The Dream Lives on: My 200th Book

by Marie Ferrarella, Silhouette Romantic Suspense (among other series!) author

I find myself speechless, or, more accurately, wordless. According to my mother, I started talking at nine months and, according to my husband, I haven’t stopped since, not even in my sleep. However, typically at the end of writing each book, I discover myself to be depleted of descriptive words and fall back on using such wonderful placeholder words as thingamajig or thingy and other such “words” guaranteed to make Shakespeare and the editors of most modern dictionaries either roll over in their graves (if they should happen to be occupying one) or shudder violently.

Whenever I finish writing a book, it is as if I’ve tilted my head and every single viable word I know (in English, Polish and Spanish) has just leaked out of my ear, never to be retrieved again—or at least not until I sit down to a new project.  But vocabulary-wise, I’m all but relegated to sign language (not the real kind but what was seen as so-called sign language in all those grade B Westerns I grew up on).

And, although I’m four chapters away from finishing another book, I seem to find myself in the same place.  Wordless.  All because this is September.  No, I’m not allergic to September, nor do I, now that I am no longer in elementary school or junior high, greet the approach of the month with a stomach tied up in a knot of anticipation because another school year is upon me. This September is different.  This is the September in which my 200th book with Harlequin Books is on the stands.  My 200th book.  Wow. (Like I’ve said before, I really don’t feel a day over 100 books.)

I’ve been writing romances and romantic suspense since my very first sale on November 15th, 1981 (I can give you the exact time if you’re interested—it’s one of those things etched into my brain, like the first time I saw my future husband—February 6th—never mind what year but for the record, I was fourteen at the time). To date, I’ve sold 218 to Harlequin (14 others are scattered through the rest of the publishing world), but (but?) at the moment, visibility-wise we’re up to 200 that the public has thus far seen.  It is enough to render even someone like me (my CIA code name is Chatty Cathy) truly speechless.

Yes, I know.  I am going on and on, “babbling” in some form of the written English language but only because I cannot find the right words to say “thank you.”  Thank you to my kids who have, for the last 29 years or parts thereof, put up with a mother who without warning would space out in the middle of a sentence because characters in her head have suddenly grabbed her attention with a piece of dialogue that just emerged out of nowhere. Thank you to my husband who has silently (more or less) put up with scattered notepads with pieces of dialogue and scenes and ideas left in various (and sometimes strange) places throughout the house (and who, without knowing it, actually provided me with the basis of every single sexy, brooding hero I have ever written about).  Thank you to my editors for putting up with me and for realizing that fast did not necessarily mean shoddy, it meant that I had the constitution of a hummingbird on five cups of Starbucks coffee.  Most especially, thank you to senior editor Patience Smith, my beloved editor (she refuses to wear out or flee) and senior editor Gail Chasan, both of whom continue to make me feel as if I had talent. Thank you to my agent, Pat Teal, who made me read my first romance novel and turned me in an entirely different direction than the path I was on.  And most of all, thank you to everyone who has ever read (or contemplated reading) one of my books.  I guess the only words that truly fit here are: thank you (repeated several million times).

So, you wanna hang around for the next 200?  Okay, here we go. . . .

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Comments ( 14 )
  1. Sabrina
    November 1, 2010 at 12:03 pm
    Reply

    Congratulations! What an amazing accomplishment. Here’s to another 200!

  2. Maurine
    November 1, 2010 at 12:04 pm
    Reply

    Congratulations!!!

  3. Cheryl
    November 1, 2010 at 12:09 pm
    Reply

    Marie, thank you. What a mountain of work you have. You have a lot to be proud of.

    Patience Smith, Editor. Learned that one in a way that will be etched on my brain forever (see embarrassing earlier blog comment on Amanda’s blog.

    Can a late bloomer like self, relate to an early blooming over-achiever like you? No – I will control the urge to make comparisons. You go girl! And I will too. Thanks again for telling about the thrill and the empty head after “The End.” It makes sense. What do you do to recharge?

  4. KarenSTWare
    November 1, 2010 at 12:12 pm
    Reply

    You are a true inspiration to me!!!

  5. Catherine
    November 1, 2010 at 12:17 pm
    Reply

    Congrats! What a fantastic number 200 is. As for the Chatty Cathy gig… Hon, my name is Cathy and I’ve had that title since birth myself. LOL

  6. robincovington
    November 1, 2010 at 12:26 pm
    Reply

    Congratulations!

  7. Mary-Theresa Hussey
    November 1, 2010 at 12:43 pm
    Reply

    Have to agree–seeing a new book from Marie always makes me smile!

    At H/S, we’ve put a poster of the 200th book on the wall in the NY lobby, and everyone is astonished, amazed and excited to hear the story. Though I only did 20 or so books with Marie, I know how charming, enthusiastic and spirited she is, so I’m eager to see what comes next!

  8. Megan
    November 1, 2010 at 1:01 pm
    Reply

    Wow! That is truly a long time to be creating characters and the like. Amazing! I hope I can do it. Can’t wait to read it.

  9. Susie Sheehey
    November 1, 2010 at 1:43 pm
    Reply

    Congrats, Marie! Such an amazing accomplishment!!

  10. Wayne
    November 1, 2010 at 7:47 pm
    Reply

    Mary-Theresa:

    What’s coming next? Another 200!

  11. PatriciaW
    November 1, 2010 at 8:04 pm
    Reply

    Wow, is there any other Harlequin author even near that prolific number? What an accomplishment. Congratulations, Marie!

  12. debraannelliott
    November 1, 2010 at 9:13 pm
    Reply

    Congrats. Wow!

  13. Ericka Scott
    November 1, 2010 at 10:06 pm
    Reply

    200! Wow. What an inspiration! Congrats!

  14. Bettye Griffin
    November 3, 2010 at 1:56 am
    Reply

    Just had to say that I first laid eyes on my future husband on February 6th, too!

    Congratulations on the 200th book.

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