Monday, July 21, 2014

Interview with women's Christian fiction author Ginger Marcinkowski

Ginger Marcinkowski was born as one of eight siblings in northern Maine along the Canadian border, a setting that plays a prominent role in her novels.

Her debut novel, Run, River Currents, was published in August 2012, was a 2012 semi-finalist in the ACFW Genesis Awards and a 2013 Kindle Book Award Finalist. An interesting fact about Ginger is that she is a million-mile flier with United Airlines and had been a multi-million dollar travel agent in the past. Her travel experience will be the catalyst for a new series of mysteries whose main characters are travel agents.

Today’s interview focuses on Ginger’s newest novel, The Button Legacy-Emily's Inheritance.

Blurb from The Button Legacy:
Based on the true story of one family’s spiritual saga revealed through buttons that have been secreted away in an antique box, and that ultimately hold the key to each generation’s salvation.

Ginger Marcinkowski’s first novel, Run, River Currents featured Emily Evans, who as a girl shared a special understanding with her grandfather, John Polk. Despite the scars of her father's abuse John taught her to look to the future in faith, promising Emily God's grace can be seen even in the simplest thing—a button.

Years after her grandfather John's death, the unexpected delivery of a decorated tin, still brimming with odd-colored buttons is delivered to Emily. The reappearance of the family buttons unlocks joyous memories and guides Emily to realize a secret her grandfather promised lay within the stories of that worn button box; the healing power of prayer. In The Button Legacy: Emily’s Inheritance each button connects one generation to the next as their interrelated stories unfold across the timeless landscape of their spiritual journey.

Ginger will be awarding a $10 Starbucks Card + e-book copy of The Button Legacy: Emily’s Inheritance to a randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit other tour stops and enter there, too.

What made you ever want to write a book?
Actually, I had no intention of ever writing a book. My writing dream had been to write short stories and magazine articles, as I have a very short attention span. When I started my M.F.A. one of the first instructors I came into contact with told me that there is a story inside every writer that has to be told. He said that once that story was written, the writer would be free to write anything they want to. I found that to be true as I began writing my first novel, Run, River Currents. When that was completed, it was so easy for me to keep writing longer pieces. The Button Legacy: Emily’s Inheritance then became a labor of love.

Where did the inspiration for this book come from?
I wrote this story as a way to honor the influence my godly grandfather had on my life and the way God uses even the simplest things—like a button—to convey His word to others.

What is your favorite thing about your main character in your most recent book?
So much of this book has reality in it, so I’d have to say John Polk, as he represents my own grandfather, John Lovean. Grampy was a godly influence in my life. Unfortunately, it took me until adulthood to know or understand how important his quiet witness was to all of his grandchildrenI loved how he used the simple things in his life to teach his children and grandchildren lessons about God’s forgiving grace.

Excerpt from The Button Legacy:
The buttons buckled against the tin, sounding like marbles in a jar. Maureen’s hand stirred them for what seemed like an hour before she grasped a multicolored globe that reminded John of a fishing lure. Ellen tilted her head and stared at the button, a question knitted on her brow.

“I don’t recognize this one, John,” she said as Maureen dropped it into her mother’s hand. The button rolled in Ellen’s palm, the light from the fireplace piercing the glossy circle and sending flashes of color across the room.

“Well,” John slowly responded, allowing the anticipation of the coming story to rise, “this is a fishing story, girls.” John held out his hand, and Ellen dropped the button into his palm. “You do know that fishing stories might contain an untruth or two, don’t you?”

The girls giggled. Ellen rolled her eyes.

“My brother Frank and I were just about your age when Dad allowed us to fish the Tobique on our own for the first time.” The girls cuddled up near their mother, Maureen pulling a crocheted blanket over her feet before leaning into Ellen. “Yup, that was the summer I got my first fishing pole.”

The memory stuck in his mind like honey, sweet and savory. John had been standing near the front porch whittling a piece of birch bark into the shape of a canoe. He and his brother often raced the makeshift boats on the Tobique when they joined their father’s fly-fishing excursions for the trout that would become the evening meal. Frank was coming out of the barn, two handmade poles and a bucket in his right hand.

How do you balance writing with your job, life, and family?
As of January 2013, I retired from a job that had kept me travelling full-time. I thought I’d have loads of time to write, but I don’t. Instead, I eek out blocks of time each week to work on my latest project. In between, I am an online English instructor and a grandmother named “Tootsie.” Nothing on earth is as important as the 2 ½ year-old grandson I adore.

