Opaline Marks is the pen name of Opal Markiewicz (1932-2009), an author who late in life began writing personal, human and family-focused stories in a variety of genres exploring many topics. Her novel Paint the Devil is a detective murder mystery, while Schizophrenics I have known...and Loved is a fictional recounting of the challenges families experience in the mental health system, based on real-life experiences. Morrison Bros. explores the good and bad of family secrets within a wild adventure story featuring spies and hidden caves.
Opaline's storytelling style has been described as personal, exploring the little events in life that lead up to big stories. While family-centric, her stories are not moralistic or advocacy; instead they promote a belief that life is made up of the small stories centered around the people we know and love.
Opaline Mark's real name was actually Opal! She was born and grew up in Joplin, Missouri, and went west to Sacramento during the dust bowl. Her dad made his living as a professional gambler(!), and she picked and canned fruit as a job the whole time she was growing up.
Opaline went into the Air Force in 1953, met her husband, had 3 kids, went back to school and then to work during the 1960s, while her husband worked as a technician in the Apollo program. Later, she worked as a claims representative at Social Security, and some of the events in 'Schizophrenics I Have Known...and Loved' relate to that work experience. After retiring in the 1990s, she devoted full-time effort to her books.
If you're a member of the 'Silent' generation (born 1925-1942) you will probably enjoy Opaline's family-focused take on storytelling. 'Schizophrenics I Have Known...and Loved' is accessible and personal - one of the author's sons was schizophrenic. Among other things, the book considers the therapy transition from the 1970s (when families were often blamed for schizophrenia) to the drug revolution that got many schizophrenics back into regular life. But don't worry - 'Schizophrenics' is basically a mystery novel!
'Paint the Devil' is loosely related to Opaline's husband's work - he is a portrait painter in Las Vegas at the moment, though he's not currently being stalked by a devilish artist.
'Morrison Bros.' - is both a outlandish adventure story, and an exploration of the bad - and good - of keeping secrets in a large, extended family.
Explore the works of Opaline - you may find common spirit an joy in reading!