Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Confessions of a Nervous Novelist

Bit of a different blog this week as there is not a book review in sight. Now before you turn away in your droves to read your latest book rather than my blog, I am taking a week out to talk about my first venture into writing a novel.

Despite the title of the blog this is not going to be a 50 Shades of Grey type effort, nor even 1 shade or even a little hint of anything grey, it is a look at my journey so far and what led me to this place of telling the world about my endeavours to write the next best selling book. Ok, maybe I'm a little ahead of myself here, so I'll tone it down a bit and say write a novel. Right, are we all on the same page here, or the same paragraph at least.  Let the ramblings begin. What do you mean I am rambling already? All right I'll give you that one.

For some time now I have had the idea for a novel kicking around in my head, but have never really done anything about it, or even thought about doing anything with it. One day, Christian writer Amy Boucher Pye was on a radio show talking about all things to do with books, and was taking questions. I rang up to ask a question, not expecting to get through, and the next thing I knew I was on the radio and talking to her. Now it is a good job I am not really that nervous (more about that later), so I mustered up all my courage and asked her what advice she would give to an aspiring writer. Her suggestions, were do it, write, write, write and had I thought about doing NaNoWriMo Luckily for me she went on to explain that this is National Novel Writing Month which happens twice a year and you pledge to write so many words per day which takes you up to 50,000 words over the month. So being the take the life by the horns and do it straight away type of girl, I promptly mulled it over for a few months.

The next NaNoWriMo is in November so I had to make a decision as to what I should do. In September I registered on the site and then as October hit, I really had to make a decision as to what I was going to do. I prayed about it and it would seem God appeared silent. However, I think God answered in his own way as I got a stronger and stronger feeling that now was the time to do it. I'm not saying God told me to write this novel, but he certainly hasn't convinced me that it is the wrong thing to do.

At the moment I am busy planning my novel, thinking about plot, character development, back stories and all the other things which need to be clear in my mind. As November approaches I am getting nervous (see I told you we would return to that), and I think my journey is more than a little scary. But I am also excited and ready for the challenge. I wasn't going to tell anyone that I was writing the book, but I am told by a lot of people much more experienced than I that I should do so. I have therefore told everyone I know, what I am doing and hence the blog. I am asking everyone to support me and keep me going if I falter, as it would be so easy to fall by the wayside. I certainly don't intend or even want to do this, but I am told that it can be hard. If I seem like I'm faltering cheer me on, as this is my own little marathon.

What's that you say? This is all very well, but what's the book about. Sorry I nearly forgot about that part. Well it is a murder mystery/Police Procedural/Thriller set in Dundee, where I live, and will be suitable for all audiences. That's the plan at the moment anyway. I am told that novels and characters take on a life of their own when you start writing, so watch this space. I have been inspired by many different authors in my journey both Christian and secular. As regular readers of my blog know I am an avid reader and a great fan of Murder mysteries. Dundee has a literary event on at the moment and I am going to two events to meet three different authors. Two of these authors are Scottish crime writers and one sets her books in Dundee. What an opportunity. The other is bestseling romantic crime writer Karen Rose who is coming all the way from America. See I told you, my life and this journey are very exciting. As an aside one of the events has tea and scones with Jam and Cream thrown in. My three favourite things, books authors and food. This is the life.

It's great to have you along for the journey and I definitely don't feel so alone knowing how many people are rooting for me. I would like to finish by thanking Amy Boucher Pye for pointing me in the direction which kick started this journey. I will keep you updated as to how I am doing, but not too often. I don't want to bore you to tears before you get a chance to read my book. I will definitely let you know if and when the finished product is published.

Bye for now. Normal service will be resumed next week. Have a great week reading and enjoying life.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Welcome Marlayne Giron

Today I am very excited to welcome Christian Author Marlayne Giron to Bookaholics, it is a great pleasure to have you join us Marlayne. Marlayne very graciously agreed to give up some of her precious time to be interviewed for our blog, and give us an insight into her life and work.

