Greetings from Sarah Sundin in California! I hope you’re keeping cool in this heat wave! Today I have the honor of interviewing multi-published author Marlene Banks, who calls herself a word warrior—don’t you love that? Marlene shares today about how she fights with those words of hers, in the only battle with eternal significance.
Tell us about your book, Generations Series…# 1~Land and Legacy.
The Generations Series is a collection of seven short stories (novellas) about several families explored through multiple generations. These stories focus on a bloodline’s spiritual DNA, the hand of God throughout the family as well as its persistent generational manipulation from the adversary. The series is on Amazon Kindle as an eBook. Land and Legacy is the first story featuring the centrally situated Shepherd clan. Followers of the Light is the second novella about the Carpenter family. Forthcoming is another family to the Generations collection, the Delmonts. The families are positively and negatively connected to each other as the saga evolves, revealing each family’s generational trail.
What inspired you to write this book?
I’m writing the series to illustrate spiritual alignment throughout generations of a bloodline. I’ve been aware of the spiritual influence carried in generations of the same family for years. In my own family it is very obvious in certain ways beyond physical looks and learned behavior. There’s something deeper that happens. Reading Scripture, it became more apparent that God’s relationship with His creation went, and still goes, beyond the individual but forward into future generations. From there I got excited and my storytelling gift took over along with a desire to try writing short stories. So the short answer would be, the Holy Spirit inspired me.
Why did you write this book?
I wrote Land and Legacy because I wanted the series to start with a familiar kind of family, one similar in some ways to my own family background. I wanted the Shepherds to be the central family with each subsequent event revolving around them.
What is the primary focus of your book?
The overarching focus in the series and in the individual novellas is to demonstrate Divine purpose, guidance and destination; past, present and future within families.
What was your greatest challenge in writing this book?
I am a novelist and a rather wordy one at that, so writing these short stories is a hard task for me. Short story telling can be very limiting. Keeping the length down and the story interesting is not easy. You have to pick and choose a lot more and you must be careful about what you show and what you tell. Those dynamics are totally different than in novel writing. These stories are very much a learning tool for me. I think they will help me streamline my novels more as well.
People have such short attention spans today so writing shorter stories is a good thing from that perspective.
I hear you about the difficulty of writing short! How do you share Christ in your writing?
I weave spiritual truths into the entire story where I think relevant. My references to Christ Jesus and anything concerning the Kingdom of God relate to any of the protagonist’s pleasures or problems which makes it relatable to the reader. Writing with a Christ-centered mentality concerning every and anything in life makes it natural to write from that perspective.
That’s wonderful! What themes do you return to again and again in your writing?
Trusting God in our lives and how He works behind the scene in all areas of human existence. Trusting God first and in everything is what I believe He really wants from His human creation.
How has being a writer impacted your relationship with Christ?
That’s a good question. I think being a Kingdom writer and word warrior, as I refer to myself, has made me focus more on my spiritual life as a whole. It opened my eyes to a calling that for years I wasn’t aware of as something from God. It has helped me order my Christian beliefs and seek Truth from Scripture and most of all, respect the power of words. Words matter, spoken or written, they are spirits. Writing, reading Scripture and prayer has made that abundantly clear to me. So I take the task of writing for Christ’s Kingdom seriously whether in my career, fiction writing or my Kingdom service ministry.
What would be your ideal writing place? And…what’s your actual writing place like?
My ideal writing place would be on a farm or in a rural area in my personal library/office. My current writing space is in the city, a separated office space in my bedroom.
Why do you love writing?
I was designed by my Creator to tell stories and be a writer. I was born for this purpose, to exalt my High and Holy Father and to mainly (but not only) serve His Kingdom through the written word. I am one of His end time word warriors having been given a scribal anointing. I feel most alive when I write. I am ecstatic when I finish a story. I write in the spirit so I feel close to my Redeemer when I am fashioning a story or organizing nonfiction work.
When did you first recognize God’s call to write for Him?
About a year after I got saved but prior to that, since I was a very young child, I had a desire to write. I started writing stories before I was old enough to write cursive. I printed them out. I grew up loving to read and write stories but never considered it seriously as a profession. It was just a hobby to me until I got saved, That’s when The Lord moved and developed my writing and showed me why He gave me the gift and desire.
What is one thing about writing that you wish non-writers knew?
Sorry but I have several. First, writing a novel or book is not an easy way to make money. It is not a guaranteed big income-increasing method for most writers. If you are a writer, you will write if you never make a dime. It’s what you do and love to do.
Next, I wish non-writers would understand that it is not as easy as they think. It takes time, concentration and a workable knowledge of language, grammar and style. It also takes knowledge of the subject whether in fiction or nonfiction. In fiction, crafting a coherent and engaging set of circumstances with believable characters drawing the reader into the storyline and keeping them there is hard work if done with any proficiency.
Lastly, that it is extremely difficult to get traditionally published by a reputable publishing company. It has always been a hard endeavor, but the publishing industry has changed a great deal and not in favor or benefit of the writers. Writing as a career or to be published can be a draining and lonely journey.
Not easy—times three! Amen! Marlene, do you have an unfulfilled dream?
I actually have several unfulfilled dreams. I’ll tell you two. One is to travel the United States in a posh RV, that I hope to own, at my leisure and visit all fifty states before I die. I don’t mean just driving through them but actually visiting each state. I think I could cross off about a fifteen of the fifteen states that I have already visited, some more than once.
Another unfulfilled dream is to train therapy dogs, rescue or military/police dogs. I’m a canine fancier from way back and to train those necessary working dogs is as good as it gets.
What do you read for pleasure? What are you reading right now?
I read a lot of novels, but I also read quite a bit of nonfiction for historical research and Bible study. I like memoirs and biographies and books on historical events, mostly American history. I just finished reading a Ken Follett novel, Fall of the Giants, which focused on events around World War I. I tend to gravitate toward those long 700-900 page type novels which most people avoid. I love reading a long well-written saga. I also just read another Benjamin January novel (mystery) by Barbara Hambly. I like mysteries, historical and romance when it comes to novels.
Do you have a “day job” or a previous career? Does it influence what or how you write?
I am retired, but my career was in nursing. On the surface, it appears not to influence my writing since I don’t write about hospitals or the medical field. Yet, the influence is definitely there when I write about human relationships and interaction. I am and have always been an astute people watcher. I think most novelists are. Working with people and around people in that environment for over forty years has given me a deep well to pull from. I’ve seen people at their worst, their best and everything in between because of my job. I’ve had decades of earning a Ph.D. in human behavior from that career and it serves me well to this day. Many characters are imaginative composites of patients, their family and friends, and my coworkers.
I’m sure that made you a wonderful nurse—and a great writer! Tell us about your next project.
I am currently writing a futuristic/apocalyptic type novel titled Commonwealth of the Cross. This is a very different direction with my writing. Historically edged stories are a much more comfortable niche for me. I’m in a season of growth, expanding my writing abilities and style. Commonwealth of the Cross is about the last days before Messiah’s second coming and what the spiritual condition will be like in the future USA with its underground Christian community. It will be in Paperback form as well as Kindle eBook.
Thank you for sharing with us, Marlene!
To learn more about Marlene and her books, please visit Marlene’s website.
Writing for Him,