by Vicki Dodds
“Dancing on Mars was a hard book to pitch,” said Lucinda Shirley, “much harder than writing it.”
Like its author, this book is resistant to labels. Shirley has combined a lively memoir with insights from other women on the subject of living married and single lifestyles. To top it off, original poems in relevant places amplify and enrich the prose. Dancing on Mars is a genre-bender, for sure, with one reader calling it “a feast, not an appetizer.”
Commenting on her concern that the book might be considered a misfit in today’s publishing world, Shirley welcomed another reader’s praise for “an unusually fresh book structure.” “That’s much more appealing than thinking of it as a misfit,” she laughed.
After more than a year researching and querying literary agents, Shirley found All Things That Matter Press; they felt her book did indeed matter and offered a contract. The book was released last month and is receiving excellent reviews at Amazon. The author also reports “good feedback” through her blog, Facebook and e-mail messages. It was “great to hear,” she said, “from a couple of wise men who enjoyed the book, too.”
Reviewer Rosalyn Adams of Charleston said, in part, “I danced, laughed and cried with Lucinda as she took me on her journey of self discovery and exploration of her real, deep truth. With her humorous, strong, smart Southern self she shares her experiences with relationships, love, joy, pain and happiness in her own unique style that will inspire you to examine your own life from a more conscious place of awareness …. ”
Here’s what other readers are saying: “It left me feeling very positive about life, even the not-so-good parts. The author’s artistic soul and sense of humor really kept me reading. She describes things important to her that I have never considered, but now will. I’m not from the South and my life journey is different, but it is amazing how much all women have in common.” …“Dancing on Mars offers reflective insights on topics which will ring true to all women, young or old, married or single” And … “Dancing on Mars is a delight to read, full of beauty and wisdom.” …”Lucinda Shirley is a fearless, articulate writer.” … “The poetry expands the writing… .” “… a great individual read, and it also would be a stimulating read for a women’s group or book club.” … “This author has produced a totally satisfying book out of experiences all women can relate to on some level. Told with unusual candor and delightful humor, the sad parts are pure and the funny parts clear. If you’ve never examined yourself and your life in a deep way, you’ll find yourself doing both while reading this book.”
Asked about the sections featuring other women’s perspectives on their own married or single lifestyles, Shirley said it evolved from curiosity and the need for a break in looking at her own life. She asked specific, thought-provoking questions, which are apparent in the responses used in the book; she also threw open the doors to the respondents’ personal dialogue. The result is a fascinating look at a wide range of women and the sometimes-surprising ways they view their lives and the choices they’ve made, or could make in the future.
A Winnsboro native, Shirley is the daughter of Mary Boulware Martin and the late John A. Martin. She now lives in Georgetown on a quiet lake, near the beach that’s called to her throughout her life. If not for an alligator she calls “Tank,” she’d list kayaking among her hobbies.
A freelance writer, poet and writing coach, her work has appeared in Sandlapper, Skirt!, The Petigru Review, Auntie Bellum, Midlands Woman Magazine and Pluff Mud Mag. With her budding “Poetry Peddler” initiative, she envisions bringing more poetry to individuals and into the community at-large. Dancing on Mars is her first book.
Shirley recently appeared at the Arts on the Ridge Festival Saturday, May 5, where she was a guest of JavaNookBooks. You can also find her online at www.lucindashirleydancingonmars.blogspot.com (where there’s a book trailer) and at www.poetrypeddler.blogspot.com. To see full reviews of Dancing on Mars, go to amazon.com where the book is available in paperback and for Kindle.