Chit Chatting with Marilyn Howard


Chit Chatting with Marilyn Howard

Interviewed by: Jill Sheets

J: Tell us about yourself? How did you get your start writing?

I didn't plan to be a writer, although as a teen I would joke about writing a book on life and love someday. I grew up in the 1950s, when chauvinism was rampant. My future was predetermined to be a housewife. Surrounding advice frustrated me, but writing a book was just an idle fantasy. I studied commercial art, went into business and had a family in my thirties. When in my 50s, I had to give a talk about my life, so started writing. There were many memories to capture. I continued writing for a year. My children were away at college and I finally had some time! Ten years later, I had the Eureka moment when rereading. I knew it was an astonishing story I had to share. 

J: Tell us about your book The Writing on the Wall.

M.  The story tells of an amazing journey where some things were stranger than fiction. It's a powerful memoir about women breaking limits and finding purpose. I am thrilled with the reception received by the WOW blog reviewers and others. My lucky break came when Kirkus supplied the credential needed this year: "36 Great Indie Books Worth Discovering." I had been thrown off track by Covid delays soon after publication, but came out trying again. Hit the jackpot when it became discovered by Kirkus! I knew it would speak to many women when I wrote it, but climbing the ladder of many outstanding books can feel overwhelming. Now, knowing that others found inspiration and enjoyment has inspired me to infuse more energy into to bringing the entertainment and insights to as many people as possible.

.J: How did you come up with the idea for this book?

I was part of a Woman’s Gathering group where one woman would tell the story of her life after a potluck dinner. When writing my thoughts, I couldn’t stop, so continued writing on weekends. I wanted adventures as a child, and definitely found them with a business, family, and travel. There were many memories to capture, which I planned to read in my later years. 

J: Why did you start to write it?

M: When I reread my notes, there was a sudden realization: my life was an astounding story from a pivotal time in the women’s movement. It would make a fascinating book! I began my startup business in 1970, two years before MS Magazine. It lasted over twenty-five years in the center of Manhattan. During that time I added a husband, children and stepchildren. I realized many women would identify with chauvinism and my motherhood experiences. Business women would find insights. Deeper questions from my youth found answers. While my early memories and palm reader experience would be difficult for some people to accept, they were an important part of my life. It seemed destiny led me to writing the book for a reason. It was a powerful story about women finding their path.

J: What would you like readers to take away from your book?

M: I hope readers come away with a better understanding of an evolutionary time that opened many doors for women today. I also hope my suggestions help readers avoid today's potholes. I have been told by readers and reviewers that the book was of real help and very inspiring.  Human nature is unchanged, despite the passage of time.

J: Do you plain on writing more books?

M. There are short stories I could see doing, but they are unlikely to be full books unless by popular demand. While I will always enjoy writing, I am a senior who also wants to have some fun away from my computer. 

 J: Where can people get your book?


Barnes & Noble:

J: You went to Syracuse University. What was the most important thing you learned from going to College?

M: Two things stand out: a summer class on the humanities and a Semester-in-Italy program. The summer Humanities Program changed my perceptions of the world. Brilliant professors taught classes for two weeks at both the beginning and end of the summer. The students were required to read from thirty books by various philosophers and humanitarian writers. A final paper was due upon their return.

The Semester-in-Italy Program changed my life. I lived with two families that didn’t speak English and traveled around Europe with a friend. Immersion in different cultures stretched my mind immeasurably. Maturity with wider interests and understandings developed.  

J: Tell us about Creative Freelancers. Inc.

M:  The first year began from my apartment, with an innovative idea and a lucky break. The official company, Creative Freelancers Inc., began in 1970, two years before MS Magazine. It was the first central agency for commercial artists and writers. The company thrived with offices in midtown Manhattan for over twenty-five years. Outstanding talent walked through our doors, but a legal case plagued me for several years when a law turned from gray to black. The technology boom changed everything in the 1990s. I created the first agency on the Internet in 1997 with Those were the days before Google. I searched with Yahoo for big ad agency names and couldn’t find any. Later, I sold the web name.

J: Is there anything else you would like to add?   

For a plot summary, enjoy the book trailer and music:

J:  Offical website?


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