Women’s Fiction – Is It About The Head or The Heart?

Days of Our Lives Author/Actress Mara Purl and

Mystery Novelist Donis Casey Debate Topic for Charity

Changing Hands Bookstore hosts a lively discussion, book reading and signing with two leading authors.

(September 5, 2011 – Scottsdale, Arizona) – There is always a debate about what the focus should be for women’s fiction – affairs of the heart or affairs of the head? Days of Our Lives actress-turned author Mara Purl is rapidly becoming one of the most successful women’s fiction authors in the world.   Purl’s Milford-Haven book, What the Heart Knows, hits the market in September --- as both hardcover and eBook. Purl has won multiple awards for her book, radio show, play writing and public service. Donis Casey is the author of five Alafair Tucker Mysteries, including the newly released Crying Blood. Her series, set in Oklahoma during the booming 1910s and featuring the sleuthing mother of ten children, has twice won the Arizona Book Award. Come to Changing Hands on Tuesday, October 11 for some lively discussion on women’s fiction. The reading and book signing will benefit P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization) that provides continuing education grants and scholarships to women. Free and refreshments will be served.

Purl is on a national tour for What the Heart Knows, the first of her twelve book series based on her BBC radio drama which had 4.5 million U.K. listeners. Her publisher, Midpoint Trade, has launched Bellekeep Books as their new imprint for Women’s Fiction – Mara Purl is their flagship author.

“Authors today have a greater ability to find a specific audience. Women’s Fiction, for example, a century ago, was a tiny category of books written by women, and as such, was often dismissed,” explained Purl. “Now, however, Women’s Fiction is fiction for women, and the category has 55 million readers.”

Casey is on her fifth book in the Alafair Tucker Mysteries which is based in the 1910’s.

“ I decided that I wanted to take the opportunity to try and evoke not just the events of the time, but the smells, the tastes, the sound, the hot and cold of it — the daily one-foot-in-front-of-the-other life of a farm wife with many children,” said Casey. “I love the language, too. One of my uncles walked into our house one day and said, ‘What in the cat hair is going on?’ How could I let that fade into oblivion?”

Purl wrote in a recent blog tour “Traditional romance structure means a romance novel must have a happy ending. Otherwise it’s not a romance. Romance is a fantastic genre, which is why it has always made sense to me that it has millions of readers. Romance is heroic story-telling. It’s iconic, it’s metaphorical.”.

“What I write is Women’s Fiction—a larger, more encompassing genre, which includes romance as a category, but allows for other forms. Mine is also a Women’s Fiction Series, which makes it even less traditional, in that not all the storylines conclude in each book, some relationships and issues remain unresolved until later in the series,” added Purl. “My novels are most definitely romantic—and early editions have won several romance awards. Yet the love relationships don’t conclude the way readers might expect. They’re full of surprises and complexities.”

Although Purl writes in the more modern women of the 1990s and Donis Casey’s women are based in the early 1900s, both stories are about strong women.

“I enjoy being with Mara. Mara is a very sort of intuitive and thoughtful person. She’s the kind of woman that I write about,” shared Casey. “Mara approaches our writing the same … a different time and place – but similar in style. “

Purl adds, “Our joint event works well because Donis’ main character is a mother that in each mystery one of her many kids is getting into trouble. That is the heart. The head part is figuring who done it.”

Should you base a book on a character with a strong head or a strong heart? Listen in on these two dynamic authors, then go ahead … you decide.


About the Event

The Changing Hands event also will raise awareness and funds for the local Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O.) that provides continuing education grants and scholarships to women. You can meet both Mara Purl and Donis Casey at 7 p.m. The discussion and book signing is free. Refreshments will be served. For further details call 480-730-0205 or visit www.ChangingHands.com

About the Author Mara Purl:

Mara Purl was a performer on-camera and on-stage, with her regular character Darla Cook on Days Of Our Lives having been her starting point for soap opera. Purl began her writing career as a journalist for the Associated Press, Rolling Stone, The Financial Times of London, Working Woman Magazine, and The Christian Science Monitor. A prolific fiction author, she also has written a play and several non-fiction books including Act Right: A Manual for the On-Camera Actor with actress Erin Gray.

