Hello, and welcome to this blog’s first author-interview! As I said in a recent post, I am very excited about this! So, shall we begin?
J.A. Marx, author of suspense that mends souls
Welcome Mrs. Marx! I’m so happy to have you here. Would you like to introduce yourself and perhaps share a bit about you?
Thanks for inviting me into your virtual world, Raechel. I’m grateful to be here.
As a happy empty nester, I write from the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. However, I grew up in Colorado (my heart’s home), and then lived in Nashville and Cleveland before moving to Texas. I’ve got two grown children, one grandson, and a granddaughter soon to arrive. I’m still married to my college sweatheart.
What a blessing that you’re still married to you college sweetheart!
What first spurred you on to write these particular kind of books? They are so beautifully unique and healing.
The way you state this question brings a tear to my eye because my heart’s desire is to mend souls through stories. I’ve experienced healing, physically, spiritually, emotionally, and relationally—and that’s contagious. Something so divinely and genuinely life changing begs to be passed on to others. As far as the genre itself, author Frank Peretti was my inspiration.
I completely agree – it really is contagious! God’s healing is so powerful and so thrilling – and humbling – to experience.
What do you hope your readers will take away from your books?
My prayer is that readers will experience healing and/or insight along with the characters.
Fantastic prayer and goal.
How many years have you been writing?
I started writing in October 2001
Would you mind sharing your background – where you learned the deep spiritual healing that is revealed in your Destiny Series?
I was saved at 18. Long story short, I later had a powerful encounter with the Holy Spirit at a Vineyard Church in Colorado and realized the Third Person of the Trinity was the missing link in my life—the gasoline for my tank, if you will. Through pastoring and mentoring, I was healed, equipped, and empowered to pass on what I received.
Nothing satisfies me more than when I’m with someone and pray, “More of You, Lord,” and then sit back and witness God do a miracle in the person. Even though He uses willing vessels, it is all Him!
Amen to that. And beautifully spoken.
Of your Three Destiny books, do you have a favorite – one that is particularly special in your heart? (I know, not such a nice questions!)
I like them all . . . but after I finish the bountiful amount of final edits on any book, I’m totally sick of that one and ready to move on.
Haha, I can imagine that. Editing can be tedious work.
What is your writing routine like – do you outline at all, plot it, or just write as you go?
I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer (aka pantser). But after the first 5-6 chapters, I have to stop and establish personalities, setting, a theme, and a moral premise. Then I revert to pantser mentality, and let the characters take over.
Which came first – characters or the idea for the story?
Always the character. For The Destiny Series, my mind’s eye saw a woman washed up on a beach, unconscious. I had to do something with her. Who wouldn’t?
Of each of your characters, was there one you related to most?
Ha! That’s a tough one. Probably, Dr. David Young, introduced in book 2, Destiny Delivered.
How long did it take you to write each book?
I wrote all 6 in the series within two years, but they were horribly written. I head-hopped, floundered with passive writing, and I had an addiction to adjectives. It took me almost a decade to learn and perfect the craft.
That’s pretty good, even if you did have to go over it a bit.
Do you have any favorite books you’d like to recommend to my readers?
One of my current favorites is Demon: A Memoir, by Tosca Lee. I believe every Christian would benefit from reading this profound work of biblical-fiction. You’ll come away with a deeper impression of God’s amazing love.
For non-fiction, I’d suggest my current read, How to Stop the Pain, by Dr. James Richards. Another phenomenal read. Could be life changing.
I’ve heard good things about all of Tosca Lee’s books, though I haven’t read them yet, nor the other one you mentioned. Thanks for sharing.
What are your writing plans for the future? Any more books featuring Chiara and the group?
I’m editing book 4, but who knows.
What was fact and was fiction? Was any of it based on real life experiences, or purely imagination?
A few minor scenarios came from real life, but it’s essentially all my imagination. There are, however, many news articles, and such, that endorse the relevancy of the storyline. In fact, the devious and ugly situation in book three came straight from a newspaper.
I heard about that fact in the third book – I can’t wait to read it.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
Yikes! My genre is not super popular with editors/agents. So I’ll sum my experience with a true story. I pitched The Destiny Series (for the zillionth time) at a writer’s conference in 2014. The acquisition editor read Destiny Defied (book 1) then had a couple of people above her read it because she liked it. She sent me an email saying, “We love your story, and your writing is amazing. But we can’t sell this genre of book.”
I said, thank you for the feedback. Oh, and by the way, if you’re interested, I also have a romantic suspense— And within two minutes of sending that email, she replied, “Send it!” Within a couple of days, she offered a contract after reading only the first 5 chapters. That book comes out later 2015 (or 2016). I’m not a romance writer, so go figure! So I self-pubbed the first 3 books of The Destiny Series.
If you had to go back and do it all over again, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would have changed?
Ten years ago? Yes. Otherwise, not really. A decade of re-writing/editing/rewriting was enough to drive me insane. LOL
Now just for some fun questions:
Are you an animal person? If so, what is your favorite animal?
Penguins rock! My love for them is well known among family and friends, and my writer’s critique group often teases me: “What would Mr. Penguin say about that?” So I surprised them one night and showed up with a penguin puppet.
Haha, good to know! And I love that you brought a penguin puppet one night! That’s great.
Do you prefer hand-written letters or emails?
Depends on the sender. I love when my children give me homemade, hand-written cards & letters.
That’s sweet. :) handwritten cards and letters from those you love is so special!
What are your hobbies/what you like to do when you’re not writing?
I enjoy painting. I turn on worship music, find a picture I like, and attempt to put it on canvas. My other hobbies are nutrition and fitness; I work out 6 days a week.
Above all else, I seek to start and end every day in the word and in prayer. That’s not a hobby, of course, but some might consider the amount of time I spend in the word hobby-esque.
Thank you so much, Mrs. Marx, for visiting and sharing your time! I really enjoyed it.
And readers, thank you for reading too! Be sure to check out J.A.Marx’s books. She has these two out currently:
Destiny Defied and Destiny Delievered