Marks, Shirley

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Marks, Shirley

PERSONAL:

Married; children: one son and one daughter.

ADDRESSES:

Home—CA. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer.

MEMBER:

Romance Writers of America.

WRITINGS:

Geek to Chic, Avalon Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Honeymoon Husband, Avalon Books (New York, NY), 2007.

Miss Quinn's Quandary, Avalon Books (New York, NY), 2008.

SIDELIGHTS:

Shirley Marks is a writer. She is married to a software engineer and they have one son and one daughter. A member of the Romance Writers of America, Marks originally began writing Regency novels in the early 1990s but later turned her attention to romantic comedies. In an interview on the Avalon Books Web site, Marks said: "My plots come from anything." When asked where she gets her ideas for stories, she added that a simple walk with the dog or reading the newspaper is enough to conjure up a new plot idea. When asked what she thought was the most difficult part of writing novels, Marks replied: "Finding some peace and quiet. My family is close and talkative so isolation and quiet are rare commodities. I may gripe about not having enough time to write but I always manage to find the time."

When interviewed by Cynthia Harrison in Garage Band, Marks explained how she avoided writer's block and plot pitfalls, saying: "I work hard not to repeat the same scenes, events, or dialogue from book to book. The other thing I think about is how humorous the book or scene is overall since comedy is so subjective. What I strive for is cute. I want to make the reader smile." As for improving with experience, Marks remarked: "I'd like to believe my writing is getting better. I really don't think of myself as a writer as much as a storyteller. I come up with an idea then populate that world with characters that will tell that story." Harrison asked Marks to imagine what her ideal writing career and life would be like if it were her choice. Marks replied: "My wildest dream would be that everyone loves my stories as much as I do. I don't really want to be as popular as Stephen King or J.K. Rowling. I would like some moderate success. That would be really cool! I'd love to hear my readers say, ‘Shirley's books always have a good story!’"

Marks published her first novel, Geek to Chic, in 2006 when Avalon books was actively seeking romantic comedies. The novel finds computer engineer Nicholas Atwood thrust into the limelight after making a large charitable donation. He seeks the help of Dr. Kate O'Connor, an image consultant, who only has one week to turn Nicholas from a geeky computer specialist to someone who is comfortable in front of the cameras. At the same time, he deals with his issues with his family and his feelings for Kate.

Marks published her second romantic comedy, Honeymoon Husband, in 2007. Hannah Roberts wins a Hawaiian honeymoon package, encouraging her fiancé to propose. When he abandons her on a layover on the way to the islands, she finds herself in a difficult position with the package organizers. She meets Jeremy Gordon in Maui, however, and their love blooms.

Booklist contributor Aleksandra Kostovski noted that "this concise novel is snappy rather than steamy," adding that it might disappoint some readers, while at the same time, relieve others. Kostovski cautioned, however, that the author "is still finding her legs" as a writer of romance. A contributor to Publishers Weekly commented that Marks wrote "a wholesome, slim, sophomore effort that readers of chaste romances will relish." Robert H. Goss, writing in Roundtable Reviews, pondered: "Hopefully the reading public will be treated to more stories like this one" by Marks.

In 2008, Marks published her first Regency novel, Miss Quinn's Quandary. Larissa Quinn insists on sleeping in Sir Randall Trent's room at a local inn after she finds that there are no more rooms available. He goes along with it, but the two part company after the night, despite obvious sparks. They soon come across each other in London but Randall is implicated in a crime. Larissa must deal with her circumstances and her feelings for Randall. Booklist contributor Aleksandra Kostovski remarked that "a promising mystery element unfolds haphazardly but may provide some additional appeal for readers" interested in both suspense and romance. A contributor to Publishers Weekly opined that "the lovers don't quite come into focus," but added that "the inventive plot carries them along with sweet abandon."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 15, 2007, Aleksandra Kostovski, review of Honeymoon Husband, p. 44; December 1, 2007, Aleksandra Kostovski, review of Miss Quinn's Quandary, p. 29.

Publishers Weekly, August 27, 2007, review of Honeymoon Husband, p. 63; October 22, 2007, review of Miss Quinn's Quandary, p. 32.

ONLINE

Avalon Books Web site,http://www.avalonbooks.com/ (April 17, 2008), author interview.

Garage Band,http://www.cynthiaharrison.com/garageband/ (December 17, 2007), Cynthia Harrison, author interview.

Roundtable Reviews,http://www.roundtablereviews.com/ (April 17, 2008), Robert H. Goss, review of Honeymoon Husband.

Shirley Marks Home Page,http://www.shirleymarks.com (April 17, 2008), author biography.