We are a strong network of uncommon women in a variety of fields and positions… writers, doctors, Moms, dreamers, caregivers, entrepreneurs, businesswomen. Here’s a growing list of the pool of talent that is the Class of 1985:
One of the most popular activities at our 30th reunion in May was a panel discussion featuring authors from the Class of 1985 talking about their books and answering questions about their creative process. Maybe it was something in the water (or M&C’s), but the Class of 1985 counts among their number a large and growing number of writers who have published in a diversity of genres including fiction, non-fiction, mystery, young adult, romance, self-help, memoir, literary fiction, and more. Whatever your pleasure, one of our classmates has authored an option for you. This may not be a fully complete list; if you are an author not listed below, or if you know of someone else who is, please let us know. We know this list will continue to grow!
WRITING / FICTION
Emilie Christie Burack: Emilie’s first novel for young readers is The Runaway’s Gold. It’s set in 1842 and follows the adventures of Christopher, a boy framed for the theft of his father’s gold, who embarks on a journey to clear his name and encounters “twists and turns, including stops in prison, on a smuggler’s ship, and at the house of a beautiful girl—and it ends with him escaping to a new life in America, which has dangers of its own”.
Emily Dietrich: Emily’s 2013 debut novel, Holding True, follows Martie Vanbeck, daughter of a ‘60’s white radical, who forms a commune on her family land in Michigan designed to live out the ideals of equality for all people. However, issues of racial equality, socioeconomic conditions, and political change are inescapable and lead to an unforeseen and dramatic climax.
Liz Fenwick: Liz has published multiple novels, all set in Cornwall. The Cornish House, her debut novel, has been called “sweeping and romantic” and follows widowed artist Maddie who inherits a beautiful but neglected house in Cornwall and begins to discover its secrets. Most recently, the Romantic Novelist’s Association revealed Liz as the winner of the 2022 Popular Romantic Fiction category. Here’s a link to the announcement!
Sibella Giorello: Published in 2007, The Stones Cry Out is the first novel in Sibella’s inspirational mystery series featuring forensic geologist and FBI agent Raleigh Harmon. It won a prestigious Christy Award for Best First Novel. Subsequent books in the series include The Rivers Run Dry, The Clouds Roll Away, The Mountains Bow Down, and The Stars Shine Bright. Sibella recently published YA mysteries featuring a younger incarnation of Raleigh: Stone and Spark, Stone and Snow, and Stone and Sand – which will be featured in her 4-picture deal with Amazon Studios! If you’re an audiobook listener, several of Sibella’s books are available in that format as well.
Bridget Hodder: Bridget’s book for young readers, The Rat Prince, is in production and will be published in August 2016. According to Bridget’s website, in this reimagining of the tale of Cinderella, “the dashing Prince of the Rats–who’s in love with Cinderella–turn(s) the legend (and the evening) upside down on his way to a most unexpected happy ending!” Bridget’s web site is:
Suzan-Lori Parks: In addition to her many award-winning plays, Suzan-Lori published a novel in 2003. Getting Mother’s Body “follows pregnant, unmarried Billy Beede and her down-and-out family in 1960s Texas as they search for the storied jewels buried—or were they?—with Billy’s fast-running, six-years-dead mother, Willa Mae”.
Laurie Martin Pennison: Writing as Liah Penn, Laurie’s dystopian mystery debut Pure Death won the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery / Suspense in 2015. Set in a futuristic world where people are classified according to their genetic purity, the novel follows “impure” Detective Ina Stone and rookie detective Sam Fujimoto as they investigate a murder in “Pure” territory. The next book in the series, Pure Justice, was published earlier in 2015.
Sandi Sonnenfeld: Published in 2002, This Is How I Speak: The Diary of a Young Woman “is an intimate portrait of a young woman’s first year in graduate school as a student of dance and creative writing at the University of Washington during the late 1980s. The book “explores a number of themes, including complex relationships, ambition, fear, and forgiveness” (Amazon). Sandi has also published a number of short stories, as well as editing The Lyon Review, an online literary magazine for MHC alumnae and faculty which can be found at thelyonreview.com
Karen Williams: Writing as “Mrs. Brenchley,” Karen has contributed short stories to a variety of anthologies, including this one which has a steampunk theme. Her story “The Airship Towers of Trebizond” was written jointly with her husband Chaz Brenchley. Other anthologies featuring her work include Daughters of Frankenstein, Tales From the House Band Volumes 1 and 2, and Fabulous Whitby.
WRITING / NON-FICTION:
Deborah Cundey Owen: Helping kids and their parents negotiate social media and harness its power for positive learning and growth is the theme of Debbie’s book Social Media Fascination: Embracing Social Media to Build Community, Trust, and Rapport, published in 2014. Debbie, a family and life coach, has also recently published Cupcakes for Dinner, which aims to “help raise confident, caring kids without temper tantrums and power struggles.”
Marg Stark: First published in 1998, perennial bestseller What No One Tells the Bride gives advice and encouragement to young women making the transition from singleness to married life, using stories and insights drawn from interviews with recently married women. And a TV pilot based on this book was filmed this year! A companion book, What No One Tells the Mom, was released in 2005. Marg is also co-author of Timeless Healing: The Power and Biology of Belief (with Dr. Herbert Benson).
Wendy Sherwin Swire: Wendy, a certified executive coach, published Anytime Coaching: Unleashing Employee Performance in 2009. The book offers “real-life stories, practical tips and techniques, and the Anytime Coaching model (to) equip managers with a set of coaching tools they can use immediately to transform the way they work with employees and colleagues” .