Tell us a little about your book, what it’s
Marilyn; "From Agoraphobia to Zen" is the story of my
struggle with trauma, panic attacks, food addition and agoraphobia. For some
years of my life I lived and raised my children mostly from the confines of
a box in my walk-in closet.
What genre is this current book, do you write in any
Marilyn; my book is a memoir, and though I write and
perform spoken word and poetry I will continue my journey though this genre
because my truth is both stranger and funnier than fiction
When did you first decide you wanted to be a writer,
at what age?
Marilyn; I always wrote poetry and kept a diary but
never thought I would write a book and one that someone would
think worthy of publishing until I conquered my fear and
Do you have a day job or do you write
Marilyn; I have been a teacher, an advocate for
homeless women and victim's of crime but took a break to write the book. I
will be working again as a teacher while I write my second book. I might be a
comedian if I live long enough
When did you start writing your first
Marilyn; I had my first chapter for a long time. The
first chapter is powerful, violent and truthful. The rest of the book was
conceived out of that chapter as I began to learn more about the secrets in my
How long does it take you to write a
Marilyn; this book took almost a lifetime to finish. I
know the next book will be easier and faster
Do you have an outline when you write or do you just
write and see where it goes?
Marilyn; I don't write an outline. I write fast with
passion and then go back and leave in only the vital exciting parts. I call that
being respectful to my readers.
What is your writing process like? Do you have any
weird quirks when writing?
Marilyn; I don't stop when I am in the middle of
something I sense is important. I don't notice if it is hot out or if I have
eaten. I am in that moment of divine creativity
What kind of research went into this book, tell me a
little bit about that process.
Marilyn; when I was halfway through the first draft of
my book, I decided to read my mother's diaries. She had passed away and is a big
part of my memoir. I had a moment where I knew her voice had to be in the book.
If I didn't put in her voice, my book would just be another misery memoir;
a "mommy dearest" type of book and I didn't want that because she was so much
more than her mental illness and her cruelty. That was a turning point in that I
realized threading her story in my book made it a mystery, made it special and
made me excited to finish the book. Also it helped me heal
learned so much from her words and found out about the toxic secrets that had
destroyed her life and almost destroyed mine.
What motivated you to tell this
Marilyn; I lived my life in confusion and I began
writing to learn why I was so afraid of living. I had no idea it would also heal
me but it did.
How have you marketed this
Marilyn; I went on a book tour to the United Kingdom
because my publisher resides there. I spoke to so many people who suffer from
anxiety and my book is in many libraries there as well as in Hawaii. I also
started a blog because I was told by many people to "build a platform". I
never did much promotion on my blog but my posts began to get popular and I
realized there was another book in me. I knew I was officially a
What projects are you working on
Marilyn; I am starting another book about celebrating
anxiety. I know that sounds strange and that is exactly why I think it's a
wonderful topic. We have to end the stigma against the mentally ill and start to
celebrate the unique spirit to survive that each of us can
What has been your toughest criticism? What has been
your best compliment as an author?
Marilyn; well, my children refuse to read my book. I
think they are scared to face the pain of how my mental illness affected them. I
hope one day they will be able to read it as I was able to read my mother's
diary. Despite that, my four grown children support me and we have a good
best compliment as an author has been that my book has helped them deal with
trauma in their own life.
What do you do when you’re not
Marilyn; I dance; sprint for 30 minutes a day and do
Yoga. I try to go out as much as possible or I tend to stay inside my cocoon. My
three dogs keep me active and outside. I love dogs
Do you hear from your reader much, what has the feed
back been like?
Marilyn; that has been the icing on top of the cake. I
get phone calls, letters and emails saying that my story has affected
them; made them cry, made them laugh made them feel and think.
What was your favorite book growing
Marilyn; "A tree grows in Brooklyn" I am from Brooklyn
NYC and I love all of Betty Smith's books.
Tea, coffee or hot chocolate?
Maya; Tea, tea and more tea
Cat or Dog?
Marilyn; Dogs, dogs and dogs. I have
Print book or e-reader which medium do you
Marilyn; my book is on Kindle but I have to say I
don't think I can read a book on a reader. I like the smell and feel of a paper
and ink book.
Marilyn; I try not to be fearful anymore. I suffered
enough fear for a couple of lifetimes.
Marilyn; my greatest wish is that people would be
kinder to each other;
If your book was made into a movie what actors would
you choose to play the parts?
Marilyn; Maybe Laura Linney as me, No one could do
my mother justice except maybe the late Bette Davis because they both had those
beautiful but scary eyes. That would be some movie.
Glass half empty or half full?
Marilyn; half full always, especially when you feel
Marilyn; I love red and sea green
Marilyn; I love many places but Hawaii, my home for 35
years has my heart and soul
Light or Dark?
Marilyn; Light and dark are metaphors for life,
the good and the bad and to say yes to both of them
Most embarrassing moment
Marilyn; I forgot all the embarrassing moments and
decided to live with courage and happiness
want to thank Marilyn for taking the time to hang out with us, anyone wanting
more information about Marilyn or her book. You can click on the following
purchase a copy of Agoraphobia to Zen: Uncovering the Core of My Anxiety and
Reclaiming My Life
can connect with Marilyn on twitter, LinkedIn, facebook