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Marlene Bateman Sullivan

image of Marlene Bateman Sullivan

My Background

I grew up in Sandy, Utah, where my parents had a mini-farm set on an acre and a half. My father raised a lot of things, but the two main ones were gladiolus and mink. Yep—flowers and fur coats. My mom was a lucky woman. My mother was a florist, and I like to think I got a dose of creativity from her.

I was raised as a Christian and am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I’m thankful to know my Heavenly Father lives and loves me. He has blessed my life so abundantly. I also have a testimony of Jesus Christ; my Savior and the Redeemer of the world.

I attended the University of Utah for a year, then transferred to Dixie College, where I met my husband. He was President of the Spanish club, and my classmates were deluded enough about my linguistic abilities to elect me Vice-President. Marriage followed. Many years and children later, I attended Utah State University. More years passed, then I returned to the University of Utah, coming full circle, and finally graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in English.

My Loves and Interests

I met and married the love of my life, Kelly R. Sullivan and we had seven of the most wonderful children ever. I am so proud of them—they are all so amazing and wonderful, as are their terrific spouses. And, although others may brag about their grandchildren, I know mine are actually the cutest, smartest, sweetest, and most talented kids EVER!

I’ve always loved animals, and while my kids were growing up, we always had dogs and cats, and a revolving cast of gerbils, mice, tropical fish, hamsters, rats, parakeets, and various parrots. However, I drew the line at snakes and spiders. Yuck.

Right now, I only have three cats and three dogs and feel deprived. I have a pudgy Westie named Biscuit, Brandi, a bossy-pants Welsh Corgi, and Penny; an amazingly loyal and playful red Labradoodle. Then there are the cats, who must feel their only purpose in life is to provide exercise and serve as living chew-toys to Penny. (Don’t worry, they know how to bring out the claws if they get tired of fun and games with Penny). Zoey is a ninja Bengal who can open closed doors. (It took a while to figure out that one—Kelly and I kept blaming each other for not “shutting” the door), Cinder, a Snow Bengal, and Jasmine, a Ragdoll.

When not throwing tennis balls, letting the dogs take me for walks, or vacuuming up hair, I like to read. As a child, I spent nearly every free moment reading, and I still love sitting down with a good book. A few of my favorite authors are; Maeve Binchy, Elizabeth Berg, Agatha Christie, Andriana Trigiani, and Anne Siddons. Although getting caught up in a good book is one of life’s greatest pleasures, even better is curling up with snacks and watching pro football. On Saturdays, I love to watch the University of Utah (Go Utes!) and BYU (Go Cougars!). For me, there are only two seasons; football season and waiting for football season.

I also love to go camping, although I no longer enjoy roughing it. We ended up buying a Fifth Wheel because, you know; Must. Have. Popcorn. Which means; Must. Have. Electricity. So yeah, a popcorn popper is standard equipment in our RV. My husband and I have a few favorite places nearby where we’ll spend idyllic week-long trips. Other times, we’ll head out to explore new places, often going to a new location in the U.S. so I can research settings for a new book.

I also like to garden. I love flowers—thank goodness, since I owned my own floral shop for nine years. Thanks again to my mother. I go a little nuts planting flowers in the spring and adding more tulip, hyacinth, and daffodil bulbs each fall. For years now, I’ve enjoyed raising iris. They’re addictive and I can’t resist adding a few new colors each year. Right now, I have more than 90 varieties, and my husband is tearing out his hair at his diminishing “vegetable garden”.

At night, I like to unwind by watching TV. In addition to a few select, current shows, I enjoy watching I Love Lucy, Modern Family, MASH, The Big Bang Theory, and Andy Griffith. I also enjoy animated movies like Despicable Me, Over the Hedge, How to Train Your Dragon, Ice Age, and Frozen, and all of their sequels, among others. I’m a kid at heart.

My Writing Career

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Always. I started penning stories in elementary school and after receiving extraordinary parental acclaim for one of my masterpieces; “The Old Blue Car,” felt encouraged enough to continue.

Marriage and children caused “writing interruptus,” and for many years, my writing career was put on the back burner. I know women can have it all, but that’s easier said than done. I decided there was a time and a season for everything and decided to be a full-time mom and focus on my little ones while they were still, you know—little.

Writing still burned in my heart and soul, and when my children got past the baby stage, I began trying to carve out some time to write. Since my free time was extremely limited, writing a book was out of the question, so I began writing short articles and stories for magazines and newspapers. A few years later, I started writing an inspirational, non-fiction book; LDS Heroes and Heroines. It only took me six years to finish.

As my children got older, it was necessary for us to have a second income. Since I wanted to be home for the children, we remodeled our garage, got the necessary permits, and opened a floral shop. I enjoyed it, but had no time to write. After nine years, I had some medical issues. While waiting to hear if the results of a biopsy showed cancer or a benign tumor, I looked back over my life and asked myself; If I had the chance to live my life over, would I do anything differently?

Other than wishing I had been a better person and mother; I could only think of one other thing—I would have spent more time writing. So, with my dear husband’s support, we sold the business and I started writing full-time. My next three books were inspirational non-fiction, and I had a wonderful time researching angelic experiences in early Church history, which resulted in; And There Were Angels Among Them, Visits from Beyond the Veil, and By the Ministering of Angels. I then wrote another inspirational non- fiction book; Brigham’s Boys.

Around this time, I took a sabbatical from writing and went back to college. It had always been a dream of mine to graduate. So, with my last child in elementary school, I returned to college as what my advisors labeled a “mature student,” which is a kindlier way of saying you’re older than the hills. I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Utah.

While at the University of Utah, I began working on my first novel. I’d wanted to write one for many years, but wasn’t sure if I had the talent or the ability. I worked on it in all of my writing classes and after three years, completed a romantic mystery titled, Light on Fire Island. I was thrilled when became a best-seller at local bookstores that featured writers who wrote books geared for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Next, I wrote another inspirational, non-fiction book about near-death experiences; Gaze into Heaven; Near-death Experiences in Early Church History.

My next novel, Motive for Murder, was such a fun book to write! As the name implies, it’s a mystery, and the protagonist is a quirky private detective with OCD. I suppose it’s the researcher in me that made me decide to have the settings for my novels as accurate as possible. So, my husband and I get to travel to fun places to take a lot of pictures, talk with the locals, and take copious notes. I try very hard to be accurate when mentioning street names, restaurants, and local attractions in my books, and am careful to use the names of local plants, birds, and trees.

It was a thrill to be asked to contribute a story along with other authors in the inspirational book, How Will Christmas Find Us? I then wrote another inspirational non-fiction book; Heroes of Faith. I returned to fiction once more, and wrote two more mysteries; A Death in the Family and Crooked House; sequels to Motive for Murder and featuring the same fun and quirky OCD detective. After that, I wrote an inspirational book about the next life, The Magnificent World of Spirits, which contains many experiences of people who visited the spirit world, then came back to earth.

I decided to try something new and wrote my first romance, which was another bestseller in the local bookstores; For Sale by Owner. However, my first love is mysteries and I then wrote Searching for Irene, which again turned out to be a local best seller.

© Copyright 2020 - Marlene Bateman