(Marlayne with the illustrator, Cindy Jordan)

1. Did you have a say in picking out your book cover? Can you explain the process for me?
I already had an idea in mind of what I wanted for the book cover design and sent a mock-up to the graphic artist, assigned to me. We also discussed what was important about the book, the significance of the sword, the beam of light and the hint of roses over the phone. A week later Kandi Evans of Tate Publishing sent me back three different concepts from which I pulled an element from each. One was the font choice for the title, one was the sword and the last was the background. She took the 3 elements that were in each concept and combined them into what you now see as the finished product. I think it's an absolutely gorgeous cover and it was the most thrilling part of the whole process because it made my story that had lain dormant in the innards of my computer for over 15 years, into a real book - the fulfillment of my dream come true at last.

2. Did you come up with the title to this book? If not, what was the working title?
(my hubby, Michael at our book launch party)

The original title was The Victor and His Bride but when we started the publishing process I shortened it The Victor figuring no self-respecting male reader would be willing to read a book with a title like that! I also think the shorter the better.

3. How do you hope the Lord uses the book The Victor?
(a photo of a Macaroni Grill waiter, Timothy Leybold, serenading me in Italian at my first signing)

My ultimate hope is that I will be able to get The Victor into the public schools as well as private schools and homeschools as English curriculum. I have developed a Teacher's Guide to go with the book and had it Lexile scored by MetaMetrics (1060) as well as ATOS scored (15 AR points). The minimum reading age is about 11 years of age. Since there is no mention of God, Jesus or religion of any kind I think it would be able to pass muster while at the same time exposing kids to the Gospel in an entertaining and emotionally involving format.

4.How did you prepare to for the writing of this topic (time period)?

I did use a book called "Life in a Castle in Medieval England" as a reference. One of the funnier that stood out was the fact that when a knight was officially "knighted" he wouldn't receive a gentle tap upon each shoulder with the sword as you see in the movie but they were actually whacked really hard with it to the point they would be bowled over! Most of it came from my imagination as a result of reading other similar books such as The Lord of the Rings, King Arthur books, Stephen Lawhead books and being a devoted fan of swashbuckling movies such as Robin Hood, Captain Blood, The Court Jester, etc.

5.Any obstacles you had to overcome in order to write this book? Do tell!!

I really had almost insurmountable obstacles. I didn't have a college education, I have no other writing credits to my name; I never submitted articles or stories to magazines, never entered writing contests and was a complete nobody. I couldn't pay people to read this book for 30 years; not even my family and closest friends. The week I got the contract from Tate, I attended a writing conference and left utterly depressed. I was told both by a literary agent and a highly respected, published author that no Christian publisher would publish my book because they didn't think it was marketable and it was too Christian a story to submit to secular publishers; that I should just try "to write something else". What I couldn't explain was that I wasn't concerned about being a published author, I just wanted this book, The Victor, published. It was the only book idea the Lord ever gave me and He delayed its publication for almost 30 years until the story had matured enough and the Internet and social networks came into existence in order to get the word out in ways that didn't exist back in the late 1980s early 1990s when I was really trying to get it published.


1.Out of all he books you've read in between 2008-2009, what are your favorite 5 you'd like to share?

Okay! I confess!! I admit it!! I got totally sucked into the Twilight Series of books (all 4) by Stephanie Meyer!!! I think she put some sort of hex on her books that make them impossible to put down once you start reading them! I haven't felt that way about a book since I read The Lord of the Rings in one weekend at the age of 13. I can't pinpoint it but they just totally captured my attention.

2. If you were given a $1,000 gift certificate to your favorite book store and were given only 1 hour to spend the money, which section of the store would you head to first?

First I would look to see if there were any new Stephen Lawhead books I haven't read yet, then I would puruse the rest of the fantasy/fiction area. The next section would probably include the cookbook section (I love to cook!) and then I think I would get some beautiful hard copies of the classics I loved as a child. and then maybe the Blue Ray Collection of The Lord of The Rings movies.

