Author of: One Scoop or Two
Marilyn Baron writes in a variety of genres, from women’s fiction to historical romantic thrillers and romantic suspense to paranormal/fantasy. She’s received writing awards in Single Title, Suspense Romance, Novel with Strong Romantic Elements, and Paranormal/Fantasy Romance. She was also The Finalist in the 2017 Georgia Author of the Year Awards (GAYA) in the Romance Category for her novel, Stumble Stones, and The Finalist for the 2018 GAYA Awards in the Romance category for her novel, The Alibi. Her short story, Stracciatella Gelato: Melting Time, which was released April 20, 2020, by The Wild Rose Press, is her 26th work of fiction. A public relations consultant in Atlanta, she is immediate past chair of the Roswell Reads Steering Committee and serves on the Atlanta Authors Series Committee.
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Hello to the wonderful Marilyn Baron! When were you first published and how did you celebrate?
My sister and I were on a tour of Spain in 2012 when I got the call (email) from The Wild Rose Press that they were going to publish my first book, Under the Moon Gate. I know I was excited but don’t remember if we did anything specific to celebrate.
Tell us about what you write?
I write in a variety of genres, from women’s fiction to historical romantic thrillers and romantic suspense to paranormal/fantasy. My favorite theme is WWII, because my father was a top-turret gunner on a B-17 flying missions over Europe in the war. I try to infuse humor into all of my books, even if the topic is dark. And I always include a romance. I love to travel and have set many books in places I’ve visited.
Cool, about Grandpa!!! The greatest generation for sure! What inspired this particular story?
I studied Italian, art history, religion, English and mythology my senior year abroad in Florence, Italy. I was inspired to write this story while visiting Florence on a day trip from Rome last October because I wanted to revisit some of my favorite places, places I would probably never see again in my lifetime, including my favorite gelato shop, Vivoli®. While I was there I wondered “what if” I could somehow be transported back to my twenty-three-year-old self. What if I knew then what I know now? How would that change my life? I was cursed by a gypsy when I was a student in Florence, so why not a reverse curse?
What a great premise, and I love how you got to it. How did your interest in writing originate?
I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I read Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Any advice for aspiring writers?
Finish the book. You can always improve a manuscript but you can’t fix a blank page.
As always, the best advice ever! What is the most difficult thing about writing a book?
The sagging middle. I always come up with the beginning and the end as well as the title and names of the main characters before I start writing. But the middle is the most difficult part.
What book have you read that you wish you had written?
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
If writing is your first passion, what is your second?
Reading. I’m a voracious reader. Every author should be.
What’s one thing that your readers would be surprised to learn about you?
I was born without a sense of smell. I could be in a room that was on fire (and have been) and if I’m turned away from the fire I wouldn’t be able to smell it.
Well, that’s scary! How much of the book is realistic?
Most of it. I actually did go on a day-trip to Florence from Rome to visit my favorite sights probably for the last time. I walked around with a cane, which impeded my progress. When I got to my favorite gelato shop, my husband said, what if? What if I could be transported back to my college days? There was no affair, but I was cursed by a gypsy when I attended college in Florence, so I imagined what a reverse curse would be like.
Do you need supreme quiet when you write or do you prefer music and/or background noise?
I can write in extreme quiet but I also like to write with music, especially if it’s the style of music of the era I’m writing about. For example, I listened to ’40s music when I wrote Under the Moon Gate set in WW II Bermuda, and I listened to songs of the era when I attended college when I wrote the women’s fiction, Stones.
Perfect and I’m right there with you. Anything else you want addressed:
I feel lucky I pursued my dreams of being a writer. When I went to college, my father knew I wanted to write but he thought I couldn’t earn a living writing, so he thought I should be a teacher and write on the side. I took one course in kiddy literature and changed my major to Journalism and have had a successful career in Public Relations. He also said, stay on the payroll, but I ended up starting my own Public Relations business. So, don’t let anyone stop you from pursuing your dream.
What would you most like to say to your readers?
I like to write in a variety of genres, which isn’t conventional, but I hope you’ll give my books a try. If someone tells you stick to one genre, my advice is to branch out and try something new.
About the Book
Stracciatella Gelato: Melting Time
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Release Date: April 20, 2020
Cover Artist: Debbie Taylor
She was running out of time. She would just have a handful of minutes to walk along the Arno River and perhaps walk across the Ponte Vecchio. She loved jewelry and she could spend hours gazing at the shops. There wouldn’t be time to see the David at the Accademia Gallery. She hadn’t thought to reserve a ticket and probably couldn’t get in anyway. It was a good thing Michelangelo’s David was burned onto her brain. She would never forget the magnificent sculpture. By the time she arrived at the river, she realized she had forgotten her cane. Damn, she couldn’t walk without it. But then she had fairly run to the river, without the cane. She scratched her head. How was that even possible? She no longer needed a cane to walk. Her steps were lighter. She felt infinitely lighter, even after that humongous cup of gelato.
She glanced into the mirror of a parked motorcycle and drew back in shock. She could hardly believe her reflection. She was staring back at her twenty-three-year-old face and body, complete with butt-hugging jeans, a form-fitting beige ribbed blouse, and clogs she couldn’t have walked in before she arrived in Florence.
A band of Italian boys surrounded her, shouting, “Ciao, Bella.” What was happening? Was she hallucinating? What was in that gelato anyway? Somehow, that Roma woman or the gelato or a miracle had managed to melt time and transport her back to the Florence of her college days. She recognized the outfit she was wearing from her photo album. Was she having sunstroke? There had to be a rational explanation.
Let’s finish with everyone’s favorite… Speed Dating!
Favorite movie: Casablanca
Best place you’ve visited: Italy (Lake Como)
Place you’d like to visit: Portugal. I had a cruise scheduled before the virus forced cancellation. Also, the Galapagos and South Africa.
Favorite food: Fried shrimp or fried lobster.
If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play you? I have no idea. I know mostly stars of yester-year, not the current ones.
What song best sums you up? During the pandemic, “Too Close for Comfort.”
Oxford comma, yes or no? In general, no. I’m in PR and when I edit projects for my clients, it would depend on their style.
Pen or pencil? Of the two, pen, but I prefer a computer.
Favorite music? 1940s
Coffee or tea? Hot chocolate.
What does your desk look like? OMG, you don’t want to know. Even Marie Kondo couldn’t help me.
What is your writing vice or must-haves? A computer.
Plotter or pantser? Definite pantser
Mac or PC? PC
Favorite dessert? Chocolate chip (Stracciatella) gelato, of course.
What is your favorite thing to learn about in your free time? Read any book or watch any TV series about World War II.
You have a time travel machine. Where and when? A scenario like I imagined in my short story, Stracciatella Gelato: Melting Time. My 23-year-old self back in college in Florence, Italy, reliving my life.
Are you earth, wind, fire or water? Probably water, because my favorite place to vacation is the beach.