Marlene Bateman Sullivan was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She is married to Kelly R. Sullivan and they are the parents of seven children.
Her hobbies are gardening, camping, and reading. Marlene has been published extensively in magazines and newspapers and has written a number of non-fiction books, including: Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, And There Were Angels Among Them, Visit’s From Beyond the Veil, By the Ministering of Angels, and Brigham’s Boys. Marlene also wrote the best-selling novel, Light on Fire Island.
A busy writer, Marlene is set to have three books published this year. Gaze Into Heaven, a fascinating collection of over 50 documented near-death experiences in early church history, was published earlier this year. Next came Motive for Murder, the first in a mystery series featuring the quirky private eye, Erica Coleman. Then, Heroes of Faith, a collection of stories about people who acted heroically in the face of grave trials and handicaps was released by Cedar Fort Inc.
Give us a glimpse into a typical day in your day starting when you wake up till you lie down again.
First, I read the newspaper, my scriptures, and a few pages in whatever writing book I am studying at that time. (Not always in that order!) Then I have breakfast. Next comes whatever house or yard work, visiting teaching, or errands I can fit in by 10:30. At that time, I stop my chores and start to write. I take about an hour and a half for lunch, to read, and to take a 10-15 min. power nap. Then I go back to writing. Usually in the afternoon, I take my dogs for a walk. I work until 7 p.m. and then get dinner ready, (hubby usually helps). Then I watch TV till bedtime.
My husband and I remodeled our house four years ago and so I have a wonderful little office (previously the formal dining room). I have a nice L-shaped desk, and my son talked me into getting two monitors and now, I could not live without them.
I have a beautiful bay window where I can look out across my lovely yard. My two dogs often sleep on the floor by my feet to keep me company. I have three cats, and one of them, Autumn, occasionally jumps onto my lap and snoozes while I write.
Outside, I have my second ‘office’—my gazebo. It’s my writing oasis in the late spring, summer, and early fall. We live on a very large lot, and have lots of bushes, trees, gardens, and lawn. I love it! My husband put up blinds on two sides of the gazebo to cut down on the glare on my laptop. I put a little fountain in one corner and sit on a cushioned swing. And yes, my dogs and two of the cats always come out with me and lounge around as I write.
How do you overcome writer’s block?
What’s writer’s block? To me, writing is a job, you just plug away at it. Some days are easier than others, but you just go on. Most of the time, I’m revising, so I just read what I’ve written and try to make it better, sharper, funnier, more mysterious, etc. It’s hard sometimes, but I just keep on, doing my best.
If you were sick/stuck in bed, what comfort food would you want and what author would you want to read?
A turkey burger patty, macaroni and cheese (the gooey kind), and green peas (not from a can—only the frozen kind). And I’d read just about anything Mauve Binchy wrote. Hmm, or a Hercule Poirot mystery from Agatha Christie—the master of mystery.
Does music help you or distract you while you are writing? If you like to listen to music while you write, what is a favorite selection?
I don’t generally listen to music as I write. However, once in a while I’ll slip in a CD, but it is something simple and soothing, like “Sounds of the Forest” or “Rain” or “Sounds of Nature.”
Who is your favorite author? Can you name a favorite book?
One of my favorite authors is Maeve Binchy. I just love her writing, you get really involved in her characters and just fall in love with them. There’s a goodness about her books. She writes about Ireland and its just so interesting. I just finished Minding Frankie, which is good. Glass Lake is really amazing, as is Firefly Summer. I’ve read everything she’s written.
You have won one million dollars what is the first thing that you would buy?
Boy, my mind goes wild with that question. I’d probably get me a new SUV, replacing my beat up jeep with a vehicle that gets good gas mileage. Then I’d buy me a pair of Ragdoll kittens. And maybe a Welsh Corgi.
Our fast-paced society loves adventure and it loves a hero—but what about Latter-day Saint heroes? Are there any? There are plenty!
Heroes of Faith, True Stories of Faith and Courage, is a collection of twenty-four riveting stories about people who rose above difficulties and impossible odds to emerge triumphant. You’ll read about stalwart men and women who stood firm and valiant in the gospel in spite of dangerous mobs, flying bullets, physical handicaps, extreme hardships, and dictatorial regimes.
It’s fascinating to read about the exploits of real heroes and when that hero is acting in accordance with the principles of the gospel, the adventure is not only thrilling, but inspiring as well. In these days of increasing trials and tribulation, we can all use some worthy role models, especially those that strengthen our faith and increase our testimonies.