Everything good about season-6 OITNB has to do with a kickass Dallas-area author, Merritt Tierce, the show’s staff writer.

Novelist Merritt Tierce on October 28, 2014. Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Have you watched the latest round of Orange Is The New Black on Netflix, or are you one of those who liked the first season but didn’t really dig the next one and then you just sort of stopped watching?

Well, to the latter, come on back, because season 6 is well worth watching. Not without problems, it’s still one of the most binge-able narratives on my radar. Granted, I do not specialize in entertainment criticism (although I vociferously and enthusiastically evaluate movies, shows, plays, books, podcasts, concerts, etc, to anyone patient enough to engage), so Vox has a solid review that taps all the new season’s highs and lows.

And now for the part I am dying to tell

Everything good about season-six OITNB has to do with a Dallas-area author, Merritt Tierce; she’s credited as the show’s staff writer. She has her very own tile in the credits. Pretty cool, eh?

Note: Also, the show’s been renewed for a Season 7. I emailed Merritt to see if she’d continue as staffer, and if I hear back, I’ll update this post.

My co-writer here at DallasMagazine.com, Rachel Stone, interviewed Merritt following Merritt’s publication of her extensively extolled first novel “Love Me Back.” Set in Dallas — East Dallas to be precise — it is a work of fiction, albeit local readers are sure to recognize certain people, places and things.

The main character Marie, for example, lives on Lower Greenville and works at Valentino’s, a thinly camouflaged Terilli’s.

Merritt Tierce. Photo by Danny Fulgencio

The real-life Merritt was waiting tables in 2006 when she commenced penning aforementioned book.

She initially published part of it as a short story, and before long she earned a spot at the esteemed Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Made clear in Rachel’s interview — Merritt’s writing is special.

“I expected to have to send my stuff out to a lot of people and get a lot of rejections, and that wasn’t the experience I had,” she told Rachel. “I had agents contacting me and asking if they could take me to lunch, and that was really great and weird. My route to getting a book published was much different from what most writers expect. My agent sold my manuscript within two weeks. The whole publishing process has been really, really great.”

Uh, yeah, stories like that are exceedingly rare in circa 2018 publishing world.

What. A. Biiiaaatch. (I kid. I kid.) But, on the real, anyone who struggles to make a living writing today would be a big blubbering liar if they said that doesn’t make them envious to some extent. Or Hulk-green with jealous rage. What. Ever.

Her first novel is set in Dallas. Merrutttierce.com

Lest you think I do not appreciate the busting of butt required to make such success happen, I’ll point out that before praise from every outlet — New York Times to British GQ (where bloody St. Vincent/Annie Clark gave the woman a shout out) — rained down upon the author, and before she went off to comparatively slow-paced grad school, she “… worked two full-time jobs. It was really, really stressful,” she said, “and I don’t think I realized until I got to Iowa that I hadn’t been getting enough sleep for about three years. For the first six months, I slept a lot. But then I actually worked at a steakhouse in Iowa City, and I also flew home often, at least once a month, and worked a long weekend at the restaurant here.”

She’s a hard worker.

She is a scrappy, gritty, unafraid and gifted writer. It paid off. Watch the show. Read the book. Especially you women out there. You probably will be marginally disturbed; you’ll likely feel a tad transformed; you might even find yourself giving a few less fucks about what people think of you.