From as far back as Kimberly can remember, she has either told stories or written stories. In the first grade, she stood and made the announcement that her family couldn't afford a stove and they were starving. Not until the community started to deliver food to the house did her parents find out that the motivation had come from their six-year-old daughter.
Combining her two passions of writing and composing, Shursen's first full-blown musical was produced in Minneapolis by a Broadway producer and went on to open in Sweden. Her second musical was produced in 2009. Plans are in the making to re-open "Eden" with a larger cast and orchestra.With three grown, successful sons, Shursen has a background in marketing and shares her home in the Midwest United States with George and Gracie Burns - a Yorkshire Terrier and Bichon Havanese. BRIAN:
Kimberly, it’s wonderful having you at the Underground. I’m going to jump right in about your book, Itsy Bitsy Spider
. Where did you get the idea for the novel? How long did it take from idea to publication? KIMBERLY:
Thanks, Brian. It’s fun to be home again as I remember when the four of is started Underground Book Reviews – the brain-child of Amy Biddle – it was so much fun to toss around ideas for this site that would review books and interview authors.
“Itsy Bitsy Spider” took a little over a year to complete—and then another six months for editing. For years, I’ve heard and read of abuse that mostly focused on lower socio-economic groups. I started to wonder how many adult children had gone to their graves not telling their stories because the abuser controlled them by using power or money. Thus the birth of “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” the story of the powerful Boston Mayor Jack McCallin and his step-daughter Claire. McCallin has threatened Claire that if she ever tells ‘the secret,’ bad things will happen.
BRIAN: Itsy Bitsy Spider
is a contemporary action-thriller sent in modern day Boston. As someone who loves that town, I’m curious why you picked that particular setting?KIMBERLY:
Boston has such a diverse community from multi-cultured citizens to the established wealthy. My characters represent the diverse communities from blue collar to elite. I educated myself on the city by studying pictures and reading about the suburbs I wanted to write about. I mentally visited the JFK Library, the Globe
headquarters in Dorchester, the St.Charles River, Harvard, and Larz Anderson Park just to name a few.BRIAN:
I’m shocked, because I just assumed you’d been there by how well you describe it. You obviously did your homework
Indie authors comprise a big slice of Underground Book Reviews audience, so I’d like to ask a few questions about your writing and publication experience. First, did you try to
through traditional means? If so, what was your experience? If not,
Yes, I did try the traditional method, but not for long. The wait for an answer to my query was harrowing, and even when I received a response it was a form letter. Unless I was a ‘name’, I didn’t stand a chance. Smaller publishing companies were interested, but wanted to know my marketing plan. I felt if I had to do all the work, why not publish the book myself? BRIAN:
You’re a marketing professional by trade. Marketing is a tough nut to crack for any indie author. Can you share your marketing strategy for Itsy Bitsy Spider
with our readers? KIMBERLY:
I started pre-marketing “Itsy Bitsy Spider” six months before it was published. There’s a fine line between “oh my God, be quiet already” to “that’s a book I want to read.” Once a week, I posted on linked-in, Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter with posts such as “soon to be released,” or “two more weeks before…” I invited people to become friends especially to Linked-In as I feel the site is the best way to find your readers. I also wrote dozens of book clubs finding e-mails on the net. A few months before the novel was published I gathered thirty authors together and formed a gorilla marketing group. I interview one of the authors every two weeks for my website. The rules are that each author has to market the interview twice a week for two weeks on all their social sites. Not only do the authors get exposure, but readers who read their interview will take a peek at my work. All the authors in this group are not only quality writers, but quality people, and it is a privilege to get to know them personally and professionally. The novel was released on May 1st. On Mother’s day weekend I offered the Ebook free to generate exposure and reviews. Imagine how elated I was to discover that almost 1300 books had been downloaded.BRIAN: Itsy
