When: July 15, 2017 Location: Rancho Santa Margarita Library Time: 2-4:30 p.m.
I’m so excited — Maralys Wills, my writing teacher, is going to be speaking at our Writers4Writers meeting. She’s as great a teacher as she is kind – which is not to say she’s hesitant to tell you how your writing can be improved. It’s just that she provides feedback most often without kicking you in the pants although I have to admit I’m still sitting on a pillow after a few choice words recently : ) Anyway, she tells you what you need to know, not what is always pleasant to hear.
We met at a writer’s conference when I took a workshop from her, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I attend a writer’s class every week that she has taught for seventeen years, and I know from the feedback – my writing has improved : ) Since we are on the annual summer break, I needed my Maralys Wills fix and invited her to speak at Writers4Writers so we all would have the opportunity to learn from a real writing master.
Her writing career was carved from both exciting and heartbreaking life experiences and a vivid, sensory-infused imagination.
Maralys Wills’ seventeen published books span several genres and publishers. Her fiction works include four romance novels (Harlequin and Silhouette), and a techno-thriller about airplane sabotage. The N.Y. Times called SCATTERPATH “exciting, down-to-the-wire stuff . . . her cockpit sequences all but put the reader at the controls.”
Among her non-fictions is MANBIRDS: HANG GLIDERS & HANG GLIDING (Prentice-Hall), a party game book (Price/ Stern/Sloan), and her family story about hang gliding champions, HIGHER THAN EAGLES (Longstreet Press, later re-published by Stephens Press). Sadly, the Wills family lost two sons to the sport, and Wills’ account of those years–initially exhilarating, then tragic–earned her rave reviews and five movie options, including from Disney. As mothers, we feel her agonizing pain.
I’m sure Marilys’ book on addiction, SAVE MY SON, will help those tormented with these painful life lessons afflicting their families – May you find Peace in its pages. It is the result of years of trauma with an addicted son—plus research in four states.
Her light-hearted memoir, A CIRCUS WITHOUT ELEPHANTS, earned a national award from Writer’s Digest. Stephens Press published both the sequel, A CLOWN IN THE TRUNK, (an Indie award winner), and her writing book, DAMN THE REJECTIONS, FULL SPEED AHEAD, which won two national awards.
We’re in for a treat to be taught by such an acclaimed author and teacher – she knows both the craft and the business of writing. In 2012, Stephens published her book on marketing: BUY A TRUMPET AND BLOW YOUR OWN HORN: Turning Books Into Bucks.
Wills is the mother of six children–five boys and a girl. Her husband is a lawyer. She studied at Stanford and UCLA, earning a B.A. and a teaching credential. She’s so good that even a dedicated Trojan like me earning both my B.S. (yes, I actually had to go to school to earn that degree), and my M.B.A. from USC, takes her advice with gratitude.
She once helped her sons run a hang gliding manufacturing business, but after the family tragedies she went home to write books.
For the past 31 years, Wills has taught college novel-writing, and in 2000 was voted “Teacher of the Year.” In addition to frequent speaking engagements, she has given numerous writing seminars—at UCLA, UC Riverside, UCI, Orange Coast College, Cerritos College, and at dozens of writers’ conferences. She is past president of the Orange County Chapter of Romance Writers of America.
Wills has recently published a memoir about growing up with a mother married seven times: THE TAIL ON MY MOTHER’S KITE. If that didn’t teach her resourcefulness and adaptation skills, I don’t know what would.
Maralys also co-authored Dr. John West’s breast-care book: PREVENT, SURVIVE, THRIVE, which came out in October, 2016. I was saddened to note with all of her amazing life stories, that this ugly disease had impacted her life as well. I immediately purchased this book for my long-time friend who is fighting this wicked battle. Finding a cure for this encroaching villain is taking far too long.
Do your writing skills a favor by coming to Writers4Writers on July 15, 2017, 2-4:30 p.m. If this hasn’t convinced you yet, read from the author’s own words below. Price is not an obstacle – it’s free!
AN ADVENTURE LIKE NO OTHER
By Maralys Wills
Imagine yourself standing at the edge of a thousand foot cliff, with a ferocious wind whipping your hair and sand blowing in your eyes and nothing below but threatening, rocky space. Your oldest son has just persuaded you to launch into that space, a tandem passenger on his hang glider. The only problem is, you are a forty-four year old mother, a devout coward, with plans to stick around and raise your six kids. What on earth are you doing here!
Thus began one of the most terrifying events in my life, an experience I Iook back on now with utter disbelief, wondering still how I ever strapped myself into such an elemental contrivance as a hang glider and flew off a cliff so awesome I couldn’t stand near its edge . . . how I soared to two thousand feet–with small planes flying below us–and managed not to faint . . . and how, though I shamelessly begged my son to bring me down, I eventually came to love it!
None of it makes sense now. Why did I momentarily stop being the person who has steadfastly refused to ride on Space Mountain and who, in the movie theatre, subconsciously feels around for a seat belt?
In fact, why did I do any of the things I did back in the early days of hang gliding?
I’ve tried to explain all this in my book, HIGHER THAN EAGLES, which is a story mothers everywhere will understand. It is the story of how life creeps up on you: how one can have five sons and a daughter and never imagine that three of the boys will become flying-mad kids and persuade you they must fly; how rational parents are talked into starting a hang glider manufacturing company and then persuaded to help run it; how sons drag their parents to championships, claiming they can win . . . and then WIN; how boys imagine they can set world records . . . and then SET them.
HIGHER THAN EAGLES is about being a parent who follows her kids’ dreams–and because of them lives richly for a time, more richly than she ever imagined. But it is also about loss and coming to grips with tragedy. About trying to understand the why of losing a child, and realizing in the end you will not only never fully understand, you could not, looking back, do anything differently. That it was the children themselves who led you to make decisions you would make again in a minute.
I wrote HIGHER THAN EAGLES because I had to. Though it took fourteen years to find a publisher (and I sold six other books meanwhile), I knew I’d never give up. Once it became the lead title for Longstreet Press, I was free to go on to other books–and to continue teaching novel-writing, which I love as much as writing itself. For who else but a budding novelist really wants to know how to make a scene come alive . . . or finds daily discoveries about the craft of writing as exciting as I do.
If writing were as lucrative as it is compelling, there would be few other professions, for how else can we preserve forever the things we’ve experienced. The images. The ideas. The feelings. The logic. The lack of logic. The sheer craziness.
And so I live both in the “real” world and the world of the imagination, and I cannot see myself doing anything else.
So you see, who else would I, a dedicated Jewish mother with years of chicken soup filling my bloodstream (my excuse for why I was such a chicken in Israel — or was it the missiles we were dodging?– the subject of my book, Blasted from Complacency), choose to be my teacher?
Come join us July 15, and you’ll have an incredible learning experience, snacks and drinks – what else would a Jewish mother do? If you want to do a reading of 5 double-spaced pages, bring copies for us to share and make notes for you to take home.
Please r.s.v.p. and let me know if you want to read, I’ll send you the details. First come, first serve.
I invite you to Join Me on My Journey…