About the Author
About the Author
Marianne Perry is a seasoned world traveler, optimist and family oriented Northern Ontario, Canadian author.
A second generation Canadian-Italian, Marianne’s interest in her Calabrian-Sicilian roots has fuelled her genealogical research to solve family mysteries. Along with researching family history, Marianne’s writing reflects her extensive traveling, a passion for adventure, an interest in establishing connections and a yearning to understand our world.
“What matters the most in life are the people you love and the adventures you have.”
– Marianne Perry
An extensive resume…
I wanted to be a writer from the time I entered an elementary school contest and later wrote speeches for oratorical competitions at Mount St. Joseph College. I nurtured this intent over the years. As a young girl, I helped my mother hang towels on the clothesline outside and polish the hardwood floors in our house. My first summer job during high school was at the drive-in theatre. It was then that I developed a preference for reading family sagas and historical fiction.
A secondary school English teacher encouraged my writing. I majored in English at university and worked as a department store cashier to contribute to costs. I made television commercials, hosted a radio show, wrote scripts and emceed community events to enhance my skills, as well. After graduation, I attended teacher’s college in Toronto where my mother’s family lived. I taught English and Dramatic Arts at a junior high school. Interacting with others from different backgrounds broadened my perspective, enabled me to diversify my writing skills, gain experience in a classroom environment plus have time to travel.
I returned home to Sault Ste. Marie to honour family commitments. I have had a thirty year career in education, administration and communications at the elementary, secondary and post-secondary levels. My mother volunteered for The Parent Teacher Association and both my parents supported our church. I continued the tradition and volunteered in communications for several organizations. I also served on the Board of Trustees, The National Arts Centre Corporation in Ottawa; a position, which advanced my communication skills.
My communications projects have included Project Director for Sault Ste. Marie Naturally Gifted, the official book of our city’s HomeComing Celebrations. I continue to conduct genealogical research and have had numerous articles published by The Ontario Genealogical Society plus North American genealogical magazines. I am a member of The Ontario Genealogy Society and The Canadian Authors Association. I wrote The Inheritance a few years ago and have recently completed a second novel. My varied career has taught me much about our world and, hopefully, fulfilled my lifelong dream of becoming the writer.
A family fuelled passion
Family history matters to me and my need to know more about my Calabrian grandparents fuelled my genealogical research and gave me context to write The Inheritance. I wanted to learn about the circumstances that had shaped their lives in the early 1900s to understand why they’d left southern Italy and immigrated to North America. I’d always planned to write about family dynamics and genealogical research helped me develop realistic characters confronting relevant issues in an authentic setting for my book.
I was born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. My mother’s parents were from neighbouring towns near Palermo, Sicily. They came to Canada in the early 1900s; my grandfather met my grandmother in Ottawa and they settled in Toronto where they had four children. My father’s parents were born in Cosenza and Catanzaro, different provinces in Calabria, southern Italy. They came to Canada in the early 1900s; met in Sault Ste. Marie, married and raised a family of nine children.
Family has always been the center of my life and my family dynamics reflect my grandparents and parents. I was raised with the understanding that family is multi-generational and had a close relationship with my grandparents. As I grew older, I realized that connecting to the past would give me a stronger identity. I started asking questions but when I encountered very few answers, I became interested in Italian genealogy. I love Canada and honour my citizenship but I also cherish my ancestral roots and made a commitment to discover more about my heritage.
Solving family mysteries matters to me and learning about my grandparents’ early lives would give my children a more complete picture of their ancestral tree. They had a close relationship with their grandparents. My genealogical research is ongoing. My recently completed second novel was inspired by a 1900 Italian land deed and holograph will that I discovered while investigating family history. If you want to learn how to find your grandparents’ stories, my genealogical blogs may give you some tips.
A well seasoned World Traveler
I value authenticity as a writer and my books are set in places I have explored. Traveling deepens my understanding of people, culture and place. It strengthens my connection and helps me craft stories resonating with universal truths.
I dreamt of being a travel writer for The National Geographic Magazine as a girl. My parents subscribed to the magazine and my first trips were vicarious adventures. I grew up in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario on a country lot along the TransCanada highway and I remember watching vehicles drive past our house. Where was everybody going, I wondered to myself?
I vowed to visit every continent. I went to ‘Expo 67, the World’s Fair in Montreal, Quebec with my family. As opportunities arose, I traveled with those who had experience.
My novel, The Inheritance, is set in Calabria, southern Italy. I initially went to Italy as a university student on a cultural exchange organized by the late Professor Vincent Mancinelli. I have returned often and The Inheritance is threaded with these experiences.
I traveled to Spain, Guatemala and Costa Rica on trips organized by Professor Richard McCutcheon, a geographer who used maps to teach us about our itinerary. Calabria is not well-known and I have included a map in The Inheritance to help the reader.
My husband and I explored the Galapagos Islands and boated down a tributary of the Amazon River in Ecuador, South America on our honeymoon. Our adventures have taken us to Australia, New Zealand, Africa, India, China, Vietnam and Antarctica, as well. Chapters in my recently completed second novel take placein Sweden, Switzerland and Argentina, countries where I have also travelled. Though I have visited every continent, I yearn to see more. And I still read The National Geographic Magazine but on my iPad now.
Learning is integral to Marianne
My parents valued education and expected me to achieve good grades and attend a post-secondary institution. In addition, I was also expected to master domestic skills and learned how to cook and take care of a house at a young age. World War Two had prevented my mother from finishing school and becoming a dietician so she did everything she could to support me. I remember sitting at the kitchen table doing homework in elementary school while she prepared dinner. She regularly checked what I was doing and if I had a big test, she’d let me skip washing dishes to study.
My father was a voracious reader and my parents took us to the library. When I told them that my English teacher at Mount St. Joseph College encouraged me to write, my father found an old Remington typewriter for my use. I majored in English at university to broaden my scope and enhance my skills then decided to pursue a career in education so that I could be immersed in a learning environment.
I developed diverse writing skills. I learned about theatrical techniques by completing a Specialist Certificate in Dramatic Arts at the University of Toronto. I taught this subject to students at various levels. By studying “Curriculum Planning” when I completed a Master of Education Degree from The University of Western Ontario, I gained insight into another dimension of writing. To strengthen my commitment to writing fiction, I enrolled at Humber College and received a Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing.
Global communications and social media have enabled us to connect regardless of where we live. We must commit to continuing education to maximize the opportunities around us. Learning is a lifelong pursuit and for this reason, I have studied the art of stained glass.