Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Meet Marjorie Brody


Please welcome Marjorie Brody as my Wednesday's Guest today. I asked her for a quick introduction and she wrote: "I love scuba diving, the theatre, escaping into books, creating characters and stories from a blank page, my husband, our four children, and our five grandchildren—and not necessarily in that order. I met Maryann and her son at an Author and Artist event in Killeen, Texas, rapidly devoured her novel, One Small Victory, and hope our paths cross more often."

I second that motion, and since we both live in Texas, further meetings in person could happen. In the meantime, grab a glass of lemonade, sit back and enjoy the visit as we chat about... well, stuff.


Marjorie: Thank you for inviting me to It’s Not All Gravy, Maryann. I appreciate you reviewing my psychological suspense, Twisted, and especially admire your restraint in not giving away the ending. No apology needed for missing clues. While they begin on page one, they do remain subtle until Sarah needs them not to be. Thanks for reading her story. I hope it touched your heart. Now, you wanted to ask me some questions. I’m ready whenever you are.

Q.  If you could go back in time, what one thing would you change about yourself?
A. Ah, to have that kind of magic. I’d give myself more confidence earlier on, especially around academics. I think I’ve had an undiagnosed dyslexia and reading was always a challenge for me. I remember a teacher berating me because I reversed words in a sentence when I had to read in front of the class. “If the author wanted those words reversed, Margie, he would have written them that way.”

I can still feel my cheeks heat. I would try to figure out what section I’d be called on to read and would jump ahead to practice that section while my classmates read. Naturally, I heard nothing of what they read in class and would have to reread their sections at home. My first grade teacher told my parents never to expect too much of me academically, that I’d always be an average student. I wonder if that teacher’s definition of average included being on the Dean’s list, earning a doctoral degree, having three plays produced for the stage, publishing short stories and an award-winning novel. Wish I could speak with that first grade teacher now.

Q.  Before I ask the next question, isn't it great fun to be able to prove the nay-sayers wrong? I had a similar experience, but without all the degrees to follow. (smile) I know your background is in psychology, but I wonder if you have always wanted to be a writer?
A.  I’ve always written. In elementary school, it was poetry and what is now called flash fiction, in high school I wrote a novella. I continued to write poetry and short stories off and on, but didn’t know I would enter the field of fiction until 2001. My parents wanted me to become a teacher because, “God forbid something should happen to your husband (I wasn’t even married at the time), I would need a way to support myself and my children.”

I bet those beliefs must seem ancient to modern women.

I did teach for a brief time, but when my husband went on for a second Master’s degree and then a Doctoral degree, the competitive part of me wanted to keep up with him. Psychology and marriage and family therapy courses excited me and led me into a career as a psychotherapist. I developed a reputation for helping severely dysfunctional clients turn their lives around. I loved the challenge. It’s a sacred privilege when someone shares his/her journey with you. And when that person changes an unhealthy intergeneration behavior and makes things better for the next generation, wow, how awesome is that? But after decades in the field, my professional growth had peaked—and I always want to be growing and learning. Around the same time, my desire to write pushed to the surface and prompted me to attend the Santa Barbara’s Writing Conference (2001). I left that experience determined to write a novel. In 2007, I gave my clinical practice to a colleague and stepped into a full-time writing career.

Q.  It's wonderful that you were able to accomplish so much in another career and have now found your way to writing. On another note, I wonder what is your fondest childhood memory?
A.   Not only my fondest, but one of my earliest: I am 3 ½ - 4 years old. My parents, younger brother and I were visiting my grandparents in Florida. We were probably showing them my newest baby brother. My grandfather had a boat he’d take us out on (we kids would be tied by a cord so we didn’t fall over). He also had a mariner best friend we called Captain. One day during our visit—maybe because the new baby was getting so much attention—Captain took my brother and me to a toy store and told us we could buy anything we wanted. “Anything?” my brother asked, his eyes wide with excitement.

“Anything,” Captain said. The store seemed gigantic from my young eyes. I remember bicycles and tables and chair sets hanging from the ceiling. Captain waited at the register in the front of the store while I walked up and down aisles picking up and examining items of interest: tiny china dishes, games, doll houses, stuffed animals. I sat in cars that could really drive, walked in princess high heels, sat on a rocking horse twice my size. I finally decided on a four-foot high doll dressed in a long wedding gown, a veil and heels. She held a bouquet of cloth flowers in her hand. The box declared her Betsy the Beautiful Bride. I cherished that doll for years. What struck me so vividly about that experience was the vast freedom the Captain had given us. We could have anything we wanted. The power to choose. Hmm, I hadn’t consciously associated this memory with Sarah’s, my protagonist in Twisted, until this very minute, but for those of you who read it, you’ll understand the connection.