is tightly edited, but indie writers often get a bad rap for poor editing from the publishing establishment. Tell us about your editing process and, please feel free to promote any editing services you used. KIMBERLY:
Thank-you. Yes, I agree, if you don’t cough up money for editorial services, you will not have the reviews or readership you might deserve. There are always errors in every novel and I have found major, ongoing errors in some of the best-selling books. Ann Cooper-Westlake was my editor for Itsy Bitsy Spider
. I feel it is important to have a relationship with your editor and Ann and I established a friendship outside of the editing process. She is very dear to me and can be found at http://writerscrampeditingconsultants.com/Books.htmlBRIAN:
You cover is excellent. Did you come up with the concept yourself? Who did it for you? KIMBERLY:
Createspace did the cover. I offered ideas, but the team developed the cover. Many women have written to tell me they have a phobia about spiders, but have to read the book. The cover of a book is key to someone picking your book. I know this from my experience in developing brochures and ads in marketing.BRIAN:
What’s your number one piece of advice for aspiring authors?KIMBERLY:
You can’t do it all. If you are creative, you don’t have to have perfect skills in editing, but it takes a village to put your novel out there. You, Brian, Amy and Katie were a part of the creation of “Itsy Bitsy Spider” as all three of you were beta readers. When I left the underground, Katie became my beta reader. As a creative person, it’s difficult to take a step back from your writing however, whoever your trust to be your beta reader represents all readers and, if they don’t understand or feel the emotion you hope to impart, chances are neither will your readers. My advice to aspiring authors is to find a writing partner who’s writing you respect and open up to their suggestions.BRIAN:
Describe for our readers what kind of dog a “Bichon Havanese” is. I’ve never heard of the breed, but that’s a heck of a name. KIMBERLY:
Gracie Burns is nine pounds and looks like a miniature sheep dog. She is the sweetest dog ever unless George Burns gets in her way. Gracie is nine and George is ten. They are the first to hear what I have written as they sit at my feet when I write.BRIAN:
What’s next for Kimberly Shursen?KIMBERLY:
“Hush,” the present-day courtroom drama that revisits the Roe vs. Wade case that legalized abortion, will be out this fall. Penning out at around 100,000 words, the edgy drama that borders on a thriller took months of legal research. My editor for this novel is Joelle Walker who not only has years of experience as in editor in publishing companies, but worked as a paralegal. Staged in Minneapolis where I lived for over 25 years, the “Hush” will also travel to Geneva, Switzerland where one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world will do anything to stop this trial. Why? Well, you’ll have to read the book.
Kimberly, thank you so much for joining us today. For our readers, you can read my review of Kimberly Shursen’s debut novel Itsy Bitsy Spider here on Underground Book Reviews
Kimberly Shursen Links: Itsy Bitsy Spider on Amazon Kimberly Shursen’s Website
Kimberly Shursen on Facebook
, and LinkedIn
We've read some great books here at Underground Book Reviews. Our Top Picks are the ones that stood out above the rest. If you're looking for a book to read, you might want to check some of these titles out. Here's the books we loved, and why:
Brian's 99 Cents
Kimberly's Chaotic Corner
Katie's Young Adult Hotspot
: On Message Author:
Joyce Strand Genre:
McCloughan and Schmeltz Summary:
The first in a series of Jillian Hillcrest mysteries, Jillian is head of communications for a biotechnology company located in Silicon Valley. It is Jillian’s job to keep the public informed about the progress of drugs that are in stages of development: in this case for Lupus, a disease that challenges the immune system. In Phase two of the process of testing, ready to go forward into the final of the three phases, the results look promising . . . or are they? Corporate greed in this biotech company is the story behind On Message.
When one of Jillian’s close friends is murdered after meeting Jillian, Jillian is asked to help track down the killer. But then, Jillian becomes the next target of the murderer in this mystery/thriller. Opinion:
I couldn’t wait to delve into this book. With a minor in college in biology, my first real career choice in life was to be a cytotechnologist. My parents disagreed and won: I became a teacher. So, we have a real life situation based on a true events, written by a woman who’s career is the same as Jillian Hillcrest, the head of communications for a biotechnology company, I’m on board!
