We have a special treat for you today! Let’s give a big hand to one of our newest NABBW members, Martha Bolton.
You may not recognize her name or face, but we can assure you that Martha Bolton has made you laugh.
She is a woman who loves to laugh, lives to make people laugh, and who has successfully made a career utilizing her genius writing skills and her ability to find the humor in everyday living.
Martha has not only had the opportunity to work with some of the funniest people of the past century, but they are not hesitant to share their appreciation for her ability to make them look good. Here are just a few of the things her peers have said about her:
- “Martha Bolton finds the fun in the familiar, the mirth in the mundane, the belly laughs in the bellyaches of everyday living.” ~~ Bob Hope
- “Martha is one of the funniest writers alive today.” ~~ Phyllis Diller
- “Few people can drive home a point with humor the way Martha can. She lives life in the laugh lane.” ~~ Mark Lowry
- “Martha Bolton brings her genius writing skills to express hard truths that we all need to chew on. Her unique gift of humor makes the going down so much sweeter.” ~~ Kathy Troccoli
- “Martha makes you laugh the old-fashioned way–with her cleverness, wholesomeness, and realism.” ~~ Ann Jillian
- “The best comedy writer I’ve ever worked with.” ~~ Jeff Allen
- “Martha Bolton is a terrific comedy writer and I consider her a wonderful friend as well. Her characters rock!” ~~ Karen Knotts
- “As nice as she is funny. And she is very nice.” ~~ Jimmy Brogan, comedian and former head writer for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
- “Martha Bolton has an attitude that makes her writing special – she cares about her audience. That makes every reader part of her writing and makes it that much more enjoyable for anyone who reads or listens to any of her work.” ~~ Gene Perret, staff writer for Bob Hope and 3 time Emmy Award winner for The Carol Burnett Show
- “Martha Bolton is a consummate professional and a joy to work with. Talented, extremely funny and clever, she deserves all of her success.” ~~ Brad Dickson, writer for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
In other words, if you’ve laughed at jokes cracked by Bob Hope, Phyllis Diller, Jeff Allen, Ann Jillian, or anyone else quoted above, it’s very likely Martha was somehow involved in crafting that joke…
But there’s more to Martha’s career than TV comedy writing. She’s written humorous books focused on finding the humor in life, and especially in being a baby boomer, received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Achievement in Music and Lyrics, and written books for children, including JESSE and the SUPER SENSORIFIC SEASHORE, A Day in the Life of a Boy with Autism, which was recently named Book of the Year in the Special Needs division, by Creative Child Magazine. And Martha’s children’s musical, A LAMB’S TALE, written with Dennis Allen, also received a Dove award nomination.
But let’s allow Martha speak for herself. Here are her answers to our favorite NABBW questions, for your personal enjoyment… Or maybe we should have said, Ladies and Gentlemen, please give it up for… (drumroll please) a very seriously funny woman: Martha Bolton!
Using one paragraph, tell us a bit about yourself?
My books include humorous books for the boomer market, such as: Didn’t My Skin Used to Fit?, The Whole World’s Changing and I’m Too Hot to Care, Cooking with Hot Flashes, Growing Your Own Turtleneck, and If a Woman’s Hair is Her Glory, Why am I Tweezing My Chin?
I write comedy and drama, as well as inspirational, and I was the librettist for three musicals currently playing in Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. They are: Half-Stitched: The Musical, Our Christmas Dinner (with Wally Nason), and Josiah for President. I was also the librettist for The Confession Musical, based on Beverly Lewis’ bestselling trilogy. Most recently, I wrote the script for another new musical, The Home Game, which will be opening in 2016.
Tell us about your family; married, divorced, children, grands, boomerangs or parents living with you, etc.
I’m married to my high school sweetheart. We have three sons, seven grandchildren, and one great grand.
What is your favorite childhood memory that is reminiscent of growing up in the 50s, 60s or 70s?
Sitting in front of our black and white television set (when it was working) and watching the old television shows – The Honeymooners, The Monkees, Gilligan’s Island, The Andy Griffith Show – too many favorites to list. My dad would “fix” the antenna with clothes hangers. I also loved Bit o’ Honey candy bars, hula hoops, and long skateboards.
