In the real estate business since 1998, Marie Whitton recently added children’s book author and illustrator to her resume. The Cartersville resident, who has self-published 11 books, currently is working on her next offering titled “A Day At The Zoo.”
“The opportunity to self-publish my books has benefited me,” Whitton said. “Self-publishing gave me the opportunity to not only have my work published but to keep the content rights, sales profits, and printing and shipping on demand. My books are being sold through Amazon.com all over the world along with other large bookstores, Kindle, several educational institutions and many more websites.”
Name: Marie Whitton
Occupation: Broker/owner/realtor in Georgia and Florida, landlord, author and Illustrator.
City of residence: Cartersville
Family: Wife of 37 years, mother of three, grandmother of four and soon to be five
Education: High school, business school, real estate — GRI, CRS, CSR, e-PRO and several other courses.
When did you open Premier Properties, and what led you to this line of work?
A: I have been in real estate for 17 years, since 1998. I opened Premier Properties in 2005.
When I graduated from business school in New York, I started to work for the Social Security Administration. I worked there for 10 years and during that time my job was to solve people’s Social Security issues. I then also wrote a conclusive procedure book and trained my coworkers. I enjoyed getting up every morning getting ready to go to work.
My husband and I decided to start a family and moved to Marietta, Ga. We wanted a better place to live and to raise our children. When Cobb County started to grow, we looked for a quieter place to live. We were drawn to Bartow County. We had three children to raise — a son, Gregory Whitton; a daughter, Ann-Marie Egan; and another daughter, Kimberly Bowen. I started working as a real estate agent when I was looking at becoming an empty nester. I enjoy working with and helping people and this is what led me to working in the real estate market. Education was and is very important to me. The more I learn, the more I can pass on to my customers and clients so that they can make educated decisions regarding their real estate purchases or sales.
As a broker, describe today’s real estate climate. Has it rebounded from the recent economic downturn? Are you starting to see fewer foreclosures and more home sales?
A: When the market was booming, I was doing quite well. I was involved with not only [the] listing and selling of residential, commercial, land and investment properties but also was involved with the new construction and renovation of homes. I specialized in the sale and transfer of real property by coordinating activities of all parties and negotiated acquisitions and disposition of such properties. I wrote “Seller’s Guide Short and Sweet” and “Buyer’s Guide Short and Sweet.”
When the market fell, I had to change my strategy. I was involved with the banks to try to help homeowners keep their homes from going into foreclosure. I helped hundreds of homeowners with loan modifications. For those that I could not help, I would help by selling their homes through a short sale. I wrote a procedure book “Short Sales Short and Sweet” that would explain the process. I am happy to say that the real estate market in Bartow County is rebounding. I am not seeing as many foreclosures as we had. We have several large projects underway, one being LakePoint Sporting Community and Town Center in Emerson, Ga. These projects will bring several new jobs, which means more people will be moving into Bartow County. I am seeing new construction to accommodate these needs.
Along with real estate, your other passion is writing. Why did you want to become an author/illustrator of children’s books, and what was it like to see the first one come to fruition?
A: About three years ago, my husband and I became members of the Booth Western Art Museum Photo Guild. I learned much about taking photos and how to compose photos. Well, one night I had a whimsical dream about a “snow loop” in the Western mountains. I wrote, as a poem, my first book based on that silly dream. My illustrations were from the concepts of what I learned from these monthly meetings. My grandchildren were so excited about my first book. They would say “Grandma write another book.” So I did.
My first four books are whimsical dreams — “Snow Loop,” “Spring-time Sparkles,” “Water Whirl” and “Autumn Fog.” My next four books are based on travels with my family — “To The Swamp We Go,” “Dune Buggy Trip,” “On The Farm” and “Camping We Go.” I then wrote and illustrated “In My Silver Spaceship,” which is a trip through the solar system, and “In My Yellow Submarine,” which is a trip to the bottom of the ocean. My favorite book is “Christmas Miracle.” This is a whimsical Christmas story, which is about my children at Christmas time. I have written and illustrated 11 books and am writing my 12th. My next book is going to be “A Day At The Zoo.” It should be released in the next month or two. Please follow my Facebook page: Marie Whitton — Author. I have been selling my books on www.Amazon.com.
What do you enjoy most about writing, and what do you want people to gain by reading your books?
A: I enjoy writing whimsical poems, stories that teach and stories that are fun. I like to see children’s expressions as they fantasize being in that place that I am writing about.
What advice would you give aspiring writers?
A: If you have a dream/thought, don’t be afraid to carry it out.
What is your greatest professional and/or personal achievement?
A: Personal achievement and No. 1 achievement — I am very proud of my family. Professional achievement — my real estate business, which includes my real estate company, owning rental property, new construction and renovating distressed properties. I am also very proud of this new path I have taken as author and illustrator of children’s books.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
A: Caring, persistent, overachiever
What is the best advice you have ever received?
A: Don’t ever give up. Set a goal and work for it. If you come close to achieving the goal — raise your expectations.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: I enjoy traveling with my husband to different locations all over the U.S. and abroad. I love to visit and explore different places. I enjoy learning about people’s different customs. Along with traveling, I enjoy photography.
Where is your favorite place to be in Bartow County?
A: Bartow County has much to offer. I enjoy not only the historical aspects from Barnsley Gardens to the Etowah Indian Mounds but enjoy watching the development and growth, such as LakePoint.
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