Marlayne Giron is a Messianic Jew who found Christ as her Messiah at the age of seventeen while watching Franco Zefferelli’s “Jesus of Nazareth.” After coming to faith, she began to read the Old Testament for the first time and was amazed to discover that believing in Jesus was not a betrayal of her Jewish religion as she had been taught.
In the course of her life, she has experienced many small ”miracles.” The first major one was coming to faith in Christ. The second was meeting and marrying her future husband Michael. The third was the publication of her first book, The Victor, after almost 30 years. Each of these three milestones occurred on the Easter holidays. A fourth was becoming the mother of an adopted daughter on Christmas Eve in 1997.
You began you first book 30 years prior to publishing it. What happened in the interim, and what prompted you to complete the project?
I began writing The Victor in 1982, and worked on it on and off until the late 80s, early 90s when I first began to try to get it published. In 1984, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and suffered with this debilitating disease which got progressively worse until I had surgery to “reroute my plumbing” in 1988, just two years after I had gotten married. This was followed by infertility as a result of my surgery and testing which spanned from 1990 to 1997, at which time we decided that the only way we would ever have a family of our own would be to adopt and our only affordable option was through the county. During all this I was working full-time as an administrative assistant to pay the bills and since no one (not even family and friends) had shown any interest in reading The Victor, I put my dream of seeing it ever published “away in a drawer” and forgot all about it until 2007, when an old friend suggested I look into publishing again. I found and uploaded it to Tate Publishing, and they contacted me six months later, long after I had forgotten that I had done so.
Who/what has influenced your writing career the most?
I would have to give a lot of credit to my childhood friend, Lisa, who encouraged me in 2007 to look into publishing again. We wrote hundreds of stories together when we were 12, and when she began red-marking my stories like a real teacher would, it made me angry enough to be determined to write stories she couldn’t find fault with. It also honed my writing skills and flexed my vocabulary muscles. In addition, I have always been a voracious reader since I was a kid and collected new words and phrases like baseball cards. In 1973, I discovered The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Trilogy and read the entire set in a single weekend when I was 14.
You chose to self-publish. What advice would you give other writers about the self-publishing process?
First: read the terms and conditions of your contracts thoroughly! There are a lot of important questions that should be asked before self-publishing that I discovered along the way this past year. A lot of authors I’ve met who published with other companies haven’t received many of the “perks” I have had with Tate and so I have compiled these questions into a blog that can be read at this link on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/455253-important-questions-to-ask-before-you-self-publish.
How does your faith play into your writing?
My faith is what drives my desire to write. My desire is two-fold: 1) to use my gift to reach others with the Gospel who don’t want to reach the Bible, go to church, or be witnessed to, and 2) to bless fellow believers with stories that give them the sense that God is with them in their trials, see’s their hurt and desires, and wants to love them through life with their faith not only intact but growing. I don’t feel the need to write all the time like many other authors but write either out of inspiration or the desire to touch other’s hearts.
Has God ever provided an unexpected “detour” in your life that turned out to be positive?
My unexpected detour was a 15-year hiatus between finishing my manuscript and finally getting to see it in print as a book. Looking back now I can see that God’s timing was perfect for, had The Victor been published in the late 80s, early 90s when I had really been trying, there weren’t the same opportunities to get word out as there are now. There was no email, no internet, and no social media, and I would not have made friends all over the United States (and world) as I have done this past year. Many of these friends have voluntarily helped to promote my books, and one has taken me under her wing and become my greatest champion and cheerleader.
Let’s talk about your new book. Make a Wish (CreateSpace, December 2010) has a unique concept. Please tell us about it.
All of the stories in Make a Wish 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. Each story is preceded by a brief paragraph which gives a little bio on the person for whom it was written and why. Each person appears in their own story as the “star” and experiences an answer to their deepest, most heartfelt wish. The stories were created out of a desire to bless, comfort, or simply thrill others.
Where did you get the idea for this book?
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), 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 there wasn’t a whole lot I could do. I live on the West Coast and he lives on the East Coast, so what could I do to cheer him up? Then I remembered the stories I used to write with my best friend, Lisa, when we were kids where we put ourselves into our favorite television show as characters, and a light bulb went on over my head. “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 him and his wife that night.
The first thing the next morning I checked my email to see what the response was, and Vicki had written me to say that they had wept for 20 minutes after reading it. That the story had truly been inspired of God because of the many details I put in that I could not have known 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.) Shortly after that, Henry asked me to write a story for two of his other friends (Three Wishes and Butterfly Kisses), and they had the same reaction: they wept after reading them. Just about 95% of the reactions have been the same, so I began to get the idea that I was on to something special and unique.
Besides providing entertainment, what is the one thing you hope readers will take away from your books?
As a child I was raised in a nonreligious Jewish home with a bias against Jesus and Christianity. I was constantly being witnessed to in my preteens by “Jesus Freaks” back then, and the more they pushed the more resistant I became to the Gospel. God used the television movie, “Jesus of Nazareth” in 1977, and its emotional impact, to open my eyes to the truth of the Gospel during the crucifixion scene, because it bypassed my inbred mental objections and went straight to my heart through my emotions. I am hoping to achieve the same result with my books.
With The Victor: that unbelievers will have their eyes opened and their hearts touched enough to recognize the Gospel in the story and their need for a Savior. Also that those who already believe will appreciate that God’s love for us is a passionate love like that of a bridegroom for his bride.
With Make a Wish: that the stories will bless not only those for whom they were written but others as well. That they will inspire my fellow believers to realize that it is not about having our laundry list of prayers or wishes granted, but rather to realize that God sees and knows our pain, is with us in our trials, and that all things are working together for our good.
A few fun questions…
When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
Rocky Road ice cream—it’s fattening, creamy, and chocolate with interesting little surprises (both crunchy and chewy) scattered throughout. It’s a very rare treat, but I don’t reward myself with it as often as I wish I could.
This website features both music and literary guests. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?
Only my appreciation for music; I’m afraid I was not gifted with the ability to read or play music (but can sing better than the “average bear”). I love the old Contemporary Christian music (and in the early 1980s worked as an administrative assistant for John Styll when he was editor of CCM magazine) and got to meet Keith Green two years before he died.
What kind of music do you listen to when you’re relaxing with the radio or an mp3 player?
Classical is the best, because it doesn’t distract me from my writing. I also love Amy Grant, Twila Paris, and especially Keith Green, because you can’t beat him for the passion for God in his music and lyrics.
If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
My husband says either a limerick or a lament. I sway between being really up and quirky to deeply melancholy….
There once was a girl named Marlayne
who used to do nothing but complain
she wrote down a story which earned her great glory
and now she’s grown into a pain.
(Just kidding! I’m really not; I just had to make it rhyme!)
I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets.
I am the ‘main squeeze’ for my rescue dog, Buddy. He is part Daschund and Corgi which makes him a “Daugi” (yes, I made that one up myself). He loves to snuggle and spoon in bed and has been a blessed addition to our family. Buddy has a lot of “angst” from having been in the shelter, so sometimes we have a howling session together which never ceases to crack my husband up.
For more information about Make a Wish, visit Marlayne’s website at http://wishfulfillmentstories.blogspot.com/.
For more information on The Victor, visit: www.thevictorbook.com.
To purchase The Victor and/or Make a Wish, logon to:
The Victor also has a companion Lesson Plan for those who home school middle and high school students, and a free downloadable Student Workbook, available at the Tate Publishing site.
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