A former PR executive who abandoned a successful career to pursue a more fulfilling life, Maria Murnane is the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series (Perfect on Paper, It’s a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, and Chocolate for Two, which received a starred review in Publishers Weekly), as well as Katwalk, Wait for the Rain, Bridges and International Book Award winner Cassidy Lane. At her speaking engagements Maria shares the “story behind the story,” an entertaining tale of courage, passion and perseverance that has inspired audiences across the country to follow their dreams—no matter what.

A remarkable personal story

Perfect on Paper, which Maria wrote during a year she spent playing semi-pro soccer in Argentina, was initially turned down by several major publishing houses. In an effort to prove them wrong, Maria self-published and implemented a creative, grass-roots marketing campaign. And it worked! Within a year Perfect on Paper attracted the attention of senior executives at Amazon, who chose it out of more than 10,000 self-published titles for the company’s venture into traditional publishing. They offered Maria a contract, and a year later Perfect on Paper reached #2 overall on Amazon. Since then the book has been translated into German, Hungarian, Italian, Serbian, Turkish, and Indonesian. Maria’s subsequent novels have also been purchased by Amazon Publishing, each housed under the Lake Union imprint.

Maria has signed on with the same Hollywood film rights agency that represents the authors of Capote and Legend of the Guardians. She has also launched a product line based on her books that includes witty greeting cards, T-shirts and tote bags.

Organizations that have invited Maria to speak include the Harvard Women’s Leadership Conference, the Massachusetts Conference for Women, the Baltimore Book Festival, the Pennsylvania Conference for Women, the Texas Conference for Women, and Temple University’s Fox School of Business, among many others. She has also been featured in USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Entrepreneur, Money, Shape, and PopSugar.

Maria was a Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholar at UC Berkeley, where she graduated with high honors in English and Spanish and was an Alumni Scholar. She also received a master’s degree in integrated marketing communications from Northwestern University. She currently lives in Brooklyn.

Photo by Chris Conroy Photography
"Maria is an excellent communicator whose passion for her work is contagious. The audience was captivated with her explanation of how she left her lucrative corporate career and put it all on the line in pursuit of the American Dream. Maria stood out among the panelists not only for her passion—but also because of her ability as a speaker—even when addressing an audience she seemed to be speaking to each person individually. The attendees were able to easily learn from her success and were inspired by Maria to believe strongly in themselves and what they were doing, so they too could realize their goals. In fact, after the conference many of the students approached her to further discuss her inspirational story."
  • Chris Zaccaria
  • Temple University MBA and MS Student Association
"Maria’s positive attitude and inspirational message of “Never give up” was a great complement to our topic of “Successful Women Invest in Themselves.” Maria’s presentation and speaking skills were great as she told of her life experiences and the trials and tribulations of writing a book. In addition to her positive attitude and great presentation skills, Maria also added an air of lighthearted fun to our dinner that was appreciated both by our group and all who attended."
  • Don Garman
  • SVP, The Garman Group (Morgan Stanley)
"Our women gushed that Maria was an intelligent, strong self-starter with a developed character who exuded unusual optimism and perseverance. Other descriptions that emerged included, ‘witty,’ ‘confident,’ ‘classy,’ ‘friendly,’ ‘adventurous,’ and ‘persistent.’ Maria is living proof that strong, smart women can be highly successful and content in life."
  • Alex Kushman
  • Harvard University’s Delta Gamma chapter
"Maria is a profound role model for women (and men) who wish to pursue their dream."
  • Max Chang
  • UC Berkeley Alumni Association of Utah
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