I am pleased with the honor of presenting to you, new christian author, Marlayne Giron. Her first work of fiction, The Victor, is a fairytale full of allegory similar to that of the late, great C. S. Lewis.
Please tell us about yourself.
I was raised in a non religious Jewish home. Both of my parents are Jewish as is the rest of my entire family. I was raised with an anti-Christian/anti-Jesus bias and was told it was the height of betrayal to my Jewish heritage to "convert". I was never interested in anything spiritually and at age 13 considered myself an atheist. About that time the movie The Omen came out and I was reading the book which references scriptures in the book of Revelation which I looked up out of curiosity while at a neighbor's babysitting. I read the entire book of Revelation at the age of 13 and it scared the living daylights out of me. One of my friends even took me to one of the first Calvary Chapel concerts in their new building in which I went forward (not understanding what I was doing) and got a Bible only to turn around and ask her if she was trying to convert me. She said yes! And, I told her it was never going to happen. I would even pray with the Jesus freaks that were everywhere in those days just to get rid of them quicker!
Would you share your testimony with us?
When I was 17 (back in 1977) a new television series came on for that Easter called Jesus of Nazareth by Franco Zefferelli. I wanted to see the Ten Commandments (again) and my mom insisted on Jesus of Nazareth (she won). It was perhaps the first time I saw a realistic and well-acted portrayal of the events surrounding Jesus life, death and resurrection and I recognized the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Sadducee's depicted in the movie in myself and other Jewish people I knew. During the crucifixion scene my eyes were opened and I remember thinking: if He could do that for me, the least I can do is give Him my life and I did so, praying right in front of the television set. The next day I asked a Christian friend to take me to her church so I could officially accept Jesus in front of witnesses and in the days and weeks following, I began to call and write family and friends about how they too needed to be saved.
Tell us about your first release, The Victor.
The Victor is what is classically known as a Eucatastrophe. Everything begins well and then one by one a series of catastrophic events occur throughout the book until the reader thinks it just can't get any worse when suddenly there is a glorious resolution at the end. The Victor is an allegory of the Gospels set in a medieval realm with fictional characters representing God the Father as the benevolent King Eloth; his sword of power (Ephlal – which means judgment in Hebrew and represents the word of God), his foster son, Ardon, who represents Adam, his only begotten son, Joshua who represents Jesus, Baron Lucius who represents Lucifer, who lusts after Eloth's sword so he can use it to conquer and enslave; and Llyonesse, the daughter of Ardon who represents the bride of Christ who is betrothed in childhood to the Prince, Joshua. The Victor retells the fall of Satan, the fall of man, the sacrifice of Christ and the redemption of his people and his bride from captivity and slavery through his sacrificial death at the hands of Lucius who lusts for vengeance against the King who banished him for his rebellion.
Where did you get the idea for your novel? The characters
At the age of 22 (In 1982) I got the inspiration for my book, The Victor, from Amy Grant's song: “Fairytale” from her Father's Eyes album from the song verse: two princes wage the battle for eternity but the victor has been known from the start. It made me think of Satan as an evil knight in black armor and Jesus as a knight in shining armor crossing swords over "the bride of Christ". I began to write the story in my free time at work on an IBM Selectric typewriter 30 years ago. Shortly after I began to write, I asked the Lord for a confirming scripture that the idea was from Him. Psalm 45 popped instantly into my head. I looked it up and this is what the first verse read: My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. It just floored me how perfect it was! I wrote and rewrote the story over the course of 30 years, tried to get it published but after a 4-year bout with ulcerative colitis that resulted in major surgery, then infertility then the adoption of my daughter and having to work full-time to pay the bills, I just gave up on my dream until almost exactly a year ago when Tate Publishing called me to offer me a contract. The Victor is now due for release on April 14th. Also as a result of my former employment with John Styll at CCM Magazine (who is now currently President of the Gospel Music Association), both he and Amy Grant now have a copies of The Victor and Amy Grant personally autographed my copy.
Each of the characters represents significant characters in the Bible either individually or as a group. One of the more interesting characters is Penloth, Captain of the King's guard (which are called Seraphim) and who represents the archangel Michael (the warrior). Penloth is brave, loyal but also imbued with a wicked sense of humor and a quick temper.
What kind of research did you have to do for the book?
