The Marriage Pact by M.J. Pullen
Date Published: July 2011
Marci Thompson always knew what life would be like by her 30th birthday. A large but cozy suburban home shared with a charming husband and two brilliant children. A celebrated career as an established writer, complete with wall-to-wall mahogany shelves and a summer book tour. A life full of adventure with her friends and family by her side.
Instead, Marci lives alone in 480 square feet of converted motel space next to a punk rock band, hundreds of miles from her friends and family. She works in a temporary accounting assignment that has somehow stretched from two weeks into nine months. And the only bright spot in her life, not to mention the only sex she’s had in two years, is an illicit affair with her married boss, Doug. Thirty is not at all what it is cracked up to be.
Then the reappearance of a cocktail napkin she hasn’t seen in a decade opens a long-forgotten door, and Marci’s life gets complicated, fast. The lines between right and wrong, fantasy and reality, heartache and happiness are all about to get very blurry, as Marci faces the most difficult choices of her life.
Guest Post - M.J. Pullen
My 10 Favorite Books (and why) Thanks so much for having me! As you can see, my taste in books is pretty eclectic. If a book can pull me in and make me care about the characters, I’m sold. So even though I write romantic comedies and contemporary fiction, several of my longtime favorite books are from other genres. The hardest thing is picking just ten!
- Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston. In my opinion, ZNH is one of the most underrated black women authors of our era. She was an anthropologist, and her novels are vivid, lyrical and intensely human folk stories. I read this my senior year in high school and it changed my view of the world.
- 100 Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez. A stunningly beautiful, dense family epic. I keep lending this book out and it never gets returned!
- To the Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf. Stream of consciousness, meaning of life, ocean symbolism. Her genius is sometimes hard to get your arms around, and it was too much even for her to bear, but it’s worth the effort.
- As I Lay Dying – William Faulkner. If this list were 100 books long, at least 10 would be either Woolf or Faulkner. This book is sad and weird and grotesquely beautiful: “my mother is a fish.”
- Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen. First romance on the list! Again, I could list all six of her novels here but that would be boring. I love that Austen captures the complicated social milieus of the Victorian era, along with a full spectrum of characters – quirky, elegant, and always flawed, with humor and intelligence. And always surrounding a complicated, riveting love story. There’s a reason everyone wants to be Jane Austen!
- The Red Tent – Anita Diamant. This book influenced me on the path to Judaism, and it’s a celebration of the strength of women and the deep roots of our shared heritage.
- The Stand – Stephen King. One of the first of his I read, and to this day it’s one of my favorites. I love how King can take a sweeping epic of an apocalyptic battle between good and evil, and still leave you feeling as though you know each of the characters personally. You can almost hear what’s playing on the radio.
- The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver. I love this book’s storyline and setting in the Congo, but what stuck with me the most were the shifts in perspective and the way choice of narrator and voice influences how a story can unfold.
- Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding. Much lighter fare, this book made me want to write romantic comedy. It’s so funny and relatable, and Fielding does a splendid job of using the diary device without letting it get in the way of the story.
- The Lord of the Rings Trilogy – J.R.R. Tolkien. Okay, it’s really three books… Tolkien was a linguist first and foremost, and he built these incredible worlds and races of people based on languages, poetry and songs. He also turned out to be a heck of a storyteller, and pretty much started his own genre. Not too shabby!
About the author:
When she’s not chasing two little boys or trying to wipe something sticky off the floor, M.J. (Manda) Pullen is the bestselling author of two contemporary women’s fiction novels: The Marriage Pact (2011) and Regrets Only (2012). She is working on several new projects as well, including more women’s fiction and a YA paranormal adventure series.
M.J. grew up in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. Writing has always been a big part of her life, both professionally and personally. She studied English Literature and Business at the University of Georgia in Athens, and later Professional Counseling at Georgia State University in Atlanta. She practiced psychotherapy for five years before taking a sabbatical to spend more time writing and raising her brood. Since high school, she has also been an executive assistant, cashier, telemarketer, professional fundraiser, marketing guru, magazine writer, grant-writer, waitress, box-packer, HR person, and casual drifter.
M.J. loves creating true-to-life characters who are flawed, relatable, and most importantly redeemable. She tries to explore all aspects of relationships, from romantic entanglements to battles between mortal enemies, and everything in between. She reads and writes across many genres, and learns something from everything she does. No matter what she’s writing, M.J. believes that love is the greatest adventure there is, and that hopeless romantics are never really hopeless.
After years traveling and living in places like Portland, Oregon, and Austin, Texas, M.J. has now returned to her home city of Atlanta (actually Roswell, for hard-core Roosevelt fans and connoisseurs of suburban culture), where she lives with her husband and two young sons. She loves to hear from readers and other writers – so drop her a line!