I just loved Marlo Schalesky's book Veil of Fire, so I wanted to feature her with her newest book.
I’ve just begun to write a new type of story, which I’m calling “love stories with a twist!” These combine the poignancy of a Nicolas Sparks type love story with big-whopper, surprising twist like you might find in a M. Night Shymalan movie. I’m writing these because, well, they’re just so much fun! As a reader, I enjoy a good romance, but I want something more. I want mystery, I want surprise, I want to catch my breath in delight by book’s end. So for me, these types of books (hopefully! :-)) accomplish that. They’re the type of story that I not only like to write but also love to read, and so far, I haven’t found anything else in the market quite like them.
Another reason I write this type of story is that one of my life’s missions is to pull back the veil and give readers a glimpse of the wonder and beauty of God. My hope is that readers will be captured by that wonder and left breathless at the vividness of God and His love. And this type of story is a wonderful vehicle for that vision. I think that’s maybe why God gave me this type of story to write. And I’m thankful that He did!
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
I suppose it was the day when the guy I loved kissed me for the first time. We’d been friends most of the year, but I’d given up hope of our relationship becoming anything more than that . . . until that night. Now, Bryan and I have been married nearly 20 years, but it all started back there in that dorm room at Stanford University when he surprised me with a kiss.
How has being published changed your life?
Deadlines! You know, before I was published, I thought a book contract was the end all of everything I wanted. I didn’t have a clue! Now I know that getting that contract is only the first step of a whole other world of concerns – sales, marketing, promotion, editing, and of course, deadlines! Before I was published, I could write for myself. Now, I have a responsibility to my publisher, my readers, and mostly to God – to try to be faithful and reach the vision for the work He has for me.
Before, writing was much more a self-centered endeavor. It was more about my dreams, my goals, my hopes. Now, it has becomes something else entirely. Now, it’s about be faithful to the vision God gives me; it’s about serving my readers; it’s about painting a vivid God for a world that’s lost its wonder.
What are you reading right now?
I’m reading Fossil Hunter by John Olson. This is the novel that goes along with the new Expelled! documentary movie with Ben Stein. Great book! And as a chemist (in my former life ;-)), I’m especially enjoying it.
What is your current work in progress?
I’ve just finished my second of the “love stories with a twist!” which will release in March 2009 and I think will be titled If Tomorrow Never Comes. This is a neat story of a woman facing infertility, a locket discovered in the sand, and a mysterious lady rescued from the water.
Next, I’m starting the third of this new type of book, and I’m very excited about how the story is starting to develop. This one, which I’m calling Shades of Morning, follows the story of a woman who becomes the legal guardian of her estranged sister’s son . . . only to find out that the boy has Downs Syndrome. If this story lives up to its vision (here’s hoping!), it’ll be a wondrous story of redemption, family, and leaving regrets behind. I’m looking forward to getting more of it written!
What would be your dream vacation?
I’d love to go somewhere where I stayed in a little cabin in the woods, could hike every day and see the incredible wonders of nature. I’d go with my hubby and 4 little girls, and no one would gripe, complain, whine, or fuss. They would all get along beautifully, be wonderful to each other, and eat their food without having to be nagged about it.
In fact, forget about the cabin in the woods. I’ll take anywhere if I could get the gang to all be happy at once and be good.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
For my historicals, the settings has always come with the storyline, so I didn’t get to choose. When I wrote about the greatest firestorm of Minnesota history, the setting had to be Hinckley, Minnesota. When I wrote about the last Yahi Indian, the setting had to be San Francisco.
But now that I’m writing my contemporary love stories with a twist!, I’ve been able to choose the settings for the stories. So, I’ve had fun choosing places that are special to me. For example, in Beyond the Night, my main characters attend Stanford University, my alma mater (in fact, watch for a fun video on my website that shows the different places at Stanford that are seen in the book!), they take a trip to Monterey, one of my favorite places to go locally, and eventually, Maddie goes back to Boston and walks along the Charles River, just like I did one summer when I attended Harvard.
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
My husband. Because he’s a great guy, I love him, and with four little kids, well . . .you figure it out! :-) Honestly, a quiet evening out with no diapers to change, no one hollering, just my hubby and me with a nice dinner that someone else cooks, brings to the table, and cleans up after . . . wow, that’s heaven!
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
Hobbies? What are hobbies? Ah, I remember! Those things I used to do for fun before having four little kids. :-) Well, I love horseback riding, hiking, backpacking, racquetball (watch for the racquetball scene in my newest novel, Beyond the Night!), and going to the movies and eating sweet kettle korn.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
I have two writing obstacles. Their names are Bria and Jayna, and they’re two-year-old twins. When I try to write or get anything done, one gets into everything and the other screams and throws a fit. Never a dull moment around my house!
How do I overcome it? Four words: Starbucks. Venti. White. Mocha. The only thing that works is getting away for a couple hours during naptime (while they nap at Daddy’s office and I take the 4-year-old to school) and writing like crazy at Starbucks. And that doesn’t work all the time, but I’m tryin’! Meanwhile, feel free to pray for me!
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Don’t write a story just to be a writer. Find the right story that resonates with what God’s doing in you. Write what moves you and comes out of your seeking of God and His hand on your life. Then, write the story God gives you. Surrender. Follow God. Seek Him. And if He’s called you to this writing thing, then write the best that you can. Study the craft. Hone your work. Remember that it’s an offering to Him, so do your best. Find the story that’s not only your passion, but His. And then, be faithful. Go to writers’ conferences, listen to advice, be humble. Write. And make friends who will be there for you in the ups and downs of the business.
Beyond the Night is the first of three contemporary novels that I’m writing for Waterbrook-Multnomah Publishers (a division of Random House). All of them are “Love Stories with a Twist!,” a new type of story that I think will knock readers’ socks off.
Beyond the Night includes groovy 70’s trivia and a whopper of an ending twist, that I hope will surprise and delight the reader. Here’s a blurb about it:
They say love is blind. This time, they’re right.
A poignant love story . . .
A shocking twist . . .
Come, experience a love that will not die.
A Nicolas Sparks (The Notebook) type love story meets a M. Night Shymalan (The Sixth Sense) twist in this moving story of two people trying to find love in the dark. A woman going blind, a man who loves her but can’t tell her so, a car crash, a hospital room, and an ending that has to be experienced to be believed.
Sounds like fun, huh? I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!
I can hardly wait to read it! How can readers find you on the Internet?
Oh, please visit me at my website at www.marloschalesky.com, and also visit my blog (I post every Wednesday, at least) at www.marloschalesky.blogspot.com. I can also be found at Shoutlife (www.shoutlife.com/marloschalesky) and at My CCM (www.myccm.org/marloschalesky). I love to hear from readers!
Marlo, thank you for coming by my blog.
Readers, doesn't this book sound exciting. Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy, but if you don't win, you'll want to get a copy.