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Category Archives: women and romance novels
November 1, 2011 by Mara Purl
Perhaps cracking the cover on an unknown book is something like opening the door to strange children on Halloween. “Trick or Treat” they cry. We consider it mostly an idle threat, because we know if we’ve opened the door at all, we’re going to deliver a treat, and therefore not expect to be tricked. And perhaps this is analogous to shelling out our twenty-five dollars for a hardcover book: we expect to receive a treat and we don’t expect to be tricked.
But what’s the point of fiction? Is it to trick the reader into thinking that the characters they’re reading about and the circumstances in which they find themselves are real?… Read more
October 24, 2011 by Mara Purl
A few years ago, when I was first searching for the right kind of special event for readers of my Women’s Fiction novels, I chose Afternoon Tea as the perfect thing. “Tea” seemed to signify both elegance and comfort, a chance to connect with others while taking a break from hectic schedules. And though men sometimes attend, the event itself has a feminine quality, with great attention to detail and style.
The first person I approached with this idea was my mother. A brilliant hostess, she grasped the concept instantly and offered her own home for a series of three events that I named Hospitali-Teas.… Read more
October 17, 2011 by Mara Purl
Don’t you love discovering a phrase that has embedded puns and multiple meanings? Gayle Shanks and Bob Sommer must’ve had fun when they chose this phrase as the name of their now-famous bookstore. The store itself has never changed hands, and remains in the marvelously creative and capable hands of the original owners. I had the pleasure of meeting these great folks last year at the Women Writing the West conference when they sat at my table for dinner.
My signing at their store last week was one of the highlights of my recent Phoenix-area book tour. A joint event with one of my favorite authors Donis Casey, our evening was built around my ongoing theme, “Head and Heart.”… Read more
October 10, 2011 by Mara Purl
In our somewhat over-populated world (depending upon where we live), with centuries of human history behind us, it may seem that when it comes to the notion of discovering a new world, the ship sailed long ago. So if we want to experience something entirely new, get away to an undiscovered country and chart unknown waters, is our only option to pretend?
Since I write fiction, some might think I’d say yes. Yet there is both exterior and interior exploration, and my novel series explores both. On the external side—which we might also call a journey of the head—there’s plenty to engage the senses and challenge the mind.… Read more
October 3, 2011 by Mara Purl
It was a spectacular California early October Autumn day on the Central Coast: blue sky painted with whisps of cloud, sparkling water tracing the carved coastline, and just enough of a bite in the air to break out a jacket. Actually, this was a dress-up day, so the jacket was a pale silk leopard print, the skirt was leather and the shoes were high heels. Why the fancy duds? Today was High Tea in Santa Barbara, something I’d been looking forward to, something we’d planned for months.
There was an interesting twist in this plotline, however. The charity we’d been working with supports families to prevent homelessness and welfare dependency, especially in a tough economy.… Read more
September 12, 2011 by Mara Purl
Those of you who followed my recently concluded blog tour know that I wrote 50,000 words in 44 blog posts over 31 days. Whew! It was nothing if not intense. It was a fantastic virtual journey that took me all over the country and across the Atlantic, into many different worlds, some aligned with my own: writers and authors, readers and book reviewers; and some more far-flung: gardeners, PR executives, shopping mavens and travel experts.
It’s surprising how quickly a routine can establish itself. My daily schedule became: research upcoming blog host to see what his/her followers will find useful; write blog post essay; submit; answer upcoming blog questions; submit; interview blog host; write my own blog post as a thanks to the blog host.… Read more
August 31, 2011 by Mara Purl
A sip of rich, dark java from a Mellor press while sitting at a tiny table in a café overlooking the Seine. That sounds like a perfect ritual in the life of an artist. I certainly found it to be so when I spent a month in Paris performing at the renowned Theatre Chatelet a few years ago. Cities like Paris, Kyoto and Santa Fe, filled to overflowing with artistic expression, inspire with virtually every sight, sound, taste and aroma to indulge our creative impulses. California’s Central Coast happens to inspire me and I spend lots of time there writing What the Heart Knows and all my Milford-Haven Novels.… Read more
August 30, 2011 by Mara Purl
I like to think of myself as unsinkable. That’s probably a good thing, given my affinity for water. An ocean-lover at age three along the Connecticut coast, I became a competitive swimmer at my school in Tokyo (where I grew up), and always knew I’d live along the California coast someday. It sure came in handy to think of myself as “unsinkable” when I crewed on a Greenpeace voyage to save whales. And I’d say it’s been an even more useful quality during the heaving storms of a career in the entertainment business.
We can’t think of the word “unsinkable” without thinking of Margaret “Molly” Brown.… Read more
August 27, 2011 by Mara Purl
Writers have a quasi glamorous reputation in the world. We’re seen by some as being eccentric but disciplined; reclusive but willing to take center stage when necessary. The comment I hear most often is how “creative” I am. It’s as though some sort of magic is involved by which we writers make prose and poetry flow through our fingertips onto keyboards or pads of paper.
The truth is probably as unglamorous as it can be. Why? Because half or two-thirds or three-quarters of what we do is edit and re-write. Believe me, it’s a ruthless process for most of us, one that leads to expressions like “kill your darlings” (your most perfectly wrought sentences).… Read more
August 26, 2011 by Mara Purl
Most of the year I spend a fair amount of time on airplanes. I come well-equipped with a set of Bose headphones to tune out the noise of the world and enter a writer-world where I can hear what my characters are saying today. I adore these special times: views out the window to surpass those from the castles of Europe; precious hours when phones can’t ring; and someone even brings me cold water and hot coffee.
So now you know the secret of my introspective side, the side that gets a pretty big volume of writing done day by day.… Read more