Bless Marilyn Marlowe

Posted by Ann Evans in Being a writer | 2 comments

A long time ago, while I was married to my first husband, Ernest Coates, I mixed up being married to a writer with being a writer myself. Ernest churned out thousands of pages of writing but never got around to submitting them anywhere, while I supported the family. Not a good plan, and for that and other reasons we divorced.

I was resentful of all the years spent typing his manuscripts, and thought to myself, “I can write a book.”  So I sat down and wrote one.

On the bus one day I met a friend who had just had a book about a disabled skier published, and her agent was Marilyn Marlowe, the Executive Vice President of Curtis Brown. She gave me Ms. Marlowe’s information and I sent off my book to her. That was in 1983.

Below is her response to me.  She read my book! Wow! She didn’t take me on as a client, but she thought I wrote “very well indeed, with unusual sensitivity.”  She thought the book was “good enough, however, that I do think you should get some other opinions.”

After that, I sent her everything I wrote, she read it, didn’t take me on, but gave me comments and encouragement.  By the time I had written something that was worth her attention, she had died, and I was so sad.

The funny thing about this is that Ms. Marlowe represented authors of children’s books. I don’t know why she bothered reading mine, but without her encouragement, my writing might have been a resentful flash in the pan.

I keep her letter in my drawer at all times, and every once in a while I take it out and look at it, and bless this person whom I never met. She continues to be a turning point in my life every time I look at her letter.

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Comments (2)
  1. Joli says:

    Very poignant, Ann. Do you think young writers have these kinds of relationships with agents today, in the age of email?

    • Ann Evans says:

      Yes, I do. I have had several warm and productive correspondences with agents, one of whom I met at a pitch slam at a writer’s conference. None of these, so far, has led to representation, but it has led to great improvement in my work, and until I do link up with an agent, this is very satisfying.

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Life went on

Life went on again after Daring to Date Again: A Memoir ended, so I began this wide-ranging blog about life as a writer and as a woman in the early 21st century, especially as an older woman.

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