22 May 2015

Review #222: Life Outside the Box by Marilyn R Wilson with giveaway and author interview

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

----Winston S. Churchill

Marilyn R Wilson, an American freelance writer/editor, pens her debut book, Life Outside the Box: The Extraordinary Journeys of 10 Unique Individuals that is based on the lives of ten inspiring as well as successful personalities who have given a definition to the meaning of the word, success, in their own terms.


Get inspired to step out of your box and into a world full of potential. From the corporate world, to the arts, to working with the disenfranchised the message is clear. There is no such thing as a normal way to live your life and no one right solution to any problem. Selected from amongst over 100 interviews, the stories shared here open a window on the journeys of seven women and three men who have charted their own path, including Ruthie Davis top U.S. luxury shoe designer and the winner of the 2014 AAFA Footwear Designer of the Year award and Geir Ness whose perfume is a staple in Nordstrom, Disney World and on Disney Cruise Lines. Enjoy a glimpse behind the scenes into the unique ways these individuals chose to deal with life's challenges and how they define success in their careers."

It is not the fate of being born with a golden spoon in the mouth makes one successful, but it's one's fruitful overcome of struggles and barriers which make them successful. This book tells us the story or rather say reveals the secrets behind the road to a successful career despite of the challenges and bad luck of 10 such individuals.

The author's way of narration is quite articulate and she have layered her words with compassion and in a way made them quite inspiring. Her passion for successful journeys of human beings is quite evident from her prose and her style of writing. She kept the prose very simple and easy to contemplate with, for her readers. I loved how easily I felt inspired to these real-life journey on the road to success.

These hand-picked and talented individuals have not only struggled and faced the challenges to get to where they are now, but they were also born with a kind-heart and open-mind and their down-to-earth demeanor towards others make them extraordinarily successful in their own careers. Moreover, what is surprising is that I've never ever before heard of these entrepreneurs, yet their life-stories simply left an impressionistic mark upon my mind which i can't easily forget about.

So if you want to turn your passion into a successful career, then do read this uplifting and motivational book.

Verdict: A must-read book for all those wanna-be entrepreneurs.

Courtesy: I received this book for a blog tour. 

Author Info:
Marilyn R. Wilson is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for interviewing. It all began in 2006 when the she answered a Craigslist ad from a NY magazine asking for story submissions. Two were accepted. The first live interview was life changing and Wilson has never looked back. With over 150 interviews now behind her, the love of interviewing is still as strong as ever. Whether through a random encounter on the New York subway or via a “one-on-one” interview with an internationally recognized artist, the goal is the same—to share the unique journeys of inspiring individuals.

In 2007, this goal led the author to co-launch a successful, innovative magazine focused on professionals working in the fashion industry, paired with photography and illustrations by local artists. Now on staff at Raine Magazine (NY/Miami/LA), as well as freelancing for other publications, Wilson has taken her passion to a new audience with the release of her first book.

Connect With Marilyn on: Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter

Author Interview:

Me: Hello and welcome to my blog, Marilyn. Congratulations on your first book, Life Outside the Box. Can you please share with us the objective of this book?

Marilyn: Thanks so much for having me. Interviewing such a wide variety of people has proven life-changing. I came to realize there was no one right way to live - no one right path - no one definition of success. It's okay if the path I chose was not the one I was expected to follow and how I defined success only had to be meaningful to me. This was a challenge as I grew up in a very rigid environment. Shedding those expectations and asking myself what I really wanted opened a future filled with endless possibilities. My hope is that Life Outside The Box will help others give themselves permission to embrace a dream that is calling them.

Me: What inspired you to pen this book, Life Outside the Box?

Marilyn: After interviewing more than 150 unique individuals over the last decade, I realized that most of the really interesting material never made it into a magazine article – it was just not a good fit. But when speaking, it was those same real life moments audiences enjoyed the most. A book of shorter biographies seemed the perfect answer. As each chapter is a single story, it is also an easy book to fit into a busy life-style or when traveling.

Me: How did you research for your book, Life Outside the Box?

Marilyn: I mistakenly thought I had most of the material in my files and only needed a quick update on each person. This assumption couldn't have been more wrong. Writing a 5,500 chapter required a lot more material than an 800 – 1,000 word magazine article. I had to go back to everyone featured and fill in the blanks with more stories from each step in their journey. Then I realized to have the right mix of stories, I needed to conduct a few new interviews. In the end, seven chapters are people I had written on before and three were brand new additions.

