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Marianne Schlegelmilch was born to be an author—at least that is what she would tell you if you were to ask.
“My mother worked for our local newspaper, first as a reporter, then as an obituary writer. She was adamant that her children be both literate and accurate and instilled in them a strong respect for the written word.”
Although her mother never lived long enough to see her daughter become an author, Marianne is certain that she would have been both proud and surprised—or to put it in the words of her sister, Janet, “I tried to pretend I didn’t know who you were while reading your book, and when I was finished I told myself I can’t believe you’re my sister. You’re good, Mare. Really, really good.”
Family ties aside, Marianne admits that she has even surprised herself.
“I never know how my stories will end or what path the characters will take. The endings to my books are always as much a surprise to me as they are to my readers.”
That is not to say that she claims to be undisciplined. You can ask her husband, Bill about that, for he is the recipient of the first read on every single chapter—the first read, the second read, the third read and on and on and on. Marianne says he is brutally frank as he critiques her writing, a quality she appreciates in him and in the several test readers she uses to try to arrive at a finished product that is as interesting as it is engaging. In choosing her test readers, she searches for the most diverse group of people she can find.
“I really want to be able to reach a broad fan base,” she says. “I want to appeal to the average person in life and to inspire them to love reading.”
Apparently she is succeeding, because over and over again, people tell her how much they enjoy her books, how once they start reading they can’t put them down, and how they really never got into reading that much until they read her books.
“Is that a measure of success?” she asks. “It seems that maybe it is.”
Having spent her entire adult life as a registered nurse, Marianne is now retired from nursing and although swearing that she no longer needs to be productive, has just completed her 6th novel.
She currently lives in her adopted state of Alaska, where she is inspired by the natural beauty that surrounds her and by the array of genuinely interesting people who live there.
When asked how she would summarize her relationship with writing, she says simply, “As I breath, I write.”