Sunday, March 18, 2012

Its about my tale.

Occasionally I venture out of my safe haven of books and scattered papers and tell my story. Its a daunting task for me but something I'm told that has to be done as my role as a writer. I'm not a speaker I whisper and mumble to myself!  As I review my notes, and I always need to shop for a new outfit so I feel better, too soon the appointed date suddenly appears and its time. Lord, its scary, but then as I stand there, (looking good I might add) as I tell my story of learning the art and the wondrous elation of finishing a book its worth all the sweat and tears I've shed.  Here's my talk--

            You know, as a writer you have to take time out, get dressed up and go out and market your books.  Until I’d finished my third book, I just hid my work in the closet and closed the door.  I am just happy sitting at my computer in my old robe with a cup of coffee.  


            It’s been about nineteen years since I started writing.  Prior to that, I had just written checks, grocery lists and an occasional greeting card.  I had been watching Oprah one day and she was talking about journaling and how benefiual this was for your health, and how it put order in your life.

            Now, I had been a widow for several years, and for the world I put on a good front, but I was still dealing with the silence in my life at home. She said go out and buy a tablet of any kind and a pen and start writing. And so I did: I bought yellow legal tablets and Pilot pens and wrote;   I wrote about my sadness, my grief, my loneliness, and ESPECIALLY my anger for being left in this situation.  I had been so happy and now I had to fend for myself.


            I wrote and rewrote, and over time I had a tall stack of tablets.  I wrote about all my feelings as I sat at my kitchen table.  I did this for several years, and it was in the days that I smoked, so the room was usually blue with smoke.  

            ----But you know, I LEARNED something very important about myself, I learned to identify my feelings and describe them and put them into words. 


            Over time I started writing poetry.  I found I liked the rhyming of words and the cadence.  I still remember a few lines from my first endeavor, and it’s so little and cute.  It went like this; Love is a whisper so close to my heart, a feeling so true to my soul.  That’s all I can remember, but over time I HAD accumulated quite a full book of my work.      


            One day, I saw an ad in the Star and Tribune that asked for writers to join a class at the Hennepin Vo-Tech.  Well, I finally got up my nerve to join.  That first time, I walked in on shaking knees and met Maureen LaJoy, the lovely teacher.  And holding my papers in sweaty hands, I read my poetry to her, and she loved it!


            Well, I went home on cloud 9.  And from then on in our writing classes, she would give me the ENCOURAGEMENT I needed to continue.  For a time then, I wrote my poetry and thought about trying to get into the greeting card business. Then I tried my hand at writing short stories, and there was one that I just couldn’t find a good ending for, and my writing class bugged me to keep on writing and turn it into book. 


            A book, I said, are you nuts?  Write hundreds of pages?  I can’t do that! But you know I thought I’d just add another chapter.  Well,  I just went on and on.

            You know to start a book, you need something to start off with, that will make YOUR READER WANT to turn that all important FIRST page.


            As I said, I was a widow and one day as I was mowing the lawn, I saw a post from the ranch style fence in the back yard was lying down on the ground.  I stopped the motor and stood it up, but the darn thing just fell down again. Then as I bent down to the ground TO PICK IT UP again, I saw them, hundreds of big black carpenter ants EVERYWHERE! I was stunned with horror. When I found them dining on the garage wall and the foundation of the house, I called the exterminator. When he saw the huge invasion he said jokingly, “LADY YOU BETTER BURN THEM!”

That was the scene I used to start my first book AND OF COURSE I EMBELLISHED.

            Read the first page of Nightmares and Dreams

            I finished that first book and called it NIGHTMARES AND DREAMS and put it away in the closet, and continued and finished another called Tomorrow’s Rain and put that one away, AND finished the third called Sunsets.

            I DECIDED THEN it was time to dust of the manuscripts that I had hidden in the closet. BUT, I did this with hesitation, because now ---

I was opening up my heart and soul to the readers out there and GIVING THEM PERMISSION to judge me. It was scary.

            BUT IT WAS ALSO MY AHA MOMENT—When I saw that first book with my name on the cover, I really did feel for the first time—I WAS A REAL WRITER!!


            I build my characters around people I’ve met, people I know, and of course I embellish. In creating the Lindy Lewis character, I used bits and pieces of my thoughts, my actions, fantasies and a nightmare or two.  Over time she has grown, and I’ve given gave her a lot of pizazz for color and permission to roam the world, endowed her with intelligence and of course, EMBELLISHED. 


            Lindy is a brunette by birth, but sometimes a blonde, and sometimes a redhead.  She has been known to completely change her looks if she is starting over in her life. (A change in appearance is like a good cry, she believes.)  She thinks of herself as worldly and always dresses with class.


            Reed Conners, the antagonist, is a blend of personalities A former lover from college, now works as a special investigator for the same insurance company she is insured with. Reed enters the picture to take a look at her claim and their story begins.  He dresses in pressed jeans, Italian knit sweaters and western boots and only drinks top shelf.


            My books take place in the present day, when my two leading characters are both in their late forties. 

            I would like to read a couple of pages from the fourth in the series called SUDDENLY SUMMER.  

            My newest release THE EARLY YEARS goes back in time to Lindy and Reed’s first meeting and


  1. Marilyn, I'm sure that you were great. A lot of women our age are locked in their routines, overweight and depressed. You are out there following your dream and I'm proud of you. Danniele Steele move over.

  2. Marilyn, It is great to know the story behind your career and your book. Wishing you great success with your next book.