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July 24, 2012

‘No Matter What’ author visits library

CENTERVILLE — An author with local roots visited the Drake Public Library on July 2 for a book signing.

Marjorie Gibson McCarthy published her first novel, “No Matter What,” in January of this year, and the book has received many positive reviews on Amazon.  

“I’m no Stephen King as far as sales go, but the people that are reading it seem to be loving it and that’s what matters,” McCarthy said. “It’s been really satisfying.”

McCarthy did independent publishing through CreateSpace, which is affiliated with Amazon. The book is print-on-demand, as her next novel will be as well.

The second novel, “20/20 Hindsight,” is a companion to the first novel. It is not quite available for purchase yet, McCarthy said, but she was able to bring two copies to the book signing.

She said she already has written five chapters of the third book, which will complete a trilogy of the Semper Fi Sisters books.

McCarthy said that even though this is her first published novel, she has been writing for a long time.

“I have a trunk full of journals of the various thoughts of Marjorie since I was 14,” she said. “One day I decided, ‘OK, it’s time’” to publish a novel.

McCarthy lived in Centerville from fourth grade through her freshman year in high school. Her mother was from Mystic, and she still has family here. Her father was the pastor at the First United Methodist Church, and eventually he moved to another church.

“This was the part of the state that felt like home, always,” she said. “I knew it before I lived here and I’ve known it since I lived here. Some of the other places were, we were there because that’s where Dad’s job is.”

After McCarthy’s family moved, she graduated from high school in Sheldon in the northwest corner of Iowa. Her parents, George and Sally Gibson, now live in Indianola.

McCarthy attended Simpson College in Indianola and met her husband, who was in the Marine Corps. They ended up in Yuma, Ariz.

“We just sort of got stuck there; we’re working on getting back. … If more people bought my books I’d get home sooner,” she joked.

McCarthy teaches middle school language arts. She said her students were excited about her novels.

“They really love that their teacher actually has books,” she said. “It makes them think they can do it, which they can.”

McCarthy said that in the novel, Trudy, the main character, is helping her friend, Camille, go on a road trip to Los Angeles to pursue a “what if” from her past that involves a rock star.

“Every woman has a ‘what if’ from her past; probably every person does: ‘What if I had done this instead of that?’” McCarthy said. “And that’s what these two friends are doing is looking for that ‘what if’ for one of them.”

The road trip begins and ends in a small town with a population a shave under 5,000 called Shelton, Iowa. The Shelton of the novel is not Sheldon, though readers familiar with Sheldon may see some similarities, she said.

“They tell you write what you know, and what do I know better than small-town Iowa?” McCarthy said. “So that’s where I put them, because that was easy.”

Lisa Eddy, one of McCarthy’s classmates from the Centerville High School class of 1980, helped McCarthy format her novel, which had been prepared on outdated software.

The two didn’t know each other that well in school, Eddy said. They connected on the Facebook page for the class of 1980 and started talking, and now they talk on the phone often.

Eddy, a former computer technician, already had some experience aiding an author because she worked on typing up and formatting historian Enfys McMurry’s forthcoming book, “Centerville: A Mid-American Saga,” due out in September from History Press.  

“Lisa’s been amazingly helpful and generous,” McCarthy said.

“No Matter What” is available as a paperback from Amazon for $14.95. The Kindle version can be downloaded for $5.99.

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about rental permit fees. The Centerville City Council has conducted two working sessions and a third one is planned in order to get a feel for the public's appetite about raising rental permit fees from charging a landlord $25 every two years to charging a certain amount per rental unit per year. So, the question of the week is, "Are you in favor of Centerville increasing rental permit fees?"

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