Friday, September 05, 2008

COVER AUTHOR Marilynn Griffith

EDITOR NOTE: When I think of the words don’t give up, Mary as I call her, name pops in my mind. Mary is my unofficial mentor, when I’m about to give up on this dream of seeing my name on my book, she always seems to know and sends me an email of encouragement. Her words always warm my heart. Typing this right now my eyes are misting over because I've so appreciated our friendship. I’m sure she had her days of giving up, but she didn’t. She kept believing and praying that right publishers would read her books. As a writer, you can’t give up on yourself. I’m so glad Mary didn’t.

I met Mary online and we’ve moaned and ranting together about the crazy world of writing. When she got her first contract I know I cried for her, because I understood the path she’ been on. I’m probably her biggest fan, I’ve enjoyed every book. If you haven’t read one of her books, what are you waiting on? She will not disappoint you.

The funny thing about us is we’ve never met in person, but you’d never know that. We’re the perfect example of a long distance friendship. I’m so proud of Mary and the career she is building. I know she has more wonderful words inside her and I look forward to introducing each book to you. Please meet this kindred spirit and learn more about her writing journey.

Marilynn Griffith is mom to a tribe, wife to a deacon and proof that God gives second chances. While best known for her colorful novels about friendship, family and faith, Marilynn is also a speaker and nonfiction writer. She has served as Vice President of American Christian Fiction Writers and her novels have been featured in Charisma and Upscale magazines. She was also named a Christian Author on the Rise by Christian Retailing magazine in 2007. She is the author of eight novels and lives in Florida with her husband and children.

Rhythms of Grace

Grace Okoye was a promising young dancer when her career was cut short by a brutal assault that left her scarred for life. Twenty years later, when her past gets in the way of her happiness, she heeds the invitation of her dance instructor and returns home to help hurting children and rediscover the rhythms of grace. What she doesn't expect is to meet a man who already seems to know her beat. But for all they share in common, the biggest thing in Grace's life is noticeably absent in his--faith. She's finally found the love of her life, but can she choose between him and God?

What would you like your readers to take away from your book?

Lashaunda, I want readers to go away from Rhythms of Grace with the hope that God never stops playing their song, no matter how far we stray or how long we're gone.

What did you learn while writing this book?

This was the first novel I ever finished, so it taught me that I could write a book. It also took the longest to sell, so it taught me that writing is craft one never stops learning.

What is the hardest part about the writing business?

The waiting. For me anyway. Publishing is excruciatingly slow and at first, I didn't understand that. I thought someone was going to get back to me in a couple months. Sometimes it takes longer than!

What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?

A writer is always working! It seems like we're doing nothing and should be watching your kids or bathing your dog, but trust me, behind that confused stare, big things are happening!

Why Christian fiction vs Mainstream?

I don't know really except to say that's where I ended up. My faith is part of everything I do, including my writing. At one point, I could have gone differently, but I know who I was and who I can be and thought it might be a slippery slope if I started trying to add the sizzle some publishers wanted. Some church folk already say my books are hot enough! LOL

How do you balance the work of writing and promoting your novels?

Um, I don't. The work always wins. It has too. Marketing is great. Blogging is great. Twittering, clicking,'s all good, but at some point we have to stop talking about writing, thinking about writing and promoting writing and write. This year has been better b ecause I only had two releases. If I did one book a year, it might balance. Or not...

What is one question you wish aspiring authors would ask you and how would you reply?

Aspiring Author: What is this going to cost me?

Me: A lot. Everything. And I don't mean money. It's kind of like getting saved. It's a free gift, but it's going to cost you everything.

Aspiring Author: I don't get it. I've got a laptop and most people take e-mail submissions nowdays. Is FedEx that high?

Me: You're right. You don't get it. Finish that book. Send it in. Get rejected. Start over. Do that a few times and we'll have this conversation again.

How did if feel to end your two book series?

Painful. Much more painful than I'd imagined. Especially the Shades of Style series. I went through some things... With the Sassy Sistahood, I think I had been waiting so long to write Tracey's story that it didn't feel like it was ending. Who knows? Maybe it won't. Keep buying the books everybody! LOL

Our theme this month is Online Marketing. What online marketing have you found that particularly works well for you?

Blogging works well for me. I have a big family and a tight budget so my travel is limited. Blogging helps me keep in touch with readers and writers. It also gives me an opportunity to share my writing in different ways. I got my current agent through a poem that was on my blog. You never know...

What are three things you wish you'd known before you reached where you are now?

Well, I can think of three things, but if I'd known them I never would have made it to where I am now. I would have given up! So I guess more knowledge doesn't really help until you need it. Wisdom? That's always needed.

Was there ever a time in your writing career you thought of quitting?

Every day, around 1:33 PM and about sixty seconds after reading my revision letter on my latest novel. :)

Do you have any advice for the aspiring writer?

If you can, quit. (Seriously). If not, don't take yourself too seriously. Enjoy the work. Protect the work. But do not worship the work. Get a life.

Are you part of a writer’s organization and if you are, tell us about the benefits?

I'm a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and have served on their board in a few positions. That group as well as others like Romance Writers of America and the now defunct Black Writers Alliance helped me greatly in learning about the writing craft and connecting with other writers.

Five questions about books:

One book you’ve read more than once.

Jane Eyre. I used to read that every year.

One book you couldn’t put down until you finished.

Many. I usually have a couple books in my purse. I read in lines, while my husband drives... I guess I would have to say Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.

One book that made you laugh.

Murder, Mayhem and a Fine Man by Claudia Mair Burney. At one point, I think I rolled out of bed laughing. The whole series is like that to me.

One book that made you cry.

Upstate by Kalisha Buchanon. I was tore up as my grandma would say. The Darkest Child too. I had to go to bed behind that one.

One book you wish you'd written.

Abraham's Well by Sharon Ewell Foster. It's wonderful, but I don't really wish I'd written it (because it'd probably suck). I just pray I'll someday write MY book like that.

What’s on the horizon for Marilynn and her writing?

For the first time in a long time, I have a short satisfying answer: I have no clue. :) I'm so excited
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website) or


Patricia W. said...

I'm a big Marilynn fan too and Rhythms of Grace is definitely on my TBR.

I'm wondering, Marilynn, whether you went back and re-wrote or had to do a lot of revision to your newest release before it sold, since you likely learned a lot between the time you first wrote it and when it sold?

Missy said...

Hi Ladies,

Marilynn it was a pleasure meeting you at Soul Expressions Book Tour. Your book Rhythms of Grace was one of the book I went to the event to buy.

Thank Q for you writing ministry!

The Gospel Writer said...

Great interview, Mary! I love this statement - "but trust me, behind that confused stare, big things are happening!"

JC Martin said...

I loved Rhythms of Grace. It was flowed like music and I didn't want it to end.

I would love a sequel.

upwords said...


Thanks so much for this. Sorry I never hopped over to say thanks before. (Remember that confused stare?) Love you.


If I told you how many times I rewrote Rhythms of Grace in the past five years, we'd both be sick. It numbers in the double digits, let's leave it at that. LOL

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