Meet Guest Author, Marlena Owens…

If I’m going to do this right, I’m going to have to take you to the beginning. My beginning. Next, I will talk about life events that set me on the path to becoming a writer, and natural talents I discovered in myself, as a teenager. Lastly, I will address what it was like to finally publish my first book and consider myself a writer.

Born in a Blizzard

You are a miracle,” my paternal grandmother always told me. I was born in the blizzard of 1993. March 13th, to be exact. My paternal grandmother always told me that my grandfather drove my mother through 4 feet of snow, in a company work truck, to get my mom to a hospital moments after her water broke. As if that wasn’t enough, I was also only 34 weeks gestation.

The doctors told my mother that if I couldn’t breathe on my own, I would most likely die. This is because they didn’t have the advanced equipment, like the NICU units in larger hospitals have. And, because of the blizzard, they wouldn’t be able to fly me out to a better hospital. My life was in God’s hands.

I’m thankful that I was born healthy at four pounds and two ounces, breathing on my own.

My Childhood

The same paternal grandmother that told me I was a miracle, also encouraged me to learn as much as I could, while growing up. Because of all the books she made available to me, even a dictionary, I was able to develop a very proper and wide vocabulary. Growing up, I also had a very vivid imagination. Since my childhood took place is the 90’s, I played outside all day, every day. Most days, I would imagine myself as an indian princess trying to survive on my own. My favorite place on my property was “the woods”, as I called them. The woods was a magical place under a large canopy of trees where all of my imaginations came alive. Sometimes I would gather “herbs” (weeds) for my potions, as a witch. Other days, as an indian princess, I would crush berries and make face paints. I am very thankful for the simple childhood I had. A childhood that fostered a writer’s mind.

Tragedy

It felt as though all of my childhood magic drained away when I was shook into reality at the age of 12. I lost my maternal grandfather to colon cancer. He and I were very close. Not only were we neighbors (my parents lived on my grandmother and grandfather’s property), we were best friends. Wherever he was, on the farm, I was. We were inseparable. So, one can only imagine the pain I felt when my mother asked me if I wanted to say goodbye. I can still remember that December morning so clearly. It had snowed. There was a thick white blanket of fluff on our landscape. My mother had walked home from my grandfather’s deathbed, next door at 8:00 A.M., to ask if I wanted to tell my best friend goodbye. Being still so young and innocent, I was scared, so I declined. I’m glad I did though. I wanted to remember him for who he was, not for the person who was suffering in their last moments. After his death, I cried every night for months. I was old enough to understand he was gone but still too naive to understand the finality of death.

Nine months later, I lost my paternal grandmother to a brain tumor. So, not only was my mother’s side of the family still mourning over my grandfather, now my father’s side of the family was mourning the loss of my grandmother. Unlike my maternal grandfather, she suffered greatly in her final months. It was heartbreaking to watch her suffer. She was a strong, smart woman. I like to think my smarts came from her. There wasn’t really anything she couldn’t do or didn’t know about. She was so much more than a grandmother. She took me to social events and taught me how to be “proper”. She organized parties and raised me to understand the art of entertaining guests. If there was anything that needed to be done in the church, she was the lady who brought everyone together to accomplish what it was that needed to be done. She was a hard woman, who was very straight to the point. I admired that most about her. She was the type of person that she didn’t care who they were, she would “tell them like it is”. She was a wonderful woman. She was an honest woman. I’ll always miss her.

Heart of a Poet

As one can imagine, I had a rough early adolescent life. It was a very dark time for me. No longer being a child, I spent most of my time in my room writing. I would sit by my window and watch storms roll in and pour my heart out onto a piece of paper. I honestly couldn’t explain the type of relief it offered, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Therefore, I wrote more and more. Before I knew it, books upon books were filled. My first poem, written at age 12 was titled People.

People come, people go,

In the rain, out in the snow.

During the day, and in the night,

People are always going left and right.

In March, April, or May,

People can’t go, and People can’t stay.

People are always on their way.

People are always passing away.

Not only did I write a lot of poetry (and still do), I was able to acquire my deceased grandfather’s mandolin. Through learning basic chords, I was able to write music. This helped me to fill books full of songs. It wasn’t until I started reading novels, in my high school library, that I started thinking of all the stories I could write. Yet, I always put off writing a book, because I thought I wasn’t up to the challenge. I didn’t think I could write a whole book. I had never finished anything in life, except high school, at the time.

