Sunday, July 08, 2007

SPECIAL GUEST: Marilyn Celeste Morris, Author of THE WOMEN OF CAMP SOBINGO

I have a super, super guest this morning. Let me tell you something...this woman is the bomb. I've known her for YEARS and I have read some of the books she has written and it just doesn't get any better than this. Her name is Marilyn Celeste Morris and maybe she's not a household name (yet!) and maybe she's not a bestselling author (YET!), but if the Boomer Chick can give her a little push, then ho-ney, watch out!

Marilyn is also one of my regulars on the virtual book tour trail as this is her second book out, and she is with us today to talk about this book which is titled The Women of Camp Sobingo. I read her other book, Once a Brat, and thoroughly fell in love with it because I am an army brat, also, which is what the book is about. The Women of Camp Sobingo also is about military life but this go around is about her mother's life as an army wife who is sent to join her husband in Seoul, Korea, in 1946. A definite must-read for history buffs. But, it is not a history book per say; it is a dramatic tale of four women who come together and bond during one of the most important times in the history of our nation. Pick up a copy of this wonderful book and see if I'm not right.

So, let's get down to it. I give you, the one, the only, Ms. Marilyn Celeste Morris!

Boomer Chick: Welcome to Boomer Chick, Marilyn! Would you like to tell us a little about yourself?

Marilyn: I'm a single writer living in Fort Worth TX and I've been writing since I was a little kid. Didn't start getting serious about it, though until I finally sent off my first novel, Sabbath's Room, and it was published in 2001. Closely behind that was my military brat book about my world travels with my army officer father from my birth in 1938 to his retirement in 1958. (Yes, you read that right....1938 is the year of my birth, which makes me real old.) My third book, Diagnosis Lupus: The Intimate Journal of a Lupus Patient details my years long struggle to be diagnosed and treated for this mysterious disease.

Boomer Chick: Would you like to tell us about your new book, The Women of Camp Sobingo?

Marilyn: It's the story of four women who meet aboard a ship bound for Korea in the days following the end of WWII. These women forge bonds that help them survive in a desolate military compound and each woman's background is explored as they grew up in Chicago, West Texas, Oklahoma and Oregon. After 25 years, they reunite to uncover secrets and sorrows of their days in Camp Sobingo.

Boomer Chick: The background of this story is really interesting. It’s actually based on your mother’s true experiences. Did you go mainly from memory as a child at that point of time or did your mother tell you much of the story?

Marilyn: Part of it is true. My mother actually said little about it, so the story is mostly imaginary, as are the women themselves. I would call them composites of women I have known.
Boomer Chick: One part I noticed really intrigued me. You say that one of the women committed suicide. What were the circumstances surrounding that? Why did she commit suicide?

Marilyn: My mother did mention a woman's suicide, but there were not many details given me as to how or why. I was only 8 or 9 years old at the time, but it always disturbed me that although the other women coped as best they could, what was it about that one woman's background that led her to believe she could no longer live with herself. I made up a background for her, as I did with the other women, and a reason she used to justify her suicide.

Boomer Chick: The four women that bonded during this time. What do you think was the bond they shared?

Marilyn: Loneliness. Isolation. The bitter cold winters and blazing summers. Their husbands would be away on maneuvers for days at a time, so they shared each others company, their hopes and dreams, and taught each other how to cope. With the one exception. Leah was doomed from the time she discovered in Oklahoma that she was adopted and half-Indian; therefore, different, and not worthy of love.

Boomer Chick: In your honest opinion, what do you think people will learn from The Women of Camp Sobingo?

Marilyn: Since one of the hurdles they must overcome is their loneliness, I hope readers will realize they have an inner strength that has yet to be tapped, or if it has been brought out by some kind of crisis, that they have coped, and will continue to survive whatever life has in store for them. Also, one of the more subtle sub-plots deals with assumptions that are not true, but carried within us can do much harm. One of the characters discovers that what she had assumed to be true was not what really happened, and the burden of guilt she has carried for 25 years is suddenly lifted when the other women tell her what they had already known about Leah's background.

Boomer Chick: Do you have more books in the works?

Marilyn: Oh, yes. (Grinning here) This is my second novel, and the works in progress are all novels. I'm working on a sequel to Sabbath's Room, to be called Sabbath's House, and it involves yet another mystery contained within the walls of an old house that has had only women owners. Another novel is Forces of Nature -- what happens when a B52 laden with jet fuel is flung by a tornado into a busy shopping mall -- who lives and who dies?

Another mystery is The Murders at 5400, and features a group of four women who meet regularly for a book club and they help solve two mysterious murders in a formerly plush condominium community. Also in the works is a Victorian romance, The Unexplored Heart.
And I'm putting together selected humor/human interest columns written during my ten years as a weekly columnist for a community newspaper, tentatively titled, My Ashes of Dead Lovers Garage Sale and Other Stories from a Single Woman of a Certain Age.

Boomer Chick: Where can our readers purchase The Women of Camp Sobingo?

Marilyn: It's from Mardi Gras Publishing, and the link is http://www.mardigraspublishing.com/womenofcampsogingo.html.

Boomer Chick: Thank you for coming, Marilyn, and good luck on the rest of your virtual book tour!

Marilyn: It's always a pleasure visiting with you, Dorothy. Thank you!

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