Monday, January 21st, 2019

USM graduate writes a novel

Posted on February 03, 2015 in Arts & Culture
By Krysteana Scribner

Mary Lou Quinn

Every college student has an aspiration of pursuing a career in a field that they love. For Mary Lou Quinn, a USM history graduate, writing her first novel, Lost and Found  was a dream come true.

Lost and Found is about the journey of Margaret Mary Murphy through her loss of family and self as she tries to come to terms with life’s struggles.

Margaret is part of a multi-agency task force operation trying to handle the drug problem in Tyler County, where the small coastal town of Mundy Maine is located. The investigation sparks a series of deaths that ultimately threaten her own life based on a case of mistaken identity.

The novel itself takes many twists and turns in the plot, and the process of getting the book written, edited and published is similar in many ways. Her journey of success started during her years at USM, where she graduated with a bachelors degree in history in 1987.

Quinn went on to study in a fifth year program for secondary education which she completed in 1988. She got her first teaching job at New Gloucester High School and later went on to get a job at Thornton Academy in Saco, where she taught English and history.

“USM was a great experience for me. I was very involved with the history, geography and anthropology groups there,” said Quinn.

When a permanent position at Thornton Academy didn’t become available, Quinn started her own business when she moved to Lubec, called Beachworks, selling her work at a variety of craft shows.

“In between jobs, I decided to take the time to take the time to do what I have always wanted to do, which was write,” said Quinn. “I taught creative writing at one point, and I was inspired not only by the world around me, but by the creativity of my students.”

While writing her novel, Quinn was faced with a variety of life changing scenarios that made pursuing her dream of publishing even more difficult.

“As the writing of my book progressed, I lost my father and that took the book in a different direction, said Quinn. “Then my husband had a heart attack so that became strenuous. There just wasn’t time to start writing because life was becoming too busy for me.”

Despite these events, Quinn wrote and edited her book in three years.

“In that time period, I was trying to run the gambit of finding agents. I couldn’t help but think, ‘now that my book is finished, what do I do from here?’,” said Quinn. “I tried the traditional way of getting an agent who would get me a publisher, but I was trying to publish my book at a time when companies weren’t extending money to unknown works.”

Quinn was eager to share her story, so she decided to self publish, releasing it in hard cover, soft cover and as an Amazon e-book.

For Quinn, the finality of finishing her first book has inspired her to write a sequel to her first, which she is currently writing. Quinn said that during the process of writing, she ran into a lot of discouragement and naysayers, but that didn’t stop her from writing.

“The greatest benefit of writing and being published is that you get to share your enjoyment with other people and that, is for me, the greatest thing that can ever happen after a book is finished,” said Quinn.

For aspiring writers, Quinn believes it is important to remember to be motivated, be confident and be open to suggestions from the people you trust. Quinn said that while being open to criticism is important, following your own heart is integral to success.

“It isn’t how many lives you can touch but just the fact that you can touch another life and bring enjoyment, hope and maybe even inspiration to another human being.” said Quin. “When you are ready to pursue your dream, and the time is right providence will provide.”

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