My Books

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Now Available in Paperback and for Kindle

It was only meant to be a few hours of fun.
A lark. On a sunny Saturday morning Lola, Kyle and Maria set sail on Puget Sound to look for a vision that had come to Maria in a dream. Then disaster struck, and the three of them were plunged into a dark adventure in which they would confront good and evil, past lives, and a timeless curse born from a tragic love. What are the hidden secrets of Bridge House and Riesgado Island? Part Gothic romance, part supernatural mystery and part fantastical adventure, The Curse of Septimus Bridge is Scott R. Larson’s homage to the horror and adventure stories of his youth, notably the 1960s television series Dark Shadows. In this new book, the author of The Three Towers of Afranor takes us on an adventure that ranges from 17th-century Ireland to the Pacific Northwest of today. At the heart of it all is the mysterious figure who lives out his endless, solitary days, having been rejected by both heaven and hell.

“This is a sequel to Larson’s earlier novel, ‘Maximilian and Carlotta are Dead’, which was set mostly in Mexico as a buddy adventure and introduced the character of Dallas Green, a young man with wanderlust from a small town in the San Joaquin Valley. ‘Lautaro’s Spear’ takes us on further romantic and political adventures to France, Germany, and Chile, and deeper into Dallas’ psyche which we find to be darker and more complex than in the first novel. An engrossing read by a first class storyteller, it leaves you wanting more.”

“Totally enjoyed the characters lost souls that they are. Life is not always what we would like.”


Excerpts from Readers’ Reviews on Amazon.com


A legendary reclusive filmmaker. An enigmatic cook and restaurant proprietor, who is clearly more than he seems. Two mysterious deliveries to be made behind the Iron Curtain. A desperate search for a long-missing old friend. An unexpected love affair on the coast of Normandy. Dallas Green’s life has only gotten more interesting since his wild youthful adventures recounted in Maximilian and Carlotta Are Dead.
“I loved this book. It is a rollicking fantasy—youth must pass increasingly difficult tests to attain wisdom and perhaps, just perhaps, win the girl! A pure joy to read. And such a great metaphor for life!”

“It was a great read for young adults as well as adults. Can’t wait for the sequel.”

“A fantasy novel with magic and heart. It’s a quick read that is set up for a sequel. A great story about growing up and learning what you are capable of and it’s clean so it can be recommended to all ages!”


Excerpts from Readers’ Reviews on Amazon.com

What secrets do the three towers hold? For years travelers have avoided the mysterious kingdom of Afranor, but necessity now requires three brothers—the valiant fighting princes of Alinvayl—to pass through Afranor’s dark, forbidding expanse. Not all will survive the journey, but one may succeed in finding his destiny.

“I loved this book! Once I started I couldn’t put it down… What an adventurous way to come-of-age in a place in time that no longer exists. Truly a great read!”

“Larson really captures the sense of a particular time and place. His details of clothes, music, cars, speech, etc. all ring true. Also, the first-person narrator’s voice is pitch-perfect…”

“Scott Larson does a magnificent job of taking his readers on a southern trip with the three young heroes.”

“What a wild and crazy adventure! … The characters were all very well developed; I especially loved Antonio, the star and the hero. Looking forward to the sequel.”


Excerpts from Readers’ Reviews on Amazon.com


It is Summer 1971. With the Vietnam War raging and the draft looming, 18-year-old Dallas and Lonnie look for an escape. Fleeing their hot and dusty farming town in Lonnie’s ’65 Chevy, they head to Mexico. In one last misguided adventure, two lifelong friends blaze a trail to Tijuana and beyond, just to see how much trouble they can get it into.

Monday, March 16, 2020

The Bard of Santiago de Chuco

First, a writing update. I am pleased to report I am nearly at the end of Chapter 23 in my first draft of the sequel to Lautaro’s Spear. I still do not have a title, but I have a pretty clear idea of the ending, so at least that’s something. The latest adventures of Dallas Green, my own personal Candide, are taking him to three continents where he meets new characters and runs into, sometimes unexpectedly, familiar ones. And he still keeps getting himself into trouble, with the stakes increasingly high.

