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Welcome, Marcia Gloster, author of 31 Days: A Memoir of Seduction, published by The Story Plant.

Let's get to know Marcia: Marcia Gloster knew even as a child that she wanted to be an artist. While in college, the Los Angeles native spent a summer studying painting at Oskar Kokoschka’s School of Vision in Salzburg, Austria. After graduating from Rhode Island School of Design, she set aside her brushes, working in New York and London before returning to New York to build a career as an award-winning book designer and art director.

Four decades later, Gloster experienced a powerful vision that unleashed memories of her summer in Salzburg in 1963, and her tumultuous affair with a painting instructor there. As she wrote her story in 31 Days: A Memoir of Seduction (The Story Plant, September 2014), Gloster discovered a newfound passion for life—and painting.

A member of the National Association of Women Artists in New York City, and Studio Montclair in New Jersey, Gloster has recently exhibited her paintings in New York City, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Her work, which frequently makes use of intense and vivid colors, is both documentary and intimate. Figures and portraits tend toward sensuality with a sense of intrigue and mystery.

Gloster has one daughter, and lives in New York City and Verona, New Jersey, with her husband, James Ammeen. She is working on her second book.

Marcia has written a book, 31 Days: A Memoir of Seduction, which recounts her trip to Salzburg in the sixties. Here's an excerpt:

It was close to eleven when Bill finally entered the studio. Without so much as a glance at me, he stopped to talk to several of the students, mostly girls, about their paintings.

Ignoring the tension I was beginning to feel, I tried to focus on my painting. I was over him, wasn’t I?

Suddenly he was behind me. “We have unfinished business,” he said in a soft voice. Surprised, I turned to him. “We do?” I whispered.

“Meet me outside on the parapet in five minutes.”

“But it’s not time for the break yet.”

He nodded. “Five minutes.” It wasn’t a question.

I watched him cross the studio to talk with Barbara. As he looked back at me, I again felt the spark. What now? I asked myself. Did I really think he wouldn’t come back to me after last night? Is this considered seduction? He’s not exactly asking me out for dinner and a movie, and I don’t think a quiet lunch is quite what he has in mind. Unless I’m lunch. I think we should get know each other first. But that’s not going to happen, is it?

Finishing his conversation, he glanced quickly at me and left the studio.

Kate saw his glance and looked at me questioningly. Taking off the shirt I used as a smock, I whispered, “I’m leaving. At least I think I am. I’ll see you later.”

Incredulous, she whispered back, “I thought we talked about this. After last night, you’re going somewhere with him? What do you think you are doing?”

“I honestly don’t know, but whatever it is, I have to do it.”

“I don’t think you should go anywhere near him.”

“You’re right, I know it. But there’s something that draws me to him.”

Kate shook her head. “You’re making a big mistake,” she said a bit louder. Several students nearby glanced at us.

I nodded, but turned and walked quickly to the girl’s bathroom. I ran a comb through my hair and put on some lipstick. Looking in the mirror, I asked myself again, What am I doing?

Ignoring my question, I went downstairs to the parapet. It was turning into another hot day and the sun refracted off the whitewashed walls of the fortress. Below, the roofs of the Old City glowed in the late morning light. Bill was standing, his back to the view, staring at me with a small smile as I walked toward him. He looked well, not hung over and confident as usual. There was no hint of last night’s fiasco.

“Come with me,” he said in a soft voice. Once again, it wasn’t quite a question.

I paused, unsure of what to do.

“Yes?” he asked, taking my hand.

I was sure this was a mistake especially after last night. But if I went with him, I could never allow myself to regret it, no matter what happened. Somehow I recalled a line from Oscar Wilde, “The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.”

“All right,” I whispered.

He turned, looking down the mountain. “I don’t want to take the cable car. We’ll walk down the path. We shouldn’t be seen.”

We’re going to walk down this mountain? I thought, looking nervously over the wall at a steep, rocky drop. On what,a goat path?

Marcia, what jumped out at me in 31 Days are these lines:  “What fate has given, it has now taken away.” Enter man. “There seems to be a very different mindset and morality here when it comes to sex.” “This is more than the difference between men and boys.”  “ though all the shimmering warmth and beauty of the day had coalesced into an incandescent moment beyond time...” “There’s something I can’t define and I can’t ignore.” “I could spare myself the pain, but that would deny the desire...” Back to bed. “...I was with the teacher having other very special lessons.” “Salzburg is not a good place to fall in love.” “I know that we’re capable of many loves.  ...some loves are more lasting than others.” “I thought how intriguing it would be to understand one person from many different viewpoints.”

