INTERVIEW | Marilynn Griffith

Mary, describe yourself for our visitors.

I’m fairly uncomplicated. I love books, movies, long walks and good music. I listen to different music depending on what I’m working on or my moods, but I like a lot of neo soul and old school stuff. Right now I’m in to some new artists Cross Movement is developing as well as some lesser known indie artists like 4th Avenue Jones. I like Mary J Blige’s latest album a lot. There’s always some Donnie McClurkin, Kirk Franklin and Mary Mary in my playlist. I just took up running last year and enjoy that a lot (you’d be surprised to look at me, but I’m serious!)

As for ministries, I have a list of them on my website under the “serious” part of my serious fun. Mercy Ships, Project Red, Voice of the Martyrs and others are at the top. Angeltree related to Tangerine as far as helping the familes of prisoners. My family and I have delivered gifts for their ministry many times. It’s very rewarding.

How do you find time to connect with God?

I find that God is usually more connected to me than I think. I’ve learned the art of breathing a prayer all the time, any time and trusting that is heard. The results of these meager prayers have shown me that God does hear and is nearer that we sometimes think.

Tell us about your journey to publication.

My journey to publication is not unlike that of most writers: lots of rejection, waiting and confusion. There was also joy in there too when I finally allowed myself to give up on the whole publication thing and just finish the story to see what happened. It was then I learned the power of completion. That book got me an agent, but was soundly rejected. Two of those publishers are my publishers today. They liked my voice but not that book. It was then that I learned what is probably still my biggest lesson in publishing–it’s not about one book, it’s about a career.

Tell us about your current book?

The title CFBA is touring now is TANGERINE, book #3 in my Shades of Style series with Revell books. This was a joy to write for me as it was my first book about a married couple. However, they had been estranged from one another for many years and most of the main character, Jean Guerra’s friends didn’t even know her husband existed. So instead of a secret baby, I guess this is a secret husband book! The main theme of the book is a question that Jean is asked and asks herself several times through the story: Will you be made whole? The man who asked Jesus for healing must have been surprised to hear that question in response, but during the writing of this book, God asked me that question about some things in my own life. The healing is available, but we must desire to be made whole. In this case, it is Jean’s marriage and family that God is mending. Like the other books in the series, it’s a different story for Christian fiction, but that’s what I love about it. I hope readers will enjoy it too.

How did you come up with ideas for your current release?

The idea for the series came to me one day while reading a scripture online. It was from Colosians about being clothes in kindness. From there, I picked up my Bible and started searching through “clothed” scriptures. I came to one of my favorites, Isaiah 61:1-3. It talked about moving from despair to the garments of praise. Right then, four women dropped into my head. They were four different races and all worked at Garments of Praise fashion design. Another writer, Nancy Toback helped me brainstorm the concept of the million dollar wedding dress that weaves throughout the series. Much of the rest came to me along the way.

List your most recent books.

My most recent titles are TANGERINE, of course, and IF THE SHOE FITS, a story of single mom and shoe designer who signs up for a Christian dating service.

What’s next for you?

I’m the editor of SISTAHFAITH, a book about overcoming shame and the modern day stories of women who have, like Tamar from the Bible, experienced hurt and shame. It’s my first nonfiction project and I’m very excited about it. It just sold and should be released in 2008. HAPPILY EVEN AFTER, the third book in my Sassy Sistahood series will release in 2008 as well. This is a story about a new mom struggling with her marriage and image of the perfect life she so desperately wanted. I’m really excited about this one.

Where can visitors find you online?

Visitors can find me at my homepage, Ii also blog a couple times a month on a site I founded for Christian chick lit, www. Thank you so much for having me. It’s been a joy as usual.