I am about to plunge back into the writing after a break brought about by the opportunity to attend some events of historical significance in Dublin. The good news, if you can call it that, is that I will probably get more writing time than I had expected this week since St. Patrick’s Day has effectively been canceled. Quite apart from the tragic toll Covid‑19 is taking on so many people around the world, being told by the government and health experts to stay at home and avoid people is actually music to the ears of a writer.

In case you are wondering, I do have other literary projects going on besides my slowly growing list of novels and the blogs. For some time I have been translating poetry from Spanish to English. This has been at the behest of my longtime dear friend Manuel Moreno Salvador. He and I met by chance forty-two years ago in Lima when I happened to spend a few hours in his family’s home. He and I hit it off, and the two of us have been corresponding regularly—sometimes at length—ever since, as well as meeting up in person a couple of times in Lima and in Paris, where he has lived for many years. He is an incredibly multi-talented artist, whose accomplishments include ballet dancing, acting, directing, music, illustration, and fashion design. He and his brother Ántero are founders of the Paris-based Franco-Peruvian cultural association Capulí.

In addition to all of the above, Manuel is a poet. His verses are strange, surreal, hallucinatory, passionate, and I have to say, often highly erotic. He sometimes sends them to me to translate into English so that they can be published in journals in the two languages. Such work is a challenge. Poetry is notoriously difficult to translate because you not only have to convey the literal meaning of the words but you also have to be mindful of things like the mood, the rhythm, and additional layers of meanings. Nuance is critical if you are going to be as faithful as possible to the poet’s vision and intent. It’s not something I would ever have thought myself capable of, and maybe I’m not—in a general sense. When it comes to working with Manuel, though, it somehow does work. It is as if there is a telepathic link between us—aided of course by constant consultations with multiple dictionaries—so that I feel confident I am getting the intended meaning of his words.

Vallejo in Berlin in 1929
Lately Manuel has been on to me to write something about the Peruvian poet César Vallejo. While I studied Vallejo at university many years ago, I am by no means an expert on him. Still his work resides in my mind sufficiently that I recognize the profound influence he has on my friend’s poetry.

Vallejo was born in 1892 in a remote Andean village. He wrote his first (of only three in his lifetime) book of poetry Los heraldos negros in his mid-20s in Lima where he was a university student and then a teacher. In 1920 he returned to his birthplace where he became involved in a political insurrection, which resulted in him being jailed for three months. He later moved to Paris where he managed to have a rather interesting romantic life even while enduring dire poverty during his early years there. He also spent time in Spain and the Soviet Union. In Madrid he wrote his only novel, El tungsteno. In 1934 he married the French writer and poet Georgette Philippart, who was sixteen years his junior. As a journliast, he was a frequent contributor to Latin American pubications, and he wrote theatrical works, which were performed only after his death. In his forties he produced his final two books of poetry, Poemas humanos and España, aparta de mí este cáliz, which were published posthumously. He died in 1938 at the age of 46 from a recurrence of malaria, a disease he had had as a child. Consumed with the tragedy of the Spanish Civil War, his last words were, “I am going to Spain! I want to go to Spain!” Since 1970 his remains have rested in the cemetery in Montparnasse.

Let us now take time to wish César Abraham Vallejo Mendoza ¡Feliz cumpleaños! Today he would have been 128 years old.

It is hard to believe that it is only a few years shy of the half-century mark since I first read Vallejo’s poetry. Yet the first verse of his best known poem “Los heraldos negros” is etched in my memory forever:

Hay golpes en la vida, tan fuertes… ¡Yo no sé!
Golpes como del odio de Dios; como si ante ellos,
la resaca de todo lo sufrido
se empozara en el alma… ¡Yo no sé!


