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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Author Interview: Marin Thomas

The Long and the Short of It is very excited to have Marin Thomas with us this week. As well as being a prolific author, she is also an accomplished basketball player, attending the University of Arizona on a basketball scholarship, and was inducted in May 2005 into the Janesville, Wisconsin Sports Hall of Fame. She has a brand new book being released from Harlequin this month, The Cowboy and the Angel, and I asked her to tell us a bit about it.

“The Cowboy and the Angel is about a Detroit social worker who doesn't always do things by the book in order to help the children under her care,” Marin told me. “The hero is a corporate cowboy relocating his company from Tulsa to Detroit and unwillingly ends up involved in the heroine's mission. When my editors asked me to do a Christmas-themed book I wanted to pick a location few readers would consider Christmas-y. I wanted to show that Christmas is more than gifts--it's about a time of year people can and should touch the lives of others in need--especially children. Detroit gets a bum rap sometimes because of its economic troubles, political turmoil and crime….but often the true spirit of Christmas is strongest and more heartfelt in the trenches of our larger cities, which are mostly made up of smaller, tight knit communities.”

Marin didn’t start out to be a writer, though, despite all her accolades and numerous books she’s published. When she was younger, she wanted to be a high school history teacher. While she was in college, she declared her major to be broadcast journalism and half-way through her college career, she thought about changing her major to teaching. “I’d have had to take another year of classes after my athletic scholarship ran out,” she said, “and I didn’t want to take out any government loans. Later when I worked for AT&T, I went back to college to earn my certification in high school history but my husband’s job was transferred to California and I was unable to complete the program.”

She told me she always loved learning about the past and researching things, and she’s put this talent to good use in her writing. She told me, “My ‘Hearts of Appalachia’ series is to date the most-researched series I've written.”

Her husband, who is also her college sweetheart (and they got married in a five minute ceremony in Las Vegas), bought Marin’s desk for her after she sold her first novel. “It’s a Texas Ranger desk,” she said. “Extra long and wide with rusted Texas Stars on it.”

The desk fits well into her favorite room in the house, her office. She told me she painted the wall about the chair rail life vest orange by Ralph Lauren. Below the chair rail, she did a faux leather technique. She tore paper grocery bags to pieces and then glued them to the wall with Elmer’s glue and water. Once it dried thoroughly, she painted a Ralph Lauren “tobacco” stain over the paper to give it an aged look.

Her office is decorated with many souvenirs from trips and from her family: a western coat rack with an antique sombrero and fake gun belt with six shooter hanging on it; a real buffalo skull on the wall; a large painting her father created of a blacksmith which is framed in dark barn wood is on another wall; an Indian rug on the floor; and an Indian spear and rain stick lean in the corner. She also said, “Several western framed photographs of my family plus an antique collection of old books that belonged to my mother sits on a hutch in front of the windows.”

However, she does keep her desk fairly clean when she writes or, as she told me, “I become easily distracted. Keyboard, monitor, desk-size calendar, a rolodex, Kleenex box, pencil jar, and folders for my current writing projects--that's it. “

On a more personal note: Marin’s favorite pizza is extra-cheese, plain. “I’m a cheese head from Wisconsin,” she explained. “What did you expect?” And, with the pizza, Pepsi...not Coke.

You can keep up with Marin on her website,

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