Sunday, July 22, 2007

Henri Does Marilyn Celeste Morris

They call the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens "sanctuary for the senses" and I thought no better place to interview Mademoiselle Marilyn Celeste Morris in a place as beautiful as she. Oooo. La. La.

I'd never been to Fort Worth Botanic Gardens, much less Fort Worth, Texas, but this was the place my next interviewee and I were to meet for a little chit chat. Tour coordinator said I'd have fun because she knew Mademoiselle Marilyn very well and considered her one of her closest friends, so she sent me on a mission - to interview the lovely lady for her The Women of Camp Sobingo Virtual Book Tour that's running to the end of this month.

Fort Worth was an interesting place to do this, too, and the Botanic Gardens here were as beautiful as could be for this time of year. I figured they must have one humungous water bill with all the thousands of native and exotic species of plants in over 100 acres that they have here. I made a mental note to stop off at the Rose Gardens as roses were my passion, even though I'm a such a macho kind of ghost, as you know...haha.

I was growing nervous by the minute. Mademoiselle Marilyn was a way better writer than I was and had published many, many books to my one. I tried not to let that destroy my already deflated ego and decided I’d talk to her as if she was like anyone else.

But how can you help not be intimidated? Her latest book, THE WOMEN OF CAMP SOBINGO, was destined to be a bestseller. I knew it. I felt it in my bones. What a wonderful story of four Army wives who discover their inner strength while they cope with living in a military compound in a faraway primitive country right after WWII.

Interesting time of history and Henri could not wait to interview this magnificent and gifted woman.

It grew to be very hot, so I sat down on one of the park benches near the waterfall and that’s when I saw her. She was fanning herself as she made her way toward me (I had to materialize during the interview or she wouldn’t have seen me, of course).

“You must be Henri,” she said, sitting down beside me. My heart started doing pitter-patters and I pulled out my notes of questions to ask her, then threw them on the ground. I was going to do this interview with no props. Completely au naturelle.

“Bonjour Mademoiselle Marilyn,” I said, feeling a lump forming in my throat. “So glad you could make it. Weather’s quite warm, isn’t it?”

"Well, it’s July in North Central Texas," she replied. "What would you expect?"

Tough cookie! I liked that. “Hope your trip to these lovely botanic gardens was worth it to give Henri an interview. Have you ever been here before?”

"Oh, yes, many times. I love the Japanese Gardens, especially. Soothing and serene. That’s what we’re all looking for."

And some of us are looking for a little more......

“I hear you’ve been many, many places, Mademoiselle Marilyn. Far off places. Do you think that being as you went to all these far off places, it make you better writer for book?”

"Yes. I kind of soaked up atmosphere, scenery, people and languages. A knowledge of history helps, too."

I had to get this woman to open up more. I decided to do for the gut.
“Tell me, what is the most wonderful place you ever been?”
I figured she would say here. With me. Just the two of us.

"You mean, with my clothes on?"
She grinned an infectious grin and I knew she was catching some of Henri's vibes. I expected her to throw off her clothes and let Henri have good time; but, alas, she just kept talking.

"Well, it would have to be Austria," she continued. "I lived there for three years when my dad, an army officer, was stationed there with the US Occupation Forces. If given a diagnosis of only six weeks to live, I would go immediately to Austria and die happy."

If I could have Mademoiselle Marilyn just one time, I would die happy. Wait. I'm already dead. I think I would need to rephrase that.

I was starting to really warm to this woman. Although in this heat, it wasn’t hard to do; but, still, she was so open with Henri and kind. I could picture date with her and much, much more. But, I wanted to know more about this lovely woman who wrote many books. I needed to know her secrets....

“Mademoiselle Marilyn, can you tell Henri why you wrote The Women of Camp Sobingo?”

"It came out of writing my book, Once a Brat, where I related that one of my mother’s bridge-playing friends committed suicide when we lived in that army compound in primitive, 1946, Seoul, Korea. I always wondered why a person would do such a thing; other women evidently had more coping skills and a more stable background than she did. The story just grew from there."

Those lips. It was hard for Henri to remain calm and collected, but interview was first or tour coordinator would send Henri’s head rolling across the parkway.

“Sooooo, how about those Yankees?”

Oops, wrong state. I was getting nervous. She laughed which sent tingles inside Henri.

“I’m sorry, Mademoiselle Marilyn. Tour coordinator has me so nervous. She told me you were a hottie…well…you certainly live up to your title. Let’s try to change the subject, shall we? So how is your virtual tour going? You know I toured last month and I have to tell you, Mademoiselle, it was a lot of work. How has it been for you?”

