Interview of Marilyn Holdsworth by Simon Dusty Duringer

Marilyn Holdswcoth- interview

Marilyn at home


Simons 10 Q Interviews was a Finalist in the U.K. Blogging Awards 2014. The Marilyn Holdsworth interview took place on 17 July 2014.
Marilyn Holdsworth is a writer, poet and blogger. Her passion for owning and training horses led her to write her most recent novel Pegasus and, based upon her genealogical research, Marilyn had another story to tell: that of being a direct descendent to the Fifth president of the United States of America, James Monroe.

Marilyn’s writing includes The Beautiful American largely based around her research into the life of James Monroe and the novel Making Wishes, which are all available globally.

Welcome Marilyn to Simon’s 10 Q Interviews…

SD Q1: I have a theory that authors make good cooks, perhaps as it’s a good mode of relaxation, perhaps due to the overwhelming longing to create…. In the past you published the book: Timeless recipes for fast track cooking. Whilst on Amazon it appears to be out of print, do you have any desire or plans to write more about cooking in the future and can you take us through your favourite recipe or culinary creation?

Recipes for people in a hurry.

Fast, low budget and delicious meals

MH A1: I don’t plan to write more about cooking. I really wrote Timeless Recipes for my two sons when they were venturing out on their own. One of their favorite treats was my brown sugar bars. Here’s the recipe:

2/3 cup sifted flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder

1 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup margarine
1 egg
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 tsp vanilla

Brown Sugar Bars;

Sift dry ingredients together. Melt margarine in pan. Remove from heat and add sugar, egg and vanilla. Beat well. Add nuts and stir in dry ingredients. Spread in 8″ greased pan. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

SD Q2: You spent a large part of your career as a staff writer for a travel magazine, travelling the world and documenting those travels. What has been worst location you have travelled to whilst working, what made it so, how did you describe the location within your review and if you were forced to move away from the USA, where would you choose to live and why?

MH A2: Boca de Valaria on the Amazon in South America is a tiny village in Brazil and one of my least favorite places. I call it Boca de Malaria! Extreme heat, bugs and snakes – the shore boat couldn’t get in close enough so I had to scramble over the side and wade through knee high water and thick slimy mud to get there. Interesting but not the vacation spot of the world and not a place I would care to return to.
If I was to move away from the USA I would choose New Zealand. It is a beautiful, charming place filled with warm hearted, friendly people.

SD Q3: You are a staunch supporter of horse rescue and the preservation of The Wild Mustang. You have also been a horse owner and trainer. If you were given the opportunity to ride any 3 horses throughout history to the present day, which would you choose and why?

MH A3:
Horse 1: My first choice would be my own thoroughbred mare Robin.
Why? She was beautiful, gentle and well trained and always a glorious ride!

Horse 2: I would love to ride SeaBiscuit.
Why? He was fast as the wind with a big heart and willingness to please.

Horse 3: California Chrome would be my third choice for a truly memorable ride.
Why? He’s a beautiful horse with a remarkably gentle nature for a thoroughbred – a really splendid Cal Bred horse and a Kentucky Derby winner. Sure to be a thrilling ride!

Q4: You are a descendent of James Monroe, the fifth President of The United States, one of the five founding fathers whom, I believe, holds the unfortunate accolade (depending upon how you look at it!) to be the third founding father to die on Independence Day? I do not have a great knowledge of US history, so should pose the question; Was James Monroe assassinated or was the timing of his death a simple coincidence and as you have written a book, The Beautiful American which features James’ wife, Elizabeth Kortright Monroe. What gave you the idea to write such a novel and how much of that storyline is based upon facts.

MH A4: James Monroe died of natural causes one year after his beloved wife Elizabeth. Many believe he died of a broken heart.
I wrote The Beautiful American because I wanted to learn more about my ancestors and that period. The book is based on historical facts. I researched it carefully, traveled to the Monroe Museum and visited Monroe’s home in Virginia.

