Interview of Marilyn Holdsworth by Laurie

Hello Marilyn. Thank you for visiting my blogand agreeing to answer a few of my questions. Tell us about a favorite character from a book.

My main character in Making Wishes is Elloree Randall, a young creative woman faced with making some life changing choices. She is torn between her love for her work and her devotion to her son.

Does travel play in the writing of your books?

Yes. I can visualize in my mind the settings I am creating for my characters much better if I have been there or to a similar place. For my books to be realistic it is very important I choose settings that not only suit the characters and plot but most importantly are places I know and feel comfortable writing about.

Where do you research for your books?

I read books, newspaper and magazine articles related to my subject. I look up material on the computer and I travel to locations that I’m writing about or to similar places. I also observe and talk to people.

What does your significant other and family think of your writing career?

My whole family is very supportive of my writing, especially my husband.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I always wanted to write stories.

What are you passionate about these days?

I am very interested in saving the American mustangs and preventing animal abuse especially cruelty to horses. That’s why I wrote my first book, Pegasus.

What do you do to unwind and relax?

I like to take my dog for walks in the park. I also love to listen to classical music. And for me walking on the beach at sunrise or sunset is the ultimate relaxation.

Describe what it’s like to be an author in three words.

Very hard work!

Do you have a favorite quote, quip, or saying? What is it?

Yes. William Shakespeare: “There is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so.” I am a firm believer that attitude and how you look at things makes all the difference.

Abby Long is thrilled when she offers the winning bid for an antique desk at an auction. With its intricately inlaid woods and elegant style, the desk is perfect for Abby; it is the gift she promised herself to finally celebrate her thriving antique business. She has no idea that the antique desk holds a secret that will lead her on a fascinating, life-changing journey back in time. When Abby discovers a hidden diary stuffed inside a secret compartment in the desk, she can hardly wait to read the spidery, faded script. As she carefully turns the tattered pages, she reads the captivating story of two remarkable women from opposite backgrounds who somehow manage to form an unforgettable bond against the backdrop of a fledgling America struggling to find its place in the world. Elizabeth Kortright Monroe, the wife of James Monroe, and Jasmine, a young slave girl, develop an extraordinary relationship as they are united by pivotal historic events, political intrigues, and personal tragedies. From a bucolic Virginia plantation to the bloodied, starving streets of post-revolutionary Paris, this powerful tale follows the lives of two courageous women from the past as they quietly influence-and inspire-a woman of today’s world.

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Video Trailer of The Beautiful American:

The Journey, 1794

For all of us at Ashlawn, the next weeks were spent readying for the Monroes departure to France. Master James rode out at dawn’s first light with Mister Latimer, instructing him about the crops, the gristmills, and the slaves—a never-ending list of reminders for continuing the proper management of the land.

In the kitchen, Esmerelda huffed through her duties, clattering her pots with a dour expression, mopping her brow as she fanned the cook fire. “Dey be no way dis place gwan run widout de masser and de missus,” she grumbled to me as she sourly went about her daily chores. Her gloomy mood prevailed until one afternoon Mistress Elizabeth found her shuffling around the pantry muttering discontentedly.

“Esmerelda,” she called, “whatever is the matter?”

“Ain’t nothin’ gwan be right; das fo’ sho,” the old black woman moaned, banging a kettle down onto the hearth’s hot bricks.

“Why, Esmerelda, Mr. Monroe and I are counting on you to manage the house while we are gone. There will be much cooking to do when the crops come in. The extra field hands Mr. Latimer will need will have to be fed; Lottie and Jeb will need your help managing our own slaves, too. And, of course, you’ll have to see to Mr. Jefferson when he comes over to Ashlawn to check on things for us.”

For the first time in a week, Esmerelda’s broad, flat face broke into a wide, gap-toothed grin. She shook the flour from her apron and smoothed it down. “Dat be de truf? Dis chile gwan be de one does all dat? Seein’ to Masser Jefferson when he come?”

Elizabeth smiled. “We’re depending on you to keep things going here at Ashlawn, Esmerelda.”

“I’s gwan do my bes’; das fo’ sho. Youse can count on dis chile. Ifin Masser Jefferson come, I be fixin’ ’im some of dat sweet potato pie he done say he like,” she said, beaming.

“Good, then that’s settled.” Elizabeth turned to leave. She hesitated in the doorway, catching sight of me shucking corn on the back porch. “Jasmine, when you finish that, would you come into the parlor, please?”

I looked up startled, “Yasum. I’s almost done now. I be comin’ right away.”

Elizabeth was seated before the fireplace, sipping tea. Her bottle-green silk skirts were spread around her on the settee, her soft dark hair swept back from her delicate face, secured by two carved combs. She set her bone china teacup on the table in front of her and smiled up at me. “Come in, Jasmine. I wanted to talk to you this afternoon.” She regarded me silently for a moment, and I ran my hands down my calico dress nervously, waiting for her to continue.

“Mr. Monroe and I have been so pleased with your work, your help with Eliza. She’s very fond of you, responds well to you, you know,” she observed.

“Miss Eliza be special to me, too,” I offered, waiting when she grew silent again.

“Mr. Monroe has accepted a post to France, Jasmine, and Eliza and I are going to accompany him,” she finished.

I nodded, remembering Esmerelda’s reaction to the news, and I wondered what she would tell me now. Was I to be sent away, back to the Prosser plantation? Visions of bullwhips and Gab filled my mind and I am sure my fear shown in my eyes. I felt my knees begin to shake as I waited for her next words.

“Mr. Monroe and I have decided to take Polly and Michael with us.” She hesitated and then smiled. “And you, Jasmine, will go, too with us to France.”

I gasped, my hand flew to my mouth, and I stammered, “France. Youse be takin’ me to France.”

As a novelist, I draw on many real life experiences to provide background for my books. After completing studies in Literature and History at Occidental College, I became a staffwriter on a travel magazine, and throughout my career I have traveled extensively all over the world.

Because I love horses, I owned and trained them. I support horse rescue and wild mustang preservation. Based on my experience with horses and my research on abuse issues, I wrote Pegasus.
As a descendant of James Monroe, I did extensive research at the James Monroe Museum in Virginia about him and his wife Elizabeth Kortright Monroe. I also visited their home, Ashlawn/Highland in Albemarle County. This resulted in my novel, The Beautiful American.

Making Wishes, was based partly on my experiences as creator, owner and operator of a greeting card company.

My books are published by AuthorHouse and sold worldwide by Amazon, Barnes&Noble and major bookstores as hardcover, paperback or ebooks. Check them out by clicking on one of the names at the top of the page.

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