Today I have the privilege of interviewing Author, Marvin D. Wilson. Good morning, Marvin, glad you could stop by and so kind of you to offer such fine incentives.
- Everyone who reads this interview and leaves a comment will receive a downloadable PDF file first chapter sample of both I ROMANCED THE STONE and OWEN FIDDLER.
At the end of the month, once all the hosts have sent Marvin a complete list of all those who left comments, he will do a drawing and select 3 winners:
- 2nd runner-up receives (his/her choice)
either a print copy of I ROMANCED THE STONE (Memoirs of a Recovering
Hippie), or, a downloadable PDF file copy of OWEN FIDDLER.
- 1st runner-up receives the same choice.
- The Grand Prize winner will receive both books.
I’m sure your generosity will be appreciated, Marvin. Before we begin, would you like to tell my readers a little about yourself?
I am a man of many careers and walks of life; first as a rock and roll musician, then a nightclub entertainer, I’ve been a Zen Buddhist lay-minister, a carpenter, woodworker and cabinetmaker, a small business owner, a network marketer, a building trades instructor, a drunken crack head, and am now a recovered old hippie, a non-religious Maverick Christian spiritualist launching a golden years career as an author. I’m kind of a nutcase. I can be a very good friend, although I might embarrass you in public with spontaneous and/or eccentric behavior. I can say wise things and also make wisecracks. I can tell a good joke and also be one. I have a wonderful wife of thirty years, three great fully grown children with four grandkids and one on the way.
Thank you. And now for those dreaded questions.
1. Your first book, which I thoroughly enjoyed, was the autobiographical I ROMANCED THE STONE and I noticed that one of your IM signatures is that of the "good" brother, Paize from your just released novel, OWEN FIDDLER. However, after talking with you and reading OWEN FIDDLER, I have to wonder - isn't Owen himself closer to your "real" personality than one might expect from a fictional character?
We are all multi-faceted complex beings. But, we are also equally endowed with the intuitive knowledge of right and wrong and have identical free wills with which
to make our choices. When reduced to choice-makers in a universe of basic
fundamental dualities and dichotomies, we are in this sense quite simple beings. When I was a youngster, my Dad used to tell me, “Marvin, there are always two ways to do anything. There’s the right way and there’s the wrong way. Do it the right way.” OWEN FIDDLER is the Marvin (or anyone else, for that matter) who ignores that simple but wise admonition and chooses to do the things the wrong way because it is either: easier, or more self-gratifying, or one of those (what I call) “short cuts to a dead end” in the pursuit of quick fix pleasure and/or happiness. Owen gets his name because he likes to dance, but never bothers to pay the fiddler. Hence, he is always in a state of owing (“Owen”) the fiddler, the proverbial karma debt collector. Paize gets his name because he is the opposite; he always makes sure he “Pays” the fiddler. I
believe in the truth of the Law of Attraction, so I am making conscious and
sub-conscious efforts to be more like Paize and less like Owen. Is Owen the more “real” me? I hope not, not anymore, at least. Used to be. I’ll leave the final judgment (on this plane of existence) to those who survive me.
2. Do you find that your work gets negative feedback due to its controversial theme?
If you mean the underlying Christian Theology in both books I’ve published to date, no, so far it hasn’t been a problem. I try to write in a way that is not at all “preachy” – I’m not evangelical with my writing, and actually I’m not a religious person at all. I leave dogma and outdated litanies out of it. I do my best to write
books that will engage and entertain readers from any faith or no-faith at all.
True spirituality transcends any particular religion. I suspect OWEN will be more controversial to traditional religious Christians than to the secular readership, because while I acknowledge the power of redemption and salvation, I poo-poo any notion that there is some evil deity with the power to damn us. We do a fine enough job of damning ourselves without some giant flaming boogeyman poking us in the arse with his spear as a prompt. Free will is the key to Heaven or Hell and it is always an erroneous copout to think or say, “The Devil made me do it.”
I ROMANCED THE STONE is somewhat “controversial” because I give testimony to a CURE for addiction … this goes head up against traditional AA/12-step philosophy, and STONE has met with some rejection from those folks. It’s the truth, however, and my own cure is not some fluke. Recent advances in treatment philosophy and methods have debunked the idea of “once an addict always an addict.” Addiction is a symptom of a deeper “dis-ease,” not the disease itself. Cure the
underlying disease, the symptoms go away naturally.