Image of Marlayne Giron

In Plain SightMake a WishThe Victor: A Tale of Betrayal, Love, and Sacrifice

To buy the Victor from Amazon UK Click here
To Buy the Victor from Aamzon US Click here
To buy In Plain Sight from Amazon UK Click here
To buy In Plain Sight from Aamzon US Click here
To Buy Make a Wish form Amazon UK Click  here
To Buy Make a Wish from Aamzon US click here
These books can also be purchased from your local Christian Bookshop
1. Could you start by telling us a bit about yourself and your journey to become an author?

I am actually a full time administrative assistant (have been since the age of 19), wife, mom and a Messianic Jewish believer in Jesus (not in that order).
I have to give credit where credit is due. Lisa and I have been friends since we were 12. We would take turns sleeping over each other’s homes every weekend. I fondly remember the feeling of happy anticipation as I watched The Mary Tyler Moore show on Saturday nights waiting for her to come over. Lisa is the one person I can most credit in my life for helping me to develop my writing skills. We wrote hundreds of short “Six Million Dollar Man/Steve Austin” stories together (with us as characters in every one). Lisa used to ‘red line” my stories (the aspiring teacher that she was) and it would make me so mad that I became determined to write error-free stories she couldn’t find fault with. My writing was greatly influenced both by Lisa’s writing as well as her critiquing of mine. It was also at Lisa’s suggestion that I checked into online publishing that led me to Tate Publishing and ultimately to realizing my life-long dream to see my book, The Victor, in print.

2. Your Faith is very obviously an important part of your life. Could you tell us a bit more about your walk in faith?

My entire family is Jewish. I attended a reformed Temple in my youth and observed the high holy days but it was mostly done out of a cultural obligation to Judaism rather than devotion to God. Like many Jews, I was raised with an anti-Christian/anti-Jesus “bias” and was taught that it was the height of betrayal to my Jewish heritage to "convert". Growing up I had little to no interest in “religion” and at the age 13 considered myself an atheist. At this time the“Jesus Movement” was in full swing and I found myself a “prime target” for the “Jesus Freaks”.  came to faith in Jesus as Messiah as a direct result of watching the television film, “Jesus of Nazareth” by Franco Zefferelli in 1977. From that moment on I began to read the Old Testament and discovered that believing in Jesus was the fulfillment of my Jewish faith.

3. If you could have a holiday in any country in the world what would it be and why?
Well just like my character Rebecca, in In Plain Sight, I really want to go to Germany and tour the Neuschwanstein castle in Bavaria, Germany (it's on my "bucket list"), I also want to see Italy, France and Switzerland.

4. The two books I have reviewed, Make a Wish and In Plain Sight are both very different, with unusual themes. How did you come up with the idea for these.

Make a Wish had a very innocent beginning. A good friend of mine, Henry, who has been a quadriplegic since the age of 14 (and is now in his early 50s at the time of this writing), was really down in the dumps. He had been stood up for a fishing trip and because of his condition; he is subject to the schedules and whims of others. He wouldn’t get out of bed, wouldn’t do anything and his wife Vicki had given up trying to coax him. Henry and I had become good friends ever since Vicki reviewed my book, The Victor, on her blog.

I had already spoken with Henry several times before this so I was distressed when I heard how low he was feeling. But what could I do? I lived on the west coast and he lived on the east coast. How could I possibly cheer him up? Then a light bulb went on over my head and I thought, “I can write him a story”…and that’s exactly what I did. I wrote “A Gift for Henry” in about one hour and then emailed it to them that night. The first thing the next morning I checked my email to see what the response was. Well…it was amazing! Vicki had written me and told me that they had wept for 20 minutes after reading it. That it had truly been inspired of God because of the details I put in that I were not aware that were perfect for Henry. Such as the smell of orange blossoms being his favorite, how he was always trying to wiggle his toes to see if they had started working and that all he wants to do when he gets to heaven is to run, run, run for the Lord.
All of these stories were written as gifts for others either because I was inspired to do so or because they were requested. Some are deeply emotional, heartfelt and inspirational while others are just fun.
For In Plain Sight I was asked to write an Amish fiction. Being from Southern California, the land of "fruits and nuts" and having no real experience of Amish except as a tourist, I was wondering what I could possibly write about. I didn't want to do the same exact thing that had been done hundreds of times by many other authors. So I wrote the back blurb first and then married ideas from "Out of the Silent Planet" by C.S. Lewis, Romeo and Juliet, the movie "Signs" with Mel Gibson and the book cover of "The Host" by Stephanie Meyer. I really had no idea what I was going to write when I started; it was literally like pulling teeth until I got halfway and the inspiration kicked in on all cylinders. Then the story began to write itself.

