Monday, April 7, 2008

She Interviews Dee Owen, a Lady with Class

Dee Owen, a friend of Sandy's, has taken on the lovely (yet arduous) task of publishing the works of her late mother-in-law. The first novel to be published is a murder mystery called Ladies of Class, and the review of it can be found in the post below. Both readers and writers can benefit from Dee's experience as she offers information on her process, but, as you will see in the interview here, there is not just a love of books and stories and the written word at work here. Sandy says to look for the underlying love of family. She was moved by some of the answers Dee offers, and hopes you will be, too.

Sandy Lender: First, can you give us a sort of biography of Marjorie Owen, the author of Ladies of Class?

Dee Owen: Marjorie Grace Patricia Bridget Owen was born Sept. 11, 1911, in England and endured the bombardment of World War II. As far as we can ascertain she was born out-of-wedlock with an Irish Lord for a father and a Russian princess as her mother. Although her life before working is somewhat sketchy, her career, as a major London department store clothing buyer, was long and interesting. Members of the Royal family were among some of her more famous clients. Marjorie found time to write many short stories and four novels ranging from romance to mystery. She did not attempt to publish any of her writings. We can only surmise that she wrote for the joy and did not wish to seek out any recognition or fame.
Marjorie passed away March 28, 2004, after a very full life, at the age of ninety-three.

Sandy Lender: How do you think Marjorie would feel about being published posthumously? About having her stories shared now?

Dee Owen: Mum is actually my mother-in-law. We do not know if she had ever thought of seeking publication but believe not, as she told no one of her writings. I hope that Mum is happy that I have had all her efforts and talent recognized through publication!

Sandy Lender: Do you know when Marjorie Owen started writing? Or what influenced her choice of genre?

Dee Owen: I really do not know when Mum started writing. She did not tell anyone that she had written the four novels and over fifty short stories. We only found them after she passed on. I would imagine that she wrote them over many years, as she worked full time as a top clothing buyer for one of the largest department stores in London. We know that she also worked several years past the official retirement age. Mum read many books and I believe her favorite were the murder mystery, detective genre. Although, two of her books and some of her stories are romance.

Sandy Lender: Do you write also?

Dee Owen: No I have not attempted to write… as yet! I hope to complete the task of transcribing all of Mum’s works first and maybe have some more published. However, this experience is a great learning curve for me. Who knows, perhaps I will try my hand at writing.

Sandy Lender: How did you find Vintage Romance Publishers?
Dee Owen: I researched publishers on-line and submitted the book to several. Vintage Romance were the first to respond.

Sandy Lender: How did you convince them to take on a mystery novel when the word Romance is so prominent in their name/brand?

Dee Owen: "Vintage" is the key part of this small press. They publish books with a historical content, not only romance. As Mum's book takes us back in time to pre-World War II, therein lies the history.

Sandy Lender: Did Vintage Romance Publishing assign an editor to the book even though you were already (in my eyes) the editor, or are you looked upon as the "assembler"? How is your role defined?
Dee Owen: Dawn Carrington, the owner of the company, gave me guidelines on the editing. She basically "taught" me how to edit and guided me through the process with suggestions and advice. Therefore, you could say that my role was sub-editor.

Sandy Lender: Do you intend to publish all of Marjorie Owen's works beyond the Richard Hayward series?

Dee Owen: If Ladies of Class is reasonably successful, then I would like the sequel to be published. If that is successful, perhaps I will hire a ghost writer to continue the Detective Chief Inspector Richard Hayward series. Yes, I would like to eventually publish all Mum’s works. As stated previously, I may attempt to write!

Sandy Lender: Because he's so important to Ladies of Class and the rest of Marjorie's series, tell us a bit about Richard Hayward.

Dee Owen: The main character is Detective Chief Inspector Richard Hayward. He has a knack for catching the criminal and has a unique character of being "part of the system" but "kicking back against the system". If you understand what I mean. He is a loving, caring person and at the same time blunt and to the point.

Sandy Lender: Would you give visitors a synopsis of Ladies of Class before the review posted below?

Dee Owen: In the book Ladies of Class, Richard Hayward’s promotion and move from the big city life to the sleepy town of Burshill, England, has been shattered. Sir John Bury needs a murder solved. Clues take him from Burshill to California, Paris and London and back in time. As the story progresses the plot thickens. Richard Hayward's reputation as the youngest officer to be promoted to Detective Chief Inspector precedes him. Richard hoped his recent transfer and move to Burshill would allow him a quiet convalescence from a broken leg. But his peace was soon to be disturbed by a phone call from Sir John Bury, the Chief Constable.
A murder had been committed that night and Richard's ability to solve crimes, in spite of his unconventional methods, were needed before his duties officially began.
The results of his investigations and travels, in search of clues and answers to the apparently senseless murders are surprising. Several ladies of a particular "class" become part of the inquiry. As the facts begin to unfold, they not only amaze Richard, himself and the community of Burshill, but extend all the way to the top brass of Scotland Yard. In the face of adversity, Richard manages to outwit the criminal and emerges triumphant.

To order your print copy of Ladies of Class, visit Barnes and Noble at Or visit the Vintage Romance Publishing site at Ladies of Class is also available at

You can read about Dee, Marjorie and Ladies of Class at the Web site Dee also has a blog called Mum's Writings to visit at, but the Web site has tons of info...I'd go there first!

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Laura M. Crawford said...

Great interview! I will have to pick that one up!

Laura :)

Nigel said...

Sandy got an advanced reader copy for the review and interview, but she ordered one to give as a gift because she liked it so well. She thinks Ms. Marjorie had a truly charming style.

Now I'd like to get her truly charmed with finishing Book III of a certain Choices trilogy...


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