“WHY MARY BETH WHY”
Author: Helen Ogrodnick
Publisher: Rebel Ink Press
Available: July 17, at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, allromanceebooks.com
When inspiration struck last year, Helen Ogrodnick, a resident of Warrior Run since 1960, started writing down her dreams. With no formal education in crafting works of fiction, the 78-year-old is prepared to release her third e-book through Rebel Ink Press this week.
“It’s just something I decided I was going to do. I have had no training or anything at all,” Ogrodnick gushed in a recent phone interview.
Taking on a new task has had its challenges, but she said a positive, can-do attitude has helped her survive so many things, including the publishing world.
“I’ve always said God gave me two hands and two feet, so I can do anything anybody else can do. This day and age, it may take me longer to do it, but I can still do it,” she said. “A positive attitude will get you through life without any problems.”
Ogrodnick’s two previous novels are available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and allromanceebooks.com. “Jami’s Dilemma,” released March 17, is $4.99 and “Dear Elvira,” released May 17, is $5.99.
She and her husband of 58 years, Walter, have six children, 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Times Leader: How did you come to write your first novel?
Helen Ogrodnick: “Years and years ago, my husband had a stroke. He lost his peripheral vision and his short-term memory, which was really, really hard to get back. We still do anything we can to keep him memory sharp. My three sons, my husband, Walter, and I were playing poker one evening. After that poker game, my oldest son started to massage my neck and shoulders. I said, ‘Walter, I’m going to have to ask you to stop. I don’t like to have my neck touched.’ I think in my past life I was probably a prostitute that was strangled by her John.
“That night, I dreamed about it, and the next night I dreamed about it. It seemed like I kept dreaming that entire book. I wrote down everything I dreamed, and that’s how my upcoming book, ‘Why Mary Beth Why,’ got written.”
TL: How many novels have you finished?
Ogrodnick: “I wrote the first four last year… I’m struggling with the one I’m working on now. It’s not as easy to write as the others were. It’s a completely different thing from what I’ve written before. I think I threw myself off track when I started it by going in a different direction.”
TL: It seems all of your books are released on the 17th. Do you have any connection to that number?
Ogrodnick: “Not really. That’s the number given to me by Rebel Ink Press. But would you believe that’s my favorite combination. When I go up to the race track, the first thing I’ll do is head to the window for a 1 and 7 daily double or whatever happens along. You’d be surprised by how often they do come in.”
TL: How do you categorize the books? Are they romance novels?
Ogrodnick: “They’re basically a light romance. The heat level (doesn’t) get over 2. I had a strict upbringing. I couldn’t bring myself to do anything more than that.”
TL: What challenges have you faced in becoming an author at age 78?
Ogrodnick: “Trying to learn the computer. I could write on the computer, but trying to learn it and write on it are two different stories. I won’t lie. I still have to have help with it on occasion. I’m not ashamed to ask or say I need help. That’s the only way a person learns, and when you quit learning you may as well be six feet under.”