A Great Ride
Marie Bostwick’s writing journey
Growing up in Oregon, the youngest of four girls in a family that sometimes struggled financially, Marie Bostwick worked in fields picking beans. Five decades later, she’s a best-selling author living in a luxurious Litchfield estate, married to the “love of my life,” whom she met at age ten. Bostwick has just “glamped up” a used RV so she can travel cross-country for the slew of book signings to be held after the March 31 publication of her 11th novel, The Second Sister.
“Glinda the Glamper,” Bostwick calls the 22-foot-long Winnebago, which she’s decking out with chenille curtains, cushy couch-beds, puffy throw pillows, granite countertops, glossy wood floors, and high-end appliances, all in a color scheme of white and weathered gray with pops of raspberry and teal. “It’s going to be the ride of a lifetime,” says Bostwick, enjoying steaming chai tea and fresh pumpkin cake.
What inspires her? “I have imaginary friends, and they tell me what to do,” she says with a perfectly straight face. “When I was a kid, I was overweight and socially awkward, so I developed a closetful of imaginary friends, and they’ve never left me.”
Most of Bostwick’s books share a common thread: they’re about women facing myriad hardships in life—breast cancer, divorce, domestic violence, career and child-rearing challenges—yet finding their way and healing through friendships built around quilting. There’s no swearing, no sex, usually some church—and always happy endings.
Among her fans’ most beloved books are the five that make up her Cobbled Court Quilts Series, all of which take place in a fictional town called New Bern, Connecticut, which is based on the real town of Litchfield. Anyone familiar with Litchfield will feel right at home reading these books—starting with A Single Thread, published in 2008, through Ties That Bind, published in 2012. The town is vividly portrayed, from the historic homesteads and village green to shops and restaurants, especially one called The Grill on the Green, a close adaptation of the real-life West Street Grill, from the food to the décor to the charming owner named Charlie, a blend between actual owners Charles Kafferman and James O’Shea. “I knew as soon as we moved here 11 years ago that Litchfield would be the setting for the Cobbled Court series,” she says. “There’s a magic to this place.”
The Second Sister is not set in New Bern, but rather a fictional town in Wisconsin based on Door County, where Bostwick lived with her husband, Brad, early in their marriage—the couple moved 20 times, lived in eight states and two Mexican cities before settling in Litchfield with their three sons. Like her other novels, The Second Sister is full of humor and pathos, only this time, it’s about a young woman with a frenetic political career in Washington, D.C., who finds enlightenment and love through her dying sister’s group of quilting friends.
Bostwick, who’s been a voracious reader since age three, says she became a writer “sort of by accident.” It was 1994 when she went on a spa retreat in Mexico. “I popped my head into this writer’s workshop. I thought it would be a good way of getting out of playing tennis.” The teacher saw she had a gift, and he wound up working with her in the months to follow. Her first book, Fields of Gold, was published in 2005, and she hasn’t stopped writing since.
She keeps in close contact with fans—her “bunnies”—through Facebook and keeps them up-to-date on everything from her newest pair of shoes to photos of her amusing crush on the actor Simon Baker (“The Mentalist,” The Devil Wears Prada). On mariebostwick.com she offers humorous blogs, recipes for meals featured in her novels, and tips for writers.
“I never imagined my life could be so blessed,” she says, petting her beloved spaniel, Oliver.