May’s Germ Girl is Mary Elizabeth Brown, a self-professed book lover and “mermaid in training.” She’s an artist, a swim teacher, a helper of the homeless, and an all-around admirable lady. She’s contributed several fantastic articles to Germ, and we were able to interview the impressive college grad to learn more about her and her plans to make the world a better, more beautiful place.
Are you currently in school? If so, where are you attending? What grade/year are you?
I graduated from Auburn University last year, earning a BA in Theatre.
What are your career goals? Are you still deciding?
I am in between things right now, but I teach swim lessons to both children and adults. I teach three-year-olds, thirty-year-olds, and all the ages in between. Swimming is a life skill that everyone should learn. It makes me so happy when it finally all clicks together and the swimmer I am teaching gets it. It’s so cool!
What is your favorite book genre? Do you have a favorite book or author?
My favorite genre is Young Adult Fantasy. I love disappearing into a fantasy world. I love me some strong characters, especially when they go on an adventure to defeat evil. I am really into aliens lately. I think they are the new vampires, but unlike vampires, there is so much you can do with aliens. There are no set rules to aliens, and every author’s aliens can be completely different.
My favorite author is Jennifer L. Armentrout. I have read 30/33 of her books. She pumps out books so fast, and they are still always of incredible quality! I love her style of writing, whether it is a contemporary, fantasy, sci-fi, or mystery-thriller. There is nothing she can’t tackle. Her characters always have this wonderful snark and strength, trademark a la Armentrout. If you haven’t read anything by her, I recommend starting with the Lux series, because Daemon Black! (Oh the feels!) Girl knows how to write characters that you can’t help fall in love with. I am currently reading a standalone thriller she is publishing online, a couple chapters at a time, on Wattpad. The best part is, it is totally free, as a thank you to her fans. Where does she even find the time?!
Knocking all previous contenders out of the way, my favorite book is All the Bright Places! I was not prepared for how deeply that book would affect me. It took a lot of Ben and Jerry’s to get me back. It was beautiful, wonderful, lovely, and it changed me. I wish I could go back and re-read it for the first time again.
Do you have any hobbies?
I absolutely love swimming. I love the feel of floating in water and the feel of diving into a pool. I feel like my soul is made of water. If I can’t swim, I don’t feel like me anymore. I love reading, mainly by pools. I love to design and sew quilts from my own patterns. I am working on having a different quilt to put on my bed for every month. I love traveling and seeing all of the weird, touristy, roadside attractions. I love to shake it in Zumba class, and when I am home and not reading, I love to watch old movies.
You have been a guest author for Germ twice now. When did you first become interested in writing?
Since I was little I have always loved reading and writing my own stories. I would make scary children’s story books, complete with construction paper pictures to go with each page. I even wrote a monster encyclopedia, which included fairies and mermaids because fairies bite and mermaids can suck out your soul if you aren’t careful. During high school, writing became about checking boxes and giving the teachers what they wanted to get the grade. I stayed away from writing for fun. It wasn’t until I recently reached the end of my schooling that I found my time was finally my own and I could write what I wanted and just because I wanted to.
In your upcoming article for Germ, you talk about your endeavors to help the homeless. What have you been doing to try and help?
To help the homeless, I make and give out homeless care packages. A care package consists of a bag filled with essential items like socks, toilet paper, soap, a water bottle, food, underwear, a T-shirt, and a blanket or a sweatshirt when it’s cold. I keep one in my car, and when my path crosses someone in need, I give them the bag. Many people have on blinders when it comes to the homeless and don’t even see them. They are not invisible to me.
Do you have any heroes? Who inspires you?
My heroes are the lovely Audrey Hepburn and Katherine Hepburn (not related). They both made waves in different ways, did their own thing, and I think they were both pretty happy people.
Audrey Hepburn was completely elegant and so classy. Her movies are my favorites of all time. Not only was she a great actress, she made huge humanitarian contributions, devoting much of her life to UNICEF. My favorite quote from her is: “I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day, and I believe in miracles.”
Katherine Hepburn, another incredible actress, refused to conform to expectations and was one of the first women to wear trousers. She was independent, outspoken, witty, and athletic. My favorite of her quotes is: “If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun.”
Bethany Hamilton inspires me. She is a surfer girl who lost her arm, and when others would have given up because it was too hard to surf again, she came back and proved that if it is important, you will find a way to make it happen. She co-wrote Soul Surfer, which inspired the movie of the same name. She inspires me to fight for my dreams.
Tell us three interesting facts about yourself that people don’t know.
- I have read 49 books, so far, this year.
- I collect post cards from all over. I have a wooden one from the Alamo and a copper one from Hodgenville, Kentucky, a.k.a. Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace.
- I broke my arm in half snowboarding two years ago and had to get a metal plate and six screws put in it.