Written By Catherine Brinkman
Who has family stories? Everyone. Who pays attention in great detail to those stories? Some of us. Who catalogs the stories told by your mom and aunt? Very few of us. Who takes that catalog of stories and sits down nightly after work and dinner with her family to write a novel of these stories?
Mari K. Bell, the author of “The Quarters” does.
“I took the stories I heard about my relatives, people that I couldn’t imagine as young people, and added my personality into their stories,” revealed Mari when asked how she came up with the content for her first novel.
It is no secret that sitting down to write a book and see it through to fruition is difficult. What seems like an exciting adventure can quickly turn into an arduous task. As you read “The Quarters” you rapidly see how determined Mari was to finish this task of love. Through the difficult times Mari kept going, knowing her family stories deserved to be written. “My Mom is the eldest of 11 and grew up with a book in her hand. My Mom was the first to go to college, I wanted to pay homage to her. I was determined to finish this book.”
Mari, who is a graduate from Penn State, is no stranger to hard work. She started her book project with a Kick Starter drive to raise money, unfortunately falling short of her goal. In no time she switched fundraising efforts to a Go Fund Me account. “The Kick Starter drive showed that people believed in me. I had to finish,” Mari said. Mari went on to self-publish “The Quarters.”
Armed with a background in sales, more specifically Senior Healthcare consulting, Mari is no stranger to selling products. It turned out that writing the book was the easier part of this venture. It was the selling of herself that turned out to be hard. “I am used to being out there as a sales person selling someone else’s product. I was not used to being out there as the product,” remembers Mari. It didn’t take long before Mari was in front of book clubs and thinking outside the box of how to market her book.
Two book trailers were written, performed and edited. Mari enlisted help from friends and members of a local senior citizen facility for the productions. This strategy did three things: 1) Gained exposure for the book, 2) Planted the seed for the book to become a screen play and film later, and 3) Mari was able to hear more stories and bring memories to the forefront for local senior citizens.
Using social media and the trailers (which can be viewed here: http://tinyurl.com/yas4hcy7) Mari has traveled throughout the US holding book readings for various book clubs. She has been able to mix business with pleasure, reading at wineries as well. On any given day if you ask Mari what her personal hashtag is, she will respond “#nowinetoday”. Ask Mari what’s the greatest compliment she has received during these readings, it comes to her in a nanosecond. “Mari, I know these people. I recognize the characters in the book,” Mari recalls with pride.
As she continues to promote “The Quarters” Mari is working on her second novel. “I ended my first book with a cliff hanger on purpose,” she said with a smile in her voice. Once in sales always in sales. She has gotten the next generation involved too. Mari’s daughter and Yorkie, Buddy Jackson, are clothing models on her website. You can tell that Mari’s determination and kind spirit are major attributes to her success both now and in the years to come.
Mari lives in Georgia with her husband, Shannon, daughter and of course, Buddy Jackson the Yorkie.
This Saturday Mari will appear at Clayton County Public Library’s Indie Author Day, at the Headquarters from 10AM-3PM. For more information about this event and Mari please visit her website at www.marikbell.com