I am a big fan of the Lord of the Rings and Stephen Lawhead (who also has a copy of my book) as well as the Chronicles of Narnia. I also really love swashbuckling type of movies and were influenced a bit by some of them. I also got a book about Life in a Castle in Medieval England as my only bit of research. The rest was all of my imagination.
How did you get involved in writing?
I have always written short stories. At age 12 a good friend of mine by the name of Lisa and I would write “Steve Austin” stories (a popular TV show in the early 1970's) and put ourselves into the plot as characters. It was so much fun reading these aloud to one another at our sleepovers that I figure between the two of us we each wrote over 200 short stories and one “feature length” story of several hundred pages (which I still have). Lisa used to red-mark my stories for incorrect grammar and spelling because she wanted to be a teacher when she grew up. It would make me so furious I swore (with gritted teeth) that I would write a story she couldn't find any errors in which ultimately resulted in my becoming a better writer.
When I was 19 I was desperate to find a nice Christian boy. I bugged the Lord so much about it on a daily basis that finally He yelled at me through the scriptures with the verse in Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart!!!. I then felt impressed by Him to write a story in which Jesus appears to take my character out on a date and during that date introduces me to the man He has chosen for me. I always used to pray for my future husband by name and that name was always “Michael”. I even had a list of what I wanted: a large family, nice friends, nice-looking, good personality, handy around the house, plays guitar and "pure" (a tall order). I illustrated the story, depicting what "my Michael" looked like to me.
Fast forward five years later at a Calvary Chapel College and Career retreat where I meet a nice Christian boy named Michael. I did not mention the story to him. We began to date and on our first date while I was in the ladies room, one of the girls of the two other couples we had tripled dated with (who had never met me before in her life) asked Michael's sister and husband what they thought of me. They thought I was nice to which this girl responded that I was Michael's future wife. Michael's reaction to this girl (who he really didn't like much) was: NO WAY NOW!!! Five years later we were married and I had my story on display with his name and picture in it at our reception. I haven't seen it since – I think it got raptured.
What do you enjoy most about the writing process?
It's a lot like reading. When I am on a roll I find myself caught up in the story and transported into the world I'm writing about. I can see in my mind's eye what is happening and when it's funny I'll laugh aloud; when it's inspired I know it's the Lord writing through me.
What are you currently writing?
Time permitting, I think I would like to continue writing a fictionalized account of my life I've entitled: An Unremarkable Life. I have had some very obvious and God-orchestrated events in my life (starting with the miracle of my coming to Christ) and thought it would make an interesting read. I have to stress that I am a very atypical author. I don't have a college education or journalism background. In fact, I am a career secretary (currently unemployed for the 3rd time in the last 6 months) who has learned everything on the job. So far this is the only story idea the Lord has ever given me. I am the most unlikely person to have a book published. I have no published short stories to my credit, not even letters to the editor. The most frequent form of writing I do is business correspondence. In fact, a year ago – the same week I got the contract from Tate Publishing, I was told by a Literary Agent at a local Christian Writer's conference that no publisher would want to publish my book. It was too Christian for secular publishers and Christian publishers wouldn't be interested because they don't think allegory makes any money. I left that conference very, very depressed and discouraged. I didn't get any encouragement from my family or friends either until they heard it was going to be published. For the past 30 years I couldn't pay people to read it!
I often wonder why the Lord chose me to write The Victor and He keeps directing me back to that scripture in 1 Corinthians 1:27: "...But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” Sometimes when I reread The Victor I find it hard to believe that I was the one who wrote it!
What are your favorite books to read and why?
I'll read anything by Stephen Lawhead (except for Science Fiction) and I love medieval fantasy/fiction, King Arthur type stories. I also loved Watership Down, the classic Fairy Tales. I'm always looking for good books to read. I finished The Pillars of the Earth a year and a half ago as well as its sequel but my all time favorite book of all time is The Lord of The Rings. I read The Hobbit and The Trilogy all in a single weekend when I was 13 – I couldn't put it down! I think I love these types of books because they reflect so much of Christian theology in the story. The theme of the bible is the most popular structure for good stories today, whether in print or in the movies: Paradise, the fall, the struggle, the ultimate sacrifice, the redemption, and the final resolution/resurrection.
