This week we have several bloggers participating in a book review blog tour for Run, River Currents by Ginger Marcinkowski (Booktrope, 2012). Excerpts and links to reviews will will appear at the bottom of this blog post. Looking at some of the early reviews that came in, I had a sense that the reviewers may have misunderstood Ginger’s intentions for the book. Rather than try to explain that myself, I conducted a brief interview with Ginger via e-mail, so she can tell us in her own words. The interview follows below:
Ginger, thanks for taking a few minutes to answer questions about your book Run, River Currents for the Cross Focused Reviews audience.
Q: Many readers may not realize that although Run, River Currents is fiction, there’s an autobiographical nature to the book as well. What made you decide to share your story through fiction?
A: As a writer who wants to write a memoir, you usually have to be a known or public figure. I am neither. I had a wonderful mentor who literally dragged this story out of me but gave me good advice, and that was to tell the story as though it were memoir but to write it as fiction so that I’d be able to embellish it in a more literary fashion. It turned into a very dark book based on a true event in my life. I’d like to say that what a reader reads in this book was only part of what actually went on in my life, but it was only a small part. Sometimes it seems when children are abused, they fall victim again and again to people they should be able to trust. That happened to me until I left home. This book is difficult to read for those who believe that the world is good and pure. I was taught about God’s grace and had a few Godly examples in my life, but for the most part, I couldn’t see God, didn’t understand that he was trustworthy or even loved me. I spent a lot of my life trying to find that love that was real, because in my world it was not. As an adult, I can look back and see God’s hand protecting me so many times when my situations could have turned worse than they were. Yet, while I wrote this book, every moment of that awful time possessed me, and I wrote it from the darkness I felt as a child. To me, God was nowhere to be found. How does a writer share those thoughts in any other way but fiction? No one believes this kind of truth.
Q: Although many would deem the content in the book as rather dark, I think your book will help readers better understand the many emotional and spiritual hurdles that victims of abuse face. Are there any particular responses from either readers or reviewers that you’ve found especially encouraging?
A: I want people to feel every emotion I wrote in this book: anger, rage, fear, helplessness, bits of joy and safety, and finally, hope. The book IS dark, but life can be dark as well. Even Biblically, so many stories were dark, but they were also truth.
I’ve had reviews from both ends of the spectrum just recently. Two women, neither of whom I’ve ever met, read my book. Both women are Christians, one a bit younger with a deep insight into God’s word. She felt my book carried no glance of God, no real moment where the main character had any epiphany until the very end. In her opinion, there was little good about the book at all, and she deemed it non-Christian, bordering on dawdy.
The second woman, an older woman who had been abused as a child, remarked that after reading the book, she was able for the first time to openly talk about her abuse with her husband of many years, and was able to finally explain to him her often erratic behavior. She said the book was so freeing to her, and that through the whole book she was able to see nothing but hope.
I was encouraged by both views. With the negative review, I was grateful that this young woman read the book and responded from her own biblical view. It is a lovely thing to see young women take such a firm stand on God’s grace.
With the positive review, I was humbled to see how God used this story to help someone who had been in a similar situation. To hear that God used this information to “free” her was humbling.
I wrote it with His help. I put it out there to glorify Him. I’m not offended when readers do not like the book, but am sometimes taken aback when they attack the writer rather than the work. In the end, I hope to learn from every review, every comment. But it’s not about me, it’s about where God takes this story and who He will help along the way with its lesson.
Q: If you could pick an ideal audience for your book, who needs to read it?
A: I think the best audience for this story are (some) people who have been abused and, especially, people married to those who have been abused. I refer to abuse victims with a bit of trepidation as some abuse victims may feel that this book takes them back to a dark time in their life, and it may not be what they, personally, need. They can react quite violently to this story. But there are those who may see it from the perspective of identifying with others out there who have suffered the same hopelessness they felt at the time—perhaps giving them the desire to reach out to more victims.
Q: Run, River Currents is your first novel. Can readers expect to see more books from you in the future?
A: I am writing a mystery at this point, with yet another book planned behind that. I had no intention of writing Run, River Currents, nor did I have any plan of ever writing such a dark book. But an instructor told me on the first day of my master’s program that every writer has a book inside of them that has to be told before they can ever write a book they want to write. Run, River Currents was the story that had to be told. Those who read this book may judge me harshly for writing truth. I can’t apologize for that any more than I expect them to apologize for not believing evil things like this should be told this way. But I am proud of the writing, and I am enjoying the process of developing the next book.
Q: Let me close with a final question I ask of all published authors. What advice do you have for writers who are just getting started? Please share any tips, resources or training that you found helpful in your writing journey.
A: Ha! I think for new writers, I have a few pieces of advice might be helpful to them. Expect rejection. Lots of it. Everyone has a better idea for the way you should have written your book than you did. Learn from their comments. Don’t take things personally, even if you think they mean it as such. Know that once the book is done, it is really just the beginning. Editing, marketing, book design, blog tours, press releases, reviews, it’s mind-blowing. Pray now for a wonderful book manager who will hold you up when they see you drowning in all of the demands of life. And continually thank God for the rare opportunity you may have to make a difference.in someone’s life. Be aware you will be attacked from all sides, including by other writers and even other Christians. It will be OK. They may not know or understand your story, and may judge your work based on their personal perception of life. Listen some more, looking for the gem of God’s guidance in every good or critical thing being said about your work. But in the end, just write. Write with abandon. Don’t worry about what people say or think. Gather wisdom from their words to make your work as good as it can be, but remember it’s your story, your voice. Write it well. God will take care of the rest.
Once again, many thanks to Ginger for taking the time to participate in this interview. Those interested in learning more about Ginger and her writing should subscribe to her blog, Facebook page and Twitter profile.
Here are links to the reviews from the book review blog tour:
“If you like Christian fiction, and want to read a story about the power of forgiving others, then you should check this book out. You might find a connection in the story to help you or others forgive and understand the power of God’s love.”
–Kimberly McClure (www.ruthandgrace.org)
“This is a great story of God’s ability to redeem His children, enable forgiveness and His unconditional love.”
–Lisa Johnson (seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com)
“I really wanted to like this book. It is set in Canada, with two characters at work in the forestry industry, both things near and dear to my heart. The writing style was engaging and descriptive and it is clear in the first few pages that Marcinkowski does not fall into the trap so many Christian authors do, of making her protagonist unbelievably perfect. In fact, that is an understatement.”
–Coralie Cowan (lifemoreabundant.me)
“This story reveals the tragedy of how sinful choices lead to consequences that not only affect the person making bad choices, but those closest to them as well. God’s love and grace are greater and the influence of Godly choices can also make a great impact. So much pain and yet there is hope to be found in Christ.”
– Karen Lyons (lyonslady.blogspot.com)
Where to Buy:
Run, River Currents is available at your local Christian bookstore. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below: