It is my pleasure to interview Marcia Laycock today.
Marcia’s inspirational writing has won awards in both Canada and the U.S. Her devotionals are distributed to thousands and her novel, One Smooth Stone, won the Best New Canadian Christian Author Award in 2006. Marcia is also a sought-after speaker for women’s events. Visit her at www.vinemarc.com
Marcia’s devotionals are distributed to thousands. Her novel, One Smooth Stone, won the Best New Canadian Christian Author Award and her books have been endorsed by Jeanette Oke, Phil Callaway, Mark Buchanan and Sigmund Brouwer. Marcia is also a sought-after speaker. Visit www.vinemarc.com
How did you come to be a writer?
I started writing short stories and poems for my dolls. They didn’t complain so I kept it up. Then my aunt gave me a copy of Emily of New Moon for my eleventh birthday. I discovered you could call yourself a writer and determined that someday that’s what I’d be. It took many years but I published my first short story in 1990 and began writing articles for a local paper about that same time. I self published a compilation of my column in 2002 (a second edition was recently released), a second devotional book in 2005 and then my novel, One Smooth Stone won me the Best New Canadian Christian Author Award and was published. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone was just released by Word Alive Press.
Tell us how you come up with characters.
Characters often grow out of something I hear or see. For instance, the main character in One Smooth Stone developed after a woman asked me a profound question – “Can you imagine what it would be like for someone to discover that his mother had tried to abort him?” I did imagine and the character of Alex Donnelly emerged. He’s very much a composite of many people I knew while living in the Yukon, in Canada’s western Arctic.
Andrea, the main character in A Tumbled Stone, developed slowly as the book unfolded. She too is a composite of many people I’ve known, young women in search of their own identities who struggle to make the right choices in their lives.
Where do you write?
I share an office in our home with my husband who is a pastor. We’re church planting right now, so we don’t have a church building where my husband would ordinarily go to work each day. It’s been an interesting adjustment and a challenge for us both as we sit back to back at our computers.
What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of, writing-related or not?
I’m probably most proud and humbled of the fact that my husband and I, in spite of all our flaws, somehow managed to raise three wonderful daughters who are a joy to us in many ways. God’s grace is evident in their lives and I’m very thankful for them. There was a time when I believed I would never have children (see my website for the story) so to have three beautiful daughters and now two great sons-in-law continues to amaze me.
What kind of planning do you do before writing a novel?
Very little. My stories usually come to me in scenes. I outline a bit as I go, just a timeline of sorts, but when I sit down to write I usually have very little idea where the story will go. I find it exciting to see it unfold. I do research along the way as needed. For instance, when I was writing One Smooth Stone I realized I need some advice from a policeman. Fortunately I had met a firearms expert at a conference so I contacted him and he gave me all the information I needed to make the scenes in the book real. I didn’t have to contact anyone for A Tumbled Stone, but had to slip back in my memory to a time when we lived on the Canadian prairie. I wanted that setting to be real as well. I think the setting of a book is extremely important – some even say it acts as a hidden character in a novel.
In your opinion, what is the greatest danger or pitfall in the life of a writer?
Believing that it’s your talent that changes lives. I’ve had many people tell me amazing stories about how something I wrote changed them in some way. It’s important to remember that only God can do that. He uses our words to affect His purposes. We’re just being obedient in putting the words on paper. It’s an incredible privilege and blessing to be used in that way.
Why did you choose to write this book?
To be honest, initially it was because I had to write a sequel! But then as the book and the main character began to take shape in my head I got excited about what I could do with it. I wanted to write a book about a young woman struggling with an unwanted pregnancy and this gave me the opportunity.
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
That writing is a ministry. It’s a hidden ministry that takes hours of sitting in a room alone but the end result can be lives changed for Christ.
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
Do go to writers’ conferences and take courses to sharpen your skills. Find a good critique group where others will give constructive criticism.
Don’t let the rejections stop you. Keep writing.
Favorite scripture and/or quote:
Scripture – Hebrews 10:24 – “Let us consider therefore how we may spur one another on to love and good deeds.” I titled my weekly column The Spur – from this verse – it also seemed a good fit because I live in the heart of Alberta cowboy country.
Quote – “Writing is not a performance. It is a generosity.” Benda Ueland.
Short blurb about A Tumbled Stone – Andrea Calvert had to run away. She couldn’t stay on the farm, shaming her parents . She couldn’t face being pregnant and alone. She would take care of this on her own. As she struggles to make life-changing decisions, Andrea discovers a diary and the wrenching story about her family’s dysfunction.
How can readers get in contact with you?
My website – www.vinemarc.com
E-Mail – MarciaATvinemarcDotcom
Here’s a link to the book trailer for One Smooth Stone: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iz1VG59-Aiw