Melissa Midwest

Submitted by on Sep 23, 2015

Beverly Swerling

I’m told that a number of critics who have said kind things about my books, have been less kind about the very brief bio on my book jackets. First, don’t blame Simon & Schuster; it’s my fault. Publishers use the data supplied by the author for this kind ofMore I’m told that a number of critics who have said kind things about my books, have been less kind about the very brief bio on my book jackets. First, don’t blame Simon & Schuster; it’s my fault. Publishers use the data supplied by the author for this kind of thing, and I didn’t supply much. I guess because it seems that almost everything needs a long explanation. Which is probably me being egotistical. What do you care, right? You buy my books to be entertained (and very grateful I am), you don’t give two hoots about me.

But there are those picky critics…

Here then is a somewhat less abbreviated version.

I grew up in the Boston suburb of Revere, and while I won’t tell you when, I will say that it was very different from what it is today. The beach was, as it still is, one of the natural wonders of the state of Massachusetts, but the front was NOT lined with condo high-rises. It was a boardwalk with stands selling fried clams (Massachusetts has the world’s best fried clams – made from the Ipswich soft shells, they remain what I’d choose for my last meal on this earth) and French fries and soft ice cream that we called frozen custard. Plus there were all kinds of gambling games of the sort found at any fairground – pitch ‘til you win, folks! – and a Ferris wheel and a roller coaster and a tunnel of love.

Another feature of Revere back then was that it was almost entirely either Jewish or Italian (my own family is a mixture of both) and because the town had a dog track – Wonderland – and a horse track – Suffolk Downs – there was a lot of what is politely called off-track betting. Which wasn’t legal then, and for all I know still is not. Nonetheless, any number of family members rented rooms to bookies – the chief requirement being that these gentlemen of the turf had to be able to see one or the other of the tote boards with binoculars, (a world without cell phones, remember) and know how much they were liable to pay out, which in turn affected what odds they could offer on the next race.

I went from that upstanding childhood to a small Catholic girls college in the Midwest, then a job in New York as a file clerk to support my writing – all non-fiction at first – until I was able to earn my way as a free lance journalist.

For a time after that I lived in Europe.

Where I got married for a brief and unpleasant period, then came home and wrote more non-fiction. And got married again.

And went back to Europe.

And started writing fiction, and – hallelujah! – selling it.

And came back to New York with my by now long time husband, and began writing City of Dreams…

Which just about catches you up. Except for the bits I’ve left out.

And, oh yes, one other important part of my life and my work: On that so brief bio on the S&S book jacket it mentions that I’m a consultant. Many people have asked me what kind.

Happens that my husband – who has his own website at www.agentresearch.com – runs the world’s number one consultancy for authors looking for new (or sometimes a first) agents. It’s called Agent Research and Evaluation, Inc. and I do some work for some of his clients. I also occasionally mentor new writers – and some who are not so new. What they all have in common is a passion for what they’re writing, so working with them gives me great joy, and most have found it helpful. (Admittedly not all. I set the bar high.) Some of what I have to share about the hows and the whys of this wonderful but very tough business of writing can be found at The Business of Writing page. At other parts of the site you’ll find more about my books, including excerpts from some not yet published work, such as City of Glory, which continues the story of the Turners and the Devreys of City of Dreams. City of Glory will be out in January. We’ve also put up an excerpt from the next book in that series, still little more than a gleam in my eye. Less

Beverly Swerling’s Books

Melissa MidwestMelissa Midwest
Melissa MidwestMelissa Midwest
Melissa MidwestMelissa Midwest

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