On the path to becoming a novelist, Marie Bostwick worked in the bean fields of Oregon, sang and danced in musical productions, acted in TV commercials, taught religion to deaf children, ran an event-planning business, worked as the scheduler for a U.S. Senator and directed women’s ministries for a large church.
But as diverse and enriching as these experiences were, it was a conversation with a stranger back in 1994 that pointed Marie toward her true calling.
Then the mother to three active young sons, Marie went on a much-needed vacation to a resort with some girlfriends. While there, she decided to attend a writer’s workshop, “not from any desire to become a writer,” she said, “but as a way to avoid playing tennis with my friends. I’m hopelessly unathletic.” At the end of the week the instructor approached her, and thinking she was a professional writer, asked what she’d published.
“I just laughed. I told him that I was a mom, and the only thing I wrote was grocery lists.” The instructor insisted that whether Marie knew it or not, she was a writer. Marie thanked him for the compliment, saying she wasn’t a writer, just someone who hadn’t fired her imaginary friends when she grew up. “Then he leaned toward me and said, ‘Well, what do you think writers are?’ That got my attention. I think I realized then that he was onto something, that my secret identity had finally been unmasked.”
The signs were there from an early age. A voracious reader by the age of three, Marie said one of her first literary endeavors was a screenplay she wrote for “Camelot” before she was old enough to attend public school. The musical was a favorite of Marie’s, and, not having seen the movie, she wrote her own story to go with the music she’d heard on her grandmother’s record player. In high school, Marie wrote short stories and “a lot of sad, self-absorbed teenage poetry,” which earned her the school English award.
Born in Eugene, Oregon, the youngest of four sisters experienced a life of comfort in her early years, then financial hardships after her parents’ divorce. But childhood summers spent working in the fields taught her industry and the dignity of good, hard work. They also provided the insight into the hearts and minds of small communities, the settings for her novels.
Marie dedicated four years to writing FIELDS OF GOLD. Published in 2005 by Kensington Books, FIELDS OF GOLD was a finalist for the prestigious Oklahoma Book Award and for RT BOOKclub magazine’s Best Historical Saga Award. RIVER’S EDGE won the Golden Quill Award, was a finalist for a National Readers’ Choice Award and was an alternate selection of the Literary Guild. Her novellas, A HIGH-KICKING CHRISTMAS and THE PRESENTS OF ANGELS, which were included, respectively, in the holiday anthologies COMFORT AND JOY and SNOW ANGELS, appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists.
Drawing on her lifelong love of quilting and themes of special relevance to modern women, Marie’s Cobbled Court Quilt series has gained a dedicated following among quilters as well as those who’ve never threaded and needle and don’t plan to try. The first book in the series, A SINGLE THREAD, published in 2008, recently went into its fifteenth printing. That book, as well the third book in the series, A THREAD SO THIN, were included in Reader’s Digest Select Editions. A THREAD OF TRUTH (2009) was named an “Indie Next Notable” book by the members of the Independent Bookseller’s Association. TIES THAT BIND has been nominated as Best Mainstream Novel of 2012 by RT BOOKclub and Marie was also nominated for a Career Achievement in Mainstream Novels award by the same organization.
Marie enjoys volunteering to help others. When she was twenty-five, she became the first president of a new chapter of Habitat for Humanity in Georgia. Living in Colorado in her early thirties, she managed Promise Keepers seminars designed to train ministers to better understand the needs of men in their congregations. Then, in Mexico, she was the volunteer director of development for Manos de Ayuda (Helping Hands), a medical mission to the poor. She continues to volunteer her time to various church and community organizations today and is proud to serve on the board of the Quilt Alliance.
“It feels like the rest of my life and experiences were the lessons that I had to master so I could do this thing I was truly meant to do,” Marie said, adding, “I can’t imagine being anything but a writer.”
Marie’s newest book, BETWEEN HEAVEN AND TEXAS (2013), is a prequel to her beloved Cobbled Court Quilt series, and centers on the irrepressible Mary Dell Templeton, who has made many appearances in the Cobbled Court books. Set in the early 80s, decades before Mary Dell befriends the women of the Cobbled Court Quilt shop, BETWEEN HEAVEN AND TEXAS explores Mary Dell’s early history as she struggles with issues of marriage, infertility, motherhood and how to define herself as a woman, entrepreneur, and artist. There’s a whole lot of quilting going on in the story, but these broader themes make this book relevant to readers of every stripe.
Today Marie lives in Connecticut with Brad, her husband of thirty-one years. When not writing or volunteering for her church, she enjoys quilting, watching movies and sipping tea on the front porch with her friends and spending time with her family and especially playing with her grandsons. Marie travels extensively, speaking at libraries, bookstores, quilt guilds, and at quilt shows. She has been a featured speaker at the Paducah Quilt Festival and the Houston International Quilt Festival. In 2013, she will be the keynote speaker at Quilt Nebraska.