DREAM BECAME REALITY WITH "JACOB'S WELL"
(San Marcos Daily Record, May 5, 2002, by Tess Mallory)
Many people dream of becoming a published writer, but for Marcia Bennett, a dream actually led to the publication of her first juvenile novel entitled “Mystery at Jacob’s Well.”
“In my dream I saw a mysterious stone,” she related in a recent interview, “and on it were words, engraved, that said ‘Herein Lies the Secret.’”
Intrigued by the dream, Bennett set out to find the best way to incorporate it into her writing. Already interested in Wimberley’s famed Jacob’s Well, where eight divers are said to have disappeared into a watery grave beneath the blue-green depths, the aspiring author decided to use the stone in her dream, combine it with the mysterious setting of Jacob’s Well, and create a book for ages 8 to 13.
“I named my characters, put them into the story, and started developing a mystery,” Bennett said. A visit to Jacob’s Well during its local festival inspired the writer even more and she added the Tonkawa Indians (who used the well as a water source) to the novel, as well as more intrigue and some fictional folklore that included a ghostly visitor to the well.
After completing the novel, Bennett queried Austin-based publisher Eakin Press. Soon she received an encouraging letter requesting the rest of her manuscript and before too long, the manuscript was published. A former teacher/librarian, Bennett has spent the last six months visiting elementary schools in South Central Texas, reading portions of her books aloud and answering questions from curious children.
Early in the spring of 2002, she and six different classes of fourth grade children from Bowen Elementary in Wimberley, went on a field trip to - yep, you guessed it - Jacob’s Well. There the children had the opportunity of visiting not only the well itself, but the education center established by owner David Baker. This fall, fourth grade children in Wimberley will be reading “Mystery at Jacob’s Well” as part of their course curriculum. Teachers bought 120 copies of Bennett’s book.
“I was so thrilled when I heard that,” Bennett said. “And I loved talking to the children. They asked me all kinds of questions about the book and the characters. It was a lot of fun.”
Bennett and her husband moved to Wimberley about eight years ago and just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They have four children, but tragically their son, John, was killed in a car accident in November of 1996. “Mystery at Jacob’s Well” is dedicated to him.
Bennett has begun the sequel to “Mystery at Jacob’s Well,” entitled “Mystery at Saddlecreek,” and her book of children’s nonsense poems, “Somebody Left the Door Open” is being published and will soon be available for purchase.
The feisty grandmother has other talents and interests besides writing. She has personally built Celtic harps and dulcimers and learned how to play them by reading books. She quilts, (“That’s my night thing,” she said) and is working on a Deep South cookbook.
When she first started writing she says she heard that a writer should write about what she knows. “Mystery at Jacob’s Well,” along with her many other writing projects, is certainly a good indication that she took the advice to heart.
Bennett was a teacher/librarian at barrio schools in Corpus Christi and has found ways to incorporate her experiences into other books she has written. “Daniel, Gram, and Feogato” is set in Corpus Christi and is about an elderly cat-hating grandmother who finds an extremely ugly cat that she just can’t turn away. [The cat leads Gram and her troubled grandson, Daniel, on hilarious and sometimes dangerous adventures.]
“I’ve got a lot of things bubbling besides ‘Jacob’s Well,’” she said with a smile.