It was but 20 years ago when she stepped into the classroom to attend her first course on how to write children’s books. One course and now after many years of practice, Marianne Mitchell has just published her 12th book called “The Ghost in the Wood” – a fictional mystery that is set in the woods of Colorado.
Mitchell is no stranger to having her works published. Apart from her 12 books, Mitchell has had more than 300 articles and stories published to national and worldwide magazines. The primary publication that she has submitted to for more than 20 years is the Highlights for Children magazine. The primary goal of the magazine is to engage children by providing them with creative and imaginative stories.
“My stories are read by millions of kids,” said Mitchell about Highlights, which is a worldwide publicized magazine. “It’s terrific.”
For years, Mitchell spent much of her time teaching before diving into the writing business. She taught a class at the Institute of Children’s Literature, worked as a bilingual teacher at an elementary school for almost 10 years and taught Spanish at a college in Louisville, Ky.
In 1993, she moved to Tucson with her husband, Jim Mitchell, who is now a retired professor from the school of journalism at the University of Arizona. Her husband is a writer as well, which has served Mitchell well when writing her own books.
“He’s a terrific editor for me to have in house,” said Mitchell. “You know - when you’re writing your own stuff, you just fall in love with it. He’s a great editor to have because can find the comma’s missing or the antecedents that don’t match.”
Mitchell’s first book, Maya Moon, was published in 1995. Not wanting to be to repetitive, Mitchell crossed over to different genres while writing the rest of her fictional books – most of which are geared towards easy or middle grade readers.
“I tend to draw from own life and my own family and I mix it up with a lot of fiction,” said Mitchell. “As a reader you always think ‘I can write a story’. Once I got something to work with I really do enjoy the editing part. I see this as another way of teaching.”
Her most recent book, “The Ghost in the Wood”, offers a fictional story of a ghost from the woods and a family who owns a cabin nearby. The main character is of a boy who tries to unravel the mystery by discovering who the ghost is and why the ghost is causing trouble. The book is available online at Amazon or Smashwords – as an eBook.
In addition to writing, Mitchell speaks at schools to share with the students about writing and publishing. She also leads a children writer’s workshop on the second Monday of every month from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Oro Valley Library.