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Son of a Preacher Man, Author Marlene Banks





Interview by Vanessa Richardson

VR: Marlene thank you for chatting with me! When did you know that you were chosen not to just write but to become an author?

MB: I was aware of my love of writing as a very young child in elementary school but I wasn’t aware of my calling to write and become a published novelist until I hit my 40s. God doesn’t reveal His plans until we’re ready. I took a long time in getting ready.

VR: What has your literary journey been like for you?

MB: The short answer; spiritually enriching and empowering, intellectually stimulating and personally gratifying.

The longer answer: my literary journey was undoubtedly guided by God’s hand; of that I am certain. It has been long and riddled with obstacles but the drive never diminished. The flame flickered for years and then it was fanned into a full-fledged blazed. Things happened to slow me down, stop me and probably destroy me all together. So the road to publication was a rocky one indeed. All the while my spirit kept whispering it was going to happen, it was predestined to happen, part of the bigger plan. As my life disassembled in ways I never dreamed it would I almost gave up hope but something wouldn’t let me. That was Jesus the Christ, Yeshua Hamashiach. I learned about the strength of my faith. I learned about paying the price for the big stuff. I learned that God is  always                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       faithful even when I’m not. I learned to cling when all hell has broken lose and not let what I see define me or my future. I learned to trust God in some very real and undeniable ways. Through it all, I wrote. I never stopped writing because when things were at their worst God would tell me to write so I did. Unpolished and not knowing the first thing about professional writing or the world of publishing I felt my way through the maze guided only by the Holy Spirit and a passion to tell stories. There was so much I didn’t know…and still don’t, I’m sure. One of my goals is to continue to grow in my craft and get better; becoming the best writer I can be. It was truly by the grace of my God that I got my first publishing contract. By His grace I got another and prayerfully many more in the future. My journey has had lows and highs. I have cried my eyes out and done the happy dance more than once. To sum it up at times it has been an exciting adventure and other times a scary or disheartening experience but most of all it has been a serious lesson on being led by the spirit and not the flesh and trusting the Lord.

VR: What is your writing process like?

MB: Purely non formulaic and unprofessional, I’m sure…lol. I do no outlines and I don’t map out my stories. I write as it comes to me in the spirit. I write in the spirit. It unfolds from an idea maybe with a few characters in my head. Beyond that I am carried by the story itself. I call my kind of writing soap opera style. I grew up in the heyday of daytime soaps and the influence is definitely there. Multiple plots, intersecting issues and all wrapped in a common thread seem to work for me. Daytime soap operas are fading fast today but they are only giving way to prime time soaps so the effect is just the same. People like literary buffets as well as the simple three course story. I write from a definite psychologically introspective POV. It helps make the characters three dimensional and bring them to life.

My process is very free handed but I edit extensively. My editing is more intense than writing my original draft and not free handed at all. That is where I pull it together to either be a good story or one for trash can.

VR: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in
any of your books?

MB: Now that’s a loaded question. Of course, in every manuscript I ever wrote I rethought the plots and played with the possibility of change. Usually it was small changes but once in a while I have done some big changes. The most recent that comes to mind is Greenwood and Archer. I think I would change a couple of things about that story. Not so much change as add on but that would have made the novel longer and length can be an issue with publishers. In that story I would have spotlighted more about what happened to Bet, the female lawyer. People are asking about another sequel so who knows?

VR: What were the challenges you faced in bringing forth any of your books?

MB: The most challenging thing in writing inspirational historical fiction with romance is the mix. How to keep the story romantically fresh, historically accurate and biblically significant is a serious literary juggling act. Then add multiple sub plots with real and fictional action…whew. It can be daunting at times but I love the challenge.

Also I found it challenging to depict the historical facts without bias…too much bias that is. I find a story has more meaningful layers when the writer’s opinions are set aside and they show a situation or event from more than one point of view. It gives the story more psychological teeth and human clarity.

VR: What advice would you give aspiring authors?

MB: Write, write and write some more, prayer, practice and perseverance with a thick skin to criticism is needed to endure to you reach your goal. Consider valid criticism as a teaching tool and not a personal affront.

VR: Are you working on any new projects?

MB: I’ve recently finished a pioneer/western manuscript and am prayerfully hoping to get a contract soon. I am currently working on another manuscript about the west. I’m in a cowboy kind of mood these days. Not enough has been written about our brave African American pioneers and cowboys. I want to throw the spotlight on them for a while.

VR: What is something that your readers would find interesting about you?

MB: I love Spanish guitar, harp music and Earl Grey tea and I hate chocolate.


MARLENE BANKS is a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native. In addition to being a prolific writer she has an associate degree in Theology from the Rhema Bible Institute in Virginia. Marlene is a member of Bethel Deliverance International Church in Wyncote, Pennsylvania. She considers her writing an avenue of communicating the Gospel and Christian principles through fiction. It is also Marlene’s goal to bridge the wide gap between faith-based and secular literature taking the message to a wider readership.

A divine gift of storytelling with her unique voice and love of Christ Jesus creates inspirationally engaging novels. RUTH’S REDEMPTION was her debut novel followed by SON OF A PREACHERMAN. Her most recent title and sequel to Son of a Preacherman is GREENWOOD AND ARCHER.

Ruth’s Redemption is now available in the Dutch Language.

Find Marlene Banks Novelist on Facebook, MarleneBanks2 @twitter or at her website                


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