Published author, Julie Maloney visited the main campus in Paterson on April 25th, to give a reading of her newly published novel “A Matter of Chance,” a story of a mother whose child was kidnapped and found five years later. After the reading, staff and students engaged in a Q&A. The author's visit is part of a bi-annual program of the Distinguished Lecturer Series supported by committee members, Professor Walter Behr, Communications; Professor Caffie Risher, Public Speaking; and Dr. Christine Redman-Waldeyer, English.
The event allowed students to meet a published novelist who could testify to the struggles and passion it takes to publish a complete work. In addition, students were able to find a greater appreciation for the craft of writing.
Maloney spoke about how it took her nearly 10 years to fully complete her work. “It took me 10 years to write because I was a busy with teaching, running workshops, sending the work to edit, receiving it back, making changes and sometimes just putting the book away for a while,” said Maloney.
The book began to take shape many years ago in a workshop where she discovered the character of Maddy Stewart. She had been given the prompt with three other writers. Maloney stated, "By chance, I stumbled upon the “grieving mother” series, drawings by the most revered artist in Germany—Käthe Kollwitz—at the Morgan Library in New York City. I knew then that I had to fly to Germany to the Käthe Kollwitz Museum in Cologne to view the work of this prominent artist. My trip took me throughout Bavaria—a region lush with enthralling landscapes. But it was the artist herself who drew me into the story. Kollwitz was a mother and artist who struggled with loss. Her work depicts darkness but with a tenderness yearning to be understood."
Rejection was an obstacle for Maloney as she went through the process of writing her piece. Many would question if her content would be interesting or compelling. Maloney strongly believed that her story would describe what change individuals can go through when facing real life disasters and would be compelling and needed to be exposed.
Many believed that Maloney had a child of her own that was kidnapped due to the realistic emotion that would be presented throughout the book. Maloney made it very clear that the book was purely fiction and that she simply focused on the emotions that one would feel if they were in that situation. Maloney would also research the location to feed her creativity and support her story line.
“I’m interested in how we deal with our emotions, how we express ourselves and how we feel as human,” continued Maloney. This was something she said may have come from her background as a dancer where even in the art of dancing you are expressing emotions.
Maloney is a former dancer/choreographer and artistic director of her own modern dance company.
She is a poet and writer and founder/director of WOMEN READING ALOUD, a non-profit organization dedicated to the support of women writers. Since 2003, she has guided women writers throughout the USA and across the Atlantic through writing workshops, retreats, and special literary events.
Maloney urged the students to begin reading, to find passion in words to create their own pieces.
Her book published by She Writes Press in 2018 is available in Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and elsewhere.