It didn’t take long before I went off board and became just plain ‘bored.’ Were the commas in the right places? They appeared to be. Were there any grammatical errors? Not that I noticed. It was the long, executed passages, with page after page of nothing that moved the story forward made reading On Message
a chore. To write a full-blown novel is painful, it’s hair-pulled out by the roots time, it’s twelve hours at a time re-writing the same chapter. It’s also adding an editor and a book doc to tell an author what does, or doesn't, work. No amount of education or writing classes will help cut down on the process. On Message
had a message, just one that wasn’t ‘on’ for this reader. Rating:
Two out of five stars.
Find it on Amazon.com
Title: Married or . . . Merry? Or, The international Greek Book of Marriage or 40 Plus Reasons Not To Get Married. Author: Kate Papas
Genre: humor, satire
Publisher: Self- published Summary: Love is in the air. Today is the day you’ve dreamed about all your life. You glide down the aisle to Mendelssohn’s Wedding March towards the man of your dreams. The church is filled as two star-crossed lovers’ eyes meet and repeat the words “I do.” Oh blissful, happy day when two shall come together as one.
Whoa! Stop the organ music! According to Kate Papas’s Married or . . . Merry? you'd best turn on your heels, pick up your long white gown and run as fast as you can! Ms. Papas is happy to inform you that your wedding day is the last day of bliss you’ll ever know until . . . the divorce is final. What led Kate Papas to write Married or . . . Merry? Surely it wasn’t for the sake of condoning marriage. According to Kate, instead of becoming angry about the state of her native Greece, she turned to writing humor. “It is bitter and sad. It's a nightmare, no one could imagine that would happen to Greeks and to our beautiful country,” Kate writes in an e-mail, “we have a fabulous past (our ancient history) and a miserable present.” In the first 40 days after the book was released in Greece, 2,000 copies were sold. After 7,000 copies were purchased, Kate decided to translate Married or . . . Merry? into English and send it across the Atlantic.
Quote: Reason Number Six entitled: “Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery, (Mosaic Law; 7th Commandment) “In my opinion this is the most inapplicable, unattainable and unrealistic commandment. Purely utopian! For god’s sake, my friends! Do you think it possible not to commit adultery, not even once, in your life not even mentally, not even in your imagination? (for that counts, alas!) And whoever claims that is it possible is either: 1. A pathological liar 2. Totally inexperienced 3. Extremely naïve 4. Very recently married!” Opinion: Married or . . . Merry? is brilliantly written using quotes and sayings from comedians to philosophers, Bible verses and commandments as a premise for each rule. This book of only l7,000 words will take those of us who have been, or are married, on a laughable journey into “I’ve-been-there-land” for at least one, if not numerous reasons. Satire sweeps every page that range from matrimony being harmful to your health, to the notion that you need another person to become whole when you were already whole to begin with. I could actually envision this performed by on stage by a comedian as making fun of real-life situations is the basis of great comedy. Recommendation: NOT for those who do not enjoy reading rebuttals of Biblical doctrine. I recommend the book to those light-hearted enough to enjoy the humor and pitfalls of every marriage. Oh, in answer to your question, yes, Ms. Papas is married. TOP PICK: 5 star ratingLinks: Find it on Amazon
Like it on FacebookFollow Kate Papas on Twitter
Title: The Duke Don’t Dance Author
: Richard G. Sharp Genre:
Historical Fiction Pages:
262 Summary: The Duke Don’t Dance
is a sophisticated novel that follows the lives of seven characters through four decades. It opens with Frank’s funeral and then Sharp takes the reader back in time to follow their careers, marriages, divorces and the challenges each of the characters face. Sharp intertwines a chalk load of history throughout the book using crisp rich dialogue. The theme of the novel centers around what Sharp refers to as the ‘silent generation.’ Sharp’s silent generation refers to those born in the 1927-1945 with his novel focused on the 1960’s through the early 1990’s. The author attributes this generation, his generation, with inventing rock ‘n roll, starting the movement towards racial equality, opening doors to sexual revolution and feminist awakening. Each character is unique; each has their own agenda and each comes to realize that agendas aren’t always something they can make happen. Quotation:
(in regards to finding the words The Dukes Don’t Dance
found written above a urinal)
"As Sam had suggested, the phrase must be the words of the prophets—or at least a prophet—proclaiming the non-existence of God or the unresponsiveness of any divine being to the supplications of mortals. No matter what you ask or pray for, The Duke will not dance." Opinion
: There is little doubt that Sharp is a gifted writer. But following seven lives over a span of forty years, The Duke Don’t Dance
needs a lot more much information for the reader to connect. I feel the book was hurried and incomplete. With the kind of talent Sharp has, it seems a sin to rush through forty years when there’s so much to tell. I wanted to know more; more of who each one is, more gut-level raw emotion and more of how each faced their individual challenges.