3. Please tell me what are your (3) favorites books from your childhood?

Heidi of the Alps, Black Beauty, and all the classic fairytales by Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson

4. What's the name of the last movie you saw at the theatre? Did you like it and what snacks did you eat?

Julie and Julia - never go to see that movie on an empty stomach! We ate the usual popcorn but what I was really craving was the bruchetta and Beof Burginon that was cooked in the movie! I went right out to Barnes & Noble to buy the Julia Child's book How to Master the Art of French Cooking afterwards but it was already sold out. That movie just made our mouths water and I found a lot of similarities between myself and the movie's main character, Julie Powell.

5. What movie most impacted you as a child? Why?

It was called Thirteen Ghosts. I didn't like scary movies as a kid and I got tricked into going to see it. I was about 4 or 5 when it came out and if you wanted to see the ghosts in the movie, you had to wear special glasses (which I didn't). There was one scene in the movie that really creeped me out - where the family losing their home was playing with a Ouiji Board to find out if things were going to be okay. I was so traumitized by the movie I think they carried me out screaming bloody murder from the theater. From then on I wanted nothing to do with anything involving the occult. By the way, my husband was also traumitized by that same movie when he was a kid and we finally got up the courage to watch it together in our 30s. The movie was really hokey and badly acted and we ended up giggling over how it affected us as kids.

6. Where would you go on a dream vacation? Who would you take with you?

I would love to eat my way through Italy (Venice, Florence, Tuscany) then tour the Alps, visit the French countryside and have high tea in the countryside of England - all with my husband.

7. If you could put yourself into a story book, which one would you pick? Why?

Heidi of the Alps! I've always wanted to see the Alps (especially the Matterhorn). As much as I love the Lord of the Rings, it would be a fearful story to be inside of! In Heidi there's nothing dangerous and I think I would enjoy being her friend going to the high meadows with her and Peter and the goats. (I LOVE goat cheese).

8. A friend has given you the keys to their time machine and you can take it to experience any two events in the history of the world. What two events would you pick? Why?

The resurrection of Jesus Christ and the future Second Coming of the same. (You didn't say it had to be in the past!) I think the reasons are pretty self explanatory. I would love the experience the incredible majesty of both events and I can't wait for his kingdom to be ushered into earth when all will have to proclaim Him as Lord and King. The world has become so evil I don't know how God puts up with us the way he does!

9. You have the opportunity to hang out with two people in the history of the world or a story book character? Besides Jesus what TWO people or characters would you hang out with for 48 hours and what would you do?

I would like to hang out with Samwise Gamgee from Lord of the Rings because he was such a loyal and good-hearted friend and I really emphathize with his character and J.R.R. Tolkien, the author. I would just love to sit in a pub with him, have tea and listen to him talk about his writings and his inspiration.

10. You find yourself in a life threatening situation and you need someone to save you, who would you pick? The sky is the limit. You can pick anyone from movies, tv, books etc. to save you. Who would it be?

The Antonio Banderas version of Zorro because he is so sexy in that black outfit!


Yes, Nora! I have two more pictures to share with you and your readers - 1. My daughter, Karina and our dog, Buddy.

THANKS for stopping by Marlayne, It was great to get to know you and journey to publication. Blessings to you in your writing adventures.


Nora :D



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  1. This book sounds very interesting.
    I think it's neat Marlayne has developed a teacher's guide to go with it and had it Lexile and ATOS scored. And how neat that the book waited to be published for so many years as God brought everything together for the right time.

    -Marlene Rauch-

  2. What an interesting interview!! I think that Heidi would be a fun story to go back into, but no bad things? What about being taken away from her grandfather etc?
    I was really into Heidi too growing up and got the sequels that were written Heidi Grows up and Heidi's children after she married Peter!! = )

  3. Your interview was very interesting! Being Heidi would be fun, but I really like Anne of Green Gables. I was tramatized by Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte and Alfred Hitchcock's movies.
    Your book sounds great . Please enter me.
    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

  4. Interesting interview. Your book sounds very intriguing. I loved Heidi as a young girl. I liked Black Beauty, but it was too sad. Thanks for sharing.


    Thanks to everyone for encouraging Marlayne Giro in her writing adventures.