Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Real Life Story

Hello Everyone,

Please welcome a dear friend of mine, author, Marianne Stephens. Marianne writes both fiction and non-fiction. Today, we're going to discuss her latest release, a non-fiction book titled, GUILTY SURVIVOR: MEMOIRS OF TAMERLA KENDALL.

SKM: Marianne, I'm curious to know what prompted you to write this book?

MS: Thank you for having me here today, Sandy! A friend knew I was an author and that Tamerla was looking for someone to write her story. After talking to her, I felt she had a fascinating story to tell.

SKM: Did you meet this lady?

MS: I met Tamerla almost three years ago. Started meeting with her to gather information and take notes…also tape-recorded our sessions. It took two years to gather information and write her story…longer than I’d planned…because I ended up having lots of medical issues/surgeries for most of the first two years.

SKM: Is it easier to write non-fiction than fiction? How long did it take you to write this book?

MS: It took longer to write this, only because of my medical problems. In a way, it’s easier to write nonfiction because the facts are there and that’s what you follow. You still have to be creative in organizing the facts into story form. Then again, in a way it’s harder than writing fiction…can’t be as creative with the story and characters.

SKM: Marianne, tell us a bit about Tamerla Kendall.

MS: Tamerla had a fascinating upbringing and job experiences…model, hairdresser, college student, etc. Her past helped her when war came, since she needed to be self-reliant and find the courage to remain in Sarajevo in the hopes of saving her family restaurant business. Someone without inner strength would never have stayed. Every experience made her stronger, but still vulnerable to hurt and heartache. She’s a busy, active woman, now living in the US as a citizen and hoping to earn a college degree as she works.

SKM: List where we can find you/your books.
Marianne Stephens (mainstream romance and nonfiction)/April Ash (erotic romance)!/profile.php?id=1518319389!/profile.php?id=1683746739
My Books:
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance Ebooks, OmniLit, Book Stand

SKM: Do you have a blurb or an excerpt you would like to leave for my readers?

MS: Here’s my press release:

She looks like any woman you see rooting for her son at a sporting event or shopping for groceries. Yet, Tamerla Kendall's past includes masquerading as a United Nations soldier and riding in a tank in order to cross Bosnian War (1992-1995) checkpoints to visit family...and facing interrogation by the police because someone betrayed her trust.

Another dangerous trip had her switching cars and drivers to get through checkpoints, done to get her daughter to the safety of family outside the war zone in Sarajevo...only to return and find her home torched and family restaurant robbed. Her daughter, brainwashed by her father, believed she'd been abandoned by her mother, causing years of heartbreaking separation and non-communication.

With either trip, she risked getting caught, arrested, or shot. And, with each trip, came the critical decision to return to Sarajevo to save the family restaurant business. Each day presented the challenge of finding supplies on the Black Market or by bartering with the military to keep her restaurant operating.

"Guilty Survivor - Memoirs of Tamerla Kendall" by Marianne Stephens, presents the memoirs of Bosnian Croat, Tamerla Kansas City resident and US citizen. Grenade bombings of her restaurant, cleaning blood off the streets and buildings after random attacks, and witnessing people dead and dying, convinced her she'd be able to shoot the gun she'd bought for protection. When a gun was pointed at her head and her family threatened after the war because she'd married an American, Tamerla made the crucial decision to move to the United States.

SKM: This sounds like such a wonderful and heartbreaking story, Marianne. I wish you the best in getting Tamerla's life story out for everyone to read.

Have a good week everyone and see you next Sunday. Yay! The snow is melting. Grin.

Have a loverly Valentine's Day tomorrow.



Sandy said...

This is a test because someone told me they couldn't leave a comment.

jean hart stewart said...

Trying again, Jean

jean hart stewart said...

This one went through so I'll send a real message. I so admire Marianne for writing this book. Not only must it have been hard to write, but with all her other activities it's just amazing.

Sandy said...

Thanks for trying again, Jean.

I don't how she does it either. She's the care giver for her mother, writes, promotes, started romance books r us, and has time for kids, grandchildren and hubby.

I haven't been to her house for a long time. I bet it needs a cleaning. lol Just kidding, Marianne.

Marianne Stephens said...

Thanks Sandy and Jean. It took a lot of time to write Tamerla's story...I wanted to be sure to get the facts correct.
My secret to doing everything...I don't sleep a lot until one day when I crash and sleep for 12 hours!
Cleaning? Am I supposed to do that, too?? HA!

She said...

What a couregous lady! It is in the non-traditional voices that we learn what happens. I'm glad to see we get another point of view rather than the one written in history books. In the play, The Vagina Monologues, there is a scene from the war in Sarajavo and the surrounding area of combined women's voices. It was the most gruesome part of the play. It is that part that stays with me the most. I cannot forget that story. Those that survived were strong. I don't know that I would have had their strength and courage. Thank you for sharing Tamerla's story with us.

Sandy said...

Marianne, I have to get 8 to 9 hours sleep, or I can't function.

You're going to be ready crash after your company leaves this month.

Even in fiction, we try to get the facts we need right.

Sandy said...

Thank you for your comment, She.

I don't think many women would have been as strong as Tamerla.

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

Sounds like an amazing story for an amazing woman. Hope your medical issues have gotten better, Marianne!

Hi Sandy. :)

Historical Writer/Editor said...

Hello, this sounds like such a touching story. I wish you well with it. -laura

Sandy said...

Hi Stacey. You're right it's an amazing story.

Sandy said...

Thanks for your comment, Laura.

Donna Marie Rogers said...

What an incredible story, Marianne! Sandy, great post! :-)

Marianne Stephens said...

She - Tamerla is indeed a courageous woman. I don't think I would have returned to Sarajevo after getting my child to safety. But, she and her husband (who had already fled to safety), figured Tamerla was the only one to save their business. Her husband feared being arrested or forced into the army.
Stacey - she is amazing in what she's done and is still doing. Tamerla works hard and goes to college.
Laura - Every woman should understand her struggle to find the strength to go on. And , every mother will "feel" her fear for her child's life and goal to risk anything to keep her child safe.
Donna - There's much more to her story, but fear from reprisals means some had to be left unwritten.
Thanks again, Sandy!

Sandy said...

Thank you, Donna.

Sandy said...

You're very welcome, Marianne. I hope many people will buy Tamerla's story.