When did you decide to become a writer?
Although I had written various things throughout my life, I never really believed I had the talent to be a writer. It was a self-esteem issue. When the company I worked for required all staff to do some form of continuing education, I decided to get my Master’s Degree in Creative Writing. I looked at it as a honing of my writing skills for my job, not as a full-time career. I was 53-years-old and had already come through four careers in my life. I guess I really never intended to follow this dream. The dream just followed me!

What genre are your books?
I write Christian fiction and Women’s Fiction, but the new series I am working on will be cozy mysteries that are clean and can crossover into the secular market.

What, if anything, have you learned about yourself since you started writing?
Great question! I have learned that I am very good at creating a sense of place in my works. I also have learned that I am able to write and fictionalize the truth and stay distant to it at the same time. It is very freeing to a writer to find something special that they do well!

What advice would you give someone who might be thinking of writing a book?
I can think of two important things. One is to just write. Quit thinking about writing. Quit saying you want to write. Quit making excuses not to write. Instead…write. If writing is important enough, and not an afterthought, you will write. Secondly, write the truth. So many new writers worry about hurting someone’s feelings or about people not understanding their writing. I say, write the truth, no matter how hard it is to write, no matter who might believe you or challenge your faith. If you write the truth, God will honor that whether your truth is written in fiction or non-fiction.

Who are your favorite authors?
I have eclectic tastes when it comes to reading. I love humorous books, like Gail Martin’s, Who Killed Tom Jones? and Sara Pritchard’s, Help Wanted: Female. I have read every Maeve Binchey book, as she could write a strong sense of place.

Have you authored any other books?
The Button Legacy: Emily’s Inheritance was written to balance my first novel, Run, River Currents. In that dark book, which was based on a true event of abuse in my life, the main character, Emily Evans, carried around a tremendous burden of guilt, shame and anger because of her father had sexually abused her. The book alludes to the fact that Emily’s grandparents were praying and witnessing to her, but it was not until the end of the book that Emily came to know Christ as her Savior. In The Button Legacy: Emily’s Inheritance, the reader gets “the other side” of her dark story. It shows how God’s grace was holding Emily up during her dark times and in the end, allowed the character to see how God would continue to be passed on to her own son. My first novel was a semi-finalist in the American Christian Fiction’s Writer’s Genesis Award and a 2013 Kindle Book Award Finalist.

What are you working on right now?
I have started what will become a series of cozy mysteries about a group of travel agents, and will be billed at The Travel Girl Mysteries. Each time one of the agents travels to an exotic tourist destination, a new mystery arises. There will be humor and destinations with a strong sense of place.

Is there a story tugging at the back of your creative mind that begs to be written?
Yes and it is what I am working on right now, The Travel Girl Mystery Series.

What is the most difficult aspect of being a writer?
Marketing your work. Writer’s want to write. We don’t want to have to tweet, Facebook or waste our time in social media, but we are also realists. We understand the great task before us, and the hard work our editors and publicists do on our behalf. We know we must do our part. It is just not the favorite part of what we do. Personally, I prefer to meet and speak with people at conferences and seminars, as I am a relationship builder and prefer the personal contact.

What is the easiest thing about writing?
I don’t think any part of writing is easy. Instead, I believe doing what I love to do is rewarding. It fills me with joy to connect with others while doing something I really want to do.

How long did it take you to write your book?
The first book, Run, River Currents took me three years to write. The Button Legacy: Emily’s Inheritance took about 11 months.

Do you get writer’s block? How do you overcome it?
I don’t get writer’s block. Instead, if I am unsure where to go with the story I stop what I am working on and free write. I look around the room or open my button box and let my imagination run away with itself. The usual result is that I am able to take the unrelated piece of work I have written and adapt it to what I am working on.

Anything else to share with the readers today?

Thanks, Ginger! 


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Ginger Marcinkowski said...

Good Morning, Lisa and thank you for hosting me on your blog! It is a pleasure to connect with you! Throughout the day I will be checking in to answer questions for your readers!

To start with, I would like to ask your readers what kind of cozy mysteries they enjoy, as I am in the midst of writing my first cozy mystery series. Do you like murders? Mayhem? A combination? Or do you prefer comical problems that seem to have no solution?

I will talk to you soon!

Ginger Marcinkowski said...

As a reader, when you are looking for a book, what do you look for? The cover? The book blurb? A recommendation?
Keep reading!

Ginger Marcinkowski said...

Hey Lisa,
What are your favorite books?

Ginger Marcinkowski said...

Lisa, thank you for the kindness of having me on your blog! I am hoping your readers will enjoy, The Button Legacy: Emily's Inheritance!
Have a great night!

bn100 said...

Nice advice