3. Do you listen to music while you work? If so, what kind?
No, probably because of my formal Zen training years ago. I like to do one thing at a time. The old Zen saying goes, “When you eat, just eat. When you sit, just sit.” So,
when I write, I just write. When I listen to music, I just listen to music.
Not that I can’t multi-task, I can do it with the best of them. That’s because
when I multi-task, I just multi-task. Sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s not –
there’s truth in that. As for music, I love ALL genres of music … mmm, except
for the quasi new-age schlocky “easy listening” jazz. If I’m going to listen to
jazz, give me Coltrain, Miles, Weather Report, stuff that gets deep and out of
sight, delivering the WORD in the universal spiritual language of music. I love
4. Do you edit as you work, or do you prefer to get the whole thing down before switching from your writer to your editor mode?
You know, Peggy, it varies with me. When I’m in the writing “zone” and can’t type fast enough to keep up with the thoughts and inspirations, I have no time to slow down and edit. Editing involves thinking, and my best writing comes when I am
thoughtlessly absorbed in a sort of trance. Those spells can last for hours up to a couple of days. Might sometimes be the sloppiest mess of grammar and
punctuation you’ve ever seen puked onto a page, but the essence of the writing
is the best stuff I do. So, during those hallowed times, I just let ‘er rip until the inspiration runs dry. I refuse to re-read for at least a day … I need fresh eyes to evaluate it properly. When I do re-read, I then put on the editor’s cap, pull out my scalpel and start cutting the crap out of it. I have almost as much fun with this process as in the actual writing. Didn’t used to, it used to seem like work to me. But learning all I have from other professionals (including you) about crafting good prose has given birth to a new delight in me towards this part of the art. It’s a more conscious, savory fun than full speed ahead first drafting … finding and saving the nuggets, improving the pretty good stuff, re-writing the not-so-good-but-worth-trying-to-salvage stuff, and taking joy in hitting the “delete” button when you know it will
improve the impact of the story. If I’m not in the “zone” and writing just because it’s “time to get some work done” on one of my books, then I often do at least some of the obvious editing necessary as I go along.
5. Your vision of the devil's role in things is quite similar to that expressed by Piers
Anthony in his Incarnations of Immortality series. Have you read them? And if
so, what is your opinion of his work?
Well, if his vision is similar to mine, he must be a very wise man indeed! (smile) Honestly, I haven’t read them, but your question prompted me to go online and check his writing out. I’ve heard much about him. He’s a prolific writer who does seem
to write along some of the themes I take interest in. His reader reviews range from a few of the “This is crap – save yourself the time” kind, to lots of the “Brilliant! Best book I’ve read in years!” kind also, so that means he’s evoking emotion and stimulating thought and dialogue. Thanks for the pointer, I’ll pick up a couple books and read them.
6. On that note, what authors have inspired you? Which have turned you off?
Richard Bach and Herman Hesse are my number one and two favorites in the spiritual/inspirational genre. Gotta go with Stephen King in the suspense/thriller area. I’m not a big fan of that genre overall, but his writing technique and style are phenomenal. I’ve read his “On Writing” and keep it as a textbook.
In historical fiction, James Clavell’s “Shogun” blew my mind. I read it in my mid-twenties while on the road with my rock and roll band. Another band member had just read it; she handed me the still warm book and told me I should check it out. That was early afternoon. I got so lost in that book I read it straight through. Picture me in a shared hotel room in bed with my flashlight on (so as to not keep my
roommate awake) at 4:00 in the morning swearing to myself I’ll just read to the end of this next chapter and then get some sleep. A while later you hear me groan because there’s no way in Hell I’m gonna get any sleep without turning the page and finding out what’s going to happen in the next chapter. That’s good writing.
Who has turned me off? Many will consider this heresy, but Hemmingway. I’m not turned off by his writing and storytelling skills … he was brilliant, oftentimes genius. It’s just that he was such a racist bigot. I’ll be reading along enjoying every
phrase and plot nuance and then he’ll throw a “nigger” at me and piss me off,
disrupting the read. I’m not against using ethnically degrading words if they are placed properly within the context of a story. For instance, “Abdul’s face twisted and flushed crimson. He slapped his ‘so-called’ friend in the face with a shout, ‘Nobody calls me a Camel Jockey!’” … that is to me appropriate writing. But, “The nigger ran over to the fallen man and shot him twice in the head. Some nigger.” - that is not. That’s first person narrative with a shot of internal thought comment, and it’s a racist doing the storytelling.
