The MDJ recently spoke with longtime Marietta resident and author Paul Scopel about the release of his new book, “Tarnished Tiara — The Mysterious Death of an Ingenue.”

What is your connection to Cobb County?

For forty years, my wife and I have called Cobb County home. As a young couple working in professional careers, we moved to Georgia after stints in Houston, Tuscaloosa and Jacksonville, Florida.

Not long after our move to Cobb, our activities cultivated many friendships which still super glue us to our community. The company we both worked for then, Georgia Power, has a motto we lived, “A citizen where we serve.” We are charter members of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church where I served as an elder and deacon, and my wife coordinated 250 weddings.

Still living in Cobb, I enjoy writing, blogging, dining out with friends, church, travel, attending concerts at the Marietta Square, working out, and playing bridge several times a week.

Tell our readers about your book.

“Tarnished Tiara — The Mysterious Death of an Ingenue” is an intriguing fictional story of two close girl cousins who grow in surprising ways to switch roles ultimately as the idol, Liz, falls from grace.

To the outside world, Liz Perkins had it all-beauty, charm, poise, talent and many adoring men. One wonders, how could it all have gone so shockingly wrong? When the flirtatious beauty queen, Liz, entered a room with her enigmatic flair, no one sensed her fragility — a result of the badgering of a demanding stage mother.

Over the years, the lives of two women took dramatically different turns. The meeker one, Cece, found long-term fulfillment in her rock, Ross Turner. But contrary to expectations, the legacy of the other cousin, unfolded much differently than imagined. When happiness eluded Liz through multiple abusive marriages and dubious companions, the only remaining company that offered her unconditional love were her many cats.

To the casual observer, Liz achieved success and fame. Though attaining celebrity through television, advertising, and public speaking, her search for happiness ended one mysterious and tragic night when everything changed.

What inspired this book?

While “Tarnished Tiara” is fiction, the basic story is a composite of a myriad of characters, news stories, and events which I encountered or read about over my lifetime. Life’s events amaze me as even freakish things repeat in cycles in family after family. Many people have close cousins and friends whose lives were once full of promise and then one or another tread on the dark side which results in catastrophe. Pulling from public stories and sometimes private experiences, I penned “Tarnished Tiara.” Even this week, as I sat awaiting an appointment, a man led in his elderly mother who I learned, like my protagonist, had multiple husbands and cats. I watch, listen and observe and then let my mind create the characters, activity, and story.

How long did it take you to write it? Describe the process.

Three years total. “Tarnished Tiara” is my first book. The basic story I wrote in one weekend at a writing retreat led by my writing coach, Tom Bird. Knowing I loved to write, my daughter and son-in-law surprised me with a Christmas gift to attend the retreat. However, the arduous process of revision, style and copy editing, illustration and formatting, cover preparation and marketing took place over three years at home and in two more retreats.

Writing, regardless of the genre, is a spiritual and healing action which requires the writer to prepare and receive inspiration. It is interesting that “writer’s block” is not something I encountered. Before the first retreat, Tom provided an effective approach to lead the writer to seek forgiveness and healing for a lifetime of hurts and wrongs. The writer learns to forgive each transgressor, and themselves which is often the hardest act. This intense exercise requires the writer’s intent to forgive each one by one. Void of the distracting wrongs, the writer attends the retreat with a clear mind.

I engaged the brilliant help of a marketing guru, Denise Cassino in Colorado, and a terrific webmaster, Hillary Summerton in Arizona. Denise is the catalyst to achieving Amazon Best-Selling Author in my category.

What is your career background?

While most of my career occurred at the Southern Company, the roles I took on varied significantly. My career in the Atlanta area includes thirty-five years as a CPA at the Southern Company and Georgia Power, and four years with First Atlanta Bank Holding Company. In these firms I engaged in business writing.

When I retired from the left-brain world of business and finance, I steered my well-honed writing skills in a new direction. I cultivated my passions of all things creative — writing fiction, travel, photography, family genealogy, working out, hiking, gold panning, blogging and social media. While these passions are the things I do, what I love are my family — my wife, daughter, son-in-law and two wonderful grandchildren, and my faith.

How can people purchase your book?

“Tarnished Tiara” is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Search my name, Paul Scopel, at either site. Both sites have print book formats and Amazon also carries eBooks. I am considering an audio version early next year. In addition, the book is available locally at the Bookmark at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, 955 Johnson Ferry Road, Marietta.

Finally, my webpage at www.PaulScopel.com has a link to purchase “Tarnished Tiara.” On my website you will also find a fun three minute video trailer about the mystery book along with samples of my photography in a gallery.

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