I'm fascinated by where biographers choose to start the life story of a celebrity. Do you begin at birth ("it was a dark and stormy night when she burst onto the scene")? Begin in the middle at some life-changing event ("she wore an ear-splitting grin and a black, strapless Vera Wang dress as she walked up to the podium to pick up the Oscar for best original screenplay")? Or start at the end and work backwards ("she was a spry 100 years old, working on the eighth volume of her autobiography, and she had another fifty years of adventures to recall")?
I've decided to start my bio page somewhere in the middle, but I'll take a very brief detour to my childhood and pay tribute to my wonderful parents and incomparable sister. They certainly provided a strong, steady bedrock of love and support that helped form who I am. Humor abounded, money was limited, education was valued, curiosity was encouraged, and imagination was expected. Put it all together and it's easy to see how I became a writer.
It would be far more interesting to report that I began my career in kindergarten, writing scathing reports in crayon on the spaghetti served in the cafeteria (tasteless would be a compliment) - but alas, honesty prevails and my first writing gig was as a reporter for the eighth grade newspaper at Garrison Junior High. But if I was late to the discovery of the incredible high you get from constructing the perfect sentence that captures your point with grace, I soon couldn't get enough of it. Writing became as essential to my adolescent life as Diet Coke with Lemon -- I couldn't exist on a daily basis without either one.
So let's leap ahead a few years. I got married to John, my high school sweetheart, and there aren't enough adjectives in the online thesaurus to cover what an incredibly wonderful man he is. Together we have four amazing children: Charlie, Sam, Dan, and Maggie.
Writing has been my full-time job since I gave birth to Charlie; first newspaper articles, then magazine pieces, personal essays about the joys and mysteries of parenting in The Parent Maze, a bi-weekly column, and finally I graduated to the "big time" -- books!
In Addition to Tuition: The Parents' Survival Guide to Freshman Year of College was my first book (written with two co-authors) and was a direct result of Charlie heading off to college. My world was turning upside down, if I can be a tad melodramatic. I did what I usually do when confronted with a life-altering experience. Research, talk to other parents, seek out experts, and ask tough questions (and now I have a good excuse because it's not for me, it's for a book). I've found that my concerns and worries are pretty typical of most Moms, so I ask the questions that parents want asked -- then present the information in a clear, reader-friendly, cut-to-the-chase way.
My next two books, Smart Start: The Parents' Complete Guide to Preschool Education and Summer Fun: The Parent's Complete Guide to Daycamps, Overnight Camps, Specialty Camps, and Teen Tours explored the issues I was confronting. Next up was Mom's Guide to Raising a Good Student -- sensing a trend here?
KickStart to College let me research in depth the whole college admissions process. What I found through countless interviews with admissions officers, parents, coaches, SAT-prep companies, and much more, reinforced my instincts that parents and kids need to focus on the college search much earlier than junior year in high school. It's a delicate balancing act. Start thinking about college as early as middle school, but make sure that neither you nor your kids become obssessed and forget about enjoying their childhoods. KickStart to College offers hands-on practical advice on the admissions game, but puts it into perspective so that families can enjoy the "here and now" while still keeping their eyes on their long-term goals.
This June will mark the release of an entirely different project: For Service to Your Country, an Insider's Guide to Veterans' Benefits. I wrote it with Peter S. Gaytan, director of the American Legion Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Division. It is a step-by-step guide to the complex and often frustrating VA system. With so many soldiers returning home, many grievously wounded, this book will help them secure the benefits that they have earned through their service.
In September, look for The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Play Groups. This is a fun book for parents hoping to create a community of friends for their kids - and themselves. Enjoy!
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Success as a Mortgage Broker gives readers the downpayment they'll need to join an exciting, financially lucrative career. I learned so much that if I give up this writing gig, it's something I'd consider. Again, the style is to present the information in a practical, accessible manner so that readers will be turned on by the possibilities and discover what they need to know to achieve success.
There's another side of Marian Edelman Borden. I also wear the editor-in-chief hat (and sport red-inked stained fingers) for consumer magazines.
Finally, for all my practical, hands-on, down and dirty nonfiction books, there is indeed the Great American (mystery) novelist in me. Rhonda Dossett is my writing partner for fiction. We write under the pseudonym, Evelyn David. Our mystery, Murder Off the Books, the first in the Mac Sullivan/Rachel Brenner series, was published in March of 2007!! You can see a preview on my fiction page. Look for Murder Takes the Cake, the exciting sequel, to debut in late 2008. Enjoy!
I jumped in the middle of my life for this mini-autobiography. So much more to say, but check back often. I'll update with good news and more books.