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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Author Interview--Marianne Selay

Anne: Our interview today is with Marianne Selay, an author whose love of God shines through her writing. I reviewed her book yesterday, and you can read that review by clicking HERE. I'm really eager to find out what inspired Willing to Touch.

Marianne: I love the gospels and enjoy imagining what it must have been like to be alive when Jesus was on earth. One day I was listening to a sermon about the story of the synagogue ruler and the woman with the issue of blood. It occurred to me that Jairus's little girl was 12 years old when she became ill, and the woman with the issue had been ill for 12 years, and I began playing around with the idea. The woman must have begun to bleed just about the time the little girl was born; they both lived in Capernaum, so perhaps they knew each other; things like that. Then some time later, I actually got to visit Israel. Standing among the ruins of this once thriving town, looking out at the beautiful waters of the Sea of Galilee, everything became it so real to me. I just had to write about it!

Anne: What is your favorite scene in the book?

There are actually two scenes that compete with each other as being my favorite. The first is when Jairus and Abby (his daughter) are up on their roof looking at the stars and talking about God. I think it shows how sweet their relationship is and also touches on spiritual things. Sometimes the simplicity of a child's faith reveals a deeper understanding of God than the best educated people (like Jairus). The other scene is when Leah (the woman with the issue of blood) sees Jesus heal a leper. She is having a crisis of faith, and this incident brings her to an important revelation about what God is willing to do for her.

Anne: How do you write--as a plotter or panster? [For our readers: A plotter outlines the entire story first; a panster writes by the seat of the pants.)

Marianne: I'm not sure which I would be, because as much as I enjoy plotting stories, they almost never stay within the borders of my well-laid plot! I used to think fiction authors were crazy when they'd complain about the characters taking over the story, but now I know they really do. ( As for whether that makes me crazy or not...well, the jury's still out on that one!) I'm actually not complaining though. The creativity, regardless of how it works, is what makes writing so much fun.

Anne: If you could choose one character in the Bible you'd really love to play the part of in a movie, who would it be?

Marianne: Wow, that's a tough question! Would it have to be a female role? If not, I'd like to play Peter, because I would love to feel the swelling water under my feet as I walked across the sea toward the Lord. Yes, I know he faltered (I would have too!), but don't forget, Peter still got to walk on the water hand in hand with Jesus back to the boat! As for a female character, maybe Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazareth. She was one of the few people who really got it...even before it all happened.

I just reread this answer and realized it would just be a movie and walking on the water would probably entail a computer-altered walk through a wading pool. Oh well.

Anne: You are too funny! I love both the characters you chose too! What do you enjoy the most in the writing process, and what do you hate about it ?

Marianne: I love the creativity of it, telling myself a story over and over, changing it a thousand different ways, and re-writing it to my heart's content. I love playing around with words and sentences and even enjoy the research involved. What I hate is the technical aspect: grammar, punctuation, typos, and other mistakes. I didn't know when I began this book, but apparently there are two different styles of writing (one for fiction, another for non-fiction) and also, there is an on-going argument about the proper use of commas. Good grief! Because I am not exactly a bastion of self-confidence, I tried to do everything everybody told me to do about grammar and punctuation. Next time, I'm going to find a favorite book and do exactly as they do when it comes to grammar and punctuation. I may not make everyone happy, but at least it will be consistent. I tried so hard to get it right that I ended up making mistakes I wouldn't have made if I'd just gone with how I normally write.

Anne: There is an excellent book for fiction writers that sits at my left elbow, and it is dog-eared and yellow-stickied from front to back. It's called Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, written by Renni Brown and Dave King, available in ebook or paperback at Amazon.  So what is next for you in the writing world?

Marianne: I keep telling people I don't want to write another book, but deep in my heart I know that's not true. I didn't realize how much goes in to it, and starting a new book feels a bit overwhelming. On the other hand, I have to's in my blood! Besides, I learned a lot during the process, and know it will come easier next time. If I was going to write another book based on a Bible character, I think it might be about Jonathan, David's friend. He was beautiful person with a noble soul. I have also thought of writing about my years living in the Havisupai reservation, because there are some very funny stories about living there, and also some important spiritual insights I gained there, too.

In other words, I don't know yet. I think it's safe to say I will will start another book, and I also have a few stories and other things I'm working on too.

Anne: Thanks, Marianne--and I'm betting we read something more from you in the near future!
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