Interview with Marilyn Randall, author of 'My Heart and Soul'

At 64 years of age, Marilyn is retired from the printing industry after many years as a graphic art director and graphic production director. Her first book, My Heart And Soul, was released in 2009 and she followed that by publishing six children’s books. Her ability to both write and illustrate her children’s books makes her unique in today’s writing market. She spends her time writing, illustrating, designing and collecting antique porcelain from Germany and Victorian glass. Her varied interests continue to keep her busy and she is enjoying this new phase of her career, which she describes as, “Exciting and fulfilling beyond belief.“ All of her books can be viewed at her web site www.marilynrandall.com and at Xlibris.com, lulu.com and amazon.com.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Marilyn. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

[Marilyn] I have been writing poetry most of my life, since I was a young girl growing up in southern Oregon. I wrote my first poem in the seventh grade for a homework assignment and was called to the front of the class when I turned it in because the teacher thought that I had plagiarized it. It was blank verse and he didn’t know that I could write such a piece on my own. After convincing him that it was indeed my own, I received an A for the grade.


Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

[Marilyn] My Heart And Soul is an anthology of many of my poetry, prose, letters and prayers that I have written over the years, all related to my own life experiences. After my husband passed away I needed a new direction for my own life and this was something that interested me and that I became passionate about accomplishing.


What kind of research was involved in writing My Heart And Soul?

[Marilyn] Because it is a reflection of my deep feelings and beliefs it required no research.


Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

[Marilyn] I am very blessed that it has actually been a very easy and exciting journey for me to become a published author. I chose to publish with Xlibris and they are a wonderful, helpful group to work with.


For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

[Marilyn] It was approximately five months from the first contact until the book was finished and in my hands.


Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

[Marilyn] I don’t have an agent at this time, but I am considering that as a future possibility because I have so many published books now.


Do you plan subsequent books?

[Marilyn] I am writing and illustrating my seventh children’s book at this time and my sixth children’s book was just released this week. My first fiction, novel, Quicksand, will be released next month, also by Xlibris Corp.


Can you describe your most favorite place to write?

[Marilyn] I have a studio room set up where I do my illustrating and art-work and I write in that area some of the time. My home overlooks the waters of Puget Sound near Seattle and I love sitting in my family room, in front of the large glass windows where lots of light penetrates every day and I can enjoy the serenity of the surroundings and write in that peaceful environment as well.


If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

[Marilyn] I would like to be a guest on an important talk show to share about my books and about the life I’ve had getting to this point in my career. If there was a way to purchase time on a talk show, that is what I would strive for.


How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

[Marilyn] I believe self promotion is huge in this business and I spend lots of time on a regular basis introducing myself to people whenever I go out, telling them about my books and inviting them to look me up on my website. I have spent lots of time learning to write press releases and meeting people online in the marketing business who have helped me to learn a great deal.


What’s the most common reason you believe new writers give up their dream of becoming published and did you almost give up?

[Marilyn] I believe lots of people get discouraged because knocking on publisher’s doors is a daunting and sometimes painful task. The newest, sometimes called vanity publishing, is a way to avoid that difficulty, however publishing that way can be expensive and if one isn’t prepared for the expense, it can also be a discouraging process.


Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

[Marilyn] I hope that anyone who has the desire to publish their story or book will at least try to make their dream a reality. One cannot finish if one never starts and keeping the dream alive and going forward is the key to someday being the published author you have dreamed of becoming. I hope that when I reach the end of my life I will look back with no regrets for not doing something that I truly wanted to do and had a passion for. For me, publishing my books is fulfilling my dream and leaving me with no regrets for unfinished business.


Thank you for your interview, Marilyn. I wish you much success!

[Marilyn] It has been my pleasure and I thank you for the time you’ve spent letting me share about My Heart And Soul.
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