Calliope Press has published award-winning titles since 1996, both fiction and non-fiction.
Mardo Williams' daughters, Kay and Jerri, were asked: What is the story behind the story of “One Last Dance: It’s Never Too Late to Fall in Love”?
Kay Williams: This romance novel was started by our dad Mardo Williams at age 92. He had had a distinguished career as journalist and author (for which he won an Ohioana Library Award). After he completed the first draft of “One Last Dance" he asked us, his daughters, to finish the book if he could not. He died a few weeks later. We honored his wishes.
Why did your father decided to write this book? What about the characters and situation appealed to him?
Jerri Williams Lawrence: When he was touring with his first book “Maude,” he met a woman who’d tracked him down after seeing him interviewed on TV. She came over to my house (in Ohio) to get her copy of “Maude” autographed. Dad discovered that he knew her. She’d worked at the “Columbus Dispatch” as an executive secretary on the fifth floor while Dad had worked in the newsroom on the fourth floor. After they talked about old times and Dad autographed her book, he pecked her lightly on the lips. She said later, “It was a kiss goodbye that became a kiss hello.”
As the two shared living quarters, the challenges became apparent. What did it take for an older adult, set in his ways, to begin a new life living with someone just as rigid and needy as he was. Enough material to fill a book, Dad thought. He had a great deal he wanted to say about aging and what it means to be in your nineties with the body failing and the mind and spirit still wanting it all. And he wanted to say it as humorously as possible. So he dropped his first idea of writing a newspaper novel and “One Last Dance” was born. Dad said “One Last Dance” was about “about two old duffers trying to keep their independence,” but it’s also about two people set in their ways who learn to change and grow and value their relationships.
As a New York City actor, how I loved soaking up the atmosphere of the New Zealand Regent Theatre that witty heroine Jessica Jones manages so capably and lovingly. On top of her usual chores of running this charming, decaying 130-year-old relic with its leaking roof, and placating those who are preparing the next production, Jessica finds herself thrust into the role of amateur sleuth. She must solve the mystery of the body in the second row and find out who is writing those demented threatening letters. She has plenty of suspects: likable and not so likable actors, those who toil behind the scenes (and do it all for love), and greedy developers who want the theatre to fail. Jessica gets needed assistance from outside sources and, in the process, finds the man of her dreams. Throughout this fast-paced, delightful mystery, I was rooting for Jessica and the theatre to succeed. I eagerly await further adventures of this motley crew.
Reviewed by Kay Williams, Co-Author, Butcher of Dreams