Posted by: MaraPurl | July 2, 2019

What’s In Your Library?

MaraPurl-Signs-TatteredCover-cropOriginally posted by interviewer Patrice Samara at

Mara Purl is a true Renaissance woman. She’s the co-author, with Erin Gray, of Act Right: a Manual for the On-Camera Actor and the author of Milford-Haven Novels & Novellas, which have won more than 30 book awards. As a journalist, her writing credits include cover stories for Rolling Stone, staff writing with the Financial Times of London, and an Associated Press assignment to cover the Apollo Soyuz mission, as the youngest reporter ever to win the NASA pool position in Mission Control. As an actress, Mara’s regular role on the TV soap opera Days Of Our Lives opened the door for her to create her own soap. She co-starred in Sea Marks by Gardner McKay and stars as Julia in Becoming Julia Morgan and is a narrator for audio book on

A frequent speaker at writing and author conferences, she was named Woman of the Year by the Los Angeles County Commission for Women and a 2019 Top Female Author by the Author Show. We caught up with Mara on a recent book tour to ask about her beloved library.

What’s special about your library?
I believe a person’s library can be seen as a portrait — of interests, of history, of development. That’s what makes my library so special to me. It contains, for example, the course work notebooks and texts I read and studied to earn my literature degree in English, American, and Japanese lit. It also includes books that became landmarks — some for personal, some for professional reasons. It has a rotating selection of fiction and non-fiction books that I donate after enjoying. And it holds earlier editions of my books, as well as published works by friends, colleagues, and consulting clients.

How many books in your library?
Roughly 3,000.

What is your favorite genre?
I have several. First is Women’s Fiction, because it’s the primary genre for which I write. I love my readers and want to know what else they enjoy reading. And I have a community of fellow authors in my genre. The second genre I enjoy is mystery and a few of its sub-categories, like Cozy, Police Procedural (Michael Connolly, Linda Fairstein), and Historical (Anne Perry, Ann Parker). In non-fiction, I enjoy Memoire, Sociology (Malcolm Gladwell), and Spiritual/Psychological (Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Caroline Myss).

When did you receive your first book?
In infancy. My parents surrounded me and my sister with books and had an expansive library themselves that they always encouraged us to explore. I was the youngest person in our town to be granted a library card at age 3, by which time I was already an avid reader.

What was your favorite book as a child?
The Secret Garden.

Do you have an all-time favorite book?
The Tale of Genji by Lady Murasaki. This is thought to be the first novel written, and it was written by a woman. It’s a detailed picture of the multi-layered life in the ancient Japanese court, but it takes us into the interior of the characters’ lives. My second favorite is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, the first novelist to write not just the behavior but the consciousness and internal dialogue of her characters.


  1. I loved listening to / floating through — first time! — “Pride and Prejudice” with Rosamund Pike narrating. I listened to certain paragraphs and some chapters over and over again. At first, it took me a bit to “click into it”; however, I’m so glad that I allowed myself to absorb the magic of the tale.

    • “Pride and Prejudice” is an all-time favorite of mine, too. Jane Austen was the first to write from a woman’s interior thoughts—something that is now so ubiquitous, no reader can imagine a novel without it. But she was the trailblazer. Every time I read it, every time I watch one of the films, I love the story again and learn more! Thanks so much for your comment!

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