Marilyn Brant

Marilyn Brant is the award-winning women's fiction author of ACCORDING TO JANE (2009), FRIDAY MORNINGS AT NINE (2010) and A SUMMER IN EUROPE (coming 11-29-11), all from Kensington Books. She's been a classroom teacher, library staff member, freelance writer and national book reviewer. Since turning to writing, her novels have won a number of awards (like the Golden Heart, the Booksellers' Best and the Aspen Gold), and they’ve been selected as Doubleday & Book-of-the-Month Club Featured Alternate Selections. She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and son, surrounded by towers of books that often threaten to topple over and crush her. Visit her at www.marilynbrant.com.

Every woman remembers her firsts: Her first kiss. Her first lover. And her first time contemplating an affair…

Each Friday morning at the Indigo Moon Café, Jennifer, Bridget and Tamara meet to swap stories about marriage, kids and work. But one day, spurred by recent e-mails from her college ex, Jennifer poses questions they've never faced before. What if they all married the wrong man? What if they're living the wrong life? And what would happen if, just once, they gave in to temptation…?

Soon each woman is second-guessing the choices she's made—and the ones she can unmake—as she becomes aware of new opportunities around every corner, from attentive colleagues and sexy neighbors to flirtatious past lovers. And as fantasies blur with real life, Jennifer, Bridget and Tamara begin to realize how little they know about each other, their marriages and themselves, and how much there is to gain—and lose—when you step outside the rules.

You can read an excerpt from FRIDAY MORNINGS AT NINE, here.


Welcome, Marilyn! Thanks for stopping by to chat with our readers. What was most important to you in the writing of this story?

I’m always trying to be honest about the complexities of human emotion, particularly in regards to relationships. I would say with Friday Mornings at Nine, the biggest issue I wanted to explore was not so much the concept of “cheating” as a theme but, rather, the far less titillating subject of “choosing.” That a woman can really only be in a relationship fully—marital or otherwise—once she understands how and why she’s chosen to be there. That she has to look closely enough and listen deeply enough to know who she is and what she wants. And that in every romantic relationship or good friendship, she chooses over and over again (either consciously or unconsciously) whether she wants to stay. I believe that’s true of all of us, and I wanted my characters in this story to move from unconsciously living very unexamined lives to consciously and actively making a choice about where they were headed.

I love that -- looking at our day to day lives in a much more active way. You're right. Even not doing something is a choice. So, what’s your favorite movie of all time?

This is impossible for me to narrow down! I love lots of movies…especially classic films like “Roman Holiday” (with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn) and “The Philadelphia Story” (with Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart and Katharine Hepburn). I also love “A Room with a View,” all the “Pride & Prejudice” films, “While You Were Sleeping” and “When Harry Met Sally…”

All great ones. And I'm sensing a theme. ☺ My first two novels are fairy tale adaptations, so I'm curious... What’s your favorite fairy tale?

Cinderella, hands down! My new book, Fridays Mornings at Nine, has a fairy-tale theme, though, so it was fun to explore a mix of tales and give them a modern suburban twist, particularly using Little Red Riding Hood (with Bridget), Rapunzel (with Tamara), and Goldilocks and the Three Bears (with Jennifer).

What turns you off like nothing else?

Insincerity. I don’t expect everyone I meet to become a close friend, but I expect those who are my friends to be genuine and trustworthy. Period.

Do you write while listening to music? If so what kind?

No. I wish I could. I LOVE music, but it’s wildly distracting to me while I’m writing. (I am too often tempted to sing along—and, sadly, I don’t always do it especially well!) However, I reference songs quite a bit in the narrative itself, so I listen to a lot of music while I’m working on a story—just not when I’m actually sitting at the computer doing the typing. One of my favorite things to do is to go on walks with my iPod and think about scenes, testing out different songs to see if they provide the right musical subtext. For my debut book, According to Jane, I have an entire soundtrack of ‘80s tunes amassed. For Friday Mornings at Nine, I returned to the sounds of the '70s. And for my upcoming novel, A Summer in Europe, I'm referencing musicals, especially those of Andrew Lloyd Webber. (I have a "Soundtrack" link for each novel on the BOOKS page of my website at: http://www.marilynbrant.com/MBbooks.html)

What’s your favorite kind of cheese?

You realize I’m originally from Wisconsin…we Wisconsinites know cheese. I love fresh mozzarella, provolone, Monterey jack and—as a throwback to my childhood—salami cheese (especially delicious on sourdough bread!) and white curd cheese.

Who’s your favorite villain?