A Sneak Peek at The Victor:
The court heralds blew on their trumpets, signaling the arrival of the King. The room hushed and Eloth entered the hall accompanied by his son, Joshua, the bloodstains of those who had fallen in battle still on his vesture in silent indictment of Lucius' heinous deeds. He ascended his throne and seated himself, laying his sword, Ephlal, across his lap. Lucius regarded the powerful sword fearfully, backing away from it until he stood flattened against Sir Eric and Penloth who held him fast. Eloth turned to stare at him, his gray eyes stern beyond endurance.
The Court Chamberlain stood forth amidst a brief fanfare and read the charges aloud from a scroll.
"Baron Lucius of Northumberland, thou art accused of attempted assassination, high treason, and rebellion against the Crown. For each of these crimes, death by fire is the penalty-" A loud cheer erupted from the crowd in unanimous approval. The Chamberlain held up his hand for silence, scowling.
"Dost thou have anything to say in thy defense before thy judgment is pronounced by the King?”
Lucius’ mouth twisted into an ugly sneer. “I recognize not the authority of this court!” he spat, straining against his bonds. All in the court gasped angrily at his sheer effrontery, hoping Eloth would condemn him to a slow, painful, and torturous death.
The Chamberlain glanced at the King for a brief moment, took a deep breath and with a frown of disapproval, continued.
“Despite the gravity of thy transgressions and unrepentant conduct, the King has waived the penalty of death in the hope you shall find repentance. Instead of death by fire, upon thee and thy fellow outlaws is laid eternal banishment from this Kingdom..."
The roar of the astonished crowd in response immediately cut him off and the Chamberlain was forced to pound his staff again for silence.
Lucius was livid! Eloth's show of mercy was the final humiliation! Better to die cursing him in flames than to accept clemency like a whipped cur!
"I want none of thy stinking mercy!" he shouted, lunging forward. Sir Eric could barely hold onto him and required the aid of four other knights to keep the baron subdued. Lucius’ face was beet red with fury, spit flying as he flailed about.
“I would prefer the dignity of the flames to thy mercy!" He screamed. He rounded on the agitated crowd, his black eyes blazing. "What is Eloth but a benevolent dictator and the kingdom of Ellioth the dwelling of sheep? Twas I who governed this miserable kingdom for years without number! ‘Twas I who labored like a lap dog in his service whilst he sat upon his golden throne!" Lucius whirled back, directing his invectives at Eloth's impassive face.
"Never more shall I bow my knee in mindless submission to Him I do not own as King! I shall be my own master! I will raise mine own throne upon the rubble of Ellioth and it shall be my throne which ascends above the heights of the clouds! Do you hear me, Eloth? Do you hear me?!"
To punctuate his utter contempt for his former lord, Lucius twisted his mouth and spat upon the marble dais before Eloth’s feet.
A deafening hush descended upon the Hall; all eyes fastened fearfully upon Eloth as he rose swiftly to his feet, certain he would now execute Lucius himself. Eloth marched toward him, lifting Ephlal high, its blade glittering white-hot so that all in the hall had to shield their eyes from its brilliance save the King. Lucius blanched, his knees buckling beneath him; his bravado and arrogance gone in the face of the sword’s oncoming terror. Eloth stopped before him, the point of his glittering sword aimed at Lucius like an accusing finger of doom. Lucius’ entire body shook with uncontrollable fear and his bowels were loosed.
"Lucius of Northumberland," Eloth thundered in a terrible voice, heat from Ephlal’s humming blade scorching the hair of his face. "Thou art stripped of thy title, property, citizenship, and lands and art forever banished from Ellioth and My presence. Upon the morrow, thou shalt be put upon The Dark Angel towed out to sea and set adrift. Henceforth, thy name shall be remembered as a curse and byword and thy memory blotted out from the records of Ellioth!"
Lucius’ hands balled into fists of helpless rage, seething with fearful hatred.
"What care I for thy judgments, O King? I swear to thee this oath: Thou shalt rue this day in great bitterness and mourn that Thou didst not destroy me when it lay within Thy power!"
Eloth regarded his former steward and once most trusted servant with an impassive face, but in his gray eyes was an unfathomable pain that only two in the entire court filled with people could behold: Lucius and Eloth’s son, Joshua.
“I know,” was Eloth’s silent reply.
Available at Local Christian Retailers, http://www.target.com/, http://www.barnesandnoble.com/, http://www.amazon.com/
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