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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Interview: Ginger Marcinkowski on Publishing Novel Based on True Story

Last month I did a book review of Run, River Currents by Ginger Marcinkowski. This book is based on a true story. Ginger was kind enough to do an interview on publishing such a heartfelt story. Thank you Ginger. 

You can follow Ginger on Facebook, blog, or view her website here. Today you can get her book, Run, River Currents FREE on Kindle. 

1.       How did you come to the decision to share your life story? Did you feel God lead you to share your experience through writing?
I think the decision chose me. In the very first class I attended at Wilkes University, my instructor stood in the front of the class and said, “You all think you are here to write the story YOU want to tell. Well, I’ve got news folks, you can write all you want, but until the story that HAS to be told comes out of you, you’ll never be able to fully write what you want to write.”  At the time, I thought he was crazy. My story WAS going to be a humorous story about my mother and her escapades. I wrote and wrote, what my mentor, Sara Pritchard fondly called “tid-bits.” Everyday she’d call me out, telling me that my writing was good, but there was more to the story than what I was telling. She challenged me to face what I was trying to write, to dig deep inside and tell the story that was buried in me. Out came Run, River Currents. I never knew I’d been holding such pain inside until then.

2.       Were you concerned about hurting family by telling such intimate details of your growing up?
That was another lesson learned from an instructor, Kaylie Jones, daughter of Jack Jones, who wrote From Here to Eternity. An accomplished writer in her own right, she encouraged me to just tell the truth and realize that whatever story I wrote, it was MY story. But remember, I took great liberty in this book of fiction. The places were real. The striking event was real, but the characters were combinations of my siblings and people I love.

3.       Even though you changed names in the story, did get you get permission from family before writing?
I actually didn’t feel I needed anyone’s permission to write this. This is MY fictional story. My siblings are such a special group of people, all of them loving and kind. We lived in the same household most of the time, but our experiences were very different. Some of my siblings had no idea that this kind of abuse had taken place as it didn’t happen to every child. We’ve only begun to talk about it as adults.

4.       Was your family supportive of your decision to publish your testimony of coming to Christ in this manner?
Again, because I didn’t feel like I needed permission, I wasn’t worried about my family’s reaction. Each of us came to Christ in the manner God chose for us. For most of us, it was an ugly journey to the Cross. I will tell you though, that no one could have had more support than I did from their family. I did warn them it would be a dark story. Most of them have read the book now. It’s opened up some wonderful conversations and some beautiful memories as well as dark memories. I’ve only had a little pushback from one sibling, but it is an issue she has to deal with. I still love her to death and she loves me too!

5.       How long did it take you to write Run, River Currents?
The manuscript took me almost four very long, very stressful years. Living in that dark place all over again as once-buried feeling rise to the surface is difficult. Couple that with a full-time job that keeps you on the road for several days a week and you’ve got yourself a basket case!

6.       What’s one piece of advice you would offer to anyone wanting to write a memoir or fiction based on real life experiences?
Memoirs are difficult to get anyone interested in, UNLESS, you are well known or have such a compelling story that it holds a publisher’s interest. Most first-time authors are encouraged to turn their memoirs into fiction as a way to tell a good story and get themselves known. Also, if you write a memoir, you can get too close to the story and feel sorry for yourself, which is something no one wants to read about. My piece of advice for anyone who has a compelling story to tell is to first fictionalize it. I learned that I was able to distance myself from Emily and yet was able to convey her feelings because I WAS Emily. Writing about someone else is so freeing!

7.       Who is your biggest inspiration and why?
Earthly, I’d have to say my grandfather who passed away when I was around fifteen. When I was a child, we visited his home most summers and often a lot of weekends. I can remember sleeping in their old iron bed on the porch of that old house with two or three of my brothers and sisters lumped together, the quilts piled high over us and my grandfather coming out, thinking we were asleep. He was a crippled up old man, but he got down on his knees at the bottom of that bed and prayed for our salvation and our safety in such loving words that they still bring tears to my eyes today. He was a quiet witness whose love and faithfulness to the Lord was a powerful example of Christ’s love.

8.       What’s your favorite Bible scripture?
Hebrews: 13:5 …For He Himself hath said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” That verse saved my life in more than one way.

9.       Will you write any other stories on this topic and why or why not?
I have no plans to ever write such a dark story ever again. It was the book that HAD to be written, and now I can get on with my writing life. My next book is already in progress. It will be a series based on a woman who is a travel agent. The first story is a mystery. Here’s a little blurb.
When the husband of attorney Laura Eden, dies unexpectedly, she withdraws from her life, blaming God for his death. When she resists help from co-workers, her prestigious law firm fires her. With no job, no savings, and no hope, the surprise arrival of an official letter presents her with the inheritance of her grandmother’s historical house in Pella, Iowa, her place of solace as a child.
                Laura’s unexpected arrival into Pella embroils her in a battle of eminent domain. A crooked attorney sets his mind on building a commercial project that includes bribing city officials and enforcing unwritten rules in an effort to take possession of the historical homes in the way of the project. The ensuing battle to save her new home without losing her life reopens the blind eye she had closed to her faith. The setting for the women’s fiction manuscript is Pella, Iowa, known for its Tulip Festival.

10.   What advice/encouragement would you offer someone suffering from a past filled with abuse?
I know at times it might seem as there is no way out, that they might be better just ending their life and being free of the pain and suffering. But there is a way that will not only raise them above the situation from which they think they will never escape, it will also give them an eternal hope. That hope is the fact that Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, gave his life willingly on the Cross for our sins, rose from the dead, and will come again to retrieve those he so loves for eternity. Our job is to admit we are sinners before a Holy God, accept the free gift of our salvation, and make changes in our life that reflect our willingness to follow him. Without Christ and without repentance, there is no hope of anything but eternal damnation. Tough truth for a world that wants to preach everything but God’s Word.

My hope for those that read this book is that they will see my struggles and understand that there IS hope, and that hope is Christ!

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