Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Welcome Marilynn Griffith!

I would like to welcome author Marilynn Griffith as she stops by on her whirl-wind blog tour 2005. I first met Marilynn at the Denver ACFW conference in 2004 and again at the Nashville ACFW conference in 2005. Her infectious enthusiasm and sunny disposition is an encouragement to all who meet her. MADE OF HONOR, Marilynn’s urban chick-lit novel, is published by Steeple Hill CafĂ© and will be available in bookstores on December 27th. The buzz is, “This debut novel is fabulous!”

MD: Marilynn, how long do ideas percolate in your head before you start to write?
MG: My ideas usually come to me in series and it’s often about two years between the idea and publication. I have some ideas I’ve been thinking about for about three years that I’m looking forward to writing soon.

MD: What kind of goals do you set when writing? Daily? Chapter? Scene?
MG: When I’m first drafting, I try to write a scene a day. When I’m behind, I’ve been forced to do a whole chapter, but I don’t always like the results. A scene a day (3-7 pages) is a good pace for me.

MD: How do you get past the trap of procrastinating when you are writing?
MG: I don’t know. I’ve never gotten past it! Though often what I think is procrastination is my mind working out something in the story that doesn’t quite work.

MD: How detailed do you chart your character’s personalities?
MG: I don’t chart them exactly. I do a lot of journaling and discovery of their childhood experiences. I usually have to write three chapters to see who they are and then come back and try and figure them out. I’ve used the Myers-Briggs personality assessment to get a better understanding of characters I’ve already written.

MD: Are you a plotter or a seat-of-the-pants writer?
MG: I’m a plantzer, I guess. I do both. When I do a proposal, I have to have the synopsis worked out and the story line detailed, but I try not to be so detailed that there isn’t any room left to play. In just about every book though, something happens that I don’t expect and I end up having to rethink some things.

MD: What’s the best advice for a new writer?
MG: Smell the roses. Publication is such a wonderful goal, but don’t make it the focus of your life. It’s a heartbreaking business. If you depend on it to fulfill you, you’ll be sorely disappointed. As God opens doors, walk through them even if they don’t have your end goal painted on the door. I think any publishing credits or writing experience helps. Think, live and write your passions.

MD: How long did you write before your first book was under contract?
MG: I always wrote. I just never considered trying to get published. I wrote for about three years (for about 3-4 hours a day though) before getting my first contract offer.

MD: What are your dreams for your writing career?
MG: A year ago, I would have had a nice bulleted list for you, but now I’m not so sure. I’d like to make people laugh, cry, pray and come back for more. I want to give grace to women and their families.

MD: How many books have you written? What’s in the pipeline?
MG: I’ve written five books so far. I have the last two books in my Shades of Style series with Revell. After that, there may be some stories about life on the other side of the altar. We’ll see.

MD: Thanks, Marilynn. Good luck as you continue your tour. Keep us posted on your upcoming releases.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Divine Humanity

For as long as I can remember, my mother put a reproduction antique post card on the table next to our nativity set each Christmas season. The nativity set was passed on to me a few years ago. In the box was the post card, with a sentiment written by Phillips Brooks, a man known as the greatest American preacher of the 19th century and writer of the Christmas hymn, O Little Town of Bethlehem.

Each year when I read the post card, a thrill of joy bubbles up from my heart. At this beautiful time of year, I wish you a similar thrill of joy. . .

“Lift up your eyes to the great meaning of the day, and dare to think of your humanity as something so divinely precious that it is worthy of being made an offering to God.

Count it as a privilege to make that offering as complete as possible, keeping nothing back; and then go out to the pleasures and duties of your life, having been truly born anew into His divinity, as he was born into our humanity on Christmas Day.”