Two months ago, I wrote that my agents had sent Unremembered Lives out to publishers. In that blog, I compared the publishing process to selling a house. Well, last month, the right buyer took a good look at the property and said, “I love this. Let’s talk.”

Tara Parsons is the editor-in-chief at Touchstone Books, a Simon and Schuster group. She is especially drawn to novels and nonfiction about the lost or hidden history of women — forgotten but important figures who shaped today’s world.

Unremembered Lives is the story of the women who formed the backbone of a copper miners’ strike in 1913: wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters of the men who worked underground at the Calumet and Hecla Mines in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This was not an easy story to sell, but my agent Jane Dystel persisted (lotta that going around these days), and now we’ve got the right publisher to acquaint modern readers with towering figures like Mother Jones, Big Annie Clements and Ella Bloor, who risked so much and fought so hard to get justice for working people.

Here’s a photo of Anna Klobuchar Clemenc, a.k.a. “Big Annie Clements” of Calumet Michigan, president of the Women’s Auxiliary of Local 15, Western Federation of Miners.

This 25-year-old woman was once known as “America’s Joan of Arc.” I hope those who carry the flag today will come to love her as I do.



38 thoughts on “SOLD!”

  1. Thanks for this post. As a novelist who was published twice, then dropped by my publisher due to poor sales, I always love reading your comments about this maddening process called publishing. Never easy! Norman Draper

  2. Another good effort has met its reward! Will eagerly look forward to its publication so that I can grab up some copies. You touched me years ago with The Sparrow — and I have not missed one of your masterpieces since. (So this had better live up to expectations.)

  3. Oh, Mary!!!!! That is FREAKING FANTASTIC!!!!!! I KNEW someone would pick it up!!! I cannot WAIT for it to arrive!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  4. A day to celebrate. Knew it would happen! My smile should light up my message. So happy for you. Thanks for helping make my world a better place.

  5. Very cool! I can’t wait to read your latest. No one has brought history alive for me the way you do.

  6. This is such wonderful news! I’ve been suffering through some serious health problems, but told myself I had to fight long enough to read this book. You’ve kinda made my year – no pressure 😉

  7. The readers of the Upper Peninsula are thrilled to hear about this novel!Kudos to Simon and Schuster for picking it up. We look forward to reading it, discussing it, and learning from it. Mary, we hope to see you in Marquette when it’s released!

  8. My father was a life-long trade union member and Socialist. I followed with union membership for a while. This means I have a union-leaning bent, and I will read your latest with pleasure—both the topic and your excellent writing are things I await.

    Anything new about the movie?

  9. Can’t wait to read this, of course. I’m so struck by the photo, too. What a lovely, open, hopeful, honest face Anna has. Just looking at her I want to know more.

  10. Congratulations Mary! Both parents from Newberry, MI. Many summers spent playing at the Grand Hotel and Round Lake. Looking forward to book!

  11. Congratulations! I already know the book will be brilliantly written, well researched and make me think about the people and situations you find.

  12. Well, The Sparrow is owned by AMC now and they’ve shown no serious interest in bringing an adaptation into production. Doc and Epitaph are under option now, and the producers seemed serious about those, but…

  13. I just finished reading The Women of Copper Country and have to say it was WONDERFUL! I always enjoy a novel that teaches me something new, and your book fits that bill. Great characters and story, and as always, beautiful writing! I had the same thought as the commenter above about Amy Klobuchar, wondering if she could be a relative of Big Annie.

  14. Just finished The Women of the Copper Country. I don’t generally care for historical fiction (I already know how it ends!) and originally checked it out of the library because of the Calumet connection–my son lives right around the corner from the Italian Hall, and I thought I might recognize other landmarks. I was pleasantly surprised to find a beautifully-written story peopled with vivid characters, with hundreds of wonderful details of 1913 Calumet and of the lives and struggles of the miners and their families.

  15. Congrats on the book! My Italian ancestors emigrated to Calumet from NW Italy between 1882-1907. My great-grandfather owned a bar in Laurium and his brother recruited Italians for the WFM. I was a little disappointed to read references to Italians from Naples and Sicily when the Italians in Copper Country were almost exclusively from Northern Italy’s Piedmont region, unique in that respect since 95% of Italian immigrants to U.S. were from the south.

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