As a child, she loved listening to her mother read Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, and Little Women. When she was in 4th grade, she took up the Reading Aloud baton and happily read to younger students. She still remembers the library shelf beneath the classroom windows, and mounting the steps into the impressively cavernous BF Jones Memorial Library. The smell of books and the feel of well-worn marble beneath her feet were wondrous things.
A career in retailing and a love of books happily collided when she became store manager of a college bookstore. Textbooks, yes, but all those lovely children's, fiction, and cookbooks selected, shelved, and sent along to happy homes - bliss.
Not surprisingly, after a lifetime of reading, Marcia's active imagination and creative bent began carving out the detailed world of Bronwyn McCall and Ernest Rose. In her debut novel, North of Supposed to Be, north is not just a direction away from hopes and dreams, but also a place - Maine - where things do become how they're supposed to be. (Amazon.com)
BBB: What inspired you to become a writer?
MF: English and writing were always my favorite classes and my work as a college bookstore manager happily required some writing - speeches, papers, reports, marketing, and the occasional retirement tribute. And I'm 'old-school', enjoying writing letters. I always loved reading and books and I'm lucky to have an easy connection between what story is in my mind, and getting it onto paper. The one area I thought would be tricky was to write dialogue. I almost dreaded having my characters speak ... but from the very beginning, I simply wrote what I 'heard' and I never deviated from that. Loving movies all of my life has certainly been a bonus. The stories in my mind unfold like movie scenes.
MF: I've had a very active imagination, even as a child - and I dream in great detail. So the unfolding of a story is something that comes easily to me. I was blessed to find these characters dropped into my mind and weighing on my heart. They were warm and real to me, and I realized that these were people I didn't want to let drift away. I wanted their stories to be known; not just the main characters, but the goodness of Edgar and Clara, the mischievous friendship of The Boys (Graeme, Sir Winston, and Roddy ... all distinguished actors), and the unforgettable pair of Clive and Jamie, to mention just a few. Although I'd been outlining the story for a few years, my unexpected early retirement gave me the opportunity to get the story written. As for the title ... I initially titled it 'Find Me' but literary agents misunderstood and assumed the story was a thriller. After lots of misfires and frustration (and wanting to find a worthy title), one morning I woke up and felt it shouldn't be so difficult to come up with 'the' title ... and how this wasn't how it was supposed to be. Then I thought of Bronwyn and realized she would rail against the world at least a few times as people do in times of frustration and anguish, and how her story shifted from how she thought it should be, but by going to Maine (North), life did become as it was meant to be. Voila. I had the title. A direction away from hopes and dreams and reliable reality and also a place - Maine.
BBB: Tell us about your main character, Bronwyn McCall.
MF: Bronwyn McCall is a modern young woman, with a deep appreciation of the past, an innate generosity, and a near-compulsion to rescue things, animals, and people. She has coped with great loss and loneliness all of her life, from the time she was eight years old, losing her entire family in a plane crash. That was the first time that her life stared at nothingness, but not the last. Readers will go along on her journey to rebuild a second time ... only this time she has a devoted companion and father-figure, Ernest Rose. She repurposes this former MI6 agent into a "Jeeves", and he walks a neat line between confidant, foil and protector, while scheming and indulging a bit of greed. But Bronwyn is more than a match, with a strong and forceful character, and because of her generous nature, people are rescued and their lives are changed.
MF: I hope readers will treasure their surroundings a bit more, because North is a story where details are significant, where the past defines our present, and where people matter - people who have died, townspeople who offer friendship and kindness, friends and loved ones who are consigned to a different path, but are all still treasured. I think North is a story of friendship, generosity, and heartfelt memories. Readers often tell me they remember North for the food ... and there's nothing wrong with that. And happily for me, a few readers have immediately turned around and reread the story, not wanting to let the characters go, and realizing that there were lots of signposts along the twisty path of the story.
BBB: Are you currently working on another book?
MF: I do have a new book outlined. It focuses on two intriguing couples (actors) and toggles back and forth between the present time and the time of the Johnstown Flood of 1889. I feel incredibly close to each of the characters ofNorth of Supposed to Be - when people ask me if I'm really Bronwyn, I just laugh and say I'm as much Jeeves as I am Bronwyn - but in fact, a part of me is in each of the characters to some extent. And the same can be said of the new book. I adore the four main characters and know them very well. I'm not sure who will enter their lives along the way, but I'm excited to begin their journey.
You can find out more about Marcia Ferguson and her book by visiting