SD Q5: For my next question I am going to have to send you away to a desert island but fear not, due to your elevated status, I feel it is only apt that we should supply you with a “Man Friday” to assist you and cater to your every whim whilst you set about your daily life. So, my first question has to be, other than relatives, who would you request to fill the post of “Man Friday” and why, and secondly, what three personal items would you take with you to remind you of home and what memories make those items dear to you?

Man Friday? For my Man Friday I would choose Jeeves.
Why? He is the quintessential man servant!

Personal Item 1: My wedding ring.
Why? To remind me always of the true and only love of my life.

Personal Item 2: Pictures of my beloved family.
Why? So I can feel they are near.

Personal Item 3: My gold Pegasus necklace.
Why? Because it was a gift from my husband when I published my first novel, Pegasus. It is a loving reminder that all things are possible if you let your mind fly and try!

SD Q6: You have always been a writer and you were a student of literature at Occidental college. Who or what inspired you to take up writing as a profession in those early years and before graduation what were the three best books you had ever read and what made them so?

MH A6:
As a student I was very fortunate to have a professor, Dr. Holmes, who believed in my ability and encouraged my writing. The books I loved most during those early years were:

1) Gone with the Wind.
I loved Margaret Mitchell’s characters Scarlet O’Hara and Rhett Butler and that period in our country’s history.

2) My Cousin Rachel.
Daphne du Maurier’s descriptions are wonderfully vivid and her characters very skillfully developed.

3) The Great Gatsby.
F. Scott Fitzgerald captures the essence of the roaring twenties and brings his characters to life.

SD Q7: I can quite often roam the aisles of greeting card shops reading the quips on and within the multitude of cards in the hope of having a good chuckle. You have previously owned a greeting card company and therefore must have seen some clangers… Can you describe both the best and the worst quips you came across whilst operating that company?

MH A7:
The best greeting card quip: You’re one of the Beautiful People! Happy Birthday!
The worst greeting card quip: Like moonlight wrinkles become you! Happy Birthday!

SD Q8: I think, given your family history, that you will relish the next question which offers you the opportunity to make three journeys in my well travelled Time Machine. Past, present and/or future. To which three destinations would you travel, in what year and to what end?

MH A8:
Destination 1: Avalon Bay, Catalina Island, California
Year: 1950
Purpose: So I could sail over on the great white steamer and dance to the music of Glenn Miller and Elvis Presley in the Avalon Bay Casino Ballroom.

Destination 2: London England
Year: Today
Purpose: To stay at Thornbury castle and attend a Shakespeare play at Stratford Upon Avon.

Destination 3: Future: Los Angeles to San Francisco
Year: whenever the speed train is completed
Purpose: To ride the high speed rail train to San Francisco and take a side trip to Napa Valley.

SD Q9: You are currently working on your next novel: The Portrait of Lady J. Without offering up any spoilers, what has inspired this latest book, what is the subject matter, why will it appeal to your readers and when can they expect to see it on sale?

MH A9: I was inspired to write my book, The Portrait of Lady J because of my love for art and history. The novel will appeal to readers because it is an engaging story with mystery, history and romance. I hope to have it on sale by the end of this year or early next year.

SD Q10: Marilyn before I get to the last question I would just like to thank you for your time and wish you the best for the rest of 2014 and beyond both with your next book and your noble cause of supporting the preservation of The Wild Mustang. My final question is that if we were to swap roles and you were to take on the position of being the interviewer on Simon’s 10Q Interviews, who would be your first interviewee, why, and what would be your opening question?

MH A10: My first interviewee would be Barbara Taylor Bradford. My opening question would be: Did you see yourself in your book, A Woman of Substance?

SD Comment: Many thanks Marilyn and best of luck for the rest of 2014 and beyond. I’m going to make a hasty exit now as I have been wondering since answer 1, whether or not I have the correct ingredients to make that chocolate! Thank you for the recipe and your fascinating answers.

If you would like to know more about Marilyn’s work, please visit her website at or visit Marilyn’s author page on Amazon as follows;

For U.S. Readers – Marilyn Holdsworth
For U.K. Readers – Marilyn Holdsworth

The Marilyn Holdsworth interview took place on 17 July 2014.
Simon Duringer © 2014.

