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Former Turlock resident mines family saga for debut novel

Former Turlock resident mines family saga for debut novel

Marylin Hayes-Martin will be at Dust Bowl Tap Room from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday signing her new book, "Common Thread – Uncommon Women."

POSTED May 7, 2013 11:09 p.m.

For Marylin Hayes-Martin inspiration struck on a flight to the Gulf Coast.

Having turned the last page on “Cane River,” a family saga of four generations set in Louisiana, Hayes-Martin’s thoughts turned to her Cherokee-born great-grandmother and the line of women that grew in her wake in the Ozarks of Arkansas.

“I knew I had all these great stories about these women and the hardships they endured,” Hayes-Martin said. “I said to my husband, ‘I can write a novel like that.'”

He promptly pointed out that the small wrinkle in her plan was that she had never written anything longer than school essays.

“I said, ‘Well, I’ll learn,’” Hayes-Martin said.

And learn she did. Hayes-Martin helped start the Sonora Writers’ Group and in those sessions she gleaned all she could from her fellow scribes.

Nine years later the result of that inspiration is Hayes-Martin’s debut novel “Common Thread — Uncommon Women,” which has been published by

Her story begins in 1863 with her great-grandmother and continues with the generations that followed. The story takes readers through some of the country’s most trying times, from the Civil War to the Great Depression and through two world wars.

"In 'Common Thread – Uncommon Women,' a story that covers the lives of four generations of her own family, Marylin Martin takes a historical saga and raises it to a moving and memorable work of art,” said New York Daily News columnist Bill Manville.

After all those years of writing and researching, reaching the end was a bittersweet experience Hayes-Martin said.

“When I sent it off to the publishers, I was thinking how I wouldn’t be living with my ancestors anymore and that was kind of sad,” Hayes-Martin said.

Hayes-Martin is returning to her longtime home of Turlock for a book signing party. The event is from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Dust Bowl Brewery at 200 W. Main Street.

Copies of her novel will be available for purchase at the signing. The soft cover book sells for $19.95 and hardback for $28.95. They are available directly from or the publisher



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