Dee Owen is the Daughter-in-law of mystery writer Marjorie Owen. Dee and her husband Michael Owen have published Marjorie’s books posthumously; here is a link to their website:
Q: Who was Marjorie Owen?
A: Marjorie Grace Patricia Bridget Owen. Was born on September 11th 1911 in England and endured the bombardment of World War II. She was born out-of-wedlock with an Irish Lord for a father and a Russian princess as her mother. Although her life before working is somewhat sketchy, her career, as a major London department store clothing buyer, was long and interesting. Members of the Royal family were amongst some of her more famous clients. Marjorie found time to write many short stories and four novels ranging from romance to mystery. She did not attempt to publish any of her writings. We can only surmise that she wrote for the joy and did not wish to seek out any recognition or fame.
Marjorie passed away on March 28th 2004, after a very full life, at the age of ninety-three.
Q: How did you happen across her writing?
A: Mum had told Mike that she had written a couple of stories and let him read them some years ago. She expressed no interest in having them published at that time. He was never aware of the amount that she had written until she passed away. Mike, being an only child and having no Aunts or Uncles, is the sole heir to Marjorie’s estate. He discovered the box full of Mum’s writings on clearing her flat in England and took them back to the USA.
Q: What made you decide to publish her writing?
A: As an avid reader Dee (daughter-in-law) became fascinated with Mum’s stories and books. All her writings were hand written on legal size paper or note books and on both sides of the paper. Dee began reading some of the short stories (there are fifty plus). After reading a few, she was hooked and decided to attempt, the monumental task of transcribing them to computer. Mum’s writing was not the easiest to read, however, Dee had set herself the challenge and was going to follow through. At first, her husband, Mike assisted her with the ‘translation’ of Mum’s hand writing. At times they became frustrated with each other and Mum. After a couple of stories, Dee became the expert, reading Mum’s writing and even improving her own typing skills and speed. As yet, Dee has not completed the task, with a few more stories to go and two novels, after several years of work.
Dee decided to see if her opinion about Mum’s writing skills were correct and began submitting several of the short stories for publishing. A few of Mum’s stories were accepted for publishing by online magazines and were published without pay. But exposure is important. A small success spurred Dee to try for bigger things. The first book of Mum’s was published in March 2008. “Ladies of Class” at Vintage Romance Publishing. Mum’ second book, ‘The Poison Pen’, sequel to ‘Ladies of Class’ is to be published April 30th 2014. Both Dee and Mike are really happy and hope that both books will be a success and lead to further books and stories being published. Their blog for Mum’s writings is http://bookread-mumswritings.blogspot.com/
Q: What is the Poison Pen about?
A: Detective Chief Inspector Richard Hayward had just started his vacation with his pregnant wife when the call comes. Another murder has interrupted the town’s peaceful existence, and the murderer won’t stop at just one victim. Richard will need all of his expertise if he’s going to find the killer lurking among the town’s only department store. But when the Chief Inspector gets too close to the truth, his ongoing search places his wife and the life of his unborn child in jeopardy. It’s a killer’s warning. Back off or pay the consequences. Never one to back down, Richard must find the murderer before more lives are taken, but most importantly, he will do whatever it takes to protect his family.
Q: What makes Richard Hayward a detective worth reading about?
A: Review by Judith Ingram – Smart, Satisfying Mystery, May 26, 2014
THE POISON PEN introduced me to Detective Chief Inspector Richard Hayward in an intriguing whodunit that is swiftly paced and delightfully British in flavor, reminiscent of Elizabeth George’s Lynley tales. The author sets out the murder of a particularly nasty victim and then parades suspects and clues enough to keep the reader guessing until the final pages. As if solving the puzzle weren’t enough, a romantic subplot shows a softer side of the steely eyed detective that offsets his cold genius for solving cases and earns him the reader’s sympathy. I enjoyed the author’s clean literary style, wry humor, and deft handling of plot twists that left me wanting more when I’d turned the last page.
Q: What are the legalities involved in getting a writers book published posthumously?
A: “Written permission has been obtained by Michael Owen on behalf of the Estate of Marjorie Owen, via her last will and testament, for the publication of this work.” Michael is my husband.
Q: What kind of work did your mom do and how do you think it influenced her writing?
A: Majorie’s career, as a major London department store clothing buyer, was long and interesting. Members of the Royal family were amongst some of her more famous clients. Marjorie found time to write many short stories and four novels ranging from romance to mystery. She did not attempt to publish any of her writings. We can only surmise that she wrote for the joy and did not wish to seek any recognition or fame.
Q: What sort of work do you do and how did it help or hinder you in getting the book published?
A: I am now retired. My career has developed from my early days as a Professional Ballet Dancer and Teacher to working with children and adults with both physical and learning disabilities. In later years of my career, I have worked in groups, one-on-one, and via the internet with students. The publication of my deceased mother-in-law’s book has led me to develop further my writing, editing, and proofreading experience.
Q: What have you done to promote the book?
A: I read, review, and interview other author’s books. I also promote author’s with guest posts and promo posts on by blog Book Readers. In return for my help to authors I request that they link back to my blog. I have Mum’s books and writings, previews and videos on my blog. I also, use various book blogs and social media to promote Mum’s and author’s books.
Q: If you could ask Marjorie one question today, what would it be?
A: That is a good question! As Mum was such a private person and did not seek publication or reorganization for her writings, my question would be “Are you upset with me for having your writings published?”
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.