I believe in hard work, keeping a positive attitude, and appreciating the benefits of humor.
Stories of perseverance, faith, and hope.
What brings you the most pleasure in midlife?
Writing. New adventures. Stretching myself creatively. Traveling and doing fun things with my family. Laugher – love a good belly laugh.
Do you have any interesting hobbies?
Collecting friends. (You can find them everywhere and their value goes up every year!)
Do you have a favorite book or movie? If so, tell us why it’s your favorite.
Movie: The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Every word is sung in French with sub-titles, and it makes me cry every time I see it.)
Books: Right now my favorite is Dr. Phil’s “Life Code – The New Rules for Winning in the Real World.”
Do you travel and if so, who are your favorite travel partners and where do you like to go?
I love to travel. I usually travel with my husband, and sometimes with the whole family or with good friends.
Do you practice preventive medicine? Please elaborate.
I try to remember to take vitamins.
Remembering to take vitamins. Actually, I try not to stress about much, except I don’t want a single day to pass without my having taken note of it. Live in the moment. Enjoy your life. If we don’t know it already, there will be plenty of tears in life. What we have to watch for, and sometimes plan, are times and places for us to get enough good belly laughs.
Is it important for you to retain your youthful looks, and if so, to what degree are you willing to go?
People tell me I still look the same as I did in high school. But if they went to high school with me, then I’m figuring they may have had their vision diminish a bit over the years. : ) I do try to look my best, but I’ve never, and still don’t, wear a lot of make-up. No, plastic surgery, but I am waiting for the perfect skin crème that truly works miracles.
Have you re-invented yourself, and if so, how?
A few years ago I wrote my first novel. I was always afraid to try it, but it surprised me how much I loved the process. My philosophy is—never stop learning.
I don’t think so. Writing is such a part of my life now, and I’m having too much fun writing the scripts for these musicals, as well as my new interest—novel writing. If the pen ever drops out of my fingers, friends and family will know I’m gone.
Are you doing anything to GO Green?
I used to write out everything long hand. But I’m starting to do more of my creating on the computer.
Can you pinpoint major turning points in your life that led to your life’s work/play at midlife?
Interestingly enough, it was the sad times in life that set me on a trajectory to pursue writing. It was after a full term still birth that I found myself accepting a job as a church secretary to keep myself busy. That led to writing church plays and “roasting” the pastor at church banquets. The comedy writing that I was doing for my church led me to try writing for television and the inspirational book market.
Do you still have unfulfilled dreams, and are you doing anything to accomplish them?
I would like to continue writing novels and to have some of them made into movies. I am working on my second novel right now, and have written the screenplay for my first novel, Josiah for President.
How do you make a difference in the lives of others, your community, your world?
I try to spread the message that laughter is one of the best survival tools in life. Also, I enjoy encouraging other writers. My Facebook fan page, listed as Martha Bolton, Author, offers a writing tip per day for both published and unpublished writers. The musicals have encouraging messages, too. You can find additional information on those – including shows, venues, tickets and auditions – at: www.bluegatemusicals.com
Who has had the biggest influence on your life and why?
People who have encouraged me along the way. It may have only been a simple comment, but they set me on a course to a career that I have loved. Some of these are:
- My English teacher who read one of my poems aloud to the class, while I sat in the back, ducking my head from embarrassment (I’m shy, but the validation did feel good).
- My pastor who read another one of my poems aloud to the church during a Wednesday night service when I was about twelve years old.
- My sister Melva who bought me a Writer’s Digest magazine when I was a teenager. I had never even considered writing as a profession.
- My cousin who used to spend the night at my house and read my poems that I had taped to the wall above my bed. She always had an encouraging word to say.
- Gene Perret who was a huge influencer on my life. (That’s us at NBC, in the photo on the right.)
- Other friends and family members.
- At the top of the list, my husband who has always supported me.
If you were to have a personal mission statement, what would it be? Feel free to be as serious or fun as you choose.
“Life’s tough, God’s good, and laughter is calorie-free.”