Marianne Stillings: An Author’s Journey

It was with very mixed emotions that I accepted Marianne Stillings’ resignation at the end of 2002. I knew we could never replace her brilliant writing and editing, and yet my sense was that she was thisclose to being picked up by a publisher. Indeed, the call came from her agent a few weeks after the start of the year, but until everything was signed, sealed, and delivered, we did not want to make the announcement here.

The importance of AAR in the lives of our staff and our readers is one of the great joys of my life, and it was too difficult for Marianne and me to think of her no longer sharing in the most intimate part of AAR. And so, rather than leave AAR entirely and thereby be eligible to have her books reviewed three years hence, Marianne decided to forego being reviewed in order to continue to have some presence here at the site.

While Marianne will no longer be reviewing or editing, she will be sharing with all of us her experiences of becoming a published author, and will also be able to provide an in-house viewpoint as an author. In other words, she will be our primary “go-to” person when we are looking for an answer only a published author can provide.

I am very much looking forward to hearing from Marianne as she starts this exciting journey. Having read a draft of her book, I can only tell you that AAR’s loss is the romance readers’ gain. I know that many of you have enjoyed her reviews over the years, and hope that this journal and her continued input at the site – while it’ll be in a different form than before – will sate your appetite for Marianne’s writing until her book is released, and between subsequent books thereafter.

— Laurie Likes Books

Introduction (March 26, 2003):
Today I am thrilled, delighted, happy, excited, and intermittently giddy. Why? Because I am finally able to announce the sale of my first book, Uppity Woman, to Avon. The offer was officially made on February 12th and I signed the contract today.

A long time ago, I made a promise to Laurie that if I ever got this far, I’d post a writer’s journal at AAR. Publishing a book opens a whole new world for me, a world with which I’m totally unfamiliar. By my posting a journal, we are hoping you, as readers, will find details about the writing/publishing process interesting, and for those of you who are aspiring writers, we are hoping you’ll find it both helpful and encouraging.

Eventually, I’ll be putting up a website in connection with Avon, but with the actual publication date of my book so far off (Fall of 2004 unless it gets bumped up), I don’t even have a cover to display as this point. And the title will probably be changed, so there are too many unknowns at this moment to do much now other than the journal.

As for the book itself, it’s a romantic suspense: Betsy Tremaine is a small-town newspaper editor who also reviews non-fiction. Seattle detective J. Soldier McKennitt writes true-crime books that Betsy just hates. As a result, the two have exchanged a few somewhat tense emails. But when they meet face-to-face at a writer’s conference, and when it becomes clear that Betsy is being stalked, Soldier has a change of heart, and Betsy’s nemesis soon becomes her hero.

I hope you’ll like Uppity Woman (or whatever it’ll be called); thank you!


Continue to Marianne’s Journal in earnest