Also, many sentences rambled and the point seemed to be lost in too much verbiage. Again, I feel this could have been remedied by giving the novel the time it deserves.Recommendation:
Recommended for those who make up the ‘silent generation,’ readers who would like to know more about this era, or for those who would enjoy reading the first book of who I feel is an up and coming author.
Rating: 3.5 starsLinks:Order it on AmazonTheDukeDontDance on FacebookRichard Sharp on GoodreadsRichard Sharp on TwitterIf you enjoyed this review follow Underground Book Reviews on Facebook and Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter.
Look out serial killers! There’s a new kid on the block and he knows what you’re thinking! Yesterday I posted a five star review for Mark Anderson Esquire’s Murder & Single Malt, a fascinating story inside the mind of a serial killer. A native of Ireland, I look forward to not only following his career path, but reading more of Mr. Esquire’s books.
Welcome to the Underground Author
Mark Anderson Esquire!
Kimberly: Please tell us a little about yourself.
Mr. Esquire: I am lucky to be fairly well traveled and have lived in several countries over the course of my life. The weird things I’ve seen and the weirder things I’ve read all go into my writing. At present I live in my native Ireland with my wife and our daughter. I do have a career but it’s far too dull to mention. Suffice to say that writing is an outlet for the craziness that I keep bottled up Monday to Friday, nine to five.
Kimberly: Is Murder & Single Malt your first novel?
Mr. Esquire: I have been writing regularly in one form or another since I was a teenager, although it’s only in the last five years that I’ve turned to fiction. Prior to M&SM there were some lesser novels that were mostly my attempts to learn and grow as a writer. They have been consigned to the Lost ’n’ Found box in the sky. May they rest in peace.
Kimberly: Murder & Single Malt is an amazing adventure inside the mind of a serial killer. Did you do a lot of research on serial murderers?
Mr. Esquire: Actually when I started thinking about M&SM I was fairly well read on serial killers. Crime stories, particularly grizzly ones, fascinated me as a younger man. I’ve been reading about Dahmer, Gacy and Gein since I was a teenager. I blame violent video games, personally.
Actually the topic that needed the most research was whiskey; I wanted the central character Mike to be fluent on the merits of different whiskeys and even to have firm opinions on the different distillation methods. So to give his character the depth it needed I ended up reading extensively on the topic of whiskey production. I also sampled some of the nicer examples.