A straightforward English translation of “The Black Heralds” does not feel as if it does the Castilian words justice:

There are blows in life, so powerful… I don’t know!
Blows as from God’s hatred; as if before them,
the backlash of everything suffered
were to dam up in the soul… I don’t know!


The anguish and desperation certainly come through in the English words, yet the effect is not precisely the same. When I read the Spanish words, I hear them in the voice of my old Spanish literature professor and with the raw emotion of his voice. In English, there is quite a different feel. I hear them in my own voice and without the full power of the Spanish version. Therein lies the dilemma of the translator. You are creating an echo of a work, and while hearing an echo is better than not hearing the work at all, it does not really compare to the original. Hence the old Italian saying, Traduttore, traditore (Translator, betrayer).

You could argue that a translation is actually a work of art in its own right, albeit a derivative one. That is what Manuel implies when he tells me, “You too are a poet.” Personally, I’m doubtful.

Perhaps that is also what was reflected in a response he got upon submitting one of his more florid pieces, along with my translation, to a journal in Chicago. The reply—I am still not certain whether it was an acceptance or a rejection—was as follows: “This poem is pornographic, and your translator is even more pornographic than you are!”

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Agreeing with Stephen Fry

Work on Volume Three of the Dallas Green Trilogy continues. After getting through Christmas and flu seasons in January, I finally got back in my stride. With luck, there should not be too many more distractions for a while, although the Irish general election and the Academy Awards pretty much wiped out the past weekend for doing anything productive.

I am happy to report that I am now most of the way through Chapter 16 of the initial draft, which may well be the halfway mark. Strange thing. Dallas and a new friend were recently in Mendoza, Argentina, which required some online research. Now my email inbox is inundated with special offers from TripAdvisor about places to stay in Mendoza.

I still do not have a title, although I have been toying with one that I have mixed feelings about. It would be even more obscure than my other Dallas book titles, and it would be a departure from my established pattern of mentioning one or more historical figures in each title. For the time being it is probably best to just keep writing, and the best solution may dawn on me when least expected.

I was saddened to learn on Friday of the death of Orson Bean in a pedestrian traffic accident near his home in Venice, California. The 91-year-old actor/comedian/writer was a raconteur of the highest order. By coincidence we had spotted him just a couple of evenings before in a guest spot on the Netflix sitcom Grace and Frankie. I will no doubt at some point write more about him on my movie blog, but I thought he was worth mentioning here because of another coincidence. As you might suspect, Orson Bean was not his birth name. He adopted it because he thought it sounded funny. The name he was born with? Dallas Frederick Burrows. The irony from my point of view is that everyone my Dallas meets seems to think his name is funny.

While I am rambling here, let me share something I recently learned about books in Great Britain. Books and newspapers in the UK are exempt from value added tax (VAT). That is the 20-percent levy added to most things you buy in the UK and pretty much throughout the rest of Europe. Exempting reading material from VAT makes sense. After all, why discourage people from reading by making it that bit more expensive? The weird thing, though, is that VAT is not excluded from e-books. In other words, there is relative penalty for reading books on a digital device.

Nearly 700 writers have banded together to try to get this changed. In a letter to The Sunday Times they point out that younger people are more likely to use digital devices and those are the very people you most want to encourage to read. The VAT is also a penalty on people who must use e-books because of visual impairment.

The list of writers backing the call includes such notables as Stephen Fry, Shades of Grey author E.L. James, and The Girl on the Train author Paula Hawkins.

An excerpt from their letter: “Reading is one of the greatest pleasures there is. Books are a passport to other worlds, to other ways of life. They help people develop empathy, offer comfort, inspire and challenge. It is vital that everybody can access the joy and opportunity of reading; regardless of their age, income or physical capability.”

For what it’s worth, you can add my name to those sentiments.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

One Hundred Years of Waiting?

