Another Column at MyShelf.Com

Beneath the Covers,Past
A Romance Column
By Carol Ann Culbert Johnson

Introducing Marilyn Parrish

Carol: Give a short bio about yourself.

Marilyn: I live in a suburb of Chicago with my husband Richard and our 9 year old Calico cat, Chloe. I’ve been writing for over 3 decades. Hundreds of my stories and articles have been published in national magazines. These include all the Dorchester romance magazines and Woman’s World, Lotto World and several others. My 5 erotic print novels were published by 3 different publishers twenty years ago. Song of Surrender and Stolen Desire were produced as audio cassette romances. I taught writing at 2 local colleges and the YMCA and enjoyed being a writing instructor for a correspondence course. I’ve worked as an editor, advertising copywriter, newspaper columnist and staff writer for a tabloid magazine. I’m a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime as well as several online writing groups.


Carol: Tell us about your motivation to write.

Marilyn: Even as a child, I loved to tell stories to my friends. The transition to writing stories seemed inevitable. I think I was born to be a writer. I love creating characters and taking them on exciting fictional journeys. Although I try to write every day, the unexpected sometimes interrupts my daily date with the computer. I’ve learned to go with the flow.


Carol: Explain your journey to publication. What was your reaction and how has it changed your life?

Marilyn: I sold my first story for $50 to an occult magazine. It was a romantic ghost story. That was the beginning. I was ecstatic! Being published validated my writing and proved I had talent. From there, I began selling to confession magazines. Over the years, I’ve sold to every confession magazine published. Writing has given me a wonderful outlet for my creativity and imagination. Knowing people share and enjoy the tales my imagination spins is really satisfying.


Carol: Describe your current book.

Marilyn: Deadly Desire is a tale of love and suspense. When Leah is terrorized, she suspects everyone…including the man she loves. Each chapter ends on a cliffhanger or foreshadowing to keep the reader riveted.


Carol: List your other books, and describe them.

Marilyn: Meant to Be, just released through Amira Press, is an anthology of romantic stories of Love Lost and Found. My stories Echoes of Love and Menu for Love are featured. My story Evil Lives Next Door is scheduled for publication in October True Romance.


Carol: Who is your one favorite author?

Marilyn: I have too many too list, but I love anything by Mary Higgins Clark.


Carol: What is your advice to aspiring writers?

Marilyn: Have faith in yourself and don’t give up. This is a great time to be a writer with so many e-publishers eager for submissions. Opportunities abound as never before.


Carol: What is your genre of writing?

Marilyn: Romantic suspense.


Carol: Where do you want to take your writing in the future?

Marilyn: I hope to write a series of Deadly titles romantic suspense novels. My current work in progress is Deadly Deception, a full –length novel that will be available in both print and e-book format.


Carol: What are your favorite writing websites if any?

Marilyn: I subscribe to several. They’re all helpful.


Carol: Do you like writing short stories, novels, poems or novella? Which is your favorite and why?

Marilyn: I enjoy writing all of the above. I’m now concentrating on novels.


Carol: Are you in any book clubs?

Marilyn: No. I read independently.


Carol: What is your opinion of your current publisher and would you recommend them to others?

Marilyn: Amira Press is great to work with. They are supportive and keep their promises. Yes, I highly recommend Amira Press to all writers.


Carol: Would you self-publish and why or why not?

Marilyn: I may. It’s always an option but so far, it hasn’t been necessary. My work has been accepted by publishers.


Carol: What do you think of the black writers today?

Marilyn: Happily, black writers have many new venues to showcase their talent. Readers enjoy multicultural and interracial stories. Deadly Desire is an interracial novella and Deadly Deception is an IR novel.


Carol: What family member, if any, supports your writing?

Marilyn: My husband and children are among my biggest fans. My sister has supported me from the very beginning.


Carol: Have you done any book signings? If so, what was the result?

Marilyn: No. Not yet.


Carol: What are your marketing tools for your books?

Marilyn: My blogs, online writing groups and chats help promote my work.


Carol: Give us your website and email address where we can purchase and check out your work.

Marilyn: My new website is My others sites are and


Carol: Did you attend writing classes, and if so, what is your opinion on writing seminars, degrees, and workshops?

Marilyn: Yes, I’ve attended Creative Writing classes (and taught them) and found them helpful. I’ve also attended online classes. They’re great because you can have the lessons emailed and proceed at your own pace.


Carol: How did you get into an anthology and how was the experience?

Marilyn: I was asked to contribute to Meant to Be. I submitted two stories on speculation to I Confess #5 and was delighted when my stories were accepted.


Carol: What is your favorite voice to write in and why?

Marilyn: I enjoy first person the most but in novels, it’s limiting.


Carol: Do you want to write full-time or is this just a hobby for you?

Marilyn: I do not write full time, although I write on a daily basis. I write a few hours each day. I’m serious about my writing; it’s not my main source of income.


Carol: In reviews of your books/short stories, etc., is the feedback positive or negative?

Marilyn: I’ve had two reviews of Deadly Desire and both were positive.


Carol: Do you have an editor?

Marilyn: Yes. Yvette Lynn of Amira Press. She’s terrific.


Carol: Of all your books/short stories, what is your favorite and why?

Marilyn: My favorite novella is The Sound of Evil, published in True Story. It’s an eerie tale of love and black magic. I had an agent at the time who said my story was “too far out”. When it was accepted with a glowing note from the editor, my agent admitted she was wrong and was almost as happy as I was.


Carol: Where can your books/short stories be purchased?

Marilyn: My stories can be purchased through and as well as other websites. Just type in Deadly Desire on your search engine and discount purchase sites will appear. Shortened links are listed with my book covers.

Carol: What is the message you want to send out with your books?

Marilyn: Love conquers all.


Carol: Is non-fiction and historical something you want to write in the future?

Marilyn: No. I prefer contemporary fiction, although I’ve had about one hundred articles published in magazines.


Carol: What kinds of books do you like to read?

Marilyn: Romance, mystery, suspense, romantic suspense, Gothic, paranormal and inspirational romance.


Carol: What is your full-time job?

Marilyn: I’m retired so my time is my own now.


Carol: If God gave you three wishes what would they be and why?

Marilyn: First, I’d love to have the gift of healing. Second, I’d wish good health and prosperity to those I love. My third personal wish is to write at least one best seller.


Carol: Tell us about your upcoming books and events.

Marilyn: Deadly Desire and Meant to Be are my current publications. I have shorter works out to market. I have no scheduled online chats right now but I promote on various romance book websites. Look for I Confess 5 by Carol Ann Culbert Johnson, at scheduled for release in 2008. I hope to complete my current novel in progress, Deadly Deception, by the end of this year. My best wishes and heartfelt appreciation to all readers. May your lives be filled with love, laughter and happy endings.

2007 Past Columns

Introducing Marilyn Parrish

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