Katie: I’m pleased to have Marvin Wilson as a guest on my blog today. He is the author of three books, and his book “Owen Fiddler” has been awarded the prestigious AVATAR award for excellence in spiritual books. He is a prolific blogger, and his blog was voted first place in the 2008 Book Blogger Appreciation Week award contest in the Christian/Inspirational Fiction category. He is also a family man, married for thirty-three years, with three adult children and six grandchildren.
Marvin, welcome to my blog today. Can you please give us a short overview of “Owen Fiddler?”
Marvin: Katie it’s a pleasure and thank you for having me. Owen Fiddler is an “everyman,” someone that everyone who is honest with themselves can relate to in some measure. He is the archetypical “blame gamer,” who takes no responsibility for his actions, figures the world owes him a living, wants to do whatever he feels like without regard for consequences or how it might affect others, takes without giving back, and he figures everything going wrong in his life is something or someone else’s fault. He does not understand the universal principle of Karma, is completely unaware of the Law of Attraction, and does not live by the Golden Rule. So he is in constant karmic debt. He likes to dance, but never bothers to pay the fiddler. Hence his name, Owen (owing the) Fiddler.
Katie: You are a self-proclaimed author of spiritual and inspirational messages in your books. What prompted you to write in these genres?
Marvin: My first book, I Romanced the Stone (Memoirs of a Recovering Hippie), describes how I was healed of a life threatening and soul devastating crack cocaine addiction by a powerful spiritual experience. I met with the Christ and in an instant was made whole and free. That was four years ago and I’ve never looked back. Writing books and publishing spiritual/inspirational messages within entertaining tales is my way of giving back, of doing my part in spreading the Word, the Truth, and the Light.
Katie: Did you have to do much research for your book, “Owen Fiddler” or did it more flow from the heart?
Marvin: It flowed from the heart. I was in a “zone” most of the time, finding it nearly impossible to key in the words and ideas as fast as they were coming. I would get woken up in the middle of the night by one or more of my characters demanding that I get up and write what they wanted to do and say. It was an incredible experience.
I did do a bit of research for one of my characters. Jewel Fiddler, Owen’s wife, has Lupus. So I had to study up on the disease to be able to write realistically about her symptoms, meds, challenges, etc.
Katie: Tell us one thing about you, as an author, that most people don’t know.
Marvin: Well I’ve already divulged that I’m an ex-crackhead, if that hasn’t gotten a few readers to fall off their chairs, I don’t know what would – lol. But let’s see. I’m a guitar player and vocalist, my first career was as a rock and roll Hippie travelling musician. I am also a thespian, I had lead roles in musicals and stage theater high school and college and it was a toss up with me at age 20 whether to go the music route or to head off to New York and try and make it as an actor. I’ve done a couple bit parts in movies as an adult, also. How’s that?
Katie: Why did you decide to self-publish “Owen Fiddler?”
Marvin: Actually, Owen Fiddler was published by a small traditional press, Cambridge Books. I Romanced the Stone was a self-pub. Stone I could not get a traditional pub to pick up. The Christian pubs rejected it because the scenes depicted of life in the drug and crime infested inner city streets were too vivid and graphic for them, and there is also some rather, ahem – “spicy” language … I’m a tell it like it is writer, and I did not water down the harsh reality of the world I had fallen into. I needed to keep it real so when people who are in that life read it they will know that I know what I’m talking about, not just some Sunday School teacher trying to preach to them without first hand experience. And ironically, the secular pubs eschewed it because it was to “religious!” Go figure, eh?
So I’ve done both self-pub and traditional. There are upsides and downsides to both routes. I’ve written a couple lengthy articles about that subject.
Katie: What roadblocks did you overcome during the publication process?
Marvin: Well, I sort of described that in the last answer. But as an “unknown” aspiring author, getting anyone to pay attention to you and accept a submission is a daunting task. You have to be persistent and determined and not get down on yourself when the rejection letters start pouring in. I used to keep a file of them. I’d pull them out and read them for motivation. I would show them – I would prove them ALL wrong!
Katie: You often use humor in your writing. Does that flow pretty well, or do you have to “work” on it?
Marvin: Oh I’ve always been a jokester and I’m gifted with the ability to make people laugh. So yes, it’s natural with me. My next novel is a sequel in the Owen Fiddler series, titled “Detective Snoop,” and it’s a comedic whodunit – the primary focus of the book is humor, making people laugh, with some underlying spiritual messages that creep up on you toward the end.
Katie: How did you lay out your book? Did you begin with an outline, general ideas, or what?
Marvin: I usually have the beginning and end well in mind, and I will do a sketchy outline. But I’ve never followed an outline to the letter, and I’ve never wound up where I originally planned to go, except for the basic spiritual message I want to get across – that’s the only constant and for certain. But I’m a serendipitous writer when it comes to how the story twists and turns its way to the conclusion.
Katie: If Owen Fiddler were here with us today, what one thing would he want to share with our readers?
Marvin: He would remind us that our thoughts, deeds and actions are what we make our own world with. We create heaven or hell for ourselves, creating our own reality as a direct reflection of what we seek and desire. He would also want to say that we are all connected, all one. When we harm or take from another, we harm and take from ourselves. Conversely, doing good for and helping others is benefiting one’s self..
Katie: What are three things you can share about the publication process?
Marvin: 1. Learn to write an effective query letter. 2. Be not dismayed when your precious baby is not considered the next Great American Novel by the first several publishing houses you submit to. And lastly, becoming a popular author is a threefold job, each aspect equally important. First, you have to write a darn good book. Second, you have to find and get taken on by a suitable, quality publishing house. And lastly, and this one is where many new authors get a rude awakening – having your book published does not mean that people are going to flock to the stores to buy it. You have to promote yourself and your books tirelessly – nobody knows who you are until YOU let them know, hey! – there’s a brilliant new kid on the literary block! BUY MY BOOK! IT’S AWESOME!
Katie: “Owen Fiddler” can be found on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/n7azh8. His Facebook page can be found at http://tinyurl.com/mfvzm7.