Novel take on history, romance

Baron’s 19th work, ‘Stumble Stones,’ a dark and humorous suspense

In 2014, Marilyn Baron signed books during the Georgia Romance Writers Moonlight & Magnolias Conference, an event she will return to this October with “Stumble Stones.”
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By KATHY DES JARDINS CIOFFI
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The second Writer’s High Retreat will be held Sept. 9-Sept. 11 at the Brasstown Valley Resort and Spa in Young Harris, Georgia. The retreat will feature workshops for poets, fiction writers and creative nonfiction writers, as well as readings and talks.

Featured speakers will include New York Times best-selling author Joshilyn Jackson as well as poet Clifford Brooks III, fiction writer Michael Morris, and nonfiction author Jessica Handler.

The cost of the retreat, which includes lodging and meals as well as all presentations, workshops and events, is $779 for a single room and $586 for a double room. The registration deadline is Aug. 10.

“Many retreat guests told me last year’s debut was ‘magical’ and they felt energized in a way they’d never experienced before – ‘the writer’s high,’” said Mari Ann Stefanelli, retreat founder. “There’s a powerful alchemy that occurs when writers come together in a gorgeous, peaceful setting and are given the time, inspiration and support they need to breathe life into their writing.”

For more information or to register, visit www.thewritershigh.com or email Stefanelli at mariann.stefanelli@gmail.com.

Roswell writer Marilyn Baron, whose 11th title with The Wild Rose Press, “Stumble Stones,” will be released Aug. 19, considers it her most serious work yet. And, since she has 19 published works, that’s saying something.

The award-winning writer has explored a variety of genres – from humorous “coming-of-middle-age” women’s fiction to historical romantic thrillers and suspense to paranormal/fantasy – in a range of formats, including novels, novellas, short stories and even a musical.

Clearly, Baron is all about books. An avid reader and member of two book clubs, she is on the steering committee of Roswell Reads, an annual communitywide reading event. She has been a featured author in the program’s Atlanta Author Series, a Decatur Book Festival presenter and is a double nominee for the 52nd Georgia Author of the Year Awards. All while working full time, traveling widely with her husband and “hovering over” her two adult daughters in Atlanta.

Baron, whose next signing will be during the Georgia Romance Writers annual Moonlight & Magnolias 2016 Conference in October, previewed her new book while discussing a life shaped by a love of books.

Tell us a little about yourself and your background

I have been a corporate writer and editor my entire career, first with AT&T and then as head of my own PR agency, so fiction is just a different kind of writing for me. I’ve been writing fiction for about 13 years. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, ever since I read the “Little House on the Prairie” books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I started out writing humorous paranormal short stories in 2011 for TWB Press, a small press specializing in science fiction, supernatural, horror and urban fantasy, thriller and mainstream. My stories are about angels and devils, love and death, weddings and funerals – happy endings guaranteed. Then I self-published a women’s fiction novel, a shopping-related suspense tale and a musical about Alzheimer’s with my sister, Sharon Goldman, a Florida artist. I submitted a manuscript to The Wild Rose Press Inc. in 2012, and my novel, “Under the Moon Gate,” was published in 2013. That novel was a romantic thriller set in contemporary and World War II Bermuda. I’ve visited Bermuda about 10 times and fell in love with it. I’m also fascinated by WWII, since my father was a top-turret gunner on a B-17 in the European Theater during the war. So I combined both loves into my first traditionally published book.
 
Tell us about your new novel, “Stumble Stones.”

“Stumble Stones” is a multilayered, dark and humorous “Romancing the Stone”-style suspense novel about a cache of priceless diamonds hidden in WWII that sparks a hasty wedding on the high seas and a dangerous chase through Europe that holds the key to an unsolved mystery and a promise of lost love. 
The idea for the novel was inspired by a real project, known as stolpersteine, or “stumble stones.” German artist Gunter Demnig has placed some 50,000 of these brass plaques – cobblestone-sized Holocaust memorials – in 18 countries in Europe.

I was looking for an idea for my next novel when a former Roswell neighbor who moved to Stuttgart, Germany, emailed me about some stumble stones that were placed in front of his house, and that sparked my imagination. No one I’ve talked to about stumble stones has heard of this unique Holocaust memorial project, but once they find out about it, they are fascinated like I was.

What sets “Stumble Stones” apart from your other works?

All of my novels are humorous – even the ones about serial killers – and most feature romance and suspense. But “Stumble Stones,” set in contemporary and WWII Europe, deals with serious themes. In addition to the contemporary love story, it tells the tale of two women in the Holocaust. The light content balances the dark, and it has a hopeful, surprise ending.

What writing schedule/routine has made such a body of work possible, and how frequently can fans expect new Marilyn Baron books?

That varies. Last year, I published four books. This year, “Stumble Stones” will be the only one. I don’t have a regular writing schedule but I write whenever I can fit it in to my day job. I get inspiration all hours of the day and night and write ideas in the notes section of my iPhone. I have a beach condo in Palm Coast, Fla., that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. I don’t get there often enough (about four or five times a year) but, when I do, I get a lot of writing done and I often get inspiration for new books.

Your writing encompasses a variety of genres, including “coming-of-middle-age” women’s fiction. How would you define that?

Coming-of-middle-age fiction features heroines who are 40 to 50 and over and stories about love the second time around or reconnecting with a lost love. The heroine goes on a personal journey but her issues are different from the typical 20-something heroines you tend to find in romance novels. The population is aging, and I want my books to appeal to “woman of a certain age,” like I am.
 
What are you working on now?

My current work in progress is called “The Vampire Next Door,” and it’s the fourth and final book in my Psychic Crystal Mystery Series.

Where can we buy “Stumble Stones,” as well as your other books?

After “Stumble Stones” is released Aug. 19, it will be available in e-book and paperback formats on Amazon and through The Wild Rose Press, as well as in e-book format on Barnes & Noble, All Romance eBooks, Kobo, Bookstrand and ibookstore. It is now available for preorder on Amazon Kindle. There’s a book trailer on YouTube and it will be available for readers to check out at the East Roswell Library. Readers can find out more about my books and humorous supernatural short stories on my website at www.marilynbaron.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Marilyn-Baron-286807714666748/. ■

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