It's Christmas Eve and our guest author today is Marcia Lee Laycock, whose latest book "Christmas" is appropriate for the season.
Marcia writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor's wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone was also short listed for a Word Award. Marcia has four devotional books in print and has contributed to several anthologies. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan. Marcia is also a sought after speaker for women's retreats and one day events.
Welcome Marcia and Merry Christmas!
For those who aren't familiar with your work, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I started writing when I was very young, mostly short stories and poems for my dolls. They didn’t complain so I kept it up. :) Then my aunt gave me a copy of Emily of New Moon for my eleventh birthday. I discovered you could call yourself a writer and determined that someday that’s what I’d be. It took many years but I published my first short story in 1990 and began writing articles for a local paper about that same time. I self published a compilation of my column in 2002 (a third edition was released not long ago), a second devotional book in 2005 and then my novel, One Smooth Stone won me the Best New Canadian Christian Author Award and was published in 2007. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone, was also shortlisted for a Word Award at Write Canada. I now have four devotional books in print and three other novels (fantasy for middle grade readers).
I’ve also been privileged to be part of five or six anthologies, including the Hot Apple Cider books published in Canada.
On a personal note, I am a pastor’s wife with three grown daughters and two getting-old golden retrievers. When I’m not writing I’m reading or travelling with my husband.
Do you write fiction, non-fiction or both?
I write both. The short story form is a favourite but I love writing longer fiction as well. I’ve written hundreds, maybe thousands of devotionals and articles of various kinds. Right now I’m working on a play and another fantasy series.
What is your latest book about?
My latest book is a collection of short stories simply titled, Christmas. It takes the reader from the far reaches of the galaxy to the streets of an inner city and the cold landscape of the far north, but in all of these unusual settings the Christmas Spirit is alive and well.
Is there a message in this book that you want to convey to your readers?
All of my writing is infused with a Christian world view. I strive to tell a good story that leads my readers to a closer relationship with Christ, or perhaps a new relationship with Him. The themes that run through my work focus on the grace and mercy of a God who loves us unconditionally. My new work in progress, the fantasy series, deals with the theme of longing for a father’s love, something I believe all of us carry deep within us.
How were you saved?
I came to Christ later in life, when I was in my early 30’s. I’d been running from him for many years but after a series of deaths in our community (2 of them suicides of close friends), I came to the end of myself. After those suicides, my husband began searching for answers to the “big questions” in life and he challenged me to try and articulate what I believed, or didn’t believe, about God. I thought I knew all about the “religion game” and didn’t want anything to do with it, but the questions Spence asked would not go away. Then one day, on a lonely road in the Yukon, I asked God to do something to prove He existed. Not long after I woke up one morning and was very ill. After several days of the same I realized I was pregnant and realized, with a certainty I’d never known before, that God had intervened in my life and given me the one desire of my heart, a baby. The “experts” had said it could never happen so this miracle melted my heart and then a wonderful pastor in a tiny evangelical mission church in the far north gave me a book called Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell. That book convinced my mind that Jesus was the Son of God. My life changed in many rather drastic ways almost overnight and within two years my husband and I were in Bible college.
Wow! What a powerful testimony of God's love for you. Do you have a favourite Scripture verse?
Hebrews 10:24 – “Let us consider therefore how we may spur one another on to love and good deeds.” This has been one of the verses I strive for in my life. I titled my devotional column, The Spur, from this verse. It seemed a good fit when I began, because I was writing for a newspaper in the heart of Alberta cowboy country.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
I love this quote by Brenda Ueland - “Writing is not a performance. It is a generosity.” I try to keep that in mind every day when I sit down to write. I would also encourage aspiring writers to never stop learning. Take courses, go to conferences and workshops, learn from others. And don’t quit. Someone once said the only failed writer is the writer who stops writing.
Great advice and a great quote! Thank you for sharing with us today Marcia. And dear Readers if you are interested in reading Marcia's book she is giving a copy away. The first person to leave a comment below is the winner! Merry Christmas!