Me: Was it always your one true dream to be an author?

Marilyn: Looking back, I believe the seeds were there from the start. As at tween, I remember thinking how great it would be to write a SciFi book and I was in the Journalism Club in high school - something I had forgotten until recently. Reading has also been a life-long obsession. However, the tedious old manual typewriter with messy correction fluid or pad/pen were a huge roadblock. My original path was Psychology, but I walked away while working on an MA in Counseling. Talking with a professor one day, I suddenly realized the difficult emotional load that came with this career – suicides, failed marriages, etc. It would be over two decades before I found my way back to writing, and the invention of the computer with easy editing was certainly an important step in my becoming a published author.

Me: How will you describe your journey so far as an author?

Marilyn: Amazing – Unbelievable! It all began while I was perusing Craigslist ads and noticed a NYC fashion magazine asking for submissions. On a whim, I sent in three story ideas and two were accepted. While conducting that very first interview I found myself enthralled and covered in goosebumps. My life would never be the same. Interviewing IS my #1 passion. When the NYC magazine folded 2 months later, it was back to Craigslist where I connected with a local photographer wanting to start a magazine. From 2007-2012, I was co-owner, editor, writer, scheduler, distributor, marketer and attended numerous events.  I also joined the staff at Raine Magazine, published freelance articles and interviewed people from as far away as South Africa. The journey has been a wild trial by fire of incredible highs and terrible lows, but every step along the way has led me to this moment. Almost a decade sounds like a long time, but in some ways it feels like the blink of an eye.

Me: Tell us one distinct thing from your childhood that influenced to be the person that you're today?

I never fit in - ever. My environment was very strict and those around me expected a quiet, modest, gentle young girl who made everyone smile. I struggled with a racing mind, a lack of patience and an intense curiosity that was not always welcome or considered polite. I couldn't sit still. Social niceties everyone seemed to know instinctively were a mystery to me, something I still struggle with today. What I finally realized through this journey was that all those traits that made it difficult for me to fit in were actually my talents just waiting for the right outlet. The struggle to accept myself has also helped me embrace a wider variety of life stories. I am amazed at how uniquely we all view the world. No two of us see the same thing.

Me: What other passions do you have apart from writing?

Bike riding. It's a great tension reliever to get outside and ride hard with the wind in your face. Reading has always been a part of my life. There are times I read non-stop for weeks, consuming book after book after book. I love dancing but don't have many chances to indulge. Traveling is also a passion. I get to meet people from so many cultures and enjoy experiencing how their life flows. When I travel  I find it relaxing to end the day by writing up what I experienced in my blog. A much larger travel budget is definitely a goal for me.

Me: Tell us about your favorite book that inspired you a lot.

A few come to mind. The Doomsday Book is about time travel, but also touches on what would happen in a pandemic. I read this book just a few years before that first SARS scare where airports closed in fear. It is an impressive example of a fiction author taking what she saw happening around her and using it to forecast the future. For a biography, I truly enjoyed the one on Steve Jobs. His ability to think outside the box and see not roadblocks, but the opportunity of new paths was remarkable.  I try to embrace that concept every day. We're living in an age of possibilities. What unexpected direction is just waiting for me to realize it's right there waiting?

Me: What's next up on your writing sleeves? Please tell us briefly about it.

I want to continue to share real stories that open a window on the great diversity happening all around us and to inspire other to let go of expectations so they can look to a limitless future. Life Outside the Box is meant to be the first in a series under the brand, Real People - Real Lives.  Work on book two with a similar format has begun, but there is also a possible series in the works where people could submit their own, self-written stories. I believe it is the stories of real people living real lives that will define our generation. My goal is to give a voice to these stories so they can be heard by a wider audience.

Me: Thank you Marilyn for joining me today in this interview session. I wish you luck for all your future endeavors.

A pleasure to be here and thanks for the opportunity.  If anyone has questions or would like more. 


Book Purchase Links:


Win one of two print books of Life Outside the Box (open to USA & Canada) and win one of two Amazon $25.00 gift cards (open internationally)
Ends July 4.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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  3. Thanks so much for your thoughtful review - you captured exactly what this book is about - and the chance to share more about myself. A few of your questions were ones I had never been asked before. Glad you found inspiration and I hope it leads you to a embrace your own unique dreams.

  4. What an interesting book! I would love to be able to see what the different journeys and definitions of success are. And again, what a lovely cover <3

  5. Thanks for your lovely comment, Olivia :-)


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