Marlene lives in Buckhead–a very nice area in Atlanta, Georgia–not far from the Governor’s mansion. She is a protagonist in The Clock Strikes Midnight.
JC: I know you starred in the debut mystery, The Clock Strikes Midnight. What was it like being a main character in this book?
Marlene: I loved it. I was able to express myself in ways I didn’t expect.
We were always close, particularly after our father died when we were kids. I took on the role of Janie protector. That went well until we became teenagers. Janie was a bit rebellious. She didn’t take too kindly to her sister asking her what she was doing all the time.
JC: You say your dad died when you were kids. How did that affect you and Janie?
Marlene: It had a profound influence on us. We were very close to our father. He was kind and loving–not just to us–but to our mom as well. He was the rock in the family.
Janie and I both clung to one another for a long time. Later my mom remarried and that caused more tension in the family.
JC: Let’s move away from the family problems of the past. Tell us what you love doing now.
Marlene: I’m a great reader. I’ve always loved losing myself in books.
She wrote two books I remember quite well: Cashelmara and Penmarric. They were tomes I got from the local library that I devoured. I liked Howatch because she developed such rich characters. She wrote each section of the book from a different characters’ point of view. That enabled me to get into the character’s skin.
What else do I love doing now? I have always dreamed of being an artist. I don’t think I have much talent, but it’s been fun taking painting classes. I set up a small studio in my home. I mostly paint outdoor scenes–I’m not very good with people.
JC: You mention the way Susan Howatch delved into the psyche of the characters.
Do you think you were able to really share more about yourself that way?
Marlene: The Clock Strikes Midnight is a very different book than those Howatch wrote. It’s a suspense/mystery. I believe the author decided to go from one character to the other for two reasons 1) To bring the reader closer to both characters and 2) To create suspense.
JC: Finally, Marlene, what is next for you?
Marlene: I’m planning to return to school. I want to finish my education. My Aunt Sarah helped me learn about finance and I worked in her business for a number of years and loved it. But after my mom died and I married Peter, I let all that slide. I’m ready to return and finish my BA degree. Then, I hope to put my skills to work in a job.
You can pre-order the book now on Amazon and read all about Marlene and her sister, Janie, on November 25!