In March, Sarah Marlette, a long-time parishioner of St. John Cantius in St. Cloud, self-published her first novel, “The All-Sacred Gathering of the Girls.”
The book follows three couples, loosely based on people in a moms group who became friends and met weekly to talk while eating leftovers and watching kids play. But not everything in the book happened in their lives.
“My core message is that life can be hard and messy but that’s OK,” she said. “While you might have chaos in family life, it’s important to be honest with yourself and those around you instead of living a fake life, showing it’s OK when it’s not.
“I write mainly about friendship, relationship, marriage and being a mom in central Minnesota. My goal was to be real,” Marlette said. “I alternate between female and male stories, to get both sides of life issues and struggles. One couple is Catholic, though the husband is not as much into his faith. But, by end, it becomes important.”
Marlette began the book about 10 years ago after her fifth child was born. She recalls being overwhelmed as a mom with toddlers but wanting to use her creative side.
One of the moms contemplates life in a free moment: “’There has to be some point to my life: to the countless meals I make, to the diapers I change, to all I do for my husband, to all the sacrifices I make. I guess I need to keep pushing through and asking God for help.’ Jules spotted a puddle of milk on the countertop. She grabbed a rag and wiped it up, then felt the familiar crunch of a Cheerio under her bare feet. Argh, she thought.” — from “The All-Sacred Gathering of the Girls”]
“Every night after the children were in bed, I was determined to write one chapter, no matter how tired I was. Then I sat on the manuscript, occasionally dusting it off, editing and updating it. A few years ago, my brother urged me to share it. It’s been my dream to publish a book.”
A graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, Marlette said the book is not overtly Catholic or Christian but has Christian elements.
“I always pray before I write: ‘Dear God, Use my words in any way you see fit to touch people, Lord.’ I can’t imagine not opening up the Bible and asking God for help. I teach my children to memorize Bible verses as a life skill.”
The response to ‘The All-Sacred Gathering of the Girls’ has been highly positive. Though Marlette is a writer, she’s willing to talk to groups.
At 260 pages, it’s available for about $15 through her website at sarahmarlette.weebly.com, at Barnes & Noble and Amazon and through the Great River Library system.