The Writer and the Artist, Mary Montague Sikes

Farrah Ferand, the heroine of my latest novel, Evening of the Dragonfly, is attempting to recover from the tragic death of her mother as well as the sudden death of her grandfather that traumatized her years earlier. A teacher and an artist who lives in Jefferson City (the same small town in Virginia that was the setting for Daddy's Christmas Angel), Farrah has been invited to have a one-person exhibition of her paintings.

Since I am an artist as well as a writer, I decided to create a show of artwork for Farrah. As I painted, I realized she was working through her troubled emotions in the art she made. For me, creating this work brings a great deal of depth and meaning to Farrah's exhibition that is a major part of the plot of this book.

During the month of April, I participated in the A to Z Blogging Challenge and made a painting, or a portion of a painting, for my post each day on my blog, Notes Along the Way. In the end, I had 19 paintings for her show. That work is now on view at Crossroads Art Center in Richmond VA. On September 15, I will hang the show as the one-person invitational exhibition for Arts Alive in West Point VA. On September 19, there will be an opening reception and book signing prior to the evening theatre production.

It's exciting to have an art show for the heroine of my book. More than other characters in my books, Farrah has come alive in a vivid way. I can "see" her standing at a table in her studio making art the same way that I do. I can truly imagine her excitement as she hangs the show in an art gallery in Richmond. I can "see" the gallery that actually existed in the 1980s the time in which the story in this book is set.

Besides being a mystery, Evening of the Dragonfly is also a romance with a satisfying ending. Evening of the Dragonfly Amazon page link


 Mary Montague Sikes, Bio:

Mary Montague Sikes has never decided whether she is a writer or an artist. She is happiest when she can be both. That's why she loved writing Evening of the Dragonfly and eventually painting art for it. While at the University of Mary Washington, she had her first experience with novel writing when she typed a handwritten manuscript for the head of the English Department. She studied painting and sculpture at the College of William and Mary and earned a MFA in painting from Virginia Commonwealth University. Author of eight novels, numerous non-fiction books and stories, and hundreds of published feature articles, she lives with her husband in a small Virginia town that is a lot like the Jefferson City in her books.


Thank you so much for having me as your guest, Marilyn!!!
You're welcome, and I think your paintings are wonderful!
Jackie Houchin said…
Wow, what an interesting thing to do - paint what your protagonist is painting and going through... and then to link it to a blog, well that is must masterful. And, you netted an art show for yourself (and your book)as well. That's what I call creativinty.
Thanks for featuring her, Marilyn!

PS: I just read a story about a mystery reader who worked through a stack of audio mysteries why she prepared for a marathon. She would listen ONLY when she was training. She said it really encouraged her to do it often, because she wanted to know "what happened next." (She came in way ahead of her personal expectations.)

Writers and readers combining what they are good at or like (or desire) to do is amazing to me. Now, if I could just think up something for my own reading/writing. :-) Jackie
Nancy LiPetri said…
Painting pictures with words AND the brush. Doubly wonderful!
Marilyn, thank you so much. I do love painting!

Jackie, this was a fun production, and it was amazing how much I learned about Farrah and her thought development and character growth as I painted.

Nancy, thank you. So true!

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