For Miriam Ruth Black, her writing career came after her retirement, as a way to express an issue she felt was not focused on enough in novels these days.
Most popular novels highlight the lives of the young and glamorous, showing off their youth and the lifestyles that go along with that. Black, however, decided to write a book from a different angle.
Black’s novel, titled “Turtle Season,” is about a middle-aged woman, Anna Simon, who loses her husband of 30 years and learns of many betrayals on his end after his death.
While most women might use this as an excuse to let their lives fall apart, Simon uses this tragedy and her lost ties as her role as a mother, wife, and educator to pursue other interests and still maintain meaning in her life.
“I think that's one of the things that comes out in the book is that sometimes, when people are older, they think their lives are over, but they’re not,” said Black. “There’s a whole world out there and it’s an exciting world. I wanted the heroine of my book to have some sense of that, that just because her husband died and her kids were grown, it didn't mean that she couldn't live a meaningful life.”
Black said how she feels that many people who reach their older age lose their purpose of life and feel that they have nothing left to do. She said many questions people tend to ask themselves as they get older are:
“What do I do? When I get to be 55 and I look around and, is this it? Because our path up until then is you go to college, you get married, you have children, you have a career, then your kids leave home and then, is it all about grandchildren? What are you supposed to do?” she said.
For Black, the answer to these questions is there are many more experiences to be had.
Firstly, she wants people to get a good read out of the book. Black loves books that are not easy to put down, and that’s what she hopes people experience with her novel.
“Above all, it's a story," said Black. "I want it to be a great story that people enjoy reading and people seem to, which is really very satisfying."
She also hopes that people are motivated by the book in a way they may not have known they needed to be.
“I really hope people in some ways get kind of inspired. If they’re at a stuck phase in their life, it can hopefully […] give people some hope,” she said. “So much of our life depends on our attitude towards what happens.”
Black has taken full advantage of her entire time on this earth, from a young woman to an adult woman now.
She started her professional life as an english teacher, which she attributes to her interest in writing. From there, she received her master’s degree in Educational Psychology and obtained a license to do marriage and family therapy. She found this route lead her to a life of lecturing all over the world, on mental health and educational issues. After these careers, she then became a realtor. She then had the time to begin writing after her retirement.
All of Black’s careers have helped her to encounter several experiences throughout her life and live it to it’s fullest.
As for another novel, Black has received several requests for a sequel to “Turtle Season,” but is unsure as of now if she will write it.
“I’ve been writing and we’ll see what happens,” Black said.
She currently lives in Tucson in the winter and Minneapolis, Minn. during the summers. For more information about the author and her novel, visit her website here.
Turtle Season, Miriam Ruth Black, 243 pages, Beaver’s Pond Press, Inc.