Q.  Ah, I do see the connection. It is so interesting when one of our childhood memories slips into a story. I know you like books and theatre, but I'm curious if you have a favorite movie?
A.  I’m not sure I have a favorite movie, but I do have a  favorite scene. In Camelot, King Arthur (Richard Harris) and Guinevere (Vanessa Redgrave) dance to the song “What Do The Little Folk Do”. I have never been fond of that song, but there is a moment when they are dancing and the viewer knows that King Arthur knows that Guinevere is having an affair and Guinevere knows that he knows, and he knows that she knows he knows—you get the idea—and not one word is said directly about their painful awareness. Wow, what powerful subtext. That’s one of the things I like in novels too, when the reader can tell that something else is going on under the surface but it’s not overtly written on the page.

Q.  That is a good point about things not being overly written on the page or shown in a scene. I love an actor's ability to say so much without one word. Now the final question, just for fun,  do you have a pet?
A.  Oh, I’m so glad you asked that, Maryann. I do. in the past I’ve had cats, as well as medium-sized dogs—often at the same time. Now, I have the sweetest nine-pound Yorkiepoo, named Cuddles, who lives up to her name. Like a proud Momma, I’ll share this picture with you.


 Thanks for the picture of Cuddles. As my friend LD Masterson would say, "Aw!" Also, thanks so much for the fun interview and the great read.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Marjorie Brody is an award-winning author and Pushcart Prize Nominee. Her short stories appear in literary magazines and the Short Story America Anthology, Vols. I, II and III. Her debut psychological suspense novel, TWISTED, delves into the secrets that emerge following a sexual assault at a high school dance and features a remarkable teen who risks everything to expose the truth. Twisted was awarded the 2014 Best Young Adult Fiction Book Award from the Texas Association of Authors and an Honorable Mention at the 2013 Great Midwest Book Festival. Twisted is available in print and ebook at

The second Tuesday of each month you will find her blog at the Stiletto Gang (a group of female mystery writers) Marjorie invites you to visit her website or on Twitter  @MarjorieEBrody1 or on her Facebook page She can be reached via email at marjorie@marjoriespages.com

BOOK BLURB: Timid fourteen-year-old Sarah wants her controlling mother to stop prying into what happened the night of the freshman dance. Confide in the woman? No way. Her mother will say Sarah is totally to blame for what the boys did—which Sarah believes is true. Confess to the police? Get real. She just needs to hide the truth. From Momma. From the police. From everyone.

A mysterious connection pulls her toward Judith, a beautiful, confident, eighteen-year-old with the seemingly perfect life. Acting as Sarah’s sole confidante, Judith gains the power to expose Sarah’s secret. Will the truth be worth the sacrifice? Or will Sarah stop at nothing to keep Judith quiet?

10 comments:

Skyewriter said...

I've seen Camelot live and the scene you describe is so poignant. It does stand out in my memory and my heart. Richard Harris was so good at portraying the sadness he felt at the knowledge.

Ronnie Allen said...

I can really identify with your early childhood school experience too, Marjorie. I think that pushed me to success as well. I write psych thrillers using my background. So much to draw from. best, Ronnie

Maryann Miller said...

Hi Skyewriter and Ronnie. Welcome to my blog. I am so glad you came over to comment for Marjorie.

Skyewriter, I am so jealous that you have seen that show live. Richard Harris was such an amazing actor.

Christine Campbell said...

Great interview, Maryann and Marjorie.
I love that film, Marjorie, and know the moment to which you refer. Amazing acting and directing.

Maryann Miller said...

Hi Christine. So glad you stopped by. I think there's a whole bunch of us who loved that scene in the movie. The undercurrents there reminded me of that farewell scene in Casablanca. I refer to that as "playing the moment" and tell the young actors I direct to take their time and play the moment. Acting is about so much more than spitting out lines.

liebjabberings said...

Stopping by late - horrid day and no time to visit :(

Lovely to learn about your guest, Maryann.

Alicia

Maryann Miller said...

Alicia, so sorry you had a horrid day yesterday. Hope today is going better.

LD Masterson said...

And Maryann's friend LD Masterson does say,"awwww".

I wonder if that teacher did you a great favor by saying you'd never amount to much academically. The desire to prove someone wrong is a very strong incentive.

Maryann Miller said...

LD, you are so right about that kind of criticism being a great motivator. I had a college professor tell me to take up basket weaving as a creative outlet. Now I'm jaded against basket weaving. LOL

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