Marianne Holbrook has been a Faithwriters member for many years, and has been a big encourager to many. And now it’s time for FaithWriters to encourage her – with FaithWriters’ 2019 Best of the Best win for her moving entry Come and Dine. Read on to learn about Mariane, her winning entry, her (embarrassing) writing debut, and more.

JOANNE SHER: First of all, congratulations on your BoB win! What was your reaction when you found out you were chosen as  Best of the Best?  

MARIANE HOLBROOK: Thank you.  I was both surprised and shocked.  I hadn’t been following the BOBs and didn’t know of my win until Verna Mitchell sent me a congratulatory Email. I called to my husband to read Verna’s Email with me so I could be sure I wasn’t dreaming.

JOANNE: Your winning piece, Come and Dine, is so incredibly inspiring, especially knowing it was a true story. Was “Daddy” your father, or someone else you knew? How true to the actual happenings did you stay? How did this entry come together for you? Any particular struggles getting it the way you liked it?  

MARIANE: It’s a true story of my father who, even into our adulthood was always called “Daddy” by his five daughters. The story was told to me by the members of my family and several neighbors who were aunts and cousins.  Daddy was a godly man who taught Bible studies to fellow workers on the railroad during their lunch hour. He also was lay pastor of a small church in an impoverished nearby village whose residents begged him to preach on Sunday afternoons. That way he could still attend our church in the mornings and evenings.  Since he never owned a car, he would walk three miles down the railroad tracks for the 2:30 pm service, then walk back home in time for our church evening service. My sister and I often accompanied him. Over the years, relatives added details of the “Come and Dine” story that I hadn’t heard before, like the picnic held in our back yard. 

JOANNE: What a wonderful man! You have been around FaithWriters for a long time, but took a break from the challenge until recently (in fact, “Come and Dine” was your first challenge entry back after seven years!)  – and you have been faithfully entering since then. What does FaithWriters mean to you, and how has it impacted you? 

MARIANNE:  I took a break because my health was declining.  After my sons and my relatives asked me to write down the stories I often told of my family, I could think of no better venue than FaithWriters.  It provides the impetus and motivation to complete a story each week. I am keeping them in a file for my family to enjoy when I’m gone. Since I am 85 years old, I realize I have a limited amount of time left so I’m committed to writing for as long as I can.  My health hasn’t improved but my coping mechanism are better. Every day I thank God for strength He gives me for each new day.

JOANNE: You are such an inspiration! So glad you are back. Have you always enjoyed writing, or is it something that developed later? What is your favorite genre to write in?  

MARIANE: I started writing in seventh grade when I wrote a love poem in class about our new English teacher, a handsome Marine, who had just returned from World War 2. When I finished, the boy across from me grabbed it and was reading it when the teacher caught him not paying attention.  He asked the student to read aloud to the class whatever was more interesting than his teaching. The boy eagerly shared it with the large class who burst into uncontrolled laughter until the teacher, as embarrassed as I was, confiscated the poem and buried it deeply in his desk drawer and tried to continue teaching.  

 As far as my favorite genre, I love to write true stories. In my long life, coming from a family of seven children, and born during the Great Depression,  I have a stockpile of stories still to write. About ten years ago I self-published two books of short stories and poetry, titled,”Prisms Of The Heart” and “Humor Me.”  They run the gamut from inspirational to humor, meditations to answers to prayers. I never advertised them and I think I sold two copies (both to my mother). The rest I gave away.  They are now out of print and likely collecting dust on some relatives’ forgotten bookshelves. (grin)

JOANNE: Love your sense of humor. How about reading? What’s your favorite type of book to read? Who are your favorite authors? 

MARIANE: I love biographies and read little fiction, with the exception of John Grisham, Ann Ruhl, and other crime writers.  I love the drama of a courtroom. I also love to read and write poetry and though I cannot write free verse, I like to encourage others who do it well, such as Verna, Linda Owen and others.

JOANNE: I know these ladies appreciate your encouragement. Tell us a bit about you and your family. 

MARIANE: I have been married to my college sweetheart, John, for almost 64 years. We have both been teachers in the public school system, (John much longer than I), until our retirement on the beautiful North Carolina coast twenty years ago. We have two married sons, Johnny and Tim, and three grandchildren. All are born again Christians and lead godly lives. We are blessed.

JOANNE: What a wonderful legacy. Where can folks connect with you? 

MARIANE:  I can be reached by Email (Mariane777 at bellsouth.net), through Facebook and of course, through FaithWriters

JOANNE: Anything else you’d like to share?  

MARIANNE: I like to encourage others to join or rejoin FaithWriters.  It provides unique opportunities to sharpen our writing tools, broaden our horizons, gain a wider audience, and give another raison d’etre.

JOANNE: And we SO appreciate it! Thanks so much, Mariane, for sharing, and congrats again on your win!

Watch for interviews with the two runners up – Allison Egley and Sally Hanan – on the blog soon!

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