Dr. Miriam Macfarlan Herin is Shy No More

Posted by Monica Hoel
Dr. Miriam Macfarlan Herin gained more than a degree at Emory & Henry; and her life lessons paired magically with her education to make her a celebrated author.

Miriam says she was so shy when she came to Emory & Henry that she wouldn’t use her real name on her submission to The Prism, the campus student literary magazine, so she used the pseudonym M. Gamble. That was Miriam’s first published writing, and she’s now an award-winning author of two novels, both of which carry her actual name.

Miriam majored in English and history, which fits the profiles for her published novels. Absolution tells a very current-day story that has roots in the Vietnam War, while A Stone for Bread bounces between the present and World War II. She has also published several short stories and is currently at work on three more novels. Each of her published works do more than tell a story; they also offer life lessons in a complex world, which seems befitting for a writer who still remembers the life-changing benefits of discovering her own personal worth.

See her website at miriamherin.com.

If you’ve read her books, you may find it surprising she doesn’t always know where she’s going when she begins a story. “Characters and even the plot can change while I’m writing,” she says, “because that’s when I’m coming to know my characters as well as the story itself. Often I haven’t even decided how a story will end, so I go back and forth through the manuscript to make the characters believable and the story work, especially the ending.”

Miriam says her years at Emory & Henry changed her life. She grew up in a family that believed women were intended to be supportive wives and stay-at-home-mothers and not involve themselves in outside work or a profession. “But all that changed in my college years,” she says. “With the support of friends and Emory & Henry faculty. I became an adult, encouraged to use what gifts I had to make a difference for others as a social worker, college professor and writer, even while raising my two children. And interestingly, I was often able to involve my children in my work, casting them in TV spots and promo films and sometimes taking them along when they weren’t in school.”

Each of her published works does more than tell a story; the stories also share lessons of humanity. A fact that seems perfectly befitting for a writer who still remembers the life-changing benefits of learning her own personal worth.

You can enjoy a conversation with Miriam in the archives of WEHC’s weekly radio show, The Duck Pond Wall.

  • Dr. Miriam Macfarlan Herin, Emory & Henry Class of 1963

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