Celebrating 300 Books with Marie Ferrarella
by Marie Ferrarella, author of Colton Baby Conspiracy
On January 6, 1983, I was in the shower—no easy feat since I was 7 months pregnant with my son and had trouble fitting in tight spaces! I was trying to convince myself that I wasn’t miserably uncomfortable when my husband suddenly knocked on the bathroom door to tell me my agent was on the phone. Throwing on a bathrobe and waddling out (remember, I was very pregnant) to answer the phone, I couldn’t imagine at that point just how much my life was about to change. My agent, the late Pat Teal, was calling to tell me that Karen Solem, then head of Silhouette Books (which would eventually become Harlequin New York), had read my book, liked it and wanted to buy it. I was overjoyed (and somewhat stunned I didn’t give birth right then and there).
That marked the sale of my first book. And I, hopeless dreamer that I am, imagined covering my very large coffee table with books that bore my name. Well, actually Marie Nicole’s name because back then writers had simple, pretty names that weren’t an unwieldy mouthful like Ferrarella (or Rydzynski, my maiden name).
Fifteen books later, my publisher (still known as Silhouette back then) decided to use my real name (after all, what were the chances of there being two Ferrarellas?), and I’ve been Marie Ferrarella ever since.
I must admit that when I started writing, I thought I had one, maybe two, books in me, but no more than that. I was a short story writer who dabbled in writing plays and teleplays. I didn’t think I had enough words in me for a full-length book. Thankfully, I was wrong (it wouldn’t be the first, or last, time). I wrote quickly, attempting to bury my editor in paper (because, of course, when I began, typewriters were the main tools for writing novels).
I was asked to describe how writing romances has changed since I first started. Happily, books have gotten more grown-up. Not so much in the subject matter (although that, too, has gotten more adult in some cases) as in the approach to storytelling. When I first began, the story was either from the hero’s point of view or the heroine’s. It didn’t go back and forth the way real conversations tend to. And certainly no one else in the cast of characters was allowed a point of view. I tend to think that stories are far more interesting with these additional perspectives. Happily, I’m blessed with an editor who feels the same way. And the most important change that happened is that the hero and heroine are now allowed to be funny. They no longer come across as if they consumed lemons as a steady dietary supplement. They’re allowed to crack wise and have a sense of humor about themselves and I, for one, will be eternally grateful for that.
As to what’s next after becoming the first Harlequin writer to hit 300 books, well, there’s always 350. Let me be honest, I plan to be buried with my laptop gripped in my hands, alongside my husband (but only if he’s dead at the time). That is my idea of a true happy ending.
Thank you for being at my side for the ride. I couldn’t have done it without you.
All the best,
About Colton Baby Conspiracy:
Deadly enemies undermine her life and business
When a mysterious email threatens her family’s corporation, executive Marlowe Colton puts all her energy into protecting Colton Oil. But a more shocking scandal comes in the form of her archrival—and one-night lover—Bowie Robertson, who uncovers the consequence of their passion. As danger encroaches, Bowie and Marlowe must put aside any bitterness to safeguard the family neither ever expected.