Title: Murder & Single Malt Author:
Mark Anderson Esquire Publisher:
Mike Baker is a serial murder. It’s as simple and as complicated as that. That’s who he is; that’s what he does. Not too far into Murder & Single Malt
, Mike loses his boring job, his only friend moves out of the country, his girlfriend trades him in for a guy who could be his twin, and the only person who cares about him is his dying mother. That’s it. That’s all there is to Mike except... he enjoys torturing and murdering people. Sometimes he murders because of a vendetta, sometimes it’s just on a whim and sometimes someone just ticks him off. There is no rhyme or reason. There is no connect-the-dots like 5’5” blonde haired women that look like his mother, or grumpy old men who remind him of a father who never really cared much about him, it’s just who Mike Baker is. Murder & Single Malt
will take you on a journey into the mind of a killer; a journey that is haunting. As normal on the outside as apple pie and four-leaf clovers in Ireland where Mr. Esquire resides, you will abhor Mike Baker, feel sorry and get angry with him, and then just pause and think, oh my God, do I know this guy? Quote: “I’ve been reading more and more. I’ve come to the conclusion that I am a serial killer. But, at the same time I differ from most. My background isn’t the abusive/broken home stereotype you’d expect. Plus I vary my kills. Usually serial killers stick to a pattern. They might let the pattern evolve over time. But I’m not sure if I’ve killed two people in the same way yet. That’s maybe what’s keeping the police from connecting the deaths.” Opinion:
Okay, I have to admit, I was a bit leery when Mr. Esquire asked me to review Murder & Single Malt
. I’m a total serial murder junky and didn’t know if Murder & Single Malt
would be believable. From Gein, to the Zodiac killer, to Gacy and Bundy, I’ve studied them all, read the books, watched the movies and dug, dug, dug for more. The human mind fascinates me. Obviously it does Mr. Esquire too.
Written entirely in first person, Murder & Single Malt
is brilliantly composed. Mr. Esquire's crisp, concise dialogue puts us right smack inside Mike Baker’s head. Where some authors lose readers by taking us from past to present, Esquire is not that author. Each chapter brings us right back where we left off.
From the one person dialogue Mike has with himself about the Big Bang Theory to his ‘chat’ with God about the crucifixion of Jesus, Murder & Single Malt
is a brilliant down-to-earth read.
I did find myself closing my eyes during the murder scenes as the book was so visual it made me feel as if I was sitting in a movie theater, so you may get a little nauseous at times, yet not enough to put it down. A few minor grammatical errors to fix and this book will soar to the top. Recommendation: Murder & Single Malt
is for anyone fascinated by the criminal mind. We read about it, but never quite understand. It does not offer insight into the ‘why’s’, but gives a first-hand view inside the head of Mike Baker, serial killer. I do not recommend this for children, nor do I recommend it as a gift for a friend you feel is a good candidate to be a serial murderer. Rating: Top Pick!
Five Stars Links: Amazon Book Link Mark Anderson on FacebookMark Anderson on TwitterVisit Mark's personal webpage
If you enjoyed this review, you can subscribe to the Underground or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Ken Coleman’s book is a deep psychological portrayal of three families torn apart when a l6-year-old girl shoots and murders one of her father’s best friends. In The Ripple Effect, Mr. Coleman also examines the ongoing question of when, or even if, a child should be tried in a court of law as an adult. I’ve invited Mr. Coleman to join us today to share a little about himself, his life and his projects. Welcome to the Underground, author Ken Coleman!
Kimberly: Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
Mr. Coleman: I am a native of Washington D.C., currently residing in North Carolina. My first novel, Memories Vision is a fictional story of Queenie Jones, the most famous, notorious and controversial black female entertainer of all time.
Kimberly: Where did your inspiration for The Ripple Effect come from?
Mr. Coleman: In Florida, a 14 year was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. That could be another 70 years. I asked myself, what do we do now? What do we do with this child for 70 years? What do we do with a child that commits murder?
Kimberly: It is apparent throughout your book you are a man of faith. Was this instilled in your childhood or did you build your faith later in life?
Mr. Coleman: My faith is a culmination of my life’s lessons. Faith is that which is not seen. In any adversity, faith becomes difficult to maintain. We try to understand, yet many things are beyond our understanding. Perhaps it is the death of a child that makes you become an advocate for a cure. Perhaps it is an incident to make you become an advocate for change. Everything happens for a reason. Nothing is by chance or coincidence. Faith is that which brings understanding to what we do not understand.
