Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May Madness: May 1 - The Upper Room - Mary Monroe


Mama Ruby may not be all crazy, but she's at least halfway there. She's known for taking things that aren't rightfully hers, like her best friend's stillborn baby—a tiny brown girl that she brought back to life with her legendary healing hands and christened Maureen. She's also rumored to have done away with her husband (True, he deserved it, but still.) Some fear her. Others try their best to avoid her. But most everyone agrees the devil has got hold of Mama Ruby's soul. 

With her God-fearing neighbors watching her every step, it's all Mama Ruby can do to stay ahead of the law. One desperate night, she flees to Goons, a dirt-poor migrant settlement in the Florida Everglades—and, strange to say—it feels something like home. There's folks she likes (the low-down, wild-eyed Fast Black), folks she mostly loves (like Big Red, her law enforcement “connection”), and more than a few folks she just plain can't stand.

Through it all, she remains downright nuts about the one gift God gave her—her precious daughter Maureen. But growing up with a mama like Ruby is enough to make any half-sane girl wish for something—anything—else. And when Maureen gets the chance to explore the “real” world, you can bet she's going to take it…and run like hell.

I am the third child of Alabama sharecroppers and the first and only member of my family to finish high school. I never attended college or any writing classes. I taught myself how to write and started writing short stories around age four. I spent the first part of my life in Alabama and Ohio and moved to Richmond, California in 1973. I have lived in Oakland since 1984. 
My first novel THE UPPER ROOM was published by St. Martin's Press in 1985 and was widely reviewed throughout the U.S. and in Great Britain. An excerpt is included in Terry McMillan's anthology BREAKING ICE. I endured fifteen years and hundreds of more rejection letters before I landed a contract for my second novel, GOD DON'T LIKE UGLY. It was published in October 2000 by Kensington Books. GOD DON'T PLAY is my seventh novel to be published, and it landed me a spot on the prestigious New York Times Bestsellers list for the first time! My eighth novel, BORROW TROUBLE, was released December 2006. My ninth novel, DELIVER ME FROM EVIL, was released September 2007 and my tenth novel, SHE HAD IT COMING, was released in September 2008, and my eleventh novel THE COMPANY WE KEEP was released in March 2009. In September 2009, GOD AIN’T BLIND was released and in June 2010, GOD AIN’T THOUGH YET was released. MAMA RUBY, the prequel to THE UPPER ROOM was released in June 2011, and my fifteenth novel, GOD DON'T MAKE NO MISTAKES, was released June 2012. LOST DAUGHTERS, the sequel to the Upper Room will be released May 28, 2013.

I won the Oakland Pen Award for Best Fiction of the Year in 2001 for GOD DON'T LIKE UGLY. I won the Best Southern Author Award for GONNA LAY DOWN MY BURDENS, in 2004. 
I am divorced, I love to travel, I love to mingle with other authors, and I love to read anything by Ernest Gaines, Stephen King, Alice Walker, and James Patterson. I still write seven days a week and I get most of my ideas from current events, the people around me, but most of my material is autobiographical.
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