If you go into Netflix and look up Title No. 81087583, you come across something that makes people like me very excited. It is a series called Cien años de soledad. We are informed that it is an adaptation of the masterwork by Colombian Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez, which is being executive-produced by his sons Rodrigo and Gonzalo. If you click the “Remind Me” button, you are assured that it will appear in your Netflix List when it becomes available.

There is no further information as to when that might happen. The IMDb lists it as being in pre-production. There is precious little other information, and its page has not been updated since last March. We can only continue to wait and wonder.

There was a flurry of excitement in the media last March when Netflix announced it had acquired the rights to the 1967 novel. The New York Times noted that it would be the first time that One Hundred Years of Solitude would be adapted for the screen. Technically, that is correct, although in 1983 Ruy Guerra made a lovely film called Eréndira that was adapted from a 1972 short story by García Márquez called “La increíble y triste historia de la cándida Eréndira y de su abuela desalmada” (“The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Eréndira and her Heartless Grandmother”). In the film version, the Brazilian actor Cláudia Ohana played Eréndira, and the Greek actor Irene Papas played the grandmother. Both those characters had previously appeared briefly in One Hundred Years of Solitude, so in a convoluted, round-about way, a piece of that great book has sort of already found its way to the screen.

Other works by García Márquez have been adapted to the screen, notably Mike Newell’s 2007 film, Love in the Time of Cholera, starring Benjamin Bratt and Javier Bardem.

According to the García boys (by way of that Times article), despite many entreaties to agree to adapting One Hundred Years, their father had serious reservations about whether the book would fit well into a movie—or even two. Moreover, he was committed to it being told in Spanish. Netflix solves both those problems. As a series, the adaptation can run as many hours as the filmmakers think is needed. Moreover, the beauty of the Netflix platform is that you can watch things with audio in any language you want and with subtitles (if you want them) in any language you want.

The way we now consume video entertainment has made it possible to produce all kinds of works that previously seemed problematic to adapt. Sometime in the next year, we can look forward to the prequel series to J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings on Amazon Prime. Reportedly, two episodes are in the can with production scheduled to resume next month. A second season has already been approved.

How about my own trilogy? Of course, I can only dream about it becoming a series on Netflix or Amazon Prime. I still think the early adventures of Dallas Green are probably bettered suited to a low-budget independently-produced road movie. His later exploits, though, would require a fair amount of foreign location shooting.

Before there is any point of dreaming about any of that, I need to finish that third book. I still do not have a title, which is strange because I usually at least have a working title by this point. And I am still stuck at the one-third mark in the first draft—thanks to the holiday season and now the flu. The good news is that, if I am now well enough to blog, then it shouldn’t be long now until I am back hard at the novel.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Happy 67th, Dallas!

It’s Pearl Harbor Day, which means it is also the real-life birthday of the non-real-life character who has consumed more of my time than any other over the past several years. Yes, it was thirty-nine years ago today that a somewhat depressed Dallas Green celebrated his twenty-eighth birthday in his San Francisco apartment with no one to share it with except a bottle of tequila and the ghost of his dead friend Lonnie.

As for this year, I cannot tell you exactly what Dallas is up to in the year 2019, but I do know that, if he is still alive, he turns 67 today.

I am again spending lots of quality time with Dallas. As of this writing, I have completed the first draft of no fewer than eleven chapters of the next installment of his trilogy. This means I am, relievedly, well over the psychologically significant, albeit arbitrary fifty-page threshold that has always resulted in a creative flow coming much more easily. In fact, at the moment this book nearly seems to be writing itself. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but so far I’m not complaining. I guess I have just lived with this character for so long and with the plot points of this particular book for so long that the first one-third is not quite the struggle of previous books.

The hard part is coming up. I have long had a clear beginning mapped out for this book, and there is also a clear ending as well as certain key moments in between. The rest is an assortment of black voids, waiting for me to find a way to fill in and connect one independent bit with a different one.

