Today I am excited to introduce you all to a fabulous mama writer, Marie Force. Marie currently writes for both Sourcebooks and Carina Press, while working full time from home and taking care of her two children.
What I Did For Work…
By: Marie Force
Long before I ever touched pen to paper to write fiction, I worked full-time from home. In fact, I still work full-time from home 12 years after beginning what, at the time, was a grand experiment. In 1998 I was the only person I knew who worked as a telecommuter to an out-of-state company. Today, the trend is much more common but no less challenging.
Here is the short story of how I ended up a telecommuter: Nearly 15 years ago, I returned to the United States with my husband, who was in the Navy, after living in Spain for three years. We brought home a three-month-old daughter and two dogs who’d joined the family in Spain. Relocating to the Washington, D.C. area for a three-year tour, I immediately began looking for a job. A month or so later, I was hired as the communications director by an Alexandria, VA-based national organization that today has 15,000 members. The only downside was my hellishly long commute—50 to 90 minutes each way, depending on the time of day. The only reason I could bear this horrible commute was because I knew that in three years my husband was due to move again.
Those three years passed in a blur. We added a son to the family a month before we were due to move to Jacksonville, FL. As I was packing up my office, my boss wandered into have a chat. What if, he said, you stayed on remotely? How could this possibly work? I wondered. But the more we talked about it, the more feasible it became, and we agreed to give it a whirl. So I moved to Jacksonville with a three-year-old who had spent all her days with daddy (who worked the night shift while we were in Maryland), a one-month-old who didn’t sleep through the night until he was 18 months old, two dogs, AND a full-time job at home. And did I mention that my husband was moving from an office job to an aircraft carrier? And did I mention that the U.S.S. John F. Kennedy was in a particularly strenuous deployment cycle during the three years he was stationed on board? Is it any wonder I call the Jacksonville years the “Calgon Take Me Away” portion of my life as a mother. To be honest, I barely remember the four years we lived there. It’s all a blur.
One spring, as my company prepared for its annual meeting, I was desperate to get in some hours in the office. I hired the neighborhood girl who often babysat for my kids and closed the door to my office. Well, that didn’t work at all. The kids knew I was in there and were literally clawing at the door crying for mommy. A week later, I hired her again only this time I’d gotten smart about it. I said, “Bye, guys! Mommy will be back in a little while. Have fun with Corrine.” Bye, bye they said, and all was well as I walked out my front door, around to the back of my house, and crawled into the office window I’d opened earlier. Success! Three hours later, I called the house from my office phone and asked Corrine to take them outside for a bit so I could take a potty break and grab a snack. That bought me a few more hours. We live, and we learn. As a work-at-home mother who relied very little on daycare, I can tell you down to the day how long it took me to get two kids into school full time: 10 years, 1 month and 23 days. That’s a long time to juggle kids and work!
Today, my kids are nearly 15 and 12. They have never known any other existence than a mom who works full time from home. Because I wasn’t already busy enough, I’ve added a book-writing gig to my docket, which has gotten quite busy since my first book, LINE OF SCRIMMAGE, was published in 2008. I think the greatest legacy of being a work-at-home mom is that it has made my kids very self-sufficient. They get their own snacks, they make their own fun, they know better than to interrupt a phone call for anything less than blood, and they get to see their mom working hard to provide a nice life for them. The downside is that something else, at least during the work hours, often has to take priority over them. Sure, their dad works all day, too, but they don’t see that. They know it, intellectually, but they don’t have to compete against it for his attention.
In the final analysis, I hope they’ll remember that I was here to greet them after school every day and to run them around in the afternoons to various activities. Now that my daughter is in high school, located two doors up the street from our house, I think she wishes I were a little less available after school. However, I’ve come to realize that being home with them now is far more critical than it was when they were babies and I was forced to crawl through windows to get some work time.
I’ll give one copy of FATAL AFFAIR to the best “desperate to work” story. Thanks for having me today. I look forward to visiting with you!
On the morning of the most important vote of Senator John O’Connor’s career he is late—again. His best friend and chief of staff, Nick Cappuano sets off to O’Connor’s apartment expecting to roust him from bed and hoping he is alone. But what Nick finds is that O’Connor, the handsome, amiable Senator from Virginia, has been brutally murdered, and Nick’s world comes crashing down around him. Complicating the disaster, the detective assigned to the case is none other than Sam Holland, Nick’s one-night stand from six years earlier, the woman who broke his heart and haunts his dreams. With six years worth of unfinished business hanging between them and more than a few scores to settle personally and professionally, Nick and Sam set out to find the senator’s killer while trying—and failing—to resist the overwhelming attraction between them that seems to have only grown over the years.
It soon becomes clear that the senator’s past holds secrets that not only led to his death but now endanger Nick and Sam as well. Working together to find a killer and to rediscover the love they thought they lost long ago, they must put the past behind them and build a future that offers a world of new opportunities for both of them—including an offer from the Virginia Democrats for Nick to finish the last year of John’s term.
Marie Force’s first romantic suspense, FATAL AFFAIR, will be out June 21, 2010 from Carina Press. Book 2 in the Fatal Series, FATAL JUSTICE, is coming soon from Carina. She is also the author of LINE OF SCRIMMAGE and LOVE AT FIRST FLIGHT. Of LINE OF SCRIMMAGE, Booklist said, “With its humor and endearing characters, Force’s charming novel will appeal to a broad spectrum of readers, reaching far beyond sports fans.” Wild on Books said, “LOVE AT FIRST FLIGHT by Marie Force is most definitely a keeper. It is an astounding book. I loved every single word!” A third contemporary, EVERYBODY LOVES A HERO, is due out Feb. 1, 2011. Since 1996, Marie has been the communications director for a national organization similar to the Romance Writers of America. She is a member of RWA’s New England, From the Heart and Published Author Special Interest Chapters. While her husband was in the Navy, Marie lived in Spain, Maryland and Florida, and is now settled in her home state of Rhode Island. She is the mother of two children and a feisty dog named Brandy. Find her at www.mariesullivanforce.com, on her blog at http://mariesullivanforce.blogspot.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Marie-Force/248130827909 and on Twitter at twitter.com/MarieForce. Marie loves to hear from readers. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.