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An Interview with Author Tara Marshall

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Tara Marshall graduated with her B.A. from Winthrop University. She started writing community news stories over a decade ago for the greater Charlotte, North Carolina, area but she now spends as much time as she can writing creative non-fiction amidst a career in property management. When Tara isn’t writing, she’s taking care of her family and can often be seen around her town strolling with her young daughter, husband, and very peculiar pug.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

I’ve always loved reading and writing, and it showed at an early age, evidenced by the “Wonderful Writer” award I saved from third grade. I had aspirations to be a journalist that were squashed by college professors who told me how I’d spend the rest of my life starving if I decided to be a writer. Even so, I’ve written throughout the years on the side—some community news stories for The Charlotte Observer over a decade ago and a lot for N2 Publishing, now called the N2 Company.

When my husband left me, I had some wild experiences and someone told me to start a blog, so I did. It’s hilarious and ridiculous and dumb all at the same time—absolutely no one reads it and I’m definitely keeping it that way. I relished creating the entries in the blog. I loved sitting down in front of a blank screen and letting the thoughts pile and pile and pile and then slowly cutting and pasting and adding and subtracting words until I ended up with a story. A few years later and single, with the entire world in front of me and passions to pursue, I started taking a writing class. I chose memoir because I always heard the advice from other writers of “write about what you know,” and I thought—hmmm…I’m an expert in, well, nothing, except for me! I jumped into the class and have been toiling at these essays for the past nine years.

What inspired you to start writing this book?

I did not sit down one day and decide to put together a memoir in essays, then methodically plod along with it. This project was a beleaguered labor of need—a need to write, a need to get my story out there, and the overwhelming desire to normalize, humanize, and show complete chaos and comedy amidst the tragedy of divorce that so many people end up experiencing. I didn’t start down this path with a meaningful intention, but it’s meaningful now. So, why this story? I want to make people who’ve been in my shoes laugh, make people’s heads nod and think “been there,” and make at least a few people decide that they, too, can keep going after betrayal.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

The title wasn’t easy to find but when I did find it, I was like, “Oh—that’s it!” I got many, many suggestions for the title; none of them struck a chord like “Saturday Flowers” did. Most of the things I write, including the title, just come to me. If I try to force it, nothing happens. Once I thought of the title, I knew it was the one!

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

“Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind

“Bye Bye Bye” by NSYNC

“I Want It That Way” by The Backstreet Boys

“Inside Out” by Eve 6

“Ride Wit Me” by Nelly

“Crazy Girl” by Eli Young Band

“Enchanted” by Taylor Swift

“God Only Knows” by King & Country

“Any Man of Mine” by Shania Twain

Describe your dream book cover.

I envision bold, beautiful, abstract flowers in colors that stand out—blues, pinks, purples, oranges. Perhaps blurred colors in the background with one flower in focus—a sunflower.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

I currently word in property management. I basically put out fires for a living. I’m constantly handling escalated residents and just figuring out what to do when there is no playbook for the situation I’m in. Prior to property management, I worked as a paralegal for an attorney that did divorces and custody cases—I’ve seen some wild things that people do to each other. Going through my own divorce while I was working on other people’s divorces was not ideal!

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

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