I am thrilled to introduce my readers to Marcia Laycock, winner of the Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone. As her newest book, A Tumbled Stone is released, I took the opportunity to ask her a few questions.
Katherine: Marcia, both of your books examine a major contemporary cultural issue. One side of the issue calls it “A woman’s right to choose.” The other side of the issue calls it “The human right to life.” It is a prickly subject both politically and socially. Why do you want to write about this subject?
Marcia: I believe this subject is close to the heart of God. He is always concerned about those who cannot speak for themselves or defend themselves. An unborn child is the epitome of this demographic. Unfortunately it is a subject that is too often swept under the rug, to use a cliché, and the innocent continue to suffer. I also wanted people to try to understand the stresses and difficulties a person with an unwanted pregnancy feels. I hope that after reading A Tumbled Stone the reader will have more compassion for these women.
Katherine: How did you come to be a writer?
Marcia: I started writing 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 second edition was recently released), 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. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone was just released by Word Alive Press.
Katherine: Tell us how you come up with characters.
Marcia: Characters often grow out of something I hear or see. For instance, the main character in One Smooth Stone developed after a woman asked me a profound question – “Can you imagine what it would be like for someone to discover that his mother had tried to abort him?” I did imagine and the character of Alex Donnelly emerged. He’s very much a composite of many people I knew while living in the Yukon, in Canada’s western Arctic.
Andrea, the main character in A Tumbled Stone, developed slowly as the book unfolded. She too is a composite of many people I’ve known, young women in search of their own identities who struggle to make the right choices in their lives.
Katherine: Where do you write?
Marcia: I share an office in our home with my husband who is a pastor. We’re church planting right now, so we don’t have a church building where my husband would ordinarily go to work each day. It’s been an interesting adjustment and a challenge for us both as we sit back to back at our computers. 🙂
Katherine: What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of, writing-related or not?
Marcia: I’m probably most proud and humbled of the fact that my husband and I, in spite of all our flaws somehow managed to raise three wonderful daughters who are a joy to us in many ways. God’s grace is evident in their lives and I’m very thankful for them. There was a time when I believed I would never have children (see my website for the story) so to have three beautiful daughters and now two great sons-in-law continues to amaze me.
Katherine: In your opinion, what is the greatest danger or pitfall in the life of a writer?
Marcia: Believing that it’s your talent that changes lives. I’ve had many people tell me amazing stories about how something I wrote changed them in some way. It’s important to remember that only God can do that. He uses our words to affect His purposes. We’re just being obedient in putting the words on paper. It’s an incredible privilege and blessing to be used in that way.
Katherine: Why did you choose to write this book?
Marcia: To be honest, initially it was because I had to write a sequel! 🙂 But then as the book and the main character began to take shape in my head I got excited about what I could do with it. I wanted to write a book about a young woman struggling with an unwanted pregnancy and this gave me the opportunity.
Katherine: What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
Marcia: That writing is a ministry. It’s a hidden ministry that takes hours of sitting in a room alone but the end result can be lives changed for Christ.
Katherine: Tell me a little about A Tumbled Stone.
Marcia: Andrea Calvert had to run away. She couldn’t stay on the farm, shaming her parents. She couldn’t face being pregnant and alone. She would take care of this on her own. As she struggles to make life-changing decisions, Andrea discovers a diary and the wrenching story about her family’s dysfunction.
Katherine: How does this book minister to readers?
Marcia: I hope A Tumbled Stone will prove to be a healing book both to those who may have had an abortion or are considering one, as well as to those who feel passionately about this topic. I hope the readers will come to a deeper understanding of God’s grace and mercy that is extended to all of us.
Katherine: If I met you in an airport where we shared coffee over a table in a crowded food court, what would you want me to remember about you as we hurried to our separate gates to board our flights?
Marcia: I guess I would hope that you would remember me as a gracious person willing to listen and understand.
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The more I learn about the author of A Tumbled Stone the more I see the way scripture shapes her work. Marci’s favorite scripture is “Let us consider therefore how we may spur one another on to love and good deeds.” (Hebrew 10:24) This verse inspired the name of her blog and much of the direction of her books.
View the book trailer for One Smooth Stone: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iz1VG59-Aiw