A chat with Mary Grant Dempsey, author of 'Riding the Road to Friendship' in 'Chicken Soup for the Soul'

eshaw@islandpacket.comMarch 1, 2014 


Name: Mary Grant Dempsey

Book: "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just Us Girls," which includes Dempsey's story, "Riding the Road to Friendship"

Printed by: Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing

Residence: Bluffton

Where to buy: Available online and at most bookstores

Story summary in 50 words or less: It's about moving to a new place and reaching out to new friends by joining a cycling group. That led to long-lasting friendships that expanded in size and depth.

First sentence: "I was a Northern newcomer to a Southern adult community."

Story behind "Riding the Road to Friendship": It was the beginning of my social life in Sun City (Hilton Head). We moved from the North and knew absolutely no one here. I saw these people riding bikes looking happy and fit, and I wished I knew how to do that. I joined, met friends and have been doing it now for six years.

Earliest writing memory: It was the third grade. I wrote a creative writing story about teenagers kissing and their braces getting entwined. The teacher wasn't happy with the subject matter, but I thought it was great. My mother actually saved that story for years.

Previous writing experience: I've written for two other "Chicken Soup" books. The first one was "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for the Young at Heart." It was another Sun City story about when we had a pole-dancing party. The second one was for "Chicken Soup for the Soul: I Can't Believe My Cat Did That." It was a story about how I had the smartest cat in the world. He would flip the light switch to turn the lights out when he wanted to go outside. Prior to that, I've written for Care Magazine, Today's Caregiver, and Reminisce Magazine. I also have my own book of short stories: "Little Bit of Fiction, Little Bit of Fact," available by emailing marydemp27@yahoo.com.

Favorite topic to write about: I really got into writing when my mother had Alzheimer's. I wrote a lot of stories in the beginning about Alzheimer's and the family and what we were going through. Then I joined the writing group in Sun City and that got me writing more and more often.

Favorite books: I don't have a favorite book. I love books by Elizabeth Berg. And Pat Conroy â€" of course. I have to say him because he's a Southern writer. I'm currently reading a book by Jodi Picoult. Those are my top three right now.

What's next: I probably have enough stories to put a second book together. I keep toying with the idea, but I'm so busy on the bike, I don't have time. But it's in the back of my mind. I also continue to submit things for "Chicken Soup for the Soul."

Follow arts and culture reporter Erin Shaw at twitter.com/IPBG_ErinShaw.


• A chat with E. Beatrice Cobb, author of 'Roses of the Mind: A Collection of Poems'

• A chat with George Campbell, author of 'Hunting Short Stories'

• A chat with Beth Tyner, author of 'Inside the George'

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