Now that's a headline I've always wanted to write! And the coolest thing of all is that I didn't have to make it up. Really. Read on...
Author Marlayne Giron is a prize fighter. She duked it out with a chronic illness and gained the achievement of publishing 3 books. Here's her story:
I suffered with increasingly severe ulcerative colitis beginning in 1984 and culminating with surgery in 1988. It was a very debilitating disease which, had I not had my colon removed; would surely have resulted in colon cancer a few years down the road. My hospital stay was to have been only 10 days but due to an obstruction (that could have killed me) I ended up having a 2nd surgery and was in the hospital for a total of 30.
I began writing my first book, The Victor, in 1981 on a typewriter and got it onto computer somewhere in the mid 1980s. Because of my illness, surgery, then infertility and eventual adoption of my only child, I shelved all my dreams of ever seeing it published for a good 15 years until 2007, when I picked it up again and submitted it to a publisher. The Victor was released almost 30 years later during Holy Week of 2009; a very appropriate date when you take into account that The Victor is a medieval retelling of the Gospel.
And after The Victor, you took the Amish craze to the next level—Amish science fiction. Tell us about your latest release In Plain Sight.
I was challenged by my agent to write Amish fiction. Being from Southern California; my experience with Amish folk has been limited to visiting Lancaster County, PA as a tourist three times and owning an Amish quilt. I wanted to do something completely different and got the idea from a Writer’s Conference workshop where an editor was talking about the “buggy and bonnet” fans and how he would be more interested in speculative fiction that featured “Amish vampires from outer space”. Of course he was saying this tongue in cheek but when it came time to write my Amish novel; I thought, why not? I wrote the back teaser first which gave me the “seed” for my storyline and then just started typing. What I didn’t figure on was the “spiritual inspiration” I would get for the plot halfway through; resulting in quite a surprise for the reader on the last page (no peeking!).
The plot basically centers around two brothers who come from another world to Lancaster County, PA, on their own version of Rumspringa. One of them, Seth, falls in love with an Amish girl, Rebecca, and she with him. There are three ongoing conflicts: 1) the conflict between the family and their Amish community because of the weird things they do; 2) the conflict with the outside world in the form of a female reporter who is investigating leads in the belief that aliens are hiding “in plain sight” in Bird’In-Hand, bringing unwanted attention from the Englisch press; and 3) the conflict between Rebecca and Seth when she discovers too late that he and his brother have no real concept or “need” for a savior where they come from and are not really “Christian”. As the story progresses, Seth’s overwhelming feelings for Rebecca put at risk his entire world for if he chooses love for her over his obedience to their king; he will be the first to “fall”.
As the eyes of the world are drawn by the strange phenomenon, the peacefulness of the Amish community is threatened by the queries of a reporter, Jessica Lynch, who believes she has stumbled upon the "scoop" of the century.
Marketing-wise, what’s worked for you and what hasn’t?
Advertising sure hasn’t. I’ve wasted a good chunk of money on that. Word of mouth and also social networking are really the only things that seem to work. I have also had a lot of success in building interest through the book trailer I created for In Plain Sight. It’s short but it leaves you with a tease that makes you want to know more.
You’ve published with Tate and CreateSpace. How have your experiences been? What are your thoughts on self-publishing versus a traditional big house?
So far I can’t compare my experience with a traditional publishing house because none of my books have been published by one. It is easier to get book signings because of The Victor having been published through Tate but I still have to do the bulk of all my own promotion, marketing, social networking, etc., and pay for all my own expenses.
Parting inspiration for wannabe authors?
If you get an idea, write it! Don’t give up after just a few chapters. Just try to get it all down on paper first no matter how mediocre you think it might be then go back over it and fine-tune it over and over until you’re happy with the end product!
Thanks for rocketeering with us today, Marlayne. And don't forget to follow Marlayne on her blog.