Marlis Manley

A former college instructor of all forms of written communication, Marlis Manley Broadhead has award-winning short stories and poems in literary magazines—including Kansas Quarterly, Mikrokosmos, Crosscurrents, and Kansas Women Writers. Her debut novel, TROPHY GIRL, published by Black Rose Writing last year, was awarded the William Faulkner second prize in 2018.

Tell me about your latest book and what inspired you to write/create it?

Trophy Girl, my debut novel, is historical fiction because it takes place in 1957. It’s inspired by my bio- and step-fathers’ car-racing careers. The setting is the Midwest dirt-track circuit the week leading up to the first grand national championship. Fun fact: My step father won that one, plus the one the following year and again in 1958.

I spent years of weekends in grandstands eating a lot of track dust. Sometimes we’d go to three races in three towns in one weekend. When I visited my bio father, I cheered him on in his sporty Deutsche-Bonnet, which he raced with the Sports Car Club of America (far less dust but harder to keep track of the cars). My memories of being a fan and a long shelf of scrapbooks took care of most of the research, but I still relied on subject-matter experts for the mechanical particulars.