Author name: Marian Longenecker Beaman
Book: Mennonite Daughter: The Story of a Plain Girl
What’s your story and how did you become a writer? I am a former professor at Florida State College in Jacksonville, Florida. My memoir, Mennonite Daughter: The Story of a Plain Girl, records the charms and challenges of growing up in the strict culture of the Lancaster Mennonite Conference in the 1950s.
Now in my Third Act, I have embraced blogging, which led to re-purposing blog posts to craft my memoir. I share my story to preserve early memories and to leave a legacy for future generations. I live with my artist/designer husband Cliff in Jacksonville, where my grown children and grandchildren also reside.
How do you balance your work with other demands? Just like everyone else, I have appointments and to-do’s: dentist, haircut, grocery shopping. Even so, I sit on my writing chair every day: It’s a habit now. Today is dreary, so I have white string lights glowing and a candle burning in my writing space.
Name one of the happiest moments in your life: Opening the box containing my Advanced Reader Copies. I made a video of it!
What’s your approach to writing? Are you a “pantser” or a planner? I’m generally a planner, but sometimes ideas for blog posts come to mind whimsically: walking in the woods, taking a bath. Usually, I make a messy draft on WORD and then copy it to WordPress where I tweak it.
Could you write in a café with people around? NO! Silence is my friend. If I’m stuck, I turn on music – classical or country.
Have you ever written dialogue in a second language? If so, how did you do it? Dialogue, even in English, has been tricky for me. Scales fell from my eyes a while ago when I read somewhere that writers don’t need to be stuck with the clichéd “He said – She replied” formula. Let the reader know that your characters can be scratching their backs or opening mail while the dialogue is taking place. Just switch to a new paragraph when the speaker changes.
What’s your favorite book and what are you reading now? When we moved over three years ago, I gave away so many books. A sampling of the remaining: Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain and Zora Neale Thurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. Also: Anything by Dani Shapiro, most recently Inheritance. Now I’m reading Ann Napolitano’s A Good Hard Look, a fictional version of Flannery O’Connor’s life. I’d give it five stars!
What’s your favorite way to read a book: hardcover, paperback, eReader? Hands down, paperback – lightweight with “turn-able” pages
Do you think print books will always be around? Surely in my lifetime, but beyond that I don’t know. Most of the articles I’ve read say, “Yes.”
Would you ever read a book on your phone? Ha! Unless the phone is 4” by 6” probably not.
What’s your go-to device? iPhone, Android or something else? My smartphone has always been an iPhone.
How long could you go without checking your phone? It depends on the day. Wednesdays my blog posts publish, so I check my phone often so see if there are comments needing response.
Do you listen to audiobooks? If you do, what do you do while you’re listening? Although my husband listens to audiobooks exclusively, I never do. However, I listen to teleseminars while I’m doing something else. For instance, my friend Kathy Pooler promoted her book via Linda Joy Myers’ Virtual Book Club. I’ll probably listen to the hour-long broadcast while I’m making a salad today.
Do you like using social media to promote yourself and your book? If so, what’s your favorite platform? Facebook, by far because most of my friends pick up my blog post on Wednesdays there, unless they find my feed elsewhere. I use Twitter too, but don’t really understand how it works: It’s easy to click LIKE and not actually read any content. Also, I opened my Twitter account years ago with a nickname @Martabeaman before I began writing seriously, so I would change my handle to my real name, but then I’d probably lose earlier connections.
I’m getting used to Instagram – quick and easy – but sometimes I forget to include hashtags. Remember: I’m a digital immigrant, not a native, like my children and grandchildren.
Awards/special recognition: February 18, 2020, Amazon reviews (almost all 5 stars) hit the 30-mark. The review from Mee Mee was short and sweet: “Absolutely charming memoir! I can go back again and again and even skip around just for a lovely escape to a different world. So well crafted and readable. I love when you can fly through the chapters because the writing is so fluid.”
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