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WILMINGTON, NC, May 11, 2022 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Mara Purl, the American author of the best-selling Milford-Haven Novels, will visit the original namesake town in Wales. To celebrate, she'll be providing a grant to a local organization.
The recipient will be the Milford Haven Museum. Five organizations submitted proposals at the invitation of the Milford Haven Town Council. The winner will receive 5,000.00 Pounds. Mara will present the cheque in person on Thursday, May 19th at 3:00pm, in the Chamber Room of the Town Hall. The event will be attended by the Mayor and the Councillors. "We're very pleased that an excellent local project will be fully funded by Ms. Purl's grant," said Barbara Fitzgerald, the Council's Clerk and Financial Officer. "And we're delighted to welcome her to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of her first visit."
"I am so thrilled to be able to help this local organization," said Purl. "All the proposals were excellent, and my advisory board and I discussed each at length. Ultimately, we feel we can provide the most help to the project we've chosen." Mara will be accompanied by her husband, Dr. Larry Norfleet, who also endorses the project.
The Museum submitted a detailed proposal for a "democratic, inclusive project for the community of Milford Haven." It met the two key grant criteria—history and environmental protection. In addition it's a creative writing project that will draw upon the talents of local writers and be offered at seven local schools. "It spoke to my author's heart," Purl confessed. "I hope they'll allow me to be one of the contributing mentors as the project gets under way."
The project will be a pilot program of eight 3-hour workshops held from June - September during school hours. Mentors will include accomplished writers Nicola Davies, author of the children's environmental book "The Song That Sings Us," and Eva John, former literacy advisor for Pembrokeshire County Council's Education Services. To complete the project, the best student offerings will be published as a book "Cynefyn Aberdaugkeddau" or "Cultural Pride of Milford Haven." The book will be available as a permanent legacy.
"The proposal described a ground-breaking project, and we agree," said Purl, after conferring with fellow members of her Milford-Haven Enterprises organization, located in Los Angeles. "It's an opportunity to honor the local environment, culture, and history; and it's a collaborative project to encourage the talents of young people. The prospects are thrilling."
Giving back, or "paying it forward" is a core value for Purl, who taught her original radio drama curriculum for fifteen years in American high schools and universities. She has also served on numerous boards and earned community awards for her service, including being named Woman of the Year by the Los Angeles County Commission for Women. "When I first visited this special town of Milford Haven, the people here were kind beyond description. They welcomed me with a reception and a series of lovely events, showing me their own generous hearts. I was grateful at the time, and even more grateful now that I can give back in a meaningful way."
The author's first visit took place in 1992, when her American radio serial had just become a hit on the BBC, with 4.5 million listeners. The popularity of her show led to interest from publishers, and she eventually began writing the Milford-Haven Novels. After twenty years, which the author describes as her "overnight success," they began hitting best seller lists. Her blog tours attracted as many as 17 million followers in the U.S. Her most recent book, the series prequel When the Heart Listens, hit Amazon's #1 in multiple categories as of February 22, or 2-22-22, National California Day.
In 1999 Mara visited again with her husband. On the eve of their trip, Mara received a call from her aunt. "'We have people from there, you know.' I'd had only a vague awareness of an ancestral connection to Wales but nothing specific. When Aunt Madelon said that a great-great-grandfather had lived in Milford Haven, I felt chills. 'I thought you knew!' my aunt continued. She thought I had chosen the town and its location based on family genealogy." Both startled and fascinated, the author delved deeper with the help of her mother's cousin. "Oh yes," Gene Mergy confirmed. "The family has two lines that go back to Wales." With that, he presented Mara with pages of print-outs showing her Pembrokeshire ancestor John Dafydd born there in 1682, as well as another line tracing back to the 1500s in Glamorganshire.
Since then, Mara has maintained friendly relations with both Milford Haven, Wales, and Cambria, California, where she's part of a local writing community and frequent speaker. The Cambria Historical Society invited her to present "Roots and Branches," a historically researched program tracing the actual connections between the two towns.
Her research also turned up a little-known connection to Milford-Haven, Virginia, founded prior to the American Revolution by people from the original Welsh town. Mara visited, met with a local historian, and is weaving her discoveries there into her saga as well. "Milford-Haven, Virginia is on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay," the author explained. "Oddly enough, my father spent his childhood summers just down the road, at his grandmother's home. It seems there's a Milford-Haven in both sides of my family.
"What does it mean? Is there cellular memory? I don't know. I do feel a sense of guidance. When these extraordinary synchronicities are revealed, I know I'm on the right path, doing what I'm here to do. I trust my intuition."
Meanwhile her fictional series is based on extensive research into environmental issues as well as her own personal experiences, woven into the engaging stories that are domestic dramas laced with romance and an ongoing mystery.
When the Heart Listens is the latest book in Purl's best-selling saga, which to date has won more that 60 book awards. Milford-Haven U.S.A. began as a hit BBC radio drama with 4.5 million listeners in the U.K., and became the best-selling book series with series is set in California's scenic Central Coast, where Purl regularly researches her stories, and is a frequent speaker.
The newest book hit #1 on Amazon in February of this year, and is a prequel to the series. "Once again Purl pulls out all the stops and goes straight to the heart of the story. This is where it all began – Miranda's quest for the life she wasn't aware she wanted and needed. , , It's comforting to know that listening to your heart over your common sense is, at times, the right thing to do." – Linda Thompson, The Authors Show
"Sinking into the world of Milford-Haven's core family, it's such fun to get to know them better and learn that I like them all, albeit for different reasons. There is a true brilliance to your work, your vision, and the only thing needed is to carry on and finish each segment and braid them all together. I am cheering you on!"
– Laurie Jameson, WILLA award-winning author
"I have enjoyed so much reading When the Heart Listens. It was so lovely I didn't want it to end . . . and I see the series doesn't end! I will continue to read your beautiful writing! And I will share with my mom and my sister and friends!"
– Julie Scroggs, Seattle
"Reading When the Heart Listens made me realize how important it was for me to have [the protagonist's] history. I am really captivated by Miranda. [Having read some of your books before,] now I'm at a place where I want to go back and really read them in order from start to finish."
– Carol Schmidt, Shell Beach, California
About the Author
For her Milford-Haven Novels, Mara was named 2019 Top Female Author for Fiction by the Authors Show. To date, her book series has won more than 60 book awards, and has topped multiple best-seller lists on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Her novels, novellas and novelettes with their gorgeous watercolor book covers and engaging mix of romance and mystery are sought after by her mostly female readers, where Mara has become a trail blazer for both Women's Fiction and Small Town fiction.
Mara, who has appeared on stage and on-camera since childhood, played the recurring character "Darla Cook" on NBC's Days of Our Lives. She then founded a production company and created Milford-Haven U.S.A.,a serial drama loosely based upon Cambria. The show, co-starring a well-known L.A. based cast including Erin Gray, Linda Purl, Ed Begley, Jr., Michael Horse, and several others, became the first American radio drama to air on BBC radio, where it enjoyed a following of 4.5 million listeners. Purl's story later came to the attention of New York publishers, who began publishing her novel series in hardcover in 2011. Since then, her books have become national best-sellers, as have her novellas,
Mara has an on-line following of 17 million when she does her blog tours. She is a frequent guest on radio talk shows, and also speaks for the American Heart Association, for women's organizations, for writers' conferences and for colleges and universities. Mara and her books have a large following nationally and particularly in California. Along with her work as an author, speaker and performer, she consults on other authors' book projects.
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