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mail@authorsguildoftn.org    +1.865.254-3054 and 865.657-9560.

Marilyn spent her early years in Norris, Tennessee. After having lived in twelve different towns in the US, and two different countries overseas, she has returned to her East Tennessee roots and settled in Tellico Village with her husband John.

Books by Marilyn Smith Neilans

Interview with Author

How long did it take you to write the novel?

I literally began composing it in my head as the events were unfolding. As I began to face the daily challenges and difficulties of making life care decisions for my failing mother, I realized that I had no real experience in this area. I was quite certain that I was not the first middle-aged daughter to feel overwhelmed and lost. The strong need to form a bond with other women in these circumstances turned into a compulsion to write, and I began putting it all down on paper as soon as I returned to my home after Mom’s funeral.

Because of my life’s own complicated path, and because of the emotional stress of remembering the details that I put down in the book, it took me 17 years to get it to publication. When readers respond with comments like this: “I couldn’t put it down. I laughed a little, cried a little, and thought a lot about my own parents,” I feel I have successfully communicated with my peers.

What will your next book be about?

It will be a memoir “as told to,” and will be about another family’s interesting lives as they reform and regroup after fleeing their homeland of Estonia to re-establish themselves first in Germany in a displaced persons camp, then in the United States. This one is much less emotionally stressful for me to write! Look for it to come out late in 2013 or early 2014.

My Latest Blogs

09 April 2017

From the country cracker style food tents - fried baloney sandwiches on white bread, for example, to the myriad tattoos on every size and shape of human bodies, to the highly sought after tiara worn by the Swamp Buggy Queen  - B J captures all the sights and sounds (and smells) of this truly American pastime.

I am lucky enough to be collaborating with B J, acting as instigator, editor, and swamp guide.




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16 August 2016

I knew it was a story that had to be told. At the request of Ku's mother (94 at the time ) I wrote of her life with an emphasis on the good and positive aspects of their time in Estonia, in Germany, and then in America. I researched and interviewed and read first personn accounts of the time, and the unspoken layers beneath this story are scary - and important for all of us to know today.

Our hope is that when you have read this easy-read story, you will be intriqued and will continue to search out and read other, deeper and darker stories of families who have had to leave everything ... literally everything ... behind and find a new life in a new land.

"Flight to Freedom ... One Family's Escape From Estonia," by Marilyn Smith Neilans


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