Interview with Marianne Jones
By Marianne Jones
Marianne Jones won the Women’s Journey of Faith/Word Alive Press contest for The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die: The Life of Linda Stewardson. This story of survival and salvation will be unveiled on November 7 at the WJOF 16th Annual Conference. Learn more about Linda Stewardson’s powerful story, and how Marianne Jones brought it to life in print.
How did you come to write this book?
MJ: I first heard Linda Stewardson share some of her story at church on a Sunday morning. Everyone in the room was riveted as she talked about what she had survived and the miraculous ways God had preserved her. I sensed that her story was a book waiting to be written, so I introduced myself afterward, explained that I was a writer, and asked her permission to write her life story in book form. She graciously agreed, and The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die is the result.
Given the subject matter, was this a difficult story to tell?
MJ: Absolutely. There were times I had to take breaks from the work because it was so emotional. But Linda and I both believed that it was a story that had to be told, to bring hope to other survivors of abuse that there is nothing too painful for God to heal. She is living proof of that!
Your other books are fiction and poetry. Did writing a nonfiction account pose special challenges? What differences did you encounter between creative writing and creative nonfiction?
MJ: Although my first love is creative writing, I have had a lot of experience interviewing people for newspapers and magazines, which helped. Even though this book is factual, there is a creative element in organizing and shaping the narration, and in deciding what to include and what to leave out. I believe that there are commonalities in all good writing, no matter what genre: choice of words, clarity, flow, avoiding clichés, for example. My challenge was to take a narrative that is true, and make it as readable as a novel, not just a list of events.
How did you react to learning that The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die won the Women’s Journey of Faith contest?
MJ: Well, obviously I was excited and thrilled. I had been trying not to get my hopes up, but at the same time I believed that a story as amazing as Linda’s had to have a shot at winning. Linda, on the other hand, was totally surprised (but delighted.)
What are your hopes for this book?
MJ: Linda and I both hope this book will reach a large audience. There are so many wounded people today, so many who struggle, wondering if there is any hope. We hope and pray that God will use her story to encourage them and bring them to the God of all comfort and healing.
What projects are you working on next?
MJ: At present I am working on a literary novel. It is quite a switch, but feels like the book I have always wanted to write. When that is done, I would like to write a sequel to my humorous cozy mystery, The Serenity Stone Murder. Writing something fun and lighthearted should be a welcome change by then!
About this