Mr. Wickham from Pride and Prejudice. I think he’s a terrific villain because he’s so charming and cunning that people don’t suspect him for the longest time. He knows how to flatter people so they fall under his spell, and then he betrays them. But, once someone is onto his schemes, it’s easy to see through him and he loses his power.

He is a great villain. Handsome and charming villains can be the worst! What’s the first thing you do when you finish writing a book?

Order a carry-out dinner in celebration (I don’t want to have to cook—LOL) and get something chocolaty-good for dessert!

Mmmm. Chocolate.... What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?

It means a lot to me to get to work on something creative every single day. Truly, that’s been such a gift. Even when the plotting of a scene is giving me fits or the synopsis doesn’t seem to make sense at all…I love knowing that I have a place to play with these characters and storylines. My hope is that by writing about women’s dreams and experiences as honestly as possible, I might get closer to helping readers recognize truths about their own lives. It was this sense of “recognition” that my favorite novelists gave to me, and I'll always be grateful for that.


A very personal question... What’s in your purse?

Lots of little scraps of paper. Seriously. Besides the basic set of cards (credit, insurance, library, bookstore, grocery, etc.), loose change and a few dollar bills…it’s mostly old crumpled receipts that I scribbled something on at some point. And one tube of lipstick. And my keys. Sometimes my cell phone, too—if I remember to charge it.


So, it’s the New Year…are you someone who does or doesn’t make resolutions? If you do make them, have you chosen yours for 2011 already?


Marilyn is generously offering a Friday Mornings at Nine t-shirt as a prize for a random commenter. (Cool!) The draw is open to any random commenter within North America and the chances of winning will vary depending on the number of comments.


You can keep in touch with Marilyn here:

Website: www.marilynbrant.com
Blog: http://marilynbrant.blogspot.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/marilynbrant


  1. Hello Marilyn and welcome to GLIAS. What an interesting concept for a book. How EVER did you come up with the concept?

    And to answer your question...I don't really make resolutions. But I do evaluate and set goals.


  2. This books sounds really nice I am definitely going to be keeping an eye out for it thanks for the post Marilyn and Angi

    I know I am not eligable for the prize so please don't enter me I just wanted to say I love the cover of the book and that is really does sound delicious !

    All the best

  3. Marilyn, I don't set resolutions. I have one big resolution, which is to make the most of the opportunities that come my way, and I just keep at it, year in and year out :) . (And I'm not eligible for the draw, but just wanted to pop by and say hi!)

  4. Hi :)
    Thank you for the wonderful interview with Marilyn Brant and thanks to Marilyn for the great indepth responses to the questions. It was an illuminating interview!
    All the best,

  5. Hi, Marilyn! No I don't make resolutions. I make small goals through out the year and tweak them to make them fulfill a large end of the year goal. I found out really quickly when I made those BIG resolutions I'd fail and that's not me:)

  6. Welcome Marilyn! I so love your covers.

    Looks like I'm the odd one so far - I always make resolutions! I just make them manageable. This year's resolution is to seriously weed my books so that I have more (okay, any) shelf space. I bought an ereader last summer and ebooks do not have this problem!

  7. Thanks again for doing the interview, Marilyn!

    I'm not a big resolution setter in general, but like Angi, I do set goals and this year January seemed to be a good time to set new ones... So I do, for the first time in decades, actually have resolutions of sorts, this year. :)

  8. Hi, everyone!!

    It's wonderful to be here today ;). Thank you all so much for inviting me to visit and a special thanks to Maureen for taking time to interview me!

    Just wanted to let you know I'm headed off to an appointment this morning but will be back in a couple hours. Looking forward to responding to all these great comments soon ;).

  9. Hi Marilyn! Glad to see you're doing so well. As for me, I've resolved to make no resolutions! Looking forward to your next book.

  10. Marilyn: Good morning, I agree with Angi, Friday Mornings at Nine is a terrific concept. It's filled with the realities of human emotion. Who hasn't wondered "what if?" Life is about choices, and Robert Frost said it best; would you agree? I loved, loved, loved According to Jane. And will add Friday Mornings at Nine to my nightstand. Thank you for being here!

  11. Marilyn: I stopped making resolutions once I realized that none of them every lasted for more than a week. I am the type that the moment something becomes taboo or off limits, it's all I think about. (Now there's a premise for a novel!)

    As an example, take Super Target's chocolate cake...with peanut butter, buttercream frosting...and Reese's peanut butter cups crumbled on top...

    Your novel sounds wonderful. I am so glad I discovered you through GLIAS!

