Mardo Williams


Mardo Williams (1905-2001)(center) began his writing career in 1927 as the only reporter at the Kenton, Ohio daily, The News-Republican, eventually writing a daily business column with byline for the Columbus Dispatch. At age 89 he wrote a book about his mother, Maude (1883-1993): She Grew Up with the Country, an intimate look at the woman, the country, and the times. Maude, now in its third printing, captures the spirit of a century and is a favorite with book discussion groups and college history classes. Mardo also penned an illustrated children’s picture book, Great-Grandpa Fussy and the Little Puckerdoodles, a collection of 21 stories (for ages 5 and up) which capture the magic of childhood. In 2001, Mardo Williams was the first posthumous recipient of the OHIOANA LIBRARY AWARD for his body of work as author and journalist.
Kay Williams (left) is a writer, editor and actress. She is the author of an award-winning thriller about the theater, Butcher of Dreams, co-authored with Eileen Wyman, and has adapted it into a screenplay. Currently, she’s at work (with Eileen) on a suspense novel about filmmakers competing at the Leningrad International Film Festival, 1991, against the chaotic backdrop of a disintegrating Russia. Kay lives in New York City.
Jerri Williams Lawrence (right)is a former award-winning English teacher who currently tutors students needing help with composition skills. She is also a writer and editor, and has edited over 15 manuscripts, fiction and non-fiction. She is adapting One Last Dance into a screenplay. Jerri lives in Columbus, Ohio.
Jerri & Kay created the highly praised Powerpoint program Keep Dancing! that they have performed at libraries, social organizations, bookstores, and retirement centers, sharing their dad’s philosophy, “Live life every day.” The two also participate in book club discussions of One Last Dance in person, via speaker phone or Skype. If you’re interested in booking the authors for one of these programs, please e-mail Calliope Press:
Kay and Jerri received a 2009 Ohioana Library Award for "unique and outstanding accomplishment in the field of writing and editing" for finishing One Last Dance: It's Never Too Late to Fall in Love, and for bringing their presentation, Keep Dancing, to interested audiences.

Smashwords Interview

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.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Mardo Williams online

Where to buy in print


One Last Dance
Mardo's daughters, Kay and Jerri, are interviewed by Merle Grace Kearns, Ohio Department of Aging, about finishing One Last Dance after their father's death.


Great-Grandpa Fussy and the Little Puckerdoodles
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 10,220. Language: English. Published: March 13, 2012 by Calliope Press. Category: Fiction » Children’s books » Family / Multigenerational
They’re noisy, nosey and bossy—these little Puckerdoodles who have ensnared the heart of Great-Grandpa Fussy. Teenie, Weenie, Waddles, and Toodlebug range in age from newborn to age 6. In Great-Grandpa’s eyes they are unpredictable imps whose ingenious questions demand answers that only he can provide. Twenty-one stories and 64 four-color illustrations for ages 5 and up.
Maude (1883-1993): She Grew Up With the Country
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 118,930. Language: English. Published: October 31, 2010 by Calliope Press. Category: Nonfiction » History » American
Maude started farm life as a pregnant bride of 19. By age 110, she’d lived through half of America’s history. With poetry and human dramas (two murders and a suicide), written by her son, a master journalist, the book shows the impact of the changing times on shy, unassuming Maude, her fun-loving husband Lee, and their four active children. An award-winning biography, with over 70 photographs
One Last Dance: It's Never Too Late to Fall in Love
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 140,140. Language: English. Published: June 18, 2010 by Calliope Press. Category: Fiction » Romance » Adult
After a disastrous first meeting, Morgan, 89, moves in with Dixie, age 79, strictly a business arrangement, both maintain. But Morgan has more frivolous pursuits in mind. When a troubled grandson collides with the daring course set by the lovers, not only does he save their lives, but he brings Dixie and Morgan the love and pride they’d lost decades before with the loss of their children.

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