ONCE A BRAT Virtual Book Tour '07

We're so honored to be Marilyn Celeste Morris' first stop on her virtual book tour for her book, Once a Brat! We've had Marilyn as a guest before, but this time we're part of her virtual book tour which is run by the Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours.

Marilyn's book is special to me because I'm an army brat, too, and that is what her book is all about - her life history as a military brat after WWII and before the Cold War.

If you'd like to see her book trailer, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHZE1Y_d7wI.

If you'd like to find out more about Marilyn's book, she has a fantastic blog at www.onceabrat.blogspot.com.

The Writer's Life: Welcome, Marilyn! Can you let our readers know more about your book and what it's all about?

Marilyn: I describe it as part travelogue, part therapy session, which tells about my worldwide travels with my army officer father from my birth in 1938 until his (our!) retirement in 1958.

The Writer's Life: I just love the book. As you know, I was an army brat myself and I can so relate to the experiences you went through. I didn't travel to far-off places like you did, but I can so relate to never really calling any one place home for very long. Tell me, what inspired you to write this book in the first place?

Marilyn: I attended a convention at DFW Airport in 1999, where I met the Director of the American Overseas Schools Historical Society, a facility being built in Wichita KS to preserve our unique heritage, and he noted, quite correctly, that I was one of the “pioneers” of overseas dependents and I should write about my experiences for the museum archives for future historians and researchers. When he received the manuscript and read it, he said, “This needs to be published.” And it was.

The Writer's Life: That just gave me goosebumps! They say everyone has a story in them, but your story is unique in that this was a time period that a lot of people weren't even born yet. You're a walking history book! Tell me, what were the conditions like in the war-torn countries you and your family lived after WWII and what countries were they? Were you ever scared of being bombed?

Marilyn: Korea was very primitive when we first arrived to find no running water, no central heat, no fresh vegetables, etc. But we had a commissary on compound, and a school, so we did the best we could. When I arrived in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1948, I saw rubble still lying in the streets and some people foraging in trashcans. I was never afraid of being bombed, as I knew the US Army would take care of us, and they proved it by practice evacuation drills. In Korea, we were just a few miles from the 38th Parallel, which was Russian territory. In Austria, we could look out our back window across the Danube and see the Russian sentries on the other side. The Russians were the ones to fear during those days after WWII.

The Writer's Life: I bet there are things you saw that you will never forget and, as a child, I imagine it could have been very frightening. Your childhood was very different from the kids growing up today. Were there certain games you remember playing?

Marilyn: Games that involved imagination – and I wrote stories for my own entertainment. When we could get up enough for a team, we played softball in our front yards, or in the compound square. Radio was a constant companion.

The Writer's Life: How about schooling? Were you provided with education and how did that fare out?

Marilyn: We always had a school. I am amazed to this day at the fortitude it took for teachers to volunteer to go overseas and teach us “brats” but they knew they were going to have a unique travel experience, too. Our schools were based on University of Maryland standards, I believe, and it was a demanding curriculum in all grades. Whenever I returned to the States, I was way ahead of the other kids in my grade level.

The Writer's Life: Have you contacted anyone who is a military brat yourself, and can you tell us more about the organization, Overseas Brats?

Marilyn: I have reunited with several “kids” who were in Austria at the same time I was there at Overseas Brats functions. The Military Brats Registry, run by Marc Curtis, provides a place to search for former classmates, too. For the 1999 Homecoming of Overseas Brats, I found a former classmate from Linz, Austria, 8th grade, now living in Longview TX, who came to stay with me as we attended the 3 day event. It is such a thrill for military brats to find each other, since we had always assumed we would never see each other again. Thanks to the Internet and people like Marc Curtis and Joe Condrill (Military Brats Registry and Overseas Brats, respectively). Overseas Brats sponsors reunions and gatherings all over the US; the one in 1999 was among the best –attended with some 3,000 military brats reuniting.

The Writer's Life: I thank you for coming to The Writer’s Life Blog, Marilyn! Will you have upcoming releases that we should know about?

Marilyn: My mainstream romance, The Women of Camp Sobingo, is in the hands of Mardi Gras Publishing right now, and I am eager to see it come out in both ebook and print. I have 5 or 6 other works in progress, all of the novels.
And thank you for having me on your blog, Dorothy.

The Writer's Life: You are so welcome! It's been a pleasure and please come back and visit anytime!
Please check out Marilyn's book blog at www.onceabrat.blogspot.com!

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