On Nov. 29, Marilyn Brant's novel "A Summer in Europe" will be released. Once again the author delves into the world of a woman unaware of what she really wants and needs out of life, until a summer in Europe sets her spirit free to take the chances and risks she has subdued and banished to the forgotten recesses of her mind. "A Summer in Europe" is a love story told with grace, humor, and the finesse established and new Marilyn Brant readers will enjoy for years to come.

Holding an MA in educational psychology, Marilyn Brant has taught school, freelanced as a magazine writer and national book reviewer, dabbled in fiction and the arts, and maintained a constant fascination with the works of Jane Austen. So much so, Marilyn's acclaimed debut novel “According to Jane" revolves around a young woman following the wise and witty advice of Jane Austen's voice.


Her second offering, "Friday Mornings at Nine," takes the reader on a journey of self. Not self-discovery, but the pursuit to answer the question most have asked at least once – "What if?" This is a unique and expertly told tale of three women who step out of their norm and blur the lines separating fantasy from reality.


On Nov. 29, Marilyn's novel "A Summer in Europe" will be released. Once again the author delves into the world of a woman unaware of what she really wants and needs out of life, until a summer in Europe sets her spirit free to take the chances and risks she has subdued and banished to the forgotten recesses of her mind. "A Summer in Europe" is a love story told with grace, humor, and the finesse established and new Marilyn Brant readers will enjoy for years to come.


Q. Let's get this out on the table right now. I love anchovies. You don't. What's wrong with anchovies?


A. Ha! Well, I love your sense of humor, even though I don't share your adoration for anchovies. At all. They ruined an otherwise perfectly tasty pizza for me once, and I've never forgiven them.


Q. After reading the first three pages of "A Summer in Europe" I was hooked. How does it feel knowing for certain your writing can mesmerize a reader?


A. There's nothing like that feeling of being told something I wrote touched a reader, made him or her laugh, compelled someone to keep turning the pages or helped a reader feel less alone in having experienced an emotion. It's a pure gift when the right book reaches the right reader ... as much for the author as for the individual who picked up the story.


Q. What is it about Jane Austen that has made you such a fan?


A. How do I count the ways? I'm convinced Jane was a genius - not only in the literary world but also in the realm of behavioral science. There's a timelessness and a universality to her work. I was only 14 when I first read “Pride and Prejudice,” but I remember being able to immediately recognize her characters in my daily life - in the behavior of my friends, family members, even myself. Jane understood the inconsistencies, foibles and self-delusions of us all.


Q. Your love of travel obviously played a part in writing "A Summer in Europe." Do you believe a writer has to visit a location in order to successfully use it as a backdrop for a story?


A. I think it's often easier if someone has visited a place to bring the sights and sounds specific to that location to life. But, no, with so many research options available, I don't think a writer has to have been somewhere to write about it. I think what a writer does need, though, is to really know the main character's point of view very well, especially prior to writing scenes that involve that character interacting with his or her environment. Novels are about change and how the characters populating a story deal with it.


Q. Here's the question I have to ask: A wife and mother, are you living your dream, or are your stories your own subtle pursuit for the answer to "What if"? 


A. I think a great draw of becoming a novelist is the sense that we're granted a new lifetime with every book we write, and we can answer some of our personal what-ifs through our characters. For a time, we inhabit their fictional worlds and, thus, get to travel down a range of paths, ones frequently left unchosen by us in real life. For instance, when I was writing "Friday Mornings at Nine" I got to fully imagine three women whose lives were, in many ways, fairly different from mine. I drew inspiration for their backgrounds, interests, marriages and temptations from a number of real-life sources and even from a few situations within my own life, but my close friendships, family and feelings about marriage and motherhood didn't directly mirror any one woman's journey in the story.


So it becomes a fascinating cycle - a crisscrossing of art and life - that brings such meaning to every day as a writer. Observing something relevant to my friends in the real world, then considering it from multiple viewpoints in a fictional world and, finally, reflecting back on it with others in the real world again satisfies my curiosity, motivates me to keep writing and is personally very fulfilling. Definitely my definition of "living the dream."


Q. Any parting thoughts for your readers?


A. Thank you ... always!


http://www.marilynbrant.com/home.html


DA Kentner is an author and journalist. www.kevad.net