Interview with Morgan Malone, author of Cocktales: An After-50 Memoir

Today's guest is Morgan Malone, author of the memoir, Cocktales: An After-50 Memoir

My pen-name is Morgan Malone. A twist on the old “What is my stripper name? A combination of the name of your first pet and the street you grew up on: Dino Homestead. I opted instead for the name of my first cat and my hometown to create Morgan Malone, an erudite yet brazen hussy, who decided, after 15 years of widowhood, to see if there were any men in America (and parts of Canada) who wanted to have sex with a 50 year-old woman. At least that is what I told myself I was doing. Along my almost ten-year journey through the online dating sites, I discovered men who were just as unsure of their intentions as I was. As I flirted with them, met them and even slept with quite a few, I began peeling off the layers of my emotional armor with less reluctance than I was peeling off my carefully coordinated lingerie. I found some really nice men, some very sexy men, some real dogs and a handful of genuine human beings who became friends as well as lovers. And I started to find myself: not just a mom, a lawyer, a wife and a widow but a woman I did not recognize. Yet there she was: a woman I did not like at times, a woman I thought no man would ever love, a woman who spent the first part of her life being the woman she thought she must be, a woman who was facing the last third of her life, finally, with anticipation.

My adventures and misadventures were met with disbelief by my friends who were convinced, almost to a woman, that the only men interested in a woman of our years was nigh on to 80 and in need of “a nurse and a purse.” So Cocktales has become not only a chronicle of my personal journey from widow to woman, from alone to independent, from needy to satisfied, but an instruction manual for the thousands of women facing the last half of their lives lonely and lacking confidence.

I am a published author of Katarina: Out of Control, an erotic romance with shades of “grey.” In September, my country singer-feisty reporter erotic romance, Unanswered Prayers, will be released by Turquoise Morning Press. I belong to several romance writers groups, with an online membership of several hundred voracious readers, authors, reviewers and bloggers, many of whom encouraged me to write. My blog is read regularly by many of these readers and also the growing audience of listeners who have heard me read my mainstream essays on NPR’s “51%”, a nationally broadcast show directed at women, and also on “Roundtable”, a popular program heard on WAMC, Northeast Public Radio.

I have just turned 62. I live near Saratoga Springs, NY with my chocolate Labrador Retriever. We enjoy occasional visits from my daughter who is a clinical psychologist and my son who is works in internet college sports reporting in Seattle. I paint watercolors, swim as often as I can and still practice law in between writing romance and memoir.

About the Book:

Title: Cocktales: An After-50 Dating Memoir
Author: Morgan Malone
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Pages: 264
Genre: Romantic Memoir
An After-50 Dating Memoir…or Eight Years, around Eighty Men, but not nearly Eight Thousand Kisses.

There I was. Approaching 50, widowed for 15 years, alone for all that time, except for two kids, one dog, a full-time legal career, a house, a mortgage, some dear friends…and a wish. I just wanted to feel like a woman one more time. Not “Mom.” Not “Your Honor.” Not “Sis.” But, a desirable and desired woman.

I knew I wouldn’t, couldn’t fall in love again. My heart was buried in a grave in Brooklyn. But, I could offer a sense of humor, big blue eyes and intelligent conversation. I wasn’t sure about kissing or anything else; it had been a long time and I was not sure that sex was like riding a bike (which I could no longer do, given a bad knee and too many extra pounds). I was willing to try. Would anyone be interested?

To my surprise, the cyber-world was full of men like me; men who were looking for a second chance at love or lust, with a real woman, a woman just like me.

Cocktales is the true story of my adventures and misadventures in the world of online dating. It is full of practical advice (never wear knee-high hose on a first date, NEVER), giggles, groans and my growth as a woman. I cried a few tears, I made plenty of mistakes, but I also made many friends. I even fell in love.

Join me on my journey. It is a roller-coaster ride I think you will enjoy.

For More Information

  • Cocktales: An After-50 Dating Memoir is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

I retired from a 30-year career as an administrative law judge and counsel to a state agency. I had always wanted to write romance, but I knew I needed some help because everything I wrote sounded like a judicial decision or appellate brief. I signed up for a writing class at a local bookstore, but it turned out the class was about writing memoir. What stories did I have to tell that will be of interest to anyone? But, I had recently begun dating again after 15 years as a widow, so I wrote about one of my first dates. The story was well-received in class. Then I submitted one of my essays to a writing competition and it was chosen for a program on memoir. After I read the story to the audience, I was surrounded by women asking if my story was fact or fiction, did I have more stories about dating and was I going to write a book. The collection of essays I wrote over three years in my memoir class became Cocktales.  I wrote my book for those middle-aged women who could not believe that anyone would desire them or love them again.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

Memoir is so difficult to write because it is your story. All the flaws in your main character are your own. I believed I had a story that would not only amuse and interest readers but would also help women like me. It had to be told as non-fiction so that women in their 50’s and 60’s would understand that they could find lust and love later in life. For others who want to tell their story as memoir, you have to believe in your story and you have to be willing to face scrutiny and criticism not only about your writing but about your life. Also, you have to be very careful about the way you treat the other actors in your tale. You are telling their stories too. I changed the names of everyone in my book and changed some details so as to protect their identities.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

My publisher is Turquoise Morning Press (TMP). I attend several writer’s conferences each year. I met the publisher, Kim Jacobs, at Lori Foster’s annual Reader Author Get Together in Cincinnati. I pitched my book to TMP because they were one of the few publishers I found who published both fiction and nonfiction. They loved the idea and have been incredibly supportive.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

I thought when I typed “the end” I was finished with my book. I did not fully comprehend all the work that comes after a manuscript is submitted to a publisher. I knew about editing, of course, but like many first-time authors, I thought my writing was near perfect. I was quickly disabused of that notion. Then there is cover art, blurbs for the back of the book, and promotional materials. Before the book comes out, you have to create a social media presence. I had a website, a blog and a Facebook page, but I had to learn Twitter. After publication, there are reviews and book signings. I love it all but I really had no idea how much work went into the publication and marketing of a book.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

My first erotic romance novel, Katarina: Out of Control, was published by TMP on the same day as Cocktales. It’s about a widowed Jewish lawyer from Troy, NY who looks for love in all the wrong places, but finds it where she least expected. My second erotic contemporary novel, Unanswered Prayers, a romance about a Country singer and a feisty NYC journalist set in 2001, will be published by TMP in September 2015. I am currently writing another memoir about my late husband. It is titled 32 Days and is based on the letters I wrote him every day he was paralyzed in the hospital. I am also starting a sequel to Katarina and a contemporary romance set in Virginia.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

I am a Facebook junkie. I love seeing the photos of my great-nieces and nephews and connecting with friends from high school. I also love to Google any question that pops into my mind – instant research with instant gratification!

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

My message is that love can find you at any time in your life. You don’t have to look like a movie star to find a nice, sexy, funny, smart person to share your life with or to just date. And, you can re-invent yourself. I was a lawyer for over 30 years. And I loved being a lawyer. But I wanted to be an author. Now, I write romance and memoir, I paint watercolors, and I am having the time of my life. It is a cliché, but life can begin (again) at 50.

Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

Thank you for inviting me. I hope you and your readers enjoy Cocktales. One of the joys in writing for me is feedback from readers. I cannot express how much it means for me to hear from a reader that she or he liked what I had to say and how I said it. I write about what I love. It’s so rewarding to find other people who love the same things.

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