The first five chapters take place in June of 1993, and I’m afraid we find poor Dallas again in kind of a bad state, but then things start to look up. For those particularly concerned about his maturation process, I’m afraid that, while he is obviously older, he still seems not to be all that much wiser. Various bits of information are dropped as to what transpired during the twelve-and-a-half years since we previously him.

In the sixth chapter we are transported back to the moment where Lautaro’s Spear ended. We follow Dallas and Ángel to Chile to learn how that turned out. This provides your author an excuse for wallowing in nostalgia, as I immerse myself in my own personal memories of that country, the culture, the people, the Pinochet-era politics, and the pleasures of red wine and pisco.

One problem that keeps cropping up as a result of nailing down very specific dates in the story is that real-life history has a way of intruding. For example, I was well into my writing before it dawned on me that a particular, world-shattering news event occurred on the very same day that Lautaro’s Spear closed on—the day after Dallas’s twenty-seventh birthday. It was the sort of event that could not have possibly gone unremarked-on or could not have had a significant effect on Dallas and those around him. So I had to go back and do some re-writing to reflect this intrusion from the outside world.

As you may gather, this third installment of what now appears to be a trilogy is going to be more expansive the previous two in terms of the number of characters, the number of countries, and the number of years covered. In order not to raise hopes or expectations here, I have tried—and apparently now failed—to avoid using the word epic.

Since this book will presumably appeal mainly to readers of the first two books, I have made a conscious effort to include a lot of what these days is called fan service. I’m not certain, however, this it is not actually the same thing as author service. In other words, I’m including a lot of things that I want to see in the book, while working under the impression that it is also what fans (and I use the term advisedly) want to see in the book.

Anyway, I am getting way ahead of myself. At the rate I usually go, we are still a long way from this book—which still does not have a title, by the way, even a working one for my own use—seeing the light of day. D3, as it is called in my notes, for 2020 or 2021?

In the meantime, if you are stuck for a holiday gift for the readers in your life, I humbly remind you that there are still virtually endless supplies, in both paper and digital formats, of this year’s novel, The Curse of Septimus Bridge. I like to think it is kind of epic too.

Links to sellers are somewhere on this page if you can find them.

Friday, November 1, 2019

The Playlist of Septimus Bridge

If you are about to read (or reread) The Curse of Septimus Bridge, here is some good news. Now you can listen to music while you read it. Of course, you were always able to do that, but now you can listen to music that was specifically chosen to invoke the book.

Two years ago when Lautaro’s Spear was published, I shared a Spotify playlist of music I had listened to while writing it. A bit belatedly, I am now doing the same for Septimus.


I do not burden you with the entire list I had playing. That one ran a total of eight-and-a-half hours—enough to ensure that, most days anyway, I did not have to hear the same piece of music more than once. The list I now share with readers is less sprawling and more carefully curated. Comprising thirty-two tracks, it clocks in at just under two hours.

I am not sure if anyone could read the book in two hours, and even if you could, I do not think the various tracks would fall in at the appropriate places, so it is not recommended that you use the playlist as a pacing tool.

Some of the songs were obvious, indeed, inevitable choices. Three—“Maria” by Blondie, “Lola” by the Kinks, and “Bella María de Mi Alma” by Los Lobos—are actually referenced in the novel. Some music is there simply to set the mood. Soundtrack music was included from a couple of television influences, specifically Robert Cobert’s score for the original Dark Shadows series, Danny Elfman’s music from the 2012 Tim Burton movie version, and also a Johnny Jewel contribution to the recent revival of Twin Peaks. Other tracks were included because they tied in nicely with events depicted in the story. For example, who knew that Electric Light Orchestra once recorded a track called “The Battle of Marston Moor”?

A few tracks were selected purely because of their titles and, happily, they also fit in with the general mood of things. How lucky to find suitable tracks with titles like “Septimus” (from the soundtrack of Matthew Vaughn’s Stardust), “Astaroth,” “Justine’s Theme” (from the soundtrack of Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire), “Izanami,” “Koschei,” and “Netherworld.” As it happens, Septimus in Stardust was played Mark Strong, and he would not be a bad choice to play Septimus Bridge. Also, Justine in Free Fire was played by Brie Larson (no relation), and she would not be a bad choice to play, well, just about anyone in the book.