Look! It’s an editor . . . an author . . . no, a ghostwriter. Well, you’re right on all counts. Joe Bunting, creator of The Write Practice
, one of the top 10 blogs for writers, is a super man who wears many hats. My father used to say that if you want something done, go to the busiest person. I wanted to interview Joe Bunting, but thought he wouldn’t have time. Pleasantly surprised when Joe replied to my e-mail that, of course, he'd make the time, today Joe offers his words of wisdom and encouragement to emerging authors. Welcome to the Underground, Mr. Joe Bunting.Joe’s Mantra
So instead of trying to write well, write now
Let that be your mantra.
When you get blocked trying to write that perfect sentence:
Don't write well. Write now.
When you can't get the scene to work like you wanted:
Don't write well. Write now.
When the weight of your dreams of a perfection become a burden:
Don't write well. Write now.
Shen you're so tired you can't imagine writing well: Don't write well. Write now.Kimberly:
I enjoyed reading your mantra and the follow up message on The Write Practice
. How long did it take you to come up with your mantra and was there a moment in your life when you were ready to give up on writing? If so, can you tell us about that moment?Mr. Bunting:
Thanks Kimberly. That was one of those lucky creative moments that happen in an instant. I was actually talking to a friend about how depressed I was about my blog (depression over your creative accomplishments, or lack thereof, happens no matter how much success you’ve earned). I don’t remember how the phrase came up but I said, “I need to stop trying to write well and start writing now.” As soon as I said it, I thought, “Wow, that sounded nice.” My friend said, “That would make a good little blog post.”
Yes of course I’ve thought about giving up on writing. Writing is such a frustrating discouraging thing I think everyone fantasizes about abandoning it from time to time. When I was editing the first book I ghostwrote, I came to this place where I was so depressed. I sat on the floor, put my face to the ground, and thought, “I don’t want to write this book. In fact, I don’t want to be a writer anymore because I don’t ever want to feel this stupid again.” But I got up and wrote and three weeks later the book was done. You hit these dips, but if you can make it to the other side things will look a lot better.Kimberly: The Write Practice
is now one of the top 10 blogs for writers. How long did it take for you to build a following of 2700?Mr. Bunting:
The difficult part isn’t getting to 2700. The secret about building a blog is that the first 500 are the hardest. It takes six months of painful work without much encouragement to get 500 subscribers. After you pass 500, you can get to 1000 and beyond, but the first 500 can feel like a full- time job.Kimberly:
I know you are a ghost writer, a blogger, an editor and a writer. Do you have any formal education or did you learn on your own?Mr. Bunting:
Everyone teaches themselves how to write. You can learn a few things in school—I have a degree in English Literature—but in the end it’s up to you. I learned more by studying books—taking them apart sentence by sentence to see what each one did—than I did in school. The cool thing about writing is that everyone has access to the textbooks of the trade. Just go to your library and read really slow.Kimberly:
When did you publish your book 14 Prompts For Writers
and what kind of feedback have you had from your readers?
(The link to Mr. Bunting's book is listed below.)Mr. Bunting: 14 Prompts
was an attempt to do a book of prompts completely different than anything on the market, and I think people appreciated its uniqueness, even its vulnerability. It’s a very strange book of prompts, and people liked it because of that.Kimberly:
Do you make money from your blog? Or is it used more as a platform to introduce yourself to other writers?Mr. Bunting:
Platforms are valuable. Sometimes they make money but they are great for improving quality of life. I have so many more friends, friends who are passionate about the same things I am, because of my blog. We don’t make much money through The Write Practice
, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t add value to our lives.Kimberly:
What are your long term goals? Do you have a book in the making?Mr. Bunting:
I don’t have a book in the making, I have six! :)
My long term goal is to write things that add meaning to people’s lives. I’d like to write fiction and probably teach, but the great thing is that I’m living my long term goal right now. Most of the time we choose goals out of vanity, but it’s so much more fun to serve than to get a little fame and power.Kimberly:
What is the best form of advertising that helped your blog grow?Mr. Bunting:
Relationships. There are techniques you can use to get the most out of your relationships, but the heart of this game is to make friends and help them solve their problems.Kimberly:
What do you see as the biggest mistake an emerging author makes?Mr. Bunting:
When I edit people’s fiction or read submissions for our creative writing contest, what people struggle with most is telling rather than showing. Avoid telling your readers about your characters’ thoughts and emotions. Avoid backstory. Instead show us what they do and what they see. Kimberly:
What are your thoughts on self-publishing? Do you think it is wise to build a website for your book before it’s in print?Mr. Bunting:
Self-publishing isn’t a new fad. Ben Franklin, William Blake, Jane Austen, and Virginia Woolf all self-published. If someone (a “traditional” publisher) wants to help you publish your book, you should think about it, but if you’re reasonably smart, you can do the work yourself. Please hire an editor, though.
