May 6, 2014 by Jen Cudmore
If I had to pick a favorite author, it would probably be MaryLu! I love all her pirate stories, and figure if she can sell Christian pirate books, I can do Vikings!
MaryLu is a Christy Award finalist and has written 15 books, of which I have only read 7, so I better catch up…
You can find her blog at The Cross and Cutlass. Be sure to check them out – she wrote a great post yesterday about dealing with life’s trials. And if you haven’t tried her stories, I highly recommend them!
What do you think makes a good story?
In the following order: Great characters, high-stakes plot, lots of conflict, deep moral or theme threaded throughout, cliff-hanger chapter endings, twists and turns, romance, great satisfying ending.
Do you use your own experiences from real life in your books?
Yes! I draw mostly from my own experiences for the stories in my books. I believe a writer needs to write what they know, what they’ve either experienced themselves or have experienced through those close to them. I spent the first 35 years of my life without God, doing all the things the world said would make me happy. When I hit my 35th birthday, I was miserable and without hope. I had made a huge mess of my life. Then the Lord pulled me out of the mud and mire, cleaned me off, and gave me new life. That’s why I can write characters who don’t know God, that’s why I can write characters who have drinking problems and are searching for love in sex and bad relationships, who think money and fame and beauty will make them happy. Because I was there. I “get” them. And I also know what it feels like to be rescued, made whole, and loved unconditionally by the God of the universe.
What is your most effective platform-building tool—Facebook, blog, Pinterest, Twitter? Why?
I’m not a big proponent of social media. I believe social media is, as its name implies, for social purposes, to connect to people and get to know people, make new friends and share your life with others. I know many authors use Facebook and Twitter for marketing purposes, but I’m not convinced it’s very effective. I’m not sure most people appreciate being bombarded with ads asking them to purchase my books, and as much as I’d like to get to know each person individually, I simply cannot be social with thousands of people. I found it frustrating at best. Anyway, to answer your question, I find that my books and my stories are the best platform building tools I have. So I try to spend the majority of my time writing great books instead of chatting on social media. In addition I believe my blog has been very helpful in establishing my platform and allowing readers to get to know me.
Do you have a word (or words) of wisdom to pass on to other writers?
Writing is a discipline. You have to study the craft, read good books, and write every day. Equally important is that you write what you are passionate about. If God is calling you to write, He has certain stories He wants you to tell and readers all lined up to read them. Silence all voices but God’s. Persevere, pray, and have fun! Never forget to have fun. Once you lose that, it’s all over. 🙂
What books are on your bookshelf?
Captain Blood by Raphael Sabatini, Beauvallet by Georgette Heyer, The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy, Dare to Love again by Julie Lessman, A Reluctant Courtship by Laurie Alice Eakes
What projects are you working on now?
I’m editing and re-releasing my original Legacy of the King’s Pirates series, while also starting a new book entitled Tears of the Sea. It’s a mermaid story that will be an allegory of the gospel.
MaryLu’s latest release: (I plan to read this one by the end of the month!)
In Jamaica in 1692, women were not allowed to run businesses. But Juliana has no choice. To save her family and keep her secret, she allies herself with the town buffoon. Alex, the most feared pirate in Port Royal, leads a dual life to stave off his boredom, but when his infatuation with Juliana puts them in grave danger, only a divine hand can lead them to safety as Port Royal sinks into the sea.