7. What is the most challenging aspect of being a novelist?
Striving for perfection. As a published author, that is. You can write any way you like to your little heart’s content for you own personal pleasure or the entertainment
of your circle of friends and family. But when you step over the line into the world of professional writers, you’re in some deep waters occupied by a plethora of accomplished swimmers. I used to read just for fun, and I still do read for fun, but now I also read with more of an analytical approach. It’s my job. I want to add to the volume of well-written books out there, not contribute any to the piles of dung on the page. It’s kind of like becoming a musician. Before you understand music theory, how music is put together, what makes good sonorous combinations, what makes a well-written composition and why, etc., you can just enjoy yourself listening to music. After you cross the line into professional musician, you can’t help but “take the thing apart” in your mind as you listen to a tune or a symphony.
8. What do you hope readers will take away from your work?
I write books that are intended to deliver spiritual messages in an entertaining, oftentimes humorous, more than often irreverent, sometimes sexy and even ribald way, through the spinning of a good tale. It is my hope that the reader will have
been entertained along the way, and that he/she will have been given some food
for thought and inspiration at the conclusion.
9. Do you have any advice for aspiring novelists?
Keep your day job for a while, this is a loooooong process! (smile – no, make that a grimace)
Seriously, you have to believe in yourself, in your ability to communicate
through the written word. Develop thick skin, you’re going to get slammed from
time to time, but also be open to criticism. There’s no room for self-pitiful emotions in this business when it comes to perfecting your craft. Have your manuscripts read by professionals (not your friends or family) in the field and if the first reviews don’t come back so good, don’t pout about it. Set about with determination to improving your draft. When I sent my first manuscript I ROMANCED THE STONE in to the publisher’s editor the first time, it came back so marked up I felt like I had just flunked third grade English! Grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, passive voices, paragraph composition, she beat the crap out of my precious little baby. What? You mean my cherished brainchild is not perfection just as it is? ALL my family and friends think it’s sheer genius! (laugh) And that brings us to my last bit of advice.
Work with an editor – a good one, one who is not afraid to hurt your feelings and
step on your egotistical “style” toes in favor of well-written English. Style has its place, but overdoing it (especially as an “unknown”) can make you come off as amateurish. Do this BEFORE making submissions. Small pub houses (and they are the only ones you’re going to get through to as an “aspiring” author) these days more and more want to read polished manuscripts, not “diamonds in the rough.” They often don’t have the time or money to do all the work for you.
10. What are you working on now?
I’m about half the way through writing a third book, a fiction titled “Heaven’s Slope Ascended,” and have begun to sketch out a story synopsis for a fourth book. AND, I have accepted another author's invitation to do some collaborative writing on an historical fiction project. Besides the writing, I am in a feverish marketing mood, part of which is this blog tour.
For any readers who wish to know where they can get my books and/or how they can contact me, (and I LOVE hearing from new readers, enjoy dialogue and making new friends), here is my contact info:
OWEN FIDDLER – The Ebook is now available on www.mobipocket.com and
www.fictionwise.com. By the end of January, it should be on www.ebooksonthe.net, and for Kindle Book lovers on amazon.com. Print copies will take a bit longer; the trade paperback version will most likely be out by mid-year 2008. For more info on OWEN FIDDLER, reviews, excerpts, and a 3 minute trailor video, go to: www.owenfiddler.com.
I ROMANCED THE STONE (Memoirs of a Recovering Hippie) sells as a trade paperback on
www.amazon.com – If you would like a signed copy direct from me, contact me via e-mail at:
My MySpace is: www.myspace.com/Paize_Fiddler
My Blog, Free Spirit, is: http://inspiritandtruths.blogspot.com,
And my E-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you, Marvin. It’s been fun. Please stop around again when your next book comes out.
Thank you, Peggy. I got a bit wordy with some of the answers, but that’s because your questions were so stimulating, and they tickled some of my creative writer’s rib bones. Thank you again for hosting me today. My very best to you and your readers.