Author Spotlight on the Story of a Plain Girl: Marian Longenecker Beaman

I met Marian at an author event at the San Marco Bookstore in Jacksonville, FL at the peak of COVID. We were masked and outdoors but I was immediately smitten by her infectious laughter and friendly nature behind the face covering. Before long, we were comparing notes on our upbringing and found we had a lot in common. I wasn’t raised as a Mennonite but it was fairly close. Marian’s debut book “Mennonite Daughter is a fun, quirky, soul-searching journey into her life. If you love memoir or learning about other cultures and making a new friend (because you’ll fall in love with this lady), then this book is for you. Grab a pumpkin pastry, a cup of tea or coffee, and sip along while you check out her delightful author interview:

When did you first realize you wanted to be an author?

  • My writing urge has a long arc! When we cleared out our mother’s attic, I found my autobiography, less than a page in longhand, written in eighth grade. After college, my first paid writing project involved creating a series of Bible studies from the book of Matthew for Herald Press in Pennsylvania. However, teaching was my first love, and during my career I wrote mostly articles for academic journals. When I retired, I searched for a way to connect with others, because I missed not being in the classroom or interacting with colleagues. Thus, I began blogging, which has led to writing my memoir and finding rich friendships along the way.

How long does it take you to write a book?

  • I began blogging in 2013, writing vignettes about my childhood as a young Mennonite girl in Pennsylvania. These sketches resonated with readers who wanted to know more about my family. Thus, began my foray into serious memoir writing.

Describe your writing work schedule.

  • A day doesn’t go by when I’m not warming the seat of my writing chair. I often respond to other blogs first and then move on to my own writing, usually in the morning. I definitely believe in reciprocity, replying to other bloggers and then writing new posts for my own website.

Share any writing quirks you have. Spill the beans!

  • Writing quirk? If I feel stuck, I might light the lemony candle on my desk or turn on the string lights around my bookshelf. Sometimes I look to music for inspiration. To prevent writers’ cramp, I might take a walk around the lake where I often find the spark to spur me forward. My artist husband reads every blog post, not just to find errors, but also to show support. Yes, I count my blessings!

Where do you get the information and inspiration for your books?