"A hottie? Pardon me while I laugh. As for work, yes, it’s a lot of work to promote your work. I’d rather be writing, like many authors who lack the promoting gene, but luckily, I have Dorothy for that."

Dorothy. Tour coordinator. Tour coordinator from hell. Slave driving tour coordinator from hell who makes Henri blog and promote and go on tours and...well, you get the picture. I couldn't understand why this woman of great pleasure loved her so. Must be a woman thing. They always stick together on things like that, something I'd never understand.

“How else have you been promoting your book besides the tour?”
That was for tour coordinator so if she reads this, my head will stay on top of shoulders.

"I recently sent word to my high school alumni association newsletter editor and asked her if she would mind doing a little Blatant Self-Promotion and told her about my writing career," she said. "She’s thrilled that we have a published author in our midst, so she said yes. And I gave a copy of my Once a Brat book to my son-in-law’s stepmother at my daughter’s wedding last month, and she is spreading the word about all my books. I will also be speaking at the singles class at the First United Methodist Church in downtown Fort Worth next month and will have brochures on hand to direct people to where they can buy my books. Also will be signing books at the Overseas Brats homecoming on August 3rd, and will plug my other books there, too. And further down the calendar, I will be on radio, in Weatherford, TX (just outside of Fort Worth) to discuss The Women of Camp Sobingo, and in particular, e publishing."

I could hear a voice calling my name. I looked up and Mademoiselle Marilyn was peering into my face. I was flat on my back. I apologized, saying I hadn't had breakfast that morning, and let her pull me to my feet. I guess the full extent of promoting had knocked me out. Is this what book promoting is all about? Where are the good times and the Coors Light and fishing down at the pond with Boo?

I gathered my composure and continued with the interview. “Do you have other books you’d like me to mention in your interview?”

"Heh. I think I just did," she laughed sensuously. "There’s the book about my military brat life, Once a Brat, which covers my travels with my army officer father from 1938 – 1958 (yes, Henri, I’m that old! Now do you still think I’m a hottie?)"

Uh, shall I remind her how old I am? *grin*

"And my first novel, Sabbath’s Room, a paranormal murder mystery set in the Texas Hill Country; and my book about my struggles with Lupus: Diagnosis: Lupus: The Intimate Journal of a Lupus Patient. Those other books are in print by PublishAmerica and available on Amazon. This book is my first venture into e publishing and we’ll see how that goes.

"Incidentally, my dear Henri, Mardi Gras Publishing is known mainly for its – er – erotic novels. (Do you see the come-hither look in my eyes?)"

A woman after my own heart. My life's story was one big erotic novel after another. I was liking this woman from the lone star state.

“Okay, I do have to ask this. Do you blog? That was for tour coordinator, too. She is such a slave driving blogging fool and insists I blog more than I have been. Why, in your own words, do you think it’s necessary?”

"The more you put out there on the Internet," she said, "the more known you become, at least in certain circles, such as the Military Brat community with my Once a Brat Book Blog

With families and friends of persons with lupus:

My blog about the supernatural cat who solves a murder,
Besides my “rants” blog, http://www./
And my blog for writing miscellaneous, http://www./

So, yeah, blogging is important. Dorothy is such a slave driver, you are right. But she’s also a good and patient teacher for those of us afflicted with the absence of the Promo Gene. Look, she’s even using YOU, a ghost, to promote my book."

Touche! But, there was a lot for Henri in this which the lovely lady would find out later. So, use me, baby, use me.

“Okay, that wraps it up. I won’t keep you out in this heat any longer. Do you think that maybe we might be able to hook up sometime?”
No need to beat around the bush in this heat.

"Maybe around Halloween? I’ll bring my book about a black cat that used to belong to a witch and we’ll discuss whether anybody on The Other Side might be interested in it."! My cheeks blushed. What a wonderful woman. I got her number and told her we’d catch a movie sometime.

“Thanks for coming, Marilyn. I understand you will be on tour coordinator’s blog, Pump Up Your Book Promotion on Wednesday. I’ll see you then. If I don’t see you sooner. *wink wink*”

"Of course. A movie would be great. Call me."

Be. Still. My. Ghostie. Heart.

I watched Mademoiselle Marilyn stride out to her car. She was an angel. Do check out her book, THE WOMEN OF CAMP SOBINGO at Mardis Gras Publishing. I know I’ll be checking her out…reeeeeeeeeeal soon.

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Blogger elysabeth said...

Long time since Henri has posted - must be slowing down or haven't done any more interviews. How about some updates on the book and will there be more? - see you in the postings - E :)

August 18, 2007 at 7:52 AM  

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