Besides for her books, other Awards include: for radio, the New York Festivals Award; for her play Mary Shelley: In Her Own Words, the Peak Award; and for public service, Woman of the Year 2002 by the Los Angeles County Commission for Women.

Mara Purl is also an accomplished musician.  Her instrument is the koto and she recorded and has played on the international stage with many noteworthy musicians including the works Sumahama recorded with Mike Love and the Beach Boys, Pathless Path recorded with Charles Lloyd, Koto Keys with Marilyn Harris, and Teiji Ito’s Watermill recorded with Grammy-winning musician Steve Gorn.

The hit song “Jet Laggin” she co-wrote with Marilyn Harris is in current release on the new CD Orphans.

About What the Heart Knows; A Milford-Haven Novel (Bellekeep Books, 2011)

What does your heart know? Miranda Jones has always used her head. Her artists’ rep and mentors, parents and sister, always advised she must. With her paintings at a major fine art gallery, her journey as a struggling artist is finally paying off. But while her head told her success in a big city was what she wanted, her heart told her a simpler life in a small community would feel like home. Now that she's moved, deeper questions surface: What is her life purpose? What's missing? And what does her heart know that her head keeps ignoring?

About Donis Casey

Donis Casey is the author of five Alafair Tucker Mysteries, including the newly released Crying Blood. Her series, set in Oklahoma during the booming 1910s and featuring the sleuthing mother of ten children, has twice won the Arizona Book Award and has been a finalist for the Willa Award and the Oklahoma Book Award. Her first novel, The Old Buzzard Had It Coming, was named an Oklahoma Centennial Book.

Donis is a former teacher, academic librarian, and entrepreneur. She was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and now lives with her husband, poet Donald Koozer in Tempe, AZ.  Readers can enjoy the first chapter of each book on her web site at www.doniscasey.com. Author Casey blogs each Saturday about mystery writing at www.typem4murder.blogspot.com, and about food and mysteries at www.fatalfoodies.blogspot.com.

About Crying Blood; An Alafair Tucker Mystery (Poisoned Pen Press, 2011)

A pleasant outing with his sons ends when Shaw Tucker finds a skeleton in a shallow grave. Now something evil has followed him home. Is the blood of a murdered boy crying for justice? A death has put the world out of balance, and together Shaw and Alafair Tucker will do whatever it takes to set it straight again.

Crying Blood is a thoroughly engrossing evocation of life on a self-sufficient 1915 Oklahoma farm.  In Alafair Tucker, mother of ten, Donis Casey has created a clear-eyed woman of her time:  pre-ERA, accepting of her place in a male-dominated society, but not hampered by it because she well knows the value of her contributions to her family’s well-being.  This is my first meeting with Alafair Tucker and her family.  It will not be my last. Margaret Maron

Powerful as a blue northern sweeping across the Creek Nation, Crying Blood is a gripping entry in Donis Casey’s superb Alafair Tucker series. Casey depicts family ties that uplift and support and family ties broken by anger in a poignant, lyrical, authentic novel of early day Oklahoma. – Carolyn Hart

About P.E.O. Arizona

P.E.O. . (Philanthropic Educational Organization) is where women celebrate the advancement of women; educate women through scholarships, grants, awards, loans and stewardship of Cottey College; and motivate women to achieve their highest aspirations.

The P.E.O. Sisterhood was founded January 21, 1869 on the campus of Iowa Wesleyan College, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. It is an international organization which bases its principles on philanthropy, providing educational opportunities for women, love, and friendship. P.E.O. began in Arizona in 1912 when Faith McKee, known as the “Mother of Arizona P.E.O.”, organized the cornerstone of Arizona P.E.O., Chapter A, in Phoenix. Arizona State Chapter was organized at the first Convocation of Arizona Chapters in 1931 with eleven chapters. Today, Arizona State Chapter has 154 chapters with over 6,000 members.

Dianemarie (DM) Collins

DM Productions LLC

(623).825.9122 Ext. 2  -  Email: DM@DMProductionsLLC.com

Phoenix - Lake Tahoe - Reno

Mara Purl

Author - Actress - Motivational Speaker



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