Chatting With Marilyn Turk About The Gilded Curse – WWII Suspense and Romance!
Marilyn Turk has been published in Guideposts magazine, Guideposts books – A Joyful Heart and A Cup of Christmas Cheer, The Upper Room, Clubhouse Jr. Magazine, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and Lighthouse Digest magazine. Her book, Lighthouse Devotions was published in 2015, and The Gilded Curse, a historical suspense novel, was released this month. Her weekly lighthouse blog can be found at http://pathwayheart.com. She lives in Florida with husband, Chuck, and enjoys boating, fishing, tennis, and gardening when she’s not climbing lighthouses or playing with her grandsons.
Marilyn, welcome to Let’s Chat. Could you share with us some of the surprises you’ve encountered along the road to publishing?
My biggest surprise was when an editor told me she wanted to see my manuscript when I finished it and a synopsis for a four-book series, then when I sent it to her, she rejected it for no reason. Seemed like the person who rejected it was a different person than the one I initially talked to who was so interested. Another surprise is how long it takes to get published. Even though I was told that when I first started writing, I thought I’d be the exception. Not.
Please tell us something about your latest release, The Gilded Curse.
The Gilded Curse is an historical romantic suspense set in early 1942 about young heiress Lexie Smithfield who goes to the Jekyll Island Club to dispose of the family’s vacation cottage after she receives a cryptic telegram asking her to come. It’s been ten years since she was last there when she was a child, her mother believing the island is cursed because of tragedies that occurred to their family. Lexie doesn’t want to believe there’s really a curse, but there is something mysterious going on at the cottage. Her old friend Russell Thompson is now the club manager, and he becomes her ally and maybe something more to help her unravel the mystery while keeping his own secrets.
What drew you to set The Gilded Curse during 1942 and on Jekyll Island?
I like to read and write historical fiction, and I was looking for a setting to write a Southern gothic novel, with old houses that had secrets. I was on vacation and went to Jekyll Island which I thought would make a good setting. I placed it in 1942 because there were dangerous things going on nearby, aka, German U-boats, which the government wanted to keep the public from finding out about.
Have you found that similar themes run throughout your writing? Why? Or why not?
I believe my themes often deal with trust – who to trust and whom not to – before the protagonist finds that ultimately it is God in whom he/she needs to put their trust.
What do you consider the best resources for historical research?
I Google a lot, but I usually buy books (too many, I’m afraid) about the area and the time period. I’ve also had some help from local historical societies. The Jekyll Island Museum Curator was a great help to me.
What or who inspired you to write inspirational fiction? How does that keep you plodding ahead with your writing each day?
I believe that writing is a gift from God and He wants me to use it to encourage, enlighten or inspire others. The difference in going to an ABA conference versus a Christian writers conference is like night and day, and I felt much more at home in the latter. To answer the second part of your question, I feel a deep commitment to God to carry out the ideas and stories He’s given me the seed for. I’m not as focused daily as I should be or want to be, but I know I must do the work He’s called me to do.
What does a productive writing day look like for you?
Being able to check off my to-do list – how much written or read or edited, etc. Because I write devotions and articles for Guideposts magazine, as well as two blogs, I’m not always working on my books, so I wish I was more organized and focused to get more done each day.
Do you feel you are more of a character-driven or plot-driven writer? How do you think it comes across in your writing?
I think I’m 50-50, if that’s possible. I believe the plot must move the story along, but the character must develop at the same time. I’d like for someone to tell me what they thing about The Gilded Curse – is it plot-driven or character-driven?
What drew you to writing an historical novel?
I like to read historical novels for one. Also, I like to find a point in history to set my characters in while revealing tidbits of information about that time period.
If you’re anything like I am, one favorite book is hard to pick! Do you have two or three top picks among the historical genre that you would care to recommend?
Oh yes, well, Dan Walsh’s historical fiction, The Discovery, was one that piqued my interest in this time period on our coasts. But I also love anything Lynn Austin and Ann Tatlock write, which is usually historical fiction. I just finished Once Beyond a Time by Ann that is an awesome book and so well-written!
Once Beyond a Time is one of my favorites too.
Would you like to share about what you are working on now?
That depends on a contest I recently entered. I’m pretty sure I’ll be editing and rewriting at least one of the books I’ve already written in the near future. Besides the two books of a series that I finished that are not yet published, I’m about a third of the way through the next book in the series.
Do you have any last words of wisdom to share with aspiring authors?
Go to conferences if you haven’t yet. I met many contacts and took many valuable classes at the conferences I attended. Then go back home and put into effect what you learned. Realize that you do have a voice, but you can always improve, so heed the experienced writers’ advice.
Thank you, Marilyn, for joining me at my blog. It has been a privilege to interview you and fun to get to know you better.
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