Should you build a website? Should you tap into the most efficient communication tool ever invented? Yes, that would probably be a good idea. Kimberly:
Are there any words of wisdom you can give to an emerging author? Mr. Bunting:
Be grateful for people like you, Kimberly, who want to help emerging authors. Be grateful to your readers. There’s more to read than ever before and no one has to read you. Be grateful if you make a little money at your passion. Most of the world doesn’t get to follow their dreams, and most of the world lives on less than what you’ll make as a part time artist. Be grateful because most people are a little bitter and run down. Being grateful will make you stand out. Visit The Write PracticeThe Write Practice on Facebook Joe Bunting on TwitterAuthor Joe Bunting's 14 Prompts: Practical Writing Prompts That Inspire
As with many of the authors I review, I have had the privilege of getting to know Terri Marie as a person. I find Ms. Marie down-to-earth, personable, wears her heart on her sleeve and unafraid to voice opinions, especially when it comes to being kind to your fellow man. Ms. Marie is on a mission; a mission to complete three novels in a series entitled The Ties That Bind. Running From Beige is the first in her trilogy.
Welcome to the Underground, Terri Marie!
Kimberly: Please share with us a bit of your background.
Ms. Marie: The most important thing about me is that I’m a mother to two wonderful children. Those who have experienced being a single parent understand both the rewards and the struggles involved. I’m proud that booth of my children attend college. For many years, I worked as a nurse and then began working and volunteering at non-profit facilities. I’ve stayed pretty busy and in my spare time (whenever that happened!) I wrote stories.
Kimberly: When did you start writing and is Running from Beige your first novel?
Ms. Marie: Being a single parent, money wasn’t plentiful. I couldn’t always afford to take my children places. The stories I would read to my children is how we traveled to fun destinations. When they were in grade school, I began to write a story. My goal was to have a family keepsake bound and give it to them when they were older. Before I knew it, all of the children in my life, including my nephews and a niece, ended up being a part of the book. Over two hundred pages later, my family encouraged me to get it published. Finding an agent was, to say the least, disheartening. My book sat on a shelf for almost twenty years when I came across the topic of self-publishing. In October of 2011, after many mistakes and attempts, The Shack, Merry and a Cat Named Cha-moan, a children’s action and adventure novel was published.
Running from Beige was my second novel and took three years to complete. I would start writing, come to painful parts and walk away. Sometimes I wouldn’t write for weeks or months. I relied heavily on the supportive words of my friends and family to move forward. Writing Running From Beige was one of the most difficult things I’ve accomplished.
Kimberly: What made you want to write a novel about abuse?
Ms. Marie: The abuse of women is pandemic. When I was fifteen, a gym teacher asked me about the bruises on my arms. I told him the truth; that my boyfriend hurt me. “Stop pissing him off,” was the teacher’s response. This seems to be the mentality of many in society. I was a victim of several forms of abuse in different relationships. I used to cringe when I heard a woman say, “Well, he doesn’t abuse me. I mean he would never hit me.” It’s important the public is educated. Until they are, women are going to continue to die from domestic abuse. Not just by their abuser’s hands, but by their own. If a woman is emotionally neglected, verbally beaten down to nothing, cheated on, etc., it sometimes leads to suicide. Even though Running from Beige was painful to write, it was my way of reaching out to as many women as possible.