Welcome to another Meet the Author, where we get to meet Marjorie Hembroff, a debut author who believes that it is never to late to learn a new skill!
Welcome to An Angell's Life, Marjorie! What is the current book you are promoting?
The book I am promoting is my debut juvenile novel Bess’s Magical Garden. I work for the cover and pencil sketches for the interior. did the art.
What inspired this book?
I had been reading a book about writing picture books. I had worked through the guidelines and had an idea formed for one. Then I started looking through the story idea’s at the back of the book and came across one that I thought would work. The idea of a girl adopting a cat came to me because my oldest daughter had lured the neighbour’s cat into our yards with bits of food. Then the questions of Why, Where and When came into my mind. I started scribbling down different scenes as I drank my coffee. I had to give her at least one or two serious problems to overcome. The name Bess came to me and then my character Bess was born.
What is your next project?
My next project is another book with Bess where she solves another mystery while settling into her new school. I also have another book that I have been working on as well. I always have short stories in various stages as well. I work back and forth between projects so that I can take a break from the previous one. I am also an artist and have several art projects on the go. Sometimes if I need a break from writing or simply haven’t found a solution to a story problem I go into my art studio and paint for a while. Then I can return with a fresh mind and the problem almost solves itself.
How Do you write your books?
Sometimes I make a rough outline so I know where the book or story ends. I don’t always follow the outline closely. That would make me more of an organic writer opposed to someone who sticks to a ridged structure. I have tried to make story arc for the story and characters but that only frustrates me. A lot of times once I have created my main characters the story just naturally flows out of my head onto the paper or computer screen. I do have to do many drafts and add a lot of missing details or take out unnecessary ones.
Who is your favorite fictional character and author?
As a child my favorite book character was Anne from Anne of Green Gables. In the series she grew up from the young girl who was constantly getting into scrapes because of her imagination. I identified with Anne because I was that same kind of girl. I was imaginative and impulsive and was often in trouble due to some of my wild ideas. In my mind I was Anne because she was raised by an elderly brother and sister and my parents were older than other kid’s parents. My favorite author as I was growing up was L.M.Montgomery. As an adult I read her journals and books written about her. I admired her dedication to her craft despite many setbacks. She was a writer, mother, and minister’s wife. In that order. She became my literary hero and I strove to write as well as she did. I started to see her as a person not just an author. Since then I have had many other favorites which are too many to mention here. Each one has touched me in a different way depending on the time period of the book. I have been an avid reader since early childhood.
I do love Anne from Anne of Green Gables! I always wished I could be as brave as she was. But I did not envy all the trouble she found herself in!
Here is a bit more about Marjorie:
I was creative and shy as a child. I spent a lot of time outside either playing by myself or with my younger sister. There was an embankment on the south side of the house with a path that led down into my mother’s sunken flower bed that was sheltered on three sides by caragana and lilac bushes. It was fun skipping around among the flowers and it was a great place to let the imagination run wild. The clay was great for making small dishes and utensils. I made a lot of them and dried them in the sun. There was a couple of places among the trees where tables and chairs and swings were set up. We would often play house or pretend it was a store. Our snacks came fresh out of the large vegetable garden on the other side of the caragana hedge. The leaves off the lilac bushes became money. I was impulsive and some of my ideas got me in trouble. A few years later I drew a picture of the Flying Purple People Eater from the hit song. I was always making up stories in my head but never wrote any of them down. It was easy to become someone totally different whenever I wanted.
I grew up on a farm in southwestern Manitoba, Canada before there was TV and our entertainment was usually listening to the radio, reading, listening to Father play the fiddle and doing crafts. I was the fourth in a family of five and imaginative and impulsive. We went to a red-brick one room schoolhouse three miles from home. Most of the grades consisted of three or four students taught by one teacher.
Many years later when I had young children I started to take courses and put my ideas onto paper. While the children grew up I took art and writing courses. My stories disappointed me so I concentrated on my art for a long time. When I turned sixty five I started to write in earnest and developed stories that I was starting to feel proud of. That was when the idea for Bess’s Magical Garden came and Bess was born. At that time I took an online course to get me started and after four years finally had a completed manuscript. It is my belief that one is never too old to learn a new skill.