Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Welcome, Maryetta Ackenbom aka Mar

Please welcome my guest, Maryetta Ackenbom, who just released her new book, Georgia’s Hope. Mar became my friend several years ago during an F2K session. (Free writing course.) She and I have been Mentors there for at least three years.

Pull up a chair Mar, have some coffee, and let me quiz you a bit.

Where do you hail from? Tell us a little about you.
Leona, I’ve lived in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico for more than 15 years. Before that, I lived in a number of places in the U.S. and abroad. The world traveler is now staying home.

How long have you been writing, Mar? 
Can I say, all my life? I began to seriously write short stories about 20 years ago.
When did you start working on Georgia’s Hope?
I began it as a short story, some six or seven years ago.

Did you ever think of giving up? 
I despaired, occasionally, but never gave up.

Do you see a sequel in the near future? 
I can see a place for a sequel, but I think Georgia’s Hope is my one and only.

What other published works do you have to your credit?
I’ve published about a dozen short stories in online magazines.

Give me a one word answer:
A) Coffee or tea? coffee
B) Dogs or cats? animals
C) Winter or summer? summer
D) Romance books: tame or steamy? no
E) Henry or Jerome? Jerome!

Do you have a favorite author or two?
My favorites are Somerset Maugham and Jean Auel, with James Michener coming in a close third.

Do you feel overwhelmed by the promo/marketing aspect of publishing?
Yes, I do, but I have to grit my teeth and start. Thank you for helping me with that, Leona.

Could we see a short excerpt from Georgia’s Hope?
This quote sets the beginning scene of the novel:

During the night, a rare ice storm had blanketed Dallas, changing our back yard into a crystalline garden. Dull browns of winter turned into bright rainbows under the light of the rising sun. More than half-an-inch of ice covered everything exposed to the weather—every building, every street, every tree limb and blade of grass had turned to crystal.

“Oh my God, it’s like a fairyland.” Mom pulled the drapes open a little more.

“If you’re caught in it, it’s a monster land. Mom, Mr. and Mrs. Gomez froze to death. I can’t imagine that happening in Dallas. The children are in the hospital. Will you go with me to see them?”

“How awful! Yes, right away. We’ll let Dad sleep—he’s had a hard week.”

We pulled on slacks, sweaters and parkas and wrote a quick note to let Dad know where we’d gone. I drove the Lincoln, hoping the car’s weight would help us negotiate the icy streets. Mom wrung her hands as I slid along, skidding several times.

A half hour later, I maneuvered the Lincoln into the lot at Parkland Hospital, usually a five-minute drive from our home in Highland Park. We slipped and slid over the walkway into the emergency entrance. While my mother explained to the attending nurse that she met the Gomez family at the Episcopal Church shelter, I studied the typical hospital waiting room. Here, they brought John Kennedy, dead or dying, just a little over two years ago. That thought, and the ice outside, made me shiver.

I heard the nurse’s voice. “The Negro family? In intensive care, right down that hall. What a tragedy—those poor babies!”

We hurried through sterile halls which smelled of disinfectant and something that I could only think might be fear. Uniformed medical personnel walked purposefully, and anxious relatives simply milled around. We soon came to the room where the youngest children lay, hooked up to oxygen and intravenous tubes.

Mom and I clung to each other and wept, as we stood and watched the pitiful small bodies. The two little girls were no longer black, but an unhealthy shade of gray. In a few minutes, one of the nurses slipped in and told us that two of the other children had died. An older boy was barely alive in the next cubicle.

Thank you very much, Maryetta. I hope you’ll come back to visit again.
Thank you, Leona, for lending me your time and space to talk about my book. I’ll stop by often.

You can find out more and grab a copy Georgia's Hope on Amazon.

Author Bio: Originally from Oklahoma, Marryetta traveled with her family to more than a dozen different places before she was 15. Travel suited her, so she joined the U.S. Foreign Service, spending time in Africa, Asia, France, and Mexico. Retirement brought her to Merida, Yucatan, Mexico more than 15 years ago. There, she teaches basic English to a small group, writes and enjoys the symphony and the cuisine as well as the warm climate and the equally warm people.


  1. Joyce Hertzoff/MumJuly 3, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    Wonderful interview, Leo. And, Mar, I loved the excerpt. Your books added to my list of want-to-reads!


    1. Thanks for stopping by, Mum. Her book is a good one.

  2. Sounds like a very interesting book, I may have to find time to slow down and read.

  3. My fellow writing mentors!

    Good job with the interview Leona, and a big congratulations to Mar on the publication of Georgia's Hope. I had the honour of reading Mar's book before publication and was swept away into the turbulent times and the colourful characters she wrote of. A wonderful read!


    1. Thank you, Janet. Yes, her book was very realistic of the Civil Rights era. I wish her much success in sales and in the number of people who read her story.

  4. Great job Leo and Mar. Wishing you great success Mar and I'll pass on the link as well. Definitely on my gotta read list.

  5. Interesting interview, Leona. Good luck with the book, Mar! I shall have to investigate it further.

    1. Thank yyou, botanicarose, for stopping by. I'm glad you liked the interview.

  6. Thanks, Debbie. We appreciate your comments.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  7. If only I could really sit down and enjoy coffee with two of my favorite ladies. It's wonderful to find you both over here and both of you with books out in the same year. (Just a little longer, Leo. :) )

    Mar, I think you have the best bio I've read in a long time. I'm going to study it so I can make mine better. And your opening scene is incredibly powerful--gives me shivers.

    1. I agree with you on all counts, Von. The power and poignancy of the opening pulls me in immediately... what an excellent and most promising premise for the story.

      No worries, Leo. I am relieved to be out of the Spam Folder, though... (ha! for practice... funny lady). I've finally gotten rid of that kink in my neck.

  8. Dear Leona, I love the way you interviewed Mar. Such a comfort to read, as if I was sitting in a puffy chair by the fire (in summer!)listening to you both talk in person. Such a cozy room and such wonderful friends! I'm so excited for you, Mar. I'm buying my copy today, via Leo's link, and I plan to read it as soon as I finish my currect book. Serendipity and creativity - and hard work - are all at play together here, with two dear friends and books coming out during similar times. I wish you the very best of luck with getting the good word getting out!
    All best wishes always... to you both,

    1. Hi Les, so sorry, but I just found your comment in the Spam box. I have no idea why they tossed you in there except maybe for practice.

      Thank you for your kind comments AND for buying Mar's book. I'm glad you stopped by. Now, I will check spam more often. My daughter's comment was there also.

  9. Maryetta Ackenbom (maruxa)July 4, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    Thank you all so very much for supporting Leona's blog, and my interview. We're both beginners here, in spite of our age--Leona's already on the way with this beautiful blog, and I'm just now trying to figure out what social networking means. You have all given us a tremendous boost.


  10. Very nice! And ... is this the work Mar was working on before? Have I seen parts of it?


  11. Hi Benning, thank you. Yes, Mar has been working on this for quite a while. We were in the WVU Novel Group together. I'm sure you have read parts of it.

    We appreciate your comment.

  12. Great interview, Mar and Leo! The opening scene is so visual and heart wrenching! I bought my copy and hope to read it in the very near future. Very proud of you for persevering through to the finish line, Mar! :D


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