New Book: The Memoir Project

by marionroach on June 12, 2011

THE MEMOIR PROJECT is the name of my new book. Accompanied by the subtitle, A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing & Life, the book’s title reflects it contents – a little irreverent, while being very how-to about writing what you know. When it was time to give a title to the book, those words seemed to sum it up best.

After all, you want people to “get” the book right from the title. And they seem to be doing just that. I received a really wonderful boost from Poets & Writers, a magazine I’ve read and adored for more than 30 years. (In fact, I once had a t-shirt with their logo, and I remember that I was 21 at the time, so it’s a long love affair). They not only featured the video on their fabulous site, but ran a few lines of real praise.

Though perhaps nothing made me quite so happy as getting a great review in Kirkus, that ever-hard-to-please trade magazine read by book stores and libraries, as a guide to what to buy. Thank you, Kirkus. I promise to live up to your fine words in all my teaching. And speaking of teaching, I was invited to do just that on the ever-marvelous site BookPage, where they let me publish what I call my Memoir Manifesto.

On Blog Talk Radio last week, my sister, Margaret Roach, and I were interviewed for an hour. And early into that interview we realize that of all the wacky things we’ve done together – including writing a blog in tandem – that we’d never been interviewed together, despite having written 6 books between the two of us, as well as countless magazine articles, and having appeared separately on many of the same TV shows, including MARTHA. Margaret was able to bring real depth to the conversation on memoir, having just published one of her own.

While on air this week, Margaret said some very surprising (to me) things about being my sister. Have a listen, and you’ll learn something about why we call our blog She Said, She Said.

So what does all this mean? That the book is out. Finally out. It’s a much-improved version of the self-published edition we put out last year entitled Realia, and along with that new title, it has a new publisher, Grand Central, who I adore, and new pages that include an algorithm for how to make a story interesting to others. Don’t believe me? It’s foolproof, I promise, and I hope you’ll check it out in the new book.

These days you’ll find that all my memoir writing content has migrated to a new site,, and that here, on TSP, I’ll be concentrating on the myriad topics of the sisterhood. And why not? I know a thing or two about it.

Please stay tuned. There’s so much more to come.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Debbie Galant June 19, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Love this book! I have been a writer all my life and have published three novels, but this little book has taught me so much. I never thought my life was interesting enough for memoir. Now I see that it’s not about what happened TO me. It’s about the way life has made me see the world.

Robin June 21, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Just bought the book off eBay…looking forward to it-yay!

Square-Peg Karen July 1, 2011 at 9:12 am

Congratulations, Marion – not only on finishing *another* book, but on the wonderful reviews!! And the title rocks!

Cannot *wait* to get hold of this book! I’ve got a trip planned to my favorite independent bookseller in a couple days & this is #1 on my list of have-to-haves.

I’m still nibbling Margaret’s “and I shall have some peace there” (s l o w l y, like you do with a tiny box of the gloriously bestest chocolate) – which makes me grin – thinking that I will be thrilled to have a couple Roaches in my bedroom (ahem, apparently the third grade center of my brain is overactive this morning – sorry…).

Note to self: visit “she said, she said” WAY more often – always something good going on here!

Faith Paulsen July 1, 2011 at 9:41 am

CONGRATULATIONS! I just downloaded it on my e-reader!

marionroach July 10, 2011 at 9:15 am

Hi, Square-Peg Karen: Welcome back to TSP, where we are always glad to read our sisters. Thanks so much for the good wishes on the book. It’s a joy to have it out there in the universe. Looking forward to seeing you here again soon.

Hi, Faith: How lovely to see you here. I am delighted that you are reading it on the e-reader. How cool of you. Let me know how you like it, please. I’ll be eager to know. I look forward to reading you here again, sister.

Myrna Magliulo July 15, 2011 at 10:14 pm

I’ve been reading The Memoir Project for two weeks now, which really sounds like a long time when it’s only 114 pages. I read a couple of pages every few days, because I cannot contain all of the ideas that are bursting from my brain. I have my mini composition book and that has helped to jot down my thoughts along the way. I must say I was moved to tears by paragraph three on page 62. I’m not sure why yet, but it’s sitting with me right now. Is it possible that a book on writing memoir can also be a book on healing?

marionroach July 16, 2011 at 8:59 am

Dear Myrna. Many thanks for this kind, provocative response to my new book. I included that little phrase, “& Life” in the title, because I genuinely believe that much as in life, success in writing depends on which details you choose to emphasize. I am so glad you noticed, and that you are reading the book in little bites. What a delicious thought. Please come back soon for more. And do go to, and see all the memoir writing work I am doing there.

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