April 15, 2012

Greetings from the Sunflower State of Kansas: Multi-Genre Author Marianne Stephens

I’ve lived in Kansas three different times in my life. First time, we lived on the grounds of Ft. Leavenworth. I thought we’d moved to the middle of nowhere! Second time, we moved to a southern suburb of Kansas City. Amazed, I wondered why I hadn’t seen that side of Kansas before. And one last and final move brought us back to Kansas where we reside now. 
Mention Kansas and people wonder about The Wizard of Oz. One shopping center had a yellow brick road painted on the floor for customers to walk on as they walked through the mall. 
Wizard of Oz souvenirs run rampant here. Can’t go anywhere without seeing something in the way of Dorothy, Toto, etc. Even the airport has Oz promotional items. 
Like Dorothy, I found that being here was where I wanted to be. After moving many times and living in six different states, I can honestly say Kansas is my favorite place to reside. 
We’re in a great location…halfway between coasts and halfway between the northern and southern borders of the US--definitely in the middle of the country. 
Weather: In the Kansas City area, we get less snow than you’d imagine. Lots of storms go north or south of our area. We get ice at times, some snow…but most winters are not what people imagine for Mid-Country. 
Tornadoes: We have tornado seasons and practice siren tests once a week. We have a tornado shelter/wine cellar. We figure we can go into it and share a bottle of wine if needed! Have some “needed” supplies stored there, too. 
History: Kansas became a state in 1861. Made it through the Civil War and is now mostly a conservative state. Visit this website for more details and information about historical markers: http://skyways.lib.ks.us/history 
Products: Kansas is in the Midwest grain belt, produces natural gas and oil, cattle, sheep, wheat, corn and more. Kansas is known for beef and barbecue…lots of beef and plenty of barbecue places all over the state. 
Famous people: Former President Dwight Eisenhower, Amelia Earhart, Bob Dole, George Washington Carver, Buffalo Bill Cody, Wyatt Earp, Wild Bill Hickok, Carrie
Nation, and many others. For more information about famous Kansans, visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_from_Kansas 
Hutchinson is home to a rock salt mine. Parts of the mine are used to store original movie and TV tapes, etc., like The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, and Star Wars. 
Also in Hutchinson: The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center. Wonderful and impressive museum and they run space camps for kids. For more information, visit: http://www.cosmo.org/museum.cfm 
In writing my books, Kansas is a popular setting. In Gone to the Dogs, I have a reverse Dorothy theme: the heroine must leave New York City and go to Kansas for a job. She wants nothing more than to leave and return “home”…until the hero and her fondness for the area change her mind. I even through in a Halloween scene…with The Wizard of Oz characters! 
“Write what you know” seems to include the area I’m most comfortable with…Kansas and the neighboring areas of Kansas City on both sides of the State Line between Kansas and Missouri. Kansas is where my heart is! 
I write both Fiction and Non-fiction and have several titles available. 
For more information on all my work visit my website http://www.mariannestephens.net/ 
(Photos provided by author)


  1. Though I was born and now live in Minnesota, I 'grew up' in Kansas. Spent most of my childhood years over near Dodge City, and since we still have family there, we visit regularly. There is something about the state that gets in your blood and once a Kansan, you're always a Kansan. And the only people that know it's the Are-kansas River not the Ar-kan-saw River. :)

    Lovely post, and best wishes on your writing!

  2. Great post. Some of my fondest memories as we traveled back and forth from Indiana to Colorado, are of Kansas and the wonderful people there. On our first trip west, we got stranded in a small town and the hotel manager kept me and my brother and sisters busy, fed us, and helped Mom and Dad with the malfunctioning travel trailer. Just one example out of many.

  3. We lived at Fort Leavenworth as well. I have some very happy memories from that time in my life. Great post!
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  4. I didn't know Eisenhower was from Kansas. Wonderful blog, Marianne. Be careful with that crazy weather.

  5. Nice article, thanks for sharing...however, as a native Oklahoman who lives right on the Arkansas state line and very near the Are-kansas river, it's Arkansas River for us...lol...Tabs

  6. I've never been to Kansas, Marianne, but you make it sound like a great place to visit. I'm from Pennsylvania, which is a long drive from your state. We have mountains to protect us from tornados. I hope your area stays storm free throughout the year!


  7. Great post Marianne. I was born in Oklahoma but raised in Texas. Interesting facts.


  8. I'll bet you're happy that most snow storms miss you! LOL Enjoyed the blog today. :)

  9. Great blog, Marianne, and I love the Gone to the Dogs book cover! I'm proud to be an Air Force brat. My dad was a lifer back when the USAF moved families, at least flyboy families, about every 18 months to 2 years. By the time I left for college at age 17 we had lived in 9 states and been in all of them but Hawaii. Went through Kansas many times and now live in SW Missouri. Pretty country but I have to say I miss the oceans!

  10. Annete, nice to see you again.

    Marianne, I'm so glad you didn't live in Kansas back in the 50's and 60's. We had blizzards back then. lol I'm glad you like it here. I live in Missouri now, but I'll always be a Kansas girl.

  11. Oh, I always loved the movie Wizard of Oz. Kansas sounds so interesting, except for the tornadoes. They just sound scary.

    Good luck with your book. Love the cover.



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