Marianne Stillings
  • Marianne Stillings

  • Description: Marianne entered the world in the usual way, eleven days before Christmas way back in Nineteen, uh, something. The first child born to a Santa Barbara, California heating and sheet metal contractor and a former “Rosie” (as in WWII airplane riveter), Marianne was named after a character in a book. Hmm. Auspicious? A harbinger, foreshadowing things to come?
    Superfluous fact: Marianne doesn't have a middle name. Her mother said it was because 'Marianne' was such a big name, and Marianne herself was such a tiny baby (a preemie weighing only a bit over five pounds), that a middle name just seemed too much. Besides, what secondary moniker can you give someone who has two first names stuck together like that?

    Marianne's mother loved reading and encouraged her to read all the time. The first book she can remember her mom reading to her is The Ugly Duckling. That story hooked her on books, a passion she has happily passed on to her own daughters.

    When Marianne's only sibling, a sister, was born, the family was complete. Kindergarten found Marianne walking off to her first day of school, not knowing what to expect. When she got home that afternoon, her mother asked, “How did you like school?” and Marianne replied, “I loved it!” Thus began her life-long love of learning.

    Superfluous fact: At about the age of nine, her grandfather's dog bit Marianne in the face, slicing open the bridge of her nose and missing her left eye by mere fractions of an inch. The dog's name was Nipper. In spite of that, she still adores all animals, especially dogs.

    In school, writing was always her favorite class activity. She wrote short stories and poems, none of which were fabulous, but the ideas kept coming, and the magic of putting words on the page delighted her (and still does unless she's on deadline).

    The school years rolled by, until one day in June of Nineteen, eh-hem, something, Marianne graduated from high school. College was out of the question (“Girls don't go to college, they get married!” her father said), so she went to work at the General Telephone Company as a long distance operator, and waited for her future husband to make his appearance.

    Superfluous fact: A star-struck movie buff, for a while, Marianne wanted to be an actress, and even went to Hollywood . . . briefly. She auditioned for a few things, then decided Hollywood was just too weird a place to call home, and left town for Places More Normal.

    After leaving Southern California, Marianne moved to Seattle and married. Her daughters, Rebecca and Katie, came along in 1985 and 1991, making her life thoroughly and totally and absolutely complete.

    Never having given up on becoming a writer, in 1998, Marianne began reading modern romance novels, fell in love with them all over again (Mary Stewart had been her idol in junior high and high school), and decided to give writing one a shot. She wrote three: a European historical, a short contemporary, and a Western historical. Discouraged when they weren't good enough to be published, she stopped writing for a year. But writers write, so she picked up her pen again (well, flipped the computer switch ON), and began a romantic suspense called Uppity Woman. It sold, and was re-titled The Damsel in This Dress.

    Superfluous fact: Her first manuscript, titled Forget Me Not, was perfect and wonderful. Editors were blind to its magnificence. Recently, she pulled it from under the bed, knocked off the dust bunnies, and gave it a read. She snorted with laughter, turned red from embarrassment that human eyes had ever seen this sorry tome, and shoved it right back under the bed.

    Since Damsel was released in July of 2004, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evie (Avon, 2005), and Sighs Matter (Avon, 2006) have come out. Marianne's fourth book (Arousing Suspicions, starring Nate Darling, who was introduced in Midnight) was released by Avon on March 1, 2007. Brother Ethan's story, as told in Satisfaction, is schedu