Worthy Fantasy interview with Marlayne GironMarlayne Giron is a Messianic Jew, wife and mother living in Orange County, California with her husband of over 20 years, her dog, Buddy and teenaged daughter. She grew up in a nonreligious Jewish home but found Jesus at the age of 17 while watching Jesus of Nazareth on television in 1977.
She was inspired to write The Victor 30 years ago from a line in an Amy Grant song called: “Fairytale” which said: “two princes wage the battle for eternity but the victor has been known from the start”. Shortly after beginning her book, she asked the Lord for a "confirming scripture" that the book idea for The Victor was from Him, and was led to Psalm 45:1 “My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.”
The Victor was released on April 14th of 2009 and the Lord has opened up many doors for word to get out on her book. One of which being that as a direct result of her former employment with John Styll at CCM Magazine 28 years ago (who is now currently President of the Gospel Music Association), both he and Amy Grant now have copies of The Victor and Marlayne's personal copy has been autographed by Amy Grant herself.
Worthy Fantasy: Tell us a little bit about your writing career. How did The Victor come to be published?
Marlayne Giron: I am a very atypical author. In fact, I never aspired to be an author...I just have always believed that God gave me the idea for this book for a reason and I just wanted to see it published. I've worked most of my life as administrative assistant in order to pay the bills. I wrote the first draft of The Victor (originally titled The Victor and His Bride - but I changed it because I knew no self-respecting man would ever read a book with that title) almost 30 years ago on Smith Corona and IBM Selectric typewriters (respectively). I got it onto computer in the mid 1980's and then made many attempts to get it published in the late 80's early 90's but after a 4-year bout with a chronic disease that resulted in major surgery, then infertility then the adoption of my daughter and the demands of having to work full-time to pay the bills, I gave up on my dream of The Victor ever being published until April of 2008 when Tate Publishing called to offer me a contract. I had uploaded the story to them six months earlier at the suggestion of a friend to try again and forgot all about it until they called me at work. I almost hung up on them thinking it was a prank phone call.
Worthy Fantasy: Wow, that sure is one of the most amazing and inspiring stories of the road to publication I've heard. What got you interested in the fantasy genre? Why did you choose the fantasy genre for your novel over another genre?
Marlayne Giron: Well I have always, always loved the classic fairytales (Hans Christian Andersen, The Brothers Grimm, etc.)
When I was 13 I finally succumbed to peer pressure and bought the boxed set of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings in 1973. I literally could not put the books down. I read the entire trilogy and The Hobbit in a single weekend. To this day it remains my favorite story of all time and I have read it over a hundred times. I waited 30 years for the movies to come out and was not disappointed. The LOTR is the gold "standard" where high fantasy is concerned. I also love all versions of Arthurian tales and movies, anything to do with chivalry and the medieval realm. (First Knight, Knight's Tale, Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, etc.). Since I love the genre so much, it was easy for me to write in it since I was already pretty comfortable with it. I didn't have to do a lot of research for The Victor (though many assume that I have) as a result.
In my 20's I discovered Stephen Lawhead. He is my favorite living author and writes in the same genre but weaves Christianity into all his novels. As it would happen, Stephen and I used to both work for John Styll at CCM 30 years ago. I wrote him a year ago when my book was about to be released in care of his editor and I received a personal letter back from him congratulating me on the publication of The Victor and graciously giving me his home address in Oxford, England where I could send him a copy.
Worthy Fantasy: Tolkien was definitely a master of fiction. Do you plan on writing any more books soon? Do you plan on continuing to write anything related to The Victor?
Marlayne Giron: It took so long to get The Victor published that my main focus this past year has been on marketing (for which I have found a great book promo company called Book Candy Studios) and spend most of my free time getting the word out. I am also pursuing having it adapted into a screenplay as well as to being one of several Christian authors that will hopefully get to go into the OC public school system to talk about our books. I feel that the Lord has a purpose for The Victor (it is, after all, the Gospel written as a medieval fantasy fiction, action/adventure romance with scripture endnotes) so I am in it for the long term.
I have a very busy summer this year. I will be at the OC Christian Writer's Conference in May, The LA Times Book Festival in April, The Life and Faith Concert Tour in Richmond, VA (Amy Grant will be there) this June, appearing at a book club next week which has been reading my book, and The Christian Home Educator's Conference and National Convention in July because I have created a Lesson Plan and Student Workbook as a companion to The Victor for those whom home school.
I have started on a prequel to The Victor called Sword Brothers featuring many of the main characters describing the events which took place before and leading up to those in The Victor.
Worthy Fantasy: Sounds like the summer is going to be quite some time. Lastly, if you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring novelist what would you say?
Marlayne Giron: Never give up because if you do, you will never realize your dream. Just keep plugging away and somehow, someday, your dream will come true.
Worthy Fantasy: Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Marlayne Giron: I write "Wish Fulfillment" stories as gifts for people (http://wishfulfillmentstories.blogspot.com/) They can be fun, deeply emotional and spiritual. I have done about 15 so far and they have gotten tremendous response.
Thanks for taking the time today to do the interview! You can find more about Marlayne Giron and The Victor at http://www.thevictorbook.com/