Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Marlene Banks Virtual Book Tour

Tell us about RUTH’S REDEMPTION.

RUTH’S REDEMPTION is a historical Romance set in 1830s Virginia. It’s a slave era story about a young female slave named Ruth who is defiant and bitter from the abuses of her slave existence. Her life becomes entangled when she’s purchased by a free black man named Bo. Bo is an educated man of strong faith in Christ. Ruth wants no part of Bo’s faith or life. All she craves is to be free, free from bondage to whites, free from uncompensated servitude and free from men. Bo, however is a different sort of man and he wins her heart. She discovers the true freedom from sin, slavery and the ghosts of the past. GOD sets her free in every imaginable way. The story is told with the backdrop of the Nat Turner rebellion.

How did you come up with ideas for this book? 

The spiritual answer is the idea came from the Holy Spirit. The anointing falls and the ideas flow, a novel is born and takes shape. My more humanistic response would be first I decided I wanted to try to write a historical romance based loosely on the book of Ruth in the Bible. I thought the slave era would be a good subject matter. I was sitting in my office and looked over at my bookshelf and my eyes fell on a book about the Nat Turner rebellion. That clicked as a historical point to place the story around.

Who are your main character(s)? 

Ruth, a young defiant breeding slave and Bo an educated free black and land owner.

Did you have a favorite character(s)? Who and why? 

I really don’t have a favorite but Naomi is very dear to my heart because she is the voice of love, reason and life going forward. She embodies the strength, tenacity, love of family and faith that I believe held the African American together through all the hardships of slavery. Like so many strong black women she kept it going through her own pain and everybody else’s around her.

Did you have to do quite a bit of research for this novel? 

Yes I did; I had to research the rebellion and life in the 1830s. I had to be more specific to that area and the slave existence. That includes how they dressed, talked, and lived in general.

What do you hope readers will learn/discover from reading RUTH’S REDEMPTION.

Not so much to learn as to question. I would like my readers to ask pertinent questions about social issues then and now. What is our responsibility as a society to make sure everyone lives with equal freedoms and the right to dignity in life? Questions like is violence ever justified outside of clear self-defense or saving someone’s life? Is violence a solution to social injustice? Does being a Christian mean being a coward when you don’t strike back? Was Jesus a coward going to the cross or is self-sacrifice the bravest road one can take? And also questions like how far have we really evolved with racial bigotry in this country? Are Christians supposed to compartmentalize GOD or is He Lord of everything? Do we trust him to handle even the social political issues as well or do we take matters in our own hands? How do we know when GOD is telling us to fight? What impact did Nat Turner’s rebellion and other’s like it have on slavery. Was it worth it or not?

As you see there are endless questions this story evokes. I don’t provide answers I just stir the mind to ask the questions so the reader can seek the answers for themselves. Answers relevant for then and for now.

Okay, a not-so-fun question. How important are reviews to you as a writer? 

Reviews are important to the marketing of a novel but they are simply opinions made by other people. So I don’t judge the quality of the story by a review necessarily. Reviews meter people’s reactions to my work. That is important in the market place of course but a wonderful story can get a poor review. A lousy story can get a great review. It’s all so terribly subjective when you deal with the critiquing process. Reviews have a place and function but it does not tell me the true quality of my work per se. It tells me the probable marketability of it which is crucial in publishing but not the main thing as a literary craftsperson. I love writing, crafting engaging stories that inspire and make people think. I am an inbred story teller so that to me is the primary goal; to tell a good story in an interesting and entertaining manner.

About the Book

Set in the 1800s, Ruth’s Redemption, depicts slave life in the south. Bo, the main character who was educated while a slave is a freedman who now owns a farm and buys slaves for the purpose of giving them their freedom. Bo is also a widower whose life is destined to changed when he meets the stubborn, proud and hard-hearted 20 year old slave girl, Ruth.

Ruth has known nothing but harshness and brutality since being separated from her mother at age thirteen. Purchased and sold primarily for breeding and the enlargement of her master’s slave stock, Ruth struggles to understand the way of her new master. Bo is unlike any master she’s known and what she experiences in his care will leave her forever changed.

A gripping pre-Civil War slave era novel, Ruth’s Redemption is a story of forgiveness, acceptance and redemption. Set against the backdrop of the Nat Turner Rebellion in Tidewater, Virginia, this novel shines the light of God’s unconditional love in the darkness of the evils of hatred and acts of inhumanity.

About the Author

Marlene Banks is a Philadelphia, PA native. She attended Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA and has an Associate’s Degree in Theology from the Rhema Bible Institute in Keysville, VA. She is the director of ministry at Lifeline Mission of the Gospel. Through her writing ministry, Marlene’s desire is to promote the gospel and serve the needs of her community.

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