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"Marjorie Herrera Lewis' WHEN THE MEN WERE GONE sublimely ties together the drama of high school football, gender politics and the impact of war on a small town in Texas. Based on a true story, the historical novel follows teacher Tylene Wilson during World War II as she takes over the football team at Brownwood High.  Amid ridicule and rejection, she inspires her young pupils."


Best Books of 2019 So Far 


Marjorie Herrera Lewis joined host Jane McGarry to talk Football 101, the Super Bowl and Tylene Wilson.


Marjorie Herrera Lewis joined long-time broadcast veteran Scott Murray on his weekly radio show.

Link here to download the MP3 file to listen.


Author Marjorie Herrera Lewis and "When The Men Were Gone" featured in the December issue of D Magazine.


Marjorie Herrera Lewis credits Tulsa University shirt for prompting historic novel.


Author Marjorie Herrera Lewis contributed this column to ESPNW.





Marjorie Herrera Lewis was the in-studio guest on "Book Talk", produced by Memphis Public Libraries.

KRQE-TV (Albuquerque)

Marjorie was an in-studio guest on the morning show.

ONE ON ONE with Roger Emrich

Marjorie Herrera Lewis joined long-time sportscaster Roger Emrich for a one-on-one podcast interview. 

Link to the podcast page and scroll to ONE ON ONE and then to the library of shows to find Marjorie's interview.


Novel About Brownwood Woman Who Coached Football in the 1940s Hits Shelves Nationwide.

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Read what they are saying about author Marjorie Herrera Lewis and WHEN THE MEN WERE GONE.


“Tylene’s struggles, on and off the field, form the core of this satisfying historical novel based on a true story.”BOOKLIST


“Undaunted, and backed by her husband, Tylene strives to prove her detractors wrong. The woman’s empowerment angle is inspiring (Lewis’s book is based on true events)…” – PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY

“Facing scorn, ridicule and disbelief, Tylene steps forward to lead a group of young men into the trenches on the gridiron instead of fox holes on the battlefield. Her courage, selflessness and determination is sure to awe and inspire.”—LITERARYQUICKSAND.COM

“Wilson battles through boycotts by referees, illegal school-board meetings, threats of forfeit from opposing teams, and the doubts of her own team. The first time a player calls Wilson “coach” is sweetly touching. The climactic scenes are active, dramatic, and exciting, complete with a twist at the end.” LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE

“This inspiring story has won hearts everywhere and was chosen as our Book Club selection for October and November.” – HALF PRICE BOOKS

“Based on the true story of Tylene Wilson, this book is positive and uplifting. As a woman reader, I found myself rooting for Tylene the whole way. This story is a reminder that even in the face of daunting opposition, people can accomplish great things if they simply believe in themselves.” -- GIRLY BOOK CLUB


Craig Bacon

 I first saw this book reviewed in a literary magazine that I got from the Lockport Public Library. I thought it looked like a very interesting story that was based in history and was very character-centric. It seemed like it would be the type of book that I was go out of my way to read. When the Men Were Gone by Marjorie Herrera Lewis lived up to all the hype I gave it from just reading the review.  

read the full review here:


 The KIRKUS review of "When The Men Were Gone" depicts central character Tylene Wilson as complex and engaging.

"Although she does love football, most of her desire to coach comes from the protectiveness she feels toward the high school seniors. If there’s no football team, then most of them are likely to enlist early, and Tylene wants to save them from that fate. Based on a true story that most people probably don’t know, readers will find plenty to love in Herrera Lewis’ debut.

A feel-good story about one woman’s persistence, strength, and love of the game." 

GOODREADS review by Charles Ross:

 When I first saw the cover of this novel, I immediately remembered one of my favorite movies, "Summer of '42." The movie brilliantly details the adolescent lives and times of two boys too young to go off to WW II, the heartbreak of a young war widow, and how those life streams connect.

The brilliance of Marjorie's based-on-a-true-story novel is that, like the movie did, it distills the life and times of people facing far-off WW II into a local conflict that they must battle hand to hand. The primary battle is sexism: protagonist Tylene (a real person) is the best choice to be the school's football coach, but the men in the decision chain are skeptical—and her opposing coaches are rudely dismissive.

We look back through our long lenses to those days and just shake our heads today. But this was another time and place that Majorie has reborn and given life.

Tylene was a real person in the Texas school football continuum, and her "factional" depiction is fully realized as a caring, football-loving teacher and school supporter who just wants to do the best thing for everyone. She infuses even her skeptical football team with energy and directs them with skill, finally overcoming the last barrier when a teammate's brother, a former school football stand-out now injured, gives his support.

In the end, they lose the Big Game, but they are victorious in pride and self-worth.

This is "Friday Night Lights" crossed with DNA from "Summer of '42." It has a little Sisyphean top-spin, with tasks that are both laborious and futile. The coaching trials compete with Tylene's effort to rescue a former student and football star from the life-eroding effects of his war wounds; with keeping her marriage happy and functioning; and occasionally, with her own self-doubt.

This is a finely tuned, lyrical story that evokes a time long past but mostly fondly remembered, the war years when Americans all pulled together to fight the Hun while mostly ignoring the social battles on the home front because that's what they always did then. The Greatest Generation at war sometimes wasn't so great back home.

Marjorie's seminal work will one day be taught in high school English Lit classes. Full disclosure: I'm proud to say I shared an MFA program with her for a time, but it's clear she paid closer attention than I did. I'm told this story has been optioned for a movie, and that's great news.

But like one often says, the book is better. 

FIVE STARS: One for any writer facing the anxiety of a blank page; one for an ignored story uncovered and illuminated well; one for finely drawn characters who come to life; one for a terrific cover; and one because I'm happy to think this is just the start of a wonderful career full of great reading for us all.

Strongly, unequivocally recommended.