Merla completed The Rollins Chronicles on her twenty-first birthday. This was not her most amazing feat. That honor goes to her securing a mega-advance within three days of her sixteenth birthday.
She was able to skip the agent part. She sent her work directly to a young editor who completely understood.
At sixteen, Merla left her Tea, South Dakota, home for good.
She rode a bus all the way through Chicago to Boston, found Beacon Hill, visited her editor and settled in a small apartment on Mt. Vernon Street.
None of this came to light until the launch of her 1500 page novel on September 22. 2013. It's history is being made as we speak.
On the day the book appeared, Merla ceased being Merla. She became Pearl again.
No one could find her. She had a a shell that would do any oyster proud.
Her legend grew. She was a next thing, Gertrude Stein, Danielle Steele, and John Grisham, rolled into one. She rivaled the rise of gadgets, the collapse of the GOP and every disaster on the horizon.
There was only one fly in the ointment.
The Rollins Chronicles broke all records and penetrated every market. A copy of the first paperback edition thus found its way to the top of a pile of romance novels back in Tea. Pearl's mother put things to together quickly. She correctly surmised that Merla T. Morrow, invisible author, was indeed the plain, stand-offish child who had walked out the door five years before.
It took only days for messages like Merla's Mom Calls Daughter a Bitch and Dad Suffers while Merla Rakes in Big $$$ to circle the globe. Recondite Mt. Vernon Street was inundated by film trucks, TV rigs, eager citizen-journalists, and writers still on salary.
There was only one problem.
The world failed to credit Pearl with the intelligence it took to get her this far. Unbeknownst even to her one confidant, that editor up the hill, she had already disappeared.
This did not stop conjectures. Powered by a complete lack of information, the Merla craze produced endless tweets, Facebook pages and videos detailing real and true encounters with the mysterious author.
The truth is less garish.
Merla AKA Pearl was last seen engaging in energetic contra dancing on the second floor of the Brattleboro, Vermont, Town Hall. Vermont remains an excellent place to disappear from the face of the earth,
Apparently, whatever her present name, hair length, weight or daily routine is, she's hard at work on a sequel. It is said to deal with the life of Sarah Rollins, heiress-entrepreneur, following her kidnapping and subsequent escape from prison.