As unlikely as it might seem, one track appears on both the Lautaro’s Spear playlist and on the Septimus Bridge one. Elvis Costello’s “Oliver’s Army” appeared on the former because the song was actually mentioned in the book. It appears on the latter because of its connection to historical events depicted in the story.

As with the previous playlist, interested filmmakers are invited to peruse it for possible soundtrack material after a movie deal has been negotiated. Also, it would be good if you have Mark and Brie’s phone numbers in your rolodex.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Back on the Apology Train

How times flies. This month marks five years since the release of the paperback version of Maximilian and Carlotta Are Dead. That half-decade certainly went by quickly.

The paperback’s appearance followed by nearly three months the book’s debut in Kindle format. As with my latest book, The Curse of Septimus Bridge, I initially published the electronic version of Max & Carly exclusively for the Kindle. That exclusivity period ended three months later with the appearance of other digital versions in other online stores.

The paperback version of Max & Carly was actually something of an afterthought. I had bought into the idea that paper books were on the way out and the future was digital and so had not bothered with a physical edition. Enough people, however, kept asking for a paperback that I finally gave in—and happily so in the end. Still, Kindle sales of my books have always outpaced paperback sales—at least so far. I have to say that at this point the paper edition of Septimus is performing with surprising strength vis-à-vis the digital version.

This month also marks four years since the beginning of my first book apology tour. Partly tongue-in-cheek, partly sincere, the tour was my attempt to make amends to anyone who might have found offense in the narrative—notably bad language and extensive incidences of somewhat toxic adolescent masculinity.

Happily, there is not nearly as much toxic masculinity in The Curse of Septimus Bridge, but inevitably, there are things that could rub some people the wrong way. Allow me now to enumerate them and preemptively excuse myself.

Gender Appropriation: Unlike my first three novels, the main character—and several others—are female. This made writing the book a satisfying experience for me because it was a welcome change of pace writing-wise and an invigorating challenge for my creative abilities. At the same time, I am aware that there are people out there who feel strongly that characters of certain nationalities, ethnicities, and yes, genders should not be appropriated by others. If that is how you feel, I am sorry. For the record, I myself personally prefer to read female characters written by females, but on the other hand, I am also a believer that there should be no limits on artistic creativity. All people should be able to write about or play on the stage or in film any character. In my next book, though, I will be back to my mostly masculine-centric ways.

Nationality Appropriation: While I am at it, then, I suppose I better apologize once again for attempting to portray Irish characters. The fact that I have lived in Ireland for 17 years and am married to an Irish woman does not give me any right to put words (awkwardly and inauthentically) in the mouths of fictional Irish people. It gets worse. In this particular book I also appropriate some of the most painful episodes in Irish history for the entertainment of my readers. And it gets worse still. I also owe apologies to the English, Canadians, and Russians and, while I’m at it, Anabaptists, Puritans, and demons from hell (who may actually be more sensitive than one might assume).

Possible Transgender Insensitivity: There are no transgender characters in the book (that we know of anyway), but there is one sort-of reference in the very first chapter in which the main character, Lola Blumquist, expresses a dislike for the Kinks’ song with which she shares a name. “Well, I mean, it’s not really fair,” she says to Maria Murphy as they discuss eponymous record tracks. “You get a song that goes on and on about how totally cool Maria is, and I get the song about a transvestite.” Responds Maria insightfully, “Transvestites can be cool.” You can reasonably argue that modern young women like Lola and Maria would be more likely to refer to the song’s Lola as transgender, whereas transvestite would have been a more common description when the song was first released in 1970. Of course, transgender and transvestite are not the same thing. My Lola seems to assume that the Kinks’ Lola was a cis-gender man who happened to like dressing in women’s clothing rather than a woman who happened to be born in a man’s body. Is she correct? Only Ray Davies knows for sure, and even by his account he had done a fair amount of drinking when he came up with the lyrics. (A man after my own heart.) There is more dicey stuff about gender as the story proceeds, but that would involve spoilers. In any event and in all sincerity, no offense was intended.