  12. Whew!! I'm back ;).

    Angi~I've been thinking about the secret lives of suburban moms for a LONG time, before the show "Desperate Housewives" came on the air and even before I started meeting my friends regularly for coffee dates ;). I'd actually plotted it loosely before I ever joined Facebook, but I started paying more attention when heard people talking about how easy it was to reconnect with someone from their past...and that got me thinking more specifically about what type of a character would act on that opportunity. I wasn't, however, at all ready to write the story, so the ideas just sat in a folder in my office until my editor asked me what my plans were for the 2nd book in my contract. I ran a bunch of story concepts by him, and this was, by far, the premise he was most interested in seeing... ;)

    Desere, thank you for taking time to stop by and comment! I'm so glad you like the cover -- I think the designer at Kensington did a great job (but, then, I also really love purple :).

    Michelle, hi!!! {sending a New Year's hug to Australia for you} And I love your big resolution -- it's an excellent one, IMO!

    Hi, RK, it's so nice to "see" you here! Glad you enjoyed the interview (Maureen made it easy :) and best wishes for a Happy New Year!

    Tonya, I almost always fail, too, when I try to make a major resolution at the start of the year. I like your idea of making small, achievable goals!

    LOL, Simone! I *need* to do something like that -- my bookshelves are ALL packed and have stacks of other TBR books overflowing in front of them...sigh. I don't want to get rid of the books yet, though -- but I'd love about 6 months off just to read them!!

    Maureen, I really like the idea of setting goals, too -- that's always more manageable to me than some huge resolution. I'm at a point where I need *really* small, bite-sized ones -- as in daily and weekly goals. Sometimes monthly goals are even too overwhelming for me, LOL.

    Gwynlyn, ha!! Yeah, now *that's* resolution I can fully embrace ;). SO GOOD to see you here!! Are you planning to be in NYC this summer?!

    Donnell, I'm a fan of Frost, so, YES, I'd definitely agree!! I love pondering all the what-ifs in relationships...and, also, in writing. I just read a quote from Alain de Botton last month that I jotted down because it dealt with making choices. He said: "Bad art might be defined as a series of unfortunate choices about what to show/explain and what to leave out." (I always *hope* I'm making the right ones, but I'm, sadly, never sure... :)

    G.Jillian~thank you! It's wonderful to get to be a part of GLIAS today, but OMG your chocolate cake with PB idea is going to HAUNT me now!!! Yum, yum, yum...

  13. I have Friday Mornings (and love it!), so don't enter me in the contest.

    Like Michelle, I'm open to the flow and taking advantage of all opportunities that come my way. But as usual, there are those holiday pounds I need to lose...

  14. Oh yes, I have to have New Years Resolutions. It just wouldn't seem like the new year NOT to have at least one. My goal is to finish my next novel by July 1. Keep your fingers crossed!

    Love the interview!

  15. Edie, I am (unfortunately) very well acquainted with those post-holiday pounds... I resolve *every 12 hours* to eat less and exercise more ;). xo

    Maria, fingers crossed on both hands (I'm typing with my nose!) and wishing you speedy writing this year. Now that I know the cool title, I'll be pressuring you to hurry up and finish!!! :)

  16. Marilyn, wow! Heavy subject for a book but it really got me thinking. We really do, every day, make a choice to stay in a relationship. That's a very scary thought!!

    I don't do resolutions, I always drop them by March. I do more of goals and deadlines for them. Seems writerly and easier to think of that way.

  17. I'm hoping to be in NYC (it's only a 2 hour drive,) but life has taken another twist that may keep me away. Our first grandchild arrived 29 October, and now youngest called to say she's due (get ready for it) 24 June. Since she's in Texas, that may put the kibosh on NY for me.

    Ah, well. I've learned to roll with the punches, and there's time for things to change yet again, so don't count me out!


  18. Jill, thank you!! And I really hope the premise is something readers will find thought provoking, even if they wouldn't necessarily make the choices the characters do in the story... ;)

    Gwynlyn, oh, wow!! Congrats on being a new grandma and getting to experience that joy a 2nd time this summer!!! I'll miss getting to see you at the conference if you're in TX instead, but that's a pretty fabulous reason to miss it! xo

    Thanks, again, to everyone at GLIAS and everyone who visited today for making me feel so welcome!!

  19. Hi Marilyn! So sorry to be so late in welcoming you...alas, I haven't had time to set any resolutions yet as the men in my life came down with strep for the New Year. Yay!

    Oh, and Cary Grant...love. Be it Philadelphia Story, The Awful Truth (a favorite), His Girl Friday, or so many more...love love love him!

  20. Heather, I'm so sorry you've had sick men at home! We, too, had our share of illness over the holidays, and that's never easy... I hope they'll be on the mend soon.

    As for Cary (sigh), I could watch him in anything! My Philadelphia Story poster hangs on my office wall where I write, so I am reminded of him often ;).