Marie K Johnston (aka Kristen M McCurry) is a novelist, poet, visual artist and website creator. She is a 42 year old married mother of one living in a little arty town just northwest of Houston, TX.
Her novels and books of poetry can be previewed and purchased at https://Amazon.com/author/mariekjohnston.
She writes local color "faction," illustrating everyday life in Texas where resilient female protagonists are both soft and strong.
Johnston is currently working on two projects to be released for publication in December 2020.
I have just uploaded my writer’s profile to the Bookbub network, where you can now read my biography and see my books (“Leaves Subsiding” is still pending because I wrote it under a different pen name in 2010)!
I just discovered a new book compendium site that is just like Amazon’s Kindle! It’s called https://www.Bookbub.com, and it’s run by Apple. It’s a discount book club that you can join and search for free–they will email you links everyday to new titles as often as you wish! You can purchase tons of great titles for barely any money–Bookbub is really fun!
This link does take you to Amazon, however, as I am an Amazon author! But, the Bookbub experience is still a good one and I invite you to try it out!
I am currently working with them to create an author page and to update my Bookbub bibliography–once it goes live, I will post the links here and on https://www.MarieKJohnston.com, my creative writing website for the latest Marie K Johnston news!
I have reworked the book description for the eBook of Mental! Now that the novel has been live and available to read for a while, and that I have had some time to reflect on it, I think this new book description is more fitting and better encapsulates the points I was trying to make when writing the novel.
I am happy to reveal the text to the ebook description to you now as it appears on Amazon and the Kindle Store:
“…But all the chartreuse buds on the new spring branches are also the brown crispy leaves that blow to the ground in the fall. It’s natural. It’s the way life works…” –Chapter Sixteen, Mental
Mental is about Eve Stuart, a 22 year old English teacher who is having a nervous breakdown. Her twin sister, Lily, is secretly writing a novella for a college class, trying to figure out what is wrong with Eve: so she graduated from college too early, so she has quit what is probably the most stressful job you can get right out of college, so she cheated on her first grownup boyfriend, so what? writes Lilly, in the first section of Mental…
Part Two is a flashback to what Eve was like when she was still in college and where Eve has a pivotal interaction with one of three homeless drifters in the novel, a woman named Gloria, who is the first person to challenge Eve’s naivete…
The last part of Mental is told by Eve herself, written the night before Lilly’s novella is due, snuck into the pages as a response to the novella that Eve has known about all along. It is a first person account of having a nervous breakdown, where Eve reveals the dark family secret lying behind her depression–and then details how she will overcome her past and embark upon the uncertain life of a writer.
This story unfolds much like a mystery, and is a tale of the heart and the head and the difficulties of getting the two to work in concert after damages have been done. Although the subject matter may at times be dark, it has a hard won happy ending and an overwhelmingly positive view of the human spirit. This novel is about changes and transitions, and is meant to inspire those who are struggling to find themselves in a world that can be full of evil, disappointment, loss and grief to continue to search for peace even in the midst of suffering.
This is Johnston’s second novel. Her first novel, Leaves Subsiding (2010), written under pen name M Yoshida McCurry, is about the elusive search for happiness. She is also the author of Dandelions (2019), a long poem about a childhood spent in Nature, Disaster and Harmony: A Poetry Collection (2019) and Cosmogony (2019), a rhyming and metered poem about the natural world and one girl’s place in it.
Marie K Johnston (aka Kristen M McCurry) is a novelist, poet, visual artist and website creator. You can learn more about her life and art at https://www.MarieKJohnston.com. She is a 43 year old married mother of one living in a little arty town just northeast of Houston, TX, where she writes for a variety of publications.
I hope that this book description piques your interest if you haven’t yet read the novel and that it makes you want to read it! If you have read the novel, thank you, and I hope that you think this description is a better one than the one that previously accompanied my sell page.
Thank you to the many loyal readers who entered my contest to win a set of autographed books during May and the first half of June 2020! The three winners were chosen randomly by Gleam, my marketing company (out of Australia). Here are the three winners:
Charlotte, North Carolina
I have reached out to each winner via email to get a physical address, have gotten addresses for two of them, and I am in the process of getting them their very own sets of autographed copies of Mental (2018), Dandelions (2019), Disaster and Harmony (2019) and Cosmogony (2019) in the mail as soon as possible!
and looking for their Mamaat the edge of the park...”
