBook, and at Barnes and Noble.

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2 Comments
  1. kelly langenhuizen permalink
    April 4, 2012 10:29 pm

    Can’t wait to read your book. Wow what dedication. Loving it, from a Dublin girl!!!

  2. Melissa permalink
    May 27, 2012 8:27 am

    Very proud of your accomplishments, you were a team leader in many ways for those of us who knew you at DHS. Thanks!!

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