"Success is, indeed, sweet but it is also exhausting."
I have written all my life, but tucked my work away in a drawer while I lived my busy life as a single mother with a demanding job. My career took me around the world and involved over twenty moves. In England, I lived in both a tiny cottage in a rural village and a National Trust Listed building in a history filled town. I’ve lived in a marble palace in North Africa and a modern townhouse in Houston, Texas.
With each move, I chose homes with character or history and surrounded myself with textures, colors, fabrics and photos -- feathering my nest. Houses have always been more than bricks and mortar or lath and plaster to me. They hold the personality of the families that have lived there before me, and I try to leave something positive of myself for the next residents. Often alone, but not lonely, I became an observer of places and people, and I documented my impressions in a journal – and then put those observations in the drawer with the rest of my manuscripts.
When it was time to retire, I drew on my job experience to decide what I would do next in my life because watching TV or napping in my lounge chair just wasn’t enough for me (although I do admit to doing a lot of both)! Part of my job responsibilities was to inspect hotels globally and then to select the best as properties for our company’s travelers. Not a bad gig; I mean, who doesn’t like to stay in a five-star hotel where the anxious sales people want to make your stay perfect!
I felt qualified to get into the hospitality business, so I bought a craftsman house and barn in a small Texas town, and renovated it to become Wrigley House Bed and Breakfast. Although my experience was helpful, nothing prepared me for the challenges of being an innkeeper in a small town. One day perhaps I’ll write about some of the hilarious and not hilarious events that happened at Wrigley House B&B. Despite the challenges, it became a number one rated B&B in the area, but after only four years, I sold it. That old adage that warns, “be careful what you wish for,” is true! Success is, indeed, sweet but it is also exhausting.
I lounged in my garden for about a month, and then began to look for something else to do. My friends and visitors to the B&B seemed to like my decorating style, and began to ask for my help in their homes, so I opened a design and staging company. I also had a booth within a beautiful shop in my small town where I sold repurposed furniture and gift items that I used in my business. Those businesses were great, but weren’t nearly as time consuming as the B&B.
One day when I had some extra time, I opened that drawer, the one where I’d filed all those journals -- the notes written on the back of Dairy Queen bags, and outlines written and scratched out in Big Chief Tablets. I finally decided to write the book I had always wanted to write, and Staged for Success is the fruit of that labor. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
The location of the book, Breton Hill, is a fictional town based on an amalgamation of small towns that I have traveled to or where I’ve lived. Its fictional residents are based on some of the wonderful people I have met (and a few that weren’t so wonderful.)
My daughter is my rock in life, and my close friends have encouraged and even pushed me, when needed, into publishing this book. I am also assisted by my two rescue cats, Spoiled Sam and Little Girl, who provide comfort during those “writer’s block” moments (you may think that Tux, in Staged for Success, is based on Sam, and you wouldn’t be wrong.)
Marilynn Wrigley retired after thirty years as a Supply Chain Manager for one of the world’s largest oil field supply companies, where she was responsible for negotiation and maintenance of global travel contracts. Her job took her around the world and involved over twenty moves, both within the United States and overseas.
After retirement, Marilynn opened Wrigley House Bed and Breakfast which was rated Number One in her area by TripAdvisor for three years. She published a cookbook full of her favorite recipes that was a popular seller at the Bed and Breakfast.
After selling her Bed and Breakfast, Marilynn became an inspector for Texas Bed and Breakfast Association where she helped develop the Quality Assurance Standards document used by all inspectors.
Marilynn then opened Wrigley Redesign and Home Staging which served area realtors in preparing properties for sale. She is a Certified Home Marketing Specialist.
Marilynn has served her community on her town’s The Main Street Committee, and manages a building in the historic downtown area.
Marilynn’s first published work was a short story which was included in a short story compilation book called Heaven Sent. Her story, Jasper: The Barn Cat That Wasn’t, was based on her first experience of owning a cat and how that experience changed her life. Her present cats, Spoiled Sam and Little Girl are part of her writing team.