Mary Lydon Simonsen
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I have been captivated by the novels of Jane Austen since I first read Pride & Prejudice in English class at Elmwood Park High School in northern New Jersey. After retiring from a career as a legal secretary in Dallas and a second career as a special education assistant in the Howard County, Maryland and Peoria, Arizona School Districts, I turned my attention to writing a novel that has been swirling around in my head for about ten years. That story is Pemberley Remembered. Last year, Sourcebooks Publishing, a publishing company that specializes in Austen sequels and tie-ins, purchased the rights to Pemberley Remembered, which has been retitled, Searching for Pemberley , and the new novel, with a gorgeous new cover, will be published in December 2009.
After crisscrossing the country, my husband of 30+ years and I finally settled in Peoria, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix, where our two grown daughters, Meg and Kate, and our grandchild, Kaelyn, also live. Paul and I spend most of our time in the Valley of the Sun, but when the temperatures hit the triple digits, we head up to the High Country to our second home in Flagstaff--a cool retreat and a great place to write a book.
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Because of my love of history, I spent about three years researching and writing a history of my Irish ancestors and published it through Lulu Press for my very large extended family. I come from a long line of Irish peasants, and I have been able to trace my ancestors as far back as the late 18th Century. My ancestors are primarily from West Galway and Mayo with a few stragglers from County Cork.
Among my ancestors is my great great grandfather, William Mahady, who joined a volunteer Pennsylvania Regiment during the Civil War, probably for the bonus money, and ended up being captured at Petersburg along with six other soldiers. He was the only one of the seven to survive internment at Andersonville Prisoner of War Camp in Georiga.
Whether it is documenting family stories or reading American and European history, I enjoy doing the research. Many hours went into the writing of Pemberley Remembered and Searching for Pemberley, and I loved every minute of it.
Searching for Pemberley has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for best historical novel. Actually, I'm only kidding. I wanted to see if you read my entire biography. LOL
On my blog, there is currently a story, Anne Elliot - I Am Woman," and some additional information. Please visit: http://marysimonsenfanfiction.blogspot.com.
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