My Education

At 18, I was a confused nursing school dropout. My parents had gotten divorced, I moved out to live with my boyfriend (now husband), and then we moved back into my parent’s vacant house. I had to deal with the feeling of losing both parents, because my mom moved from Virginia to California, and my dad moved over an hour away. It was at this point in my life I started a real job and had my first baby. After she was born, I was able to stay at home with her and go back to college. This time, I wanted to be a social worker. I worked toward an associate’s degree and when I had my second baby girl, I started on a bachelor’s in human services. Currently, I’m on my last two classes and am set to start on a master’s in human services counseling next month (August). Going to school and writing 10 to 20 page papers every week has shown me that I am strong enough to complete a novel. It has also helped me strengthen my writing skills. I’m so thankful for my children and the support of my husband. He believes in me and encourages me to write as much as I want and attend school for as long as I want. It’s because of him that I’ve been able to stay at home for as long as I have and cherish that special time with my children. They’re a true blessing.

It’s Only the Beginning

So, here I am at 25 years-old, starting a master’s degree and a writing career. You know how they say, “Sometimes it takes a bad experience to put us on the path to a good experience”? Well, I read a book I was very displeased with. I won’t mention the author’s name or book title because I respect the fact they took the time to complete a book and have it published by a well-known publishing company. However, because I was so displeased with the book, I thought to myself, “If this person can write this and be published, why shouldn’t I try?” So I set out to write a book that had been in the back of my mind for several years, Escorting Mr. Colburn.

I loved the idea of the New York City I grew up watching in movies. I then added the idea of a young woman, trying to make it in the big city after suffering great tragedy, starting her own personal travel agent business. Lastly, I liked the idea of her falling in love with someone who was just as damaged as she is.

This is a heartwarming story, with Hallmark like characters, who show us that it’s okay to gather the courage to let go and move on. I’ve been told that I have great flow in this novel and well-developed characters. My favorite is Wanda. Although she isn’t the main character, she’s a strong African American motherly figure to Justine (the main character), who brings so much heart and character into the story. She will have you laughing one minute and crying the next. It is impossible to explain the relief I felt when I finally finished this book and self-published it to Amazon. I was nervous, scared of rejection, and also scared of possibility. I don’t know where this profession will take me, but after fighting it and denying it for so long, it finally feels great to realise that I am a writer and this is what I was born to do, along with being in the helping profession. My books will always have an underlying lesson or moral with the intent to help and entertain.

My second book, which I am also very excited about, will be coming out on September 22nd of this year. It is very different from my first book as it fits the fall-time dark mystery genre.


Nora has just lost her husband and the town is pointing their fingers at her. She has a suspect list of her own. As she investigates her husband’s murder, she uncovers deep family rivalries, small town secrets, and the lengths to which the townspeople will go to keep a secret. This book was so much fun to write. I was able to try out different writing techniques and I also added more characters and drama to this book. I know I am far from perfect, so my goal is to improve with each book I write.

So far, 70 people have Escorting Mr. Colburn in their hands. That’s seven times the amount I thought it would be. The experience of gathering the courage to write and publish my first book has opened my eyes to what I can accomplish. After so many years of feeling lost in life, which is normal as a young adult, I now feel as though I am doing what I am meant to do and going where I am meant to go.

Thank you for taking the time to read about my story. I just love meeting new people and encourage you to contact me on Facebook and on Twitter.

I love getting messages from readers all over, discussing how my novel impacted them and how they can’t wait to read more. It’s definitely given me that extra confidence boost I’ve needed to keep going, and believe I have something unique and special to offer.

I will be releasing a new novel every three to four months. I have many stories of many different genres I plan to publish. I can’t wait to publish them!

Below are the links to all of my sites. I look forward to hearing from you!!

Best Wishes,

Marlena Owens

Facebook – Twitter

WordPress – Goodreads

Amazon:

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16 thoughts on “Meet Guest Author, Marlena Owens…

    • Thank you! One could say, I’m an old soul. I also have a love of learning. Whether it’s history or English, or what went wrong in a relationship and what I learned from it, I’m always soaking up life.

      Liked by 2 people

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