Marion lives in the beautiful Sussex countryside with an understanding husband, a lazy saluki and a large rambling garden, all of which she attempts to keep in some semblance of order.
So without any further ado, here is Marion Eaton talking about her life as an author...
“It’s for you!”
My husband handed me a heavy parcel wrapped in brown paper. He was grinning from ear to ear like a schoolboy — despite the fact that he was knocking sixty years of age. I grabbed the parcel and ripped it open. I already knew what was inside, but nothing had prepared me for the first actual sight of them. Nestled inside the box were five printed copies of the book I’d laboured over for so many late nights and early mornings. Written, edited, re-written, re-read — I’d thought I’d never see my opus in print. With a little hesitation, I picked up the first precious paperback, and felt the prick of tears as I smiled back at Richard. My dream had come true at last!
I’d wanted to write from the time I was a little girl in the early nineteen-fifties. Then I made tiny little books for my dolls. I illustrated them with tiny stick-people drawings and sewed them together with bright red embroidery silk. I was always scribbling as a youngster, stories and poems, but mostly stories. I squirrelled them away and forgot about them.
Life happened. Two careers — one as a lawyer, the other as an aromatherapist — a husband, two children, three dogs, and many years later, I retired. I enjoyed it for the first few weeks, but boredom soon set in. Then one rainy Sunday morning I sat up in bed and declared:
“I’d like to write a book.”
“Why don’t you?” my husband asked, handing me the morning papers and a scrumptious cup of coffee.
“Yes, why not?” I agreed, jumping out of bed and rushing into the study to my computer — with the coffee, but not the newspapers.
Actually, as I was writing — a memoir about the early days of my ‘soliciting’ life — I started to remember several strange and supernatural things. Things that really did happen. As a result, the memoir gradually morphed into a legal mystery thriller peopled with ghosts.
That Sunday morning was a little over five years ago and I haven’t looked back since. I am now writing my twelfth book. I’ve worked out a routine that works for me, and Life is full of the joy of creation.
Each morning as I wake up, I smile. That puts paid to any lingering uneasiness from dreams or thoughts. I stretch three times and leap out of bed … well, ‘creak’ might be a little more apt.
Then it’s into the kitchen to prepare some lemon water for me, coffee for my husband. While waiting for the kettle to boil, I circle all my joints in turn, starting with the shoulders. I call it oiling them because it feels so good. I also fill my mouth with coconut oil to ‘pull’ out all the toxicity that’s built up overnight. You’re supposed to swill the oil round your mouth — actively— for at least 20 minutes. Without fail, my husband will appear and ask me a question. Obviously I can’t speak, so the dumb show that accompanies my answer is usually funny and occasionally guessable. Husband goes into bathroom, chuckling.
I spit out the oil and repair to ‘my’ room where I do Osho’s Kundalini meditation. It consists of shaking the whole body for 15 minutes, dancing for 15 minutes… and that’s where I usually give up and take the dog, a Saluki named Poppy, for an hour’s walk.
A quick bite of breakfast (usually muesli, greek yoghourt and fruit, or a boiled egg), and I take a cup of coffee to my computer. My husband and I enjoy the (generally silent) companionship of sharing a study. It has French doors that open out into our secluded garden, and immediately outside them I planted a lavender labyrinth. Whenever I need a break — or some inspiration — I simply walk its paths and come back in refreshed. In the summer, I take my laptop out onto the swing-seat in the garden or work under the sunshade on our deck.
I write for at least an hour before I allow myself to look at email and possibly Facebook. Half an hour, max, then back to whatever I’m writing that day. I simply couldn’t do without Scrivener. It’s a wonderful tools particularly as I write a lot of different things — novels, non-fiction, articles and manuals — that all need to be set out and compiled in different ways. It took a little while to learn, but the results have been well worth the time invested.
Time for a coffee break. I might do a little light dusting perhaps, peg out the washing or do some ironing before writing for another hour and a half. Now it’s close to lunchtime, so I prepare something light and take it into the garden or the sitting room — the sitting room is always full of sunshine, provided there’s some about. If my husband is free we’ll have lunch together, which usually leads to some interesting conversation, particularly when he’s helping me with research for my books.
In the afternoon, in between writing, I try a little book marketing. I have a marketing plan, at last, and I try to stick to it. For years my attempts were hit and miss, but I’m slowly getting the hang of it, and little and often seems the best way to go.
I used to be anxious about building an email list, but now I’m really enjoying sharing news and discovering new (to me) readers who like my books. While I love people to offer to read my books, I’m still sometimes apprehensive of their opinions. But I’ve learned to appreciate their helpfulness, especially in pointing out mistakes and errors. And it’s lovely when they’re prepared to give an honest review when the book is finally launched. I’ve made some very good friends that way.
In fact, I have teamed up with two other writers of mysteries (we call ourselves the Mystical Mystery Sisters) and we’re planning to do some joint marketing. This promises to be both exciting and fun. I’m looking forward to it.
At about 5 pm Poppy reminds me it’s time for her afternoon walk. She is allowed two treats when we return and she doesn’t settle until she’s had them. Supper is quickly made. Again nothing too heavy nowadays … spaghetti maybe, a fancy omelette or a curry. At the weekend I do the traditional roast with all the trimmings and my husband will no doubt wheedle a trifle, or a baked sponge pudding with custard. Naughty but nice, like him!
After supper we may watch television, read, or if, as usual, I’m in the middle of writing a book, I rush back to my characters. I dread what they might do if I’m not there to make sure they tread the right path. I work until midnight, but I do take breaks — to phone friends or my daughters, shower, do a little yoga, drumming or chanting. (Yes, as you’ve guessed, I’m an ageing hippy!)
Whenever I can bear to leave my writing, I have coffee or lunch with my daughters or friends — we are blessed with several local pubs that serve delicious lunches — or take long country walks, or scrabble in the garden for hours on end. Occasionally we will lunch on fish and chips as we walk by the sea. I’m lucky to live near Hastings and there’s wonderful countryside and seaside nearby.
Some weekends I’m so busy teaching Reiki, or other workshops with a complementary health theme, that I can’t sit down to write until about 7 pm. On those days I will write flat out until 1.00 am and often later. (Writing is very addictive!)
I am fortunate. I enjoy good health despite my advanced years, which I put down to the pleasure of writing, drinking lots of water (and a regular glass of wine), eating organic food, taking gentle exercise, meditating — and being happy. Reiki is the ‘secret art of inviting happiness’ and it is my spiritual path.
I am very blessed. I love my life — but nothing is as exciting as unwrapping the first paperback copy of my latest book.
Thank you so much, Marion, for appearing on my blog! Make sure you guys check back next Monday for another Day In The Life of an Author feature <3
Check out Marion Eaton here: www.marioneaton.com