Marianne Mitchell is an author of books for young readers and readers young at heart. She has worked as an elementary teacher, a writing instructor, and Spanish teacher. She has published ten books and over 300 stories and articles in national children's magazines, such as Highlights for Children and High Five. She lives in Tucson, Arizona with her writer husband and two incredible standard poodles.
When did you first start writing?
I wrote poems, stories and short plays when I was in elementary school. However, I never thought I'd be a 'published' author some day. I guess I had no idea how books were made and I certainly never got to meet an author. Much later in life as a teacher I wrote skits for my students. That was more fun than grading papers so I decided to dedicate more time to writing. I started with magazine stories and articles and then jumped in to book length stories.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The spark for my book A PROMISE MADE came from a mystery in my family. One of my great-aunts emigrated from Sweden in 1884. After a short stay with relatives in Omaha, she took a train to Denver and was never heard from again. This bothered me since it was not proper for a young girl to go traveling alone. It also prompted many questions. Why Denver? Did she know someone there? How did she earn her keep? Why didn't anyone keep in touch with her or go find her? These questions had no answers because everyone who might have known her had died. So, to satisfy my curiosity I wrote this story.
An old convent has sat vacant and neglected for over fifty years. Now a developer wants to turn the grounds into a shopping center. But spirits from the past want a mystery solved before the wrecking ball swings. Young Jenna must find out what a certain ghost wants before something terrible happens to her father, the architect on the project.
"Paloma" is a re-telling of an old Cinderella tale from Spain. A young girl must leave her home to find her way in the world. Her only possessions are three beautiful dresses left to her by her mother. However, beauty alone will not bring her happiness. She must be clever and careful in order to find her true love.
It was a dark and stormy night fifty years ago when lightning zapped a tree and killed a young boy. His spirit was caught in the lightning-struck wood. Now, decades later, the ghost is released and is causing harm and looking for justice.
In the summer of 1914, Joel Peterson goes with his mother on a visit back to Sweden. Joel wants to prove to his father he is old enough to make big decisions. He enjoys meeting his grandparents in Sweden and making friends with a girl named Kari. But lazy summer days end abruptly when World War I breaks out and finding passage home becomes a dangerous challenge.
In 1884 Silver Plume, Colorado is the end of the line and the beginning of a new life for sixteen-year-old Petra. After fleeing her abusive stepfather, she must learn how to fend for herself, keep her promises and confront her worst fears.
Twenty short stories for children, including mysteries, folktales, adventure and fantasy.
The title story, "Windows of Gold," is a winner of the Highlights for Children Fiction Contest.
Most of the stories in this book were previously published in Highlights for Children and other national magazines. Reprinted here with permission.