5. You have written another book, the Victor. Could you tell us a bit about this.

The Victor is "my baby". I was inspired with the idea by an Amy Grant song from 30 years ago called "Fairytale". There was a verse in that song that said: "Two princes wage the battle for eternity by The Victor has been known from the start". I began to write the book on a typewriter at work when I had nothing else to do and it took me about a year to finish the first draft. For the next 25 years I wrote and rewrote it and as I grew and matured, the story matured with me. Shortly after I began to write the first draft, I asked the Lord for a scripture verse that would confirm my belief that the idea had come from Him and the response of "Psalm 45" popped into my head. The first verse said: "My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer." The rest of the Psalm describes the wedding of the King to his bride which I use almost in its entirety at the end of the book.

6. An easy one to finish and a question dear to my heart as I love eating, what is your favourite type of food.Like most Jewish people I love good Chinese food. Also deli...Italian...and fried chicken (I've been fasting for the past 13 days for my country to turn back to God so can you tell I'm hungry?
Thank you Marlayne, you seem such a busy person, working full time, looking after your family and still writing books that bring, us and so many other people pleasure. Sorry about the last question, I'd forgotten that you were doing a 40 day fast for America when I asked it :-) I ahve to say I am impressed that you can do this, I am sure I would find it difficult to fast for 40 minutes. It is really great to have had you join us, and thank you for your patience, in answering the questions of a firly novice blogger.
My review of Make a Wish: I wasn't sure what I would think about this book as I don't usually read short stories. To be honest I often find them lacking in substance. However this was certainly not the case with this book which turned out to be exceptional and far above my expectations. Each chapter tells you a little bit about a real life person and then has a short story based on a wish they have made. The real life stories are emotional but the fiction stories based upon them are real tear jerkers. Marlayne's writing brings the stories to life and I actually felt like they were happening. I found myself crying several times, which at one point was a bit embarrassing as I was in a hospital waiting room. I'm sure everyone wondered what was up. However, do not get the idea this is a sad book, these were tears of joy and happiness. The character's faith in God shines through in every page, and a few times I felt my faith being strengthened. Despite not having had the difficulties that any of the characters faced, I found that some of them definitely resonated with me. I would highly recommend this book and it would also be a great book to give Christian friends and family as presents. I wont say if I'm going to do this as many of my friends and family read my blog and I wouldn't want to give the game away.
 My Review of In Plain Sight: I am usually fairly eloquent but for once I am struggling to describe this book, and trust me that is a good thing. The story involves two young Amish men who appear, as if from nowhere, in an Amish Community. A relationship quickly builds up between one of them, Seth, and a young woman from the community. What genre does it fall into, it's Amish, it's contemporary fiction, it's a romance, it's a mystery, it's sci fi, it's fantasy, it's Christian, it's biblical, it's paranormal, in fact it's all these and more wrapped up into one fantastic story. I started reading with a little bit of trepedation as I'm not really a paranormal fan and I was a bit puzzled as to what it was really all about,and how Amish and Paranormal would fit together. However, I like Amish books so I thought I would give it a go. Marlayne's writing soon swept me up into the story, and I was completely hooked. I loved all the characters and they were all true to life. Seth and Silas's characters were extremely well drawn and I could picture them perfectly. It's a story where you need to suspend belief and go with the flow and it is extremely entertaining, involving and engrossing. I had to keep reading to find out what happened. I couldn't figure out at all how this was going to end, and when the end came it was a complete surprise. However, I realised the clues were there all along, and I should have known. This is a book that everyone should read, whatever genre you like. There is something here for everyone. Buy it and read it immediately. You will not regret it. It is 100% entertainment.
You tube links for the book trailers
Well, I am sure you will agree, another fascinating insight into the life of an author, and some differetn books to read. And remember, we all love reading. See you next week with another author interview in Bookaholics.