Tuesday, December 06, 2005

INTERVIEW WITH DEBUT AUTHOR MARILYNN GRIFFITH

1. Where and what were you doing the moment you got THE CALL?

I was...writing! LOL I got an email from my agent actually. I read it a few times and then wrote back to ask if he was sure...

2. Who was the first person you told or called and why?

I called my husband, but his cell was out of range, so I called my good friend Gail Hayes, a nonfiction author. She'd encouraged me a week before when I'd had one of my I'm-never-going-to-be-published breakdowns.

3. What has been your favorite book to write and why?

Wow, that's hard. I really have enjoyed them all. I'd have to say my first book, which didn't sell. I think some of that is the first novel process though. "

4. What has been your hardest book to write and why?

Now, that's easy. The hardest book for me to write was JADE, the second book in my Shades of Style series with Revell. The main character is Chinese and I really wanted to do a good job portraying her. My editor loved it and I laughed and cried while writing it, so I'm hoping readers will enjoy it.


5. If you could put MADE OF HONOR in the hands of any one famous, who would that be and why?

Hmmm...What a journalist you are! Let me think... Mary Mary. Definitely. I guess that's sort of cheating because they're not one person. I'd give it to them because my daughters and I did a dance from their praise troupe to "Shackles" while I was editing Made of Honor and that song was always in my head. The song is also the heart of what Made of Honor is about.


6. What scene from MADE OF HONOR was the most absolute fun to write? Why?

Oh my! That would have to be when Dana's bridesmaid dress explodes and she end up being carried to the car by someone she's been avoiding for a long time. I was cracking up while I was typing. I'd say that the passover dinner later in the book is a tie with that scene.


7. What was the hardest scene? Why?

Some of the hardest scenes to write in Made of Honor were the interactions between Dana and her friend, Rochelle. These two women really grew on me during the book and when they struggled with their friendship, I struggled with them.


8. What advice would you give to someone out there listening who might be discouraged in their writing journey?

If you can quit writing, DO. If you can't quit, WRITE. This business isn't easy, but everyone has a story to tell. Find your story and the voice to tell it in. Live, love, laugh and read as much as you can. Pace yourself but be persistent. Find your rhythm and play it to THE END.

9. What would you consider to be the content of the perfect reader fan letter of MADE OF HONOR?


Dear Marilynn,

Thank you so much for writing MADE OF HONOR. It was funny, honest and uplifting and I read it at a really hard time in my life. I'm falling in love with Jesus again and I know He loves me. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Thanks for reminding me.

Sincerely,
Perfect Reader

10. You've contracted more than one book, can you tell us how that came about?

Sure! That first book that I told you about was soundly rejected but two publishers expressed interest in seeing something else. My agent and I proposed a series to both and to our shock, each of them were contracted! I sold first to Revell with my Shades of Style series about four women working together at a fashion design firm in New York. The first book, Pink, releases February 2006. I was elated about the first sale, but very connected to the chick lit project as well so we pitched and sold that too. MADE OF HONOR is first in the Sassy Sistahood series and just happened to come out first though it was contracted second. Wild, huh?

11. Has your writing life changed since you've signed contracts? If so, how so?

Deadlines. I always had my own personal timetables, but finishing a book and having to turn around and do it again is wonderfully difficult. It's wonderful because this is what I prayed for and I love it, but difficult because sometimes my brain is tired and doesn't want to come out and play. Then I have to start making deals with myself...and God. LOL


12. What advice would you give to authors on the verge of selling that would prepare them for life after The Call?

Have some experienced author friends to bounce things off of. There are so many things that happen after the sale that can be confusing: the editing process, covers, marketing, etc. Most of all, I'd tell them to stay on pace and keep writing. It's easy to let promotion, glee and general what-do-I-now disease paralyze you. Most of all, I'd advise to READ YOUR CONTRACTS. Even after you've signed, it's important to read and re-read your contracts with both your agent and your publisher. You're a businessperson now.


13. What about as far as being able to handle the transition from writing for ourselves to now writing for a house under the direction of a publisher?

Whoa. This one isn't easy. It's easy to take the check, but harder to comprehend that you've SOLD your book. Yes, they loved it enough to buy it, but there will be edits and some of them might be major. The first time, this can come as a big surprise. Expect it and be surprised if there aren't many changes.


14. You are an avid blogger. Do you feel that plays an important role in your novel writing? How so?

Oh boy. Blogging. What can I say? I've slowed down a bit lately because things are moving fast with these releases but I don't think blogging is important to my voice and my creative self. It's good to have an unedited space. Of course, there are sometimes where there are only so many words to go around and I"m just silent. Once a book is done or if I'm really losing it, I usually blog like a crazy woman. My friends in the blogosphere help me through life's ups and downs and cheer for me when great stuff happens too.


15. What would you suggest readers take to their reading spot when they settle down to read MADE OF HONOR?

Bring a nice vanilla candle if you have one around, some tea if you have it and a pen to underline the funny parts.


16. What do you think it was about this story (other than your fab and magnificent voice) that caused the editors to sit up and take notice?

The grace of God? Honestly, I can't say. There are so many great writers out there, both published and unpublished. Someone just has to like what you do. That's what happened with Revell, even though they didn't sign my first book, my editor enjoyed it. Same thing at Steeple Hill. It's sort of like shopping. Somewhere there's a fit. Somewhere there's somebody who gets it.


17. If Oprah featured MADE OF HONOR in her book club, what would you want her to tell the world about it?

Dana Rose pledges to say "I won't" the next time she's asked to be in a wedding. Her weak will has turned her closet into cemetery for satin gowns from periwinkle to Pepto pink. After ten stints as bridesmaid, Dana thinks she's seen it all. Then she's fired, forced to turn her hobby into a business and faced with her prodigal brother, back-stabbing sis and Mr. Practically Perfect, the ex who not only married someone else, but opened the business of her dreams—across the street. There's that Maid of Honor thing too… And this time she can't say no. Will wedding #11 show Dana what's she's really made of?


18. Who was your target audience with MADE OF HONOR?

Hmmm... Me? LOL I try to write books that I'd enjoy and that I could give to all of my friends, who happen to be a very diverse bunch. A women who loves life, loves the Lord and loves her girlfriends will enjoy MADE OF HONOR.

19. When does your next book come out? And where can readers not familiar with CBA purchase it?

My next book, PINK (Revell), comes out in February 2006. And never fear, no acronyms or secret codes are necessary to get it. LOL Pink will be available wherever books are sold. (And if it they don't have it, ask for it!)

20. Any parting thoughts?

Thank you, Cheryl. I can't wait to return the favor for your first release. Thanks everyone for being here. Please visit me at http://www.marilynngriffith.com/ and tell me what you think of Made of Honor. Bye!

5 comments:

ragamuffin diva said...

Great interview. Thanks for hosting Marilynn.

upwords said...

Cheryl,
Thanks so much for doing this. And Claudia, thanks for stopping by.

Blessings,
Marilynn

Camy Tang said...

Thanks, Cheryl and Mary! This blog tour is so neat, if I'm allowed to say so myself.
Camy

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Wooo girl, another great interview! You must be tired!

Pammer said...

Wonderful as usual. You guys work well together. :0)

Hugs to you both.
Pammer