When you go back and reread what you had journaled, how do you feel about the passages as a writer?
All these quotes that you’ve (so wisely) chosen are evocative of the sensuality of the story. Each was in response to an action or an emotion and meant to explain what I was feeling at that moment. I would say that each one was intensely felt- particularly the ones in the bedroom!

One of my favorites is

“…but this wasn’t the real world, and soon it would become just a memory.”

That actually says quite a lot about the story. 

You love painting. Where does that come from?

Who knows where creativity comes from? I grew up drawing and then I painted and then I became an art director and after all that I became a writer and then I returned to painting. Maybe it’s a magical circle. I’ve been lucky- I’ve loved all those elements in my life and through them I’ve had amazing experiences. 

Do you see the girl you once were and the woman you became?

Definitely. She’s still here. And she’s still curious; still seeking whatever it is that we eternally, happiness, success…  Through writing I was able to become that girl again. I was in love, energized and wildly emotional. While I wrote I laughed and cried, and it was as they say, ‘awesome.’  In those first months someone actually asked if I was having an affair. I told him “Yes. With a memory.”

In 31 Days, you talk about setting with wonderful detail. Is this where the painter in you is demonstrated?

I’m sure it is. I tend to describe things visually, as I have seen and experienced them. I love the work of Lawrence Durrell, especially his detailed and sensual descriptions in the “Alexandria Quartet” (one of the quotes you chose). I’m sure I was influenced by his writing- even though it was many years ago that I read his books.

Also, Salzburg is a beautiful city, so the setting made it that much more special. 

I noticed this question: “Are we alone in the universe?”
How did you feel about this when you wrote it and how do you feel now?

That remark was in response to seeing the play “Jedermann” (Everyman), an adaptation of a 15th Century morality play. Its message is that everyone, in order to attain salvation, must answer to God for the good as well as the evil they have done in their lives.

For me, particularly at that time, it signified aloneness; that it was I who was responsible for my life and my actions, and I alone had take responsibility for those actions- which I was very aware of in light of what was going on in my life at that moment. It had more to do with philosophy than anything cosmic. 

How did you get from being an advertising executive to writing?

I did a lot of writing throughout my life in advertising. I wrote way too many marketing plans, proposals, speeches, whatever was asked for or needed. But never a story.

Writing 31 Days is the result of the right place at the right time. One day in a store, I heard a song that unexpectedly triggered a vision in my mind; an image of the moment I first met my painting instructor- whom the book is about. Having no understanding of what had just happened, I started to leave the store, at the same time realizing I not only had the name of a story, but the first page as well. I practically ran home, threw off my coat and began writing. It was that fast.

I wrote and edited between 12 and 16 hours a day for over seven months. It was as though the drawers of a subconscious filing cabinet were unlocking, one by one, spilling out memories and creating an unstoppable compulsion to write.

I had always known the story was good- I just never thought I could write it. Suddenly, in an instant, my life changed. And yes, it was confusing and scary at times! 

Now, down to the nitty gritty of writing. What is the hardest part --drafting, editing, research, or marketing? Why?

The writing was surprisingly easy; it just flowed. Since I had never told the story to anyone, it was pure: no one had ever asked questions or offered opinions. I also had my journals that I wrote in Salzburg and the years after. Memoir is different than fiction; I already knew the entire story.

After about ten pages I ran it by a couple of editors whom I knew from my book designing days. Both of them said to keep going, and so I did.

Although it took three years and months and months of revisions and edits, it was nowhere as difficult as marketing the book. It was something I never even thought about. If you’re an unknown writer, it’s difficult enough to get published, much less noticed. On my next one, believe me, I’ll be thinking about it! 

What is your newest project? Anything else you want to share?

I’m writing a novel about love, success and betrayal set in the Mad Men world of New York City publishing and advertising in the 1960’s. Ultimately, it’s about the truths and lies we tell each other and ourselves.

Let's do a speed round:

Favorite color:  Red
Favorite drink:  Pinot Grigio
Favorite movie: Citizen Kane
Favorite accessory: The cameo ring I wore in 31 Days.  

Thank you, Marcia, for being with Coffee Time Romance and me. I wish you much success.

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Find 31 Days: A Memoir of Seduction at:






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