INTERVIEW | Marlene Banks, author of Ruth's Redemption

Marlene, describe yourself for our visitors.

I’m a born again believer in Christ Jesus, a writer and an African American female. I’m love learning and growing in Christ. I’m an avid reader starting with the Bible and including all kinds of novels that engage me in some profound or entertaining way. I was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania but I also spent some time living in Virginia. I love the country even though I am a city girl. My heart is country all the way. I have an Associate degree in Theology and am pursuing certification and licensure in Christian Counseling. I value faith that can stand the tests, loyalty and a drive to help those the world shuns. My personality is hard to gauge because my character is paradoxical.

I’m very radical yet quite reserved…conservative. I am a loner but cherish warm intimate relationships with a few. I’m very private yet transparent when engaged relationally or in conversation. I can be very good at socializing but I am not a people person. I’m a people watcher however and fascinated with the mental workings of the human race. I’m emotional although I’m hard edged. I really like nice things. I have a natural attraction to beauty and luxury yet I am not extravagant. Actually I am very practical [sometimes downright frugal] when it comes to spending my money. I’m very outspoken and have strong opinions but still have many doubts and insecurities. I can say without doubt however, GOD perfectly matched my personality with my gift of writing.

How do you find time to connect with God?

I try to stay in constant connection with GOD all through my day. I’m always talking to GOD…moreso than listening I’m sorry to say. My special devotional time is mostly early morning before the rigors of the day start taking over.

Do you have a favorite bible verse and or quote you wish to share?

My favorite Bible verses change according to where I am spiritually. There are two that have stayed the course no matter what.

Job 42:12, “So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning…” KJV. That verse is dear to me as I get older. My personal mantra in that regard is “The rest of my life is going to be the best of my life!”

Ephesians 4:1, “I therefore the prisoner of the LORD beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.”

Who are your favorite authors? Favorite books?

Authors: Alex Haley, Charles Dickens, Toni Morrison, Francine Rivers, Terry McMillan and Oscar Wilde to name only a few.

Book: Roots and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Tell us about your journey to publication.

I have always loved to read and write. I started writing as a child so young I could not write cursive yet. I used to print out little stories. So I’d say I’m an inbred story teller. I wrote for fun because I loved doing it but never took it seriously as something I could do professionally. Partly because I didn’t think I was good enough and partly because I thought it was too far fetched to ever happen. As I got older the dream got buried by life’s more immediate demands. But the desire never left me and every now and then I would go back to writing. After I got saved the desire came back stronger this time and GOD guided me to write with erious intent. So I did. After I was baptized it seemed writing really push forward in my heart and mind. I started writing with a fever almost; coming home after working twelve hours and falling to sleep at the computer trying to finish a chapter. It was poring out of me and I had to write. I didn’t start considering it as a profession until a little later but to me it’s really a calling. A calling to serve GOD through the gift HE instilled in me. I consider it an honor and take it seriously. A

After years of trying I finally got my agent Diana. She worked with me and I got my first contract with Lift Every Voice Books/Moody the end of 2010. I now have three novels to be released in 2012. Many years of writing with no success has passed but GOD was faithful when he gave me that dream. I worked hard to improve my craft and kept writing through an extremely difficult period in my life. That said I know although I put out the effort it was the favor of my GOD that made the difference.

Tell us about your current book.

RUTH’S REDEMPTION is a different kind of slave era novel dated in the 1830s. It’s a historical romance with the backdrop of the Nat Turner in Virginia. Ruth is a young slave woman having been used for breeding. She’s mentally wounded and defiantly fights her plight the only way she knows how. Bo is the man who brings her into a new life. He’s a strong Christian man and widower. Their opposing views on the Goodness of GOD and how it plays out in their lives wedges a gap between them yet draws them closer together at the same time. The story is about the different faces of freedom and the love and power of GOD as well as the love between a man and woman. It demonstrates the human experience of that day for African American Americans and how real faith plays out in everyday life then…and now.

What influenced you to write this book?

The Holy Spirit

Did you have a favorite character(s)? Who and why?

Naomi was my favorite because she was what I saw as the strong African American female I have seen in my life. She’s loving and loyal, Godly, outspoken and strong enough to withstand the hardest of life’s blows.

What’s next for you?

Two more releases are coming in June and October through LEVB/Moody, SON of a PREACHERMAN in June and GREENWOOD and ARCHER in October.

Where can visitors find you online?

Facebook…Author Marlene Banks
Shoutlife…Marlene Banks
marlenebanks.com takes you to my website
Looking forward to your visits!

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WrittenVoicesBlog.com spotlights African American Literature that Edifies the Soul. We highlight a range of “family-friendly” fiction, nonfiction, young adult, children’s book authors, poets and more. The Managing Editor is Tyora Moody, the author Soul-Searching Suspense novels, Victory Gospel Series and Eugeena Patterson Mysteries.