Insensitivity to the locals: I do not imagine that residents of the Ballard neighborhood in Seattle will have taken offense to how it was portrayed in the book. The residents of Riesgado Island, on the other hand, will probably be far less forgiving. Even less clear, though, is how people along the Galway-Mayo border are taking it. My wife, who never reads my books until a proof copy of the paperback arrives by post, was aghast to find a few local place names littered about the text. “The neighbours won’t like it if you draw Satanists on them,” she warned. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hoping they will keep things in perspective. In the history of film and literature, I think other foreign writers have done much worse to the Irish. I do not think I quite tipped over into Darby O’Gill territory. Probably the biggest chance I took was having the title character be a fawning admirer of Oliver Cromwell.

There are probably other things I should apologize for, but that will suffice for now. If you have not read The Curse of Septimus Bridge, please do so now and let me know which part in particular offended you.

Monday, August 26, 2019

From Minnie to Marilyn to Author

Sometimes it seems as though all I do on this blog is talk about my book(s), but I guess that kind of makes sense since this is, after all, my book blog. Once in a while, though, for a change of pace I like to talk about someone else’s book. This is such an occasion.

Back in January, through the magic of social media, I got re-acquainted with someone I had not heard from or about since I was in high school with her. She re-connected with me because she had noticed that I had been writing and publishing books. Like a lot of people, she had been wanting to write her own life story. In fact, she had already written the first chapter—thirty years earlier. But like a lot of people, that was as far as she had gotten. If she was going to finish her book and get it published, she would need some advice and—I think perhaps more importantly—some encouragement. Fortunately for her, I could offer plenty of both.

Now, just seven months later, Marilyn J. Thomas’s labor and efforts have borne fruit. She has just published her memoir, which is called From Minnie to Marilyn. It tells her story from beginning to now, from her earliest memories in California to her current life in Oklahoma. And it is a rather extraordinary life. Born to a mother that could not care for her, she was raised by her grandmother, who passed away when Minniejean (as she was then known) was just a toddler, casting her into the foster care system.

As a writer, Marilyn has a gift for allowing us to experience the memories seared into her brain and to see events from her point of view in the relevant time and place. In spite of the serious disadvantages life threw at her early on, she persevered not only to become the first of her family to graduate from high school but to become one of two student speakers at her graduation ceremony. Her story is of particular interest to me not only because she and I come from the same place but also because it is fascinating to see rural California in the 1950s and 1960s through the eyes of an African-American. As it turns out, she also has a connection to my current home in that one of her great-great-grandfathers was slaveholder descended from Irish immigrants, so she is also Irish-American.

Despite her early educational success, much more lay in store for Marilyn—some of it happy, some of it harrowing. As she herself writes, “I had literally lived three lives in one. Yes, I had survived two marriages, the death of a child, and about three near-death-like experiences. I had lost two sets of parents—my grandparents, Mother Wesley, and my parents who raised me—but I felt that through it all I had been blessed.”

I am so proud of and happy for Marilyn that she undertook and completed this project. I know well from my own experience that writing a book is an extremely daunting task. When it is your own life story that you are telling, there is a major burden of dealing with feelings of vulnerability as you reveal so many details of your life—some of them quite intimate—for all to see.

A memoir like this is not only a lovely legacy to leave to one’s family (you can see four generations of Marilyn’s family on the book cover), but it can also provide an educational and thought-provoking experience for other readers as well.

Way to go, Marilyn!

You can find From Minnie to Marilyn on Amazon.com. You can click on this link for the paperback version , and you can click on this link for the Kindle version.