Simon Duringer is both a Goodreads author and Independent Interviewer. If you have enjoyed reading this interview, why not download a copy of The Word: The Best of Simon’s 10Q Interviews, featuring 28 equally interesting and exciting interviews, available on Kindle, Prime (#Free) and Paperback. Links to Simon’s Amazon Author Page are as follows;
UK Link – Simon Duringer Author Page

US Link – Simon Duringer Author Page

Simons 10 Q Interviews was a Finalist in the U.K. Blogging Awards 2014.

Gina McKnight interviews Marilyn Holdsworth

Gina McKnight
Author, Equestrian, Performance Poet and Freelancer – An international blog about horses, writers, authors, books, equestrians, artists, poets, poems, and more horses…

Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Marilyn Holdsworth

Marilyn Holdsworth lives with her husband in Southern California. She is an extensive world traveler, holds a degree in English Literature from the University of California and has a background in writing and editing. She is a successful businesswoman as well as a former horse owner and trainer. She is a supporter of Horse Rescue and contributor to Wild Horse Preservation. She has three published novels, including her newest release…

Making Wishes
Elloree Prince is an attractive, creative young woman who marries wealthy businessman, Tom Randall. After courting his bride with unrelenting determination, Tom moves her into old-moneyed Oak View where generations of Randall’s have lived for years. Outwardly Elloree appears to settle into raising their two sons within Oak View’s stifling social structure but inwardly she yearns for her artistic work. An unexpected phone call from Mark Williams, her former employer offers her the career opportunity of a lifetime and she must make a choice. She is torn between her devotion to her sons and her love for her work. Her decision to return to Wishes Inc. brings dramatic life changes to her and the ones she loves.

What was your inspiration for ‘Making Wishes’?

My concern for the family was my inspiration for Making Wishes. Many women today are confronted with difficult career choices that dramatically impact the family.

Where does the story take place?

The story takes place in California, New York and England.

Are your characters fictitious or otherwise?

My characters in Making Wishes are fictitious. But in my book, The Beautiful American I have interwoven historical characters with fictitious ones.

Who would enjoy Making Wishes?

I think women of all ages would enjoy Making Wishes.

Will there be a sequel to Making Wishes?

I have been asked by many about doing a sequel to Making Wishes. When I finish writing the book I’m now working on I will consider that.

What other books have you written?

Other books I have written are: Pegasus and The Beautiful American.

Who is your favorite author?

I really don’t have one favorite author.

…your favorite novel?

I enjoy a wide variety of books but two of my favorite novels are Rebecca and My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier; really like her characters and descriptions.

List 10 things that help you to be creative….

My life experiences



Walking on the beach or in the park

Listening to classical music

I keep files of ideas for stories and characters

When I’m starting on a book I spend time asking myself what if? – What if my character does one thing or another? Or what if some action takes place? How will it affect the plot?

I jot down ideas on a legal tablet before beginning to write

I carry a notebook with me and record my impressions of places and events.

Wherever I am I listen and watch people to observe their actions and reactions.

Connect with Marilyn…

Making Wishes

The Beautiful American



My Website:
My Blog:

Widowed at thirty, Hannah Bradley is a successful journalist focusing on animal abuse issues. An accidental meeting introduces her to lawyer, Winston Caughfield III. Drawn to Hannah’s gentle beauty and fierce commitment to her work, Win joins her in a fight to save wild mustangs from slaughter. Together they rescue a badly injured horse with a mysterious background. Hannah’s search to discover the animal’s true identity leads them into a web of black marketeering and international intrigue. Action packed with crisp colorful dialogue the story propels the reader to a race against time conclusion. Marilyn Holdsworth delivers a gripping tale of mystery, adventure and romance guaranteed to hold the interest and capture the heart. She brings true-life characters together with real-life issues to create a fast-paced irresistible story.

The Beautiful American
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 antiques 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.