–“Dandelions” by Marie K Johnston
Dandelions is a book of poetry meant to be shared by children and their parents, read together aloud during quiet moments of reflection where parents can share their memories of their childhoods with their kids. I wrote this book about a little boy, but it is really about my own childhood growing up in what used to be rural Spring, TX, in my old neighborhood–riding my bike around all day with my little friends, flying kites in the fields, throwing the ball with my dad, watching moms get the mail, dads mow the lawn, all the things that kids used to do in rural suburban areas when things still happened outside before computers and video games took over modern childhoods.
“‘Why don’t I remember my childhood, and why don’t I believe in my future?’
‘I suppose it’s true that I have been you,’ here Eve waved her arms at the children.
‘And I suppose that it is you that I will become,’ here she glanced at the old and older women.
‘But if we all lined up in a row, I still wouldn’t feel as though this could be called a life at all…'”
–“Mental,” Chapter Twenty-Two
Mental (2018) is a novel that I began working on during my parents’ divorce in 1995 when I was seventeen and about to leave home for UT Austin, continued working on off and on through my ten year high school English teaching career in my single twenties in Houston, and finally completed after twenty-three years of writing when I was a married 42 year old mother of a 7 year old daughter living as full-time writer/mother living in Tomball, TX, in 2018.
This novel is about Eve Stuart, a 22 year old high school English teacher who graduated early from college and is experiencing a nervous breakdown of a somewhat unknown origin. Her twin sister is writing this novel about her to try and figure out what is wrong with her: so she graduated from college too early, so she has quit what is probably the most stressful job you can get right out of college, so she cheated on her first grownup boyfriend, so their parents got a messy divorce when the twins were in high school, so what? writes her twin sister, Lilly, in the first section of Mental…Lilly is writing this “novella” for a college elective and it is supposed to be a secret–she has found her twin’s journals and uses them liberally to augment her story.
Part Two is a flashback to what Eve was like when she was still in college and writing her own novel, a dreamy dreamer full of love and promise, in love for the first real time (which eventually went south) and interacting with a pivotal character: one of three homeless characters in the novel, a woman named Gloria, whom she meets behind the bookstore where she works when she is taking out the trash and who is the first person who challenges her naivete.
Part Three is told by subject Eve herself, written the night before Lilly’s novella is due in her workshop class, snuck into the pages as a sort of surprise and a response to the first two parts. Told in the first person, it is a detailed revelation of what it is like to have a nervous breakdown and also reveals to the audience the real secret behind Eve’s depression. Eve, however, is ready to get past this as much as it is possible to get past it and ready to embark on the uncertain life of a writer.
This novel unfold much like a mystery, is full of Eve’s poetry (Part Two’s chapters begin with rhyming and metered poetry), and is a tale about the heart, the head and the difficulties in getting the two to work together in concert after emotional damages have been done. This novel’s subject matter may at times be dark, but it has a hard won happy ending and an overwhelmingly positive view of the human spirit. It is also true that this novel is about me, that I used the convention of writing about twins because I happen to be bipolar, and that I was writing about the reasons for my own mental breakdowns and the ways in which I got past them.
—“Disaster and Harmony: A Poetry Collection (2000-2019)”
“Disaster and Harmony” is a collection of exactly fifty poems I selected that were written between the time I was 22 and living on my own in downtown Austin, TX and for the next twenty years, which found me married with a daughter and living in a small town northwest of Houston. Through heartbreaks, my teaching career, travels across the world, marriage, giving birth, mental breakdowns, hospital stays for bipolar disorder, being a stay-at-home mother, working as a writer, painting, friendships and a lot of personal growth, I kept writing poems, and I’ve chosen the best fifty for you to read!
“Cosmogony (2019)” is a rhyming and metered poem about how the earth was formed: the sun, sky, beach, ocean, etc all take on voices and personalities of their own and tell their stories to a dreamy teenage girl who is on a Galveston, TX beach. I wrote this 35+ page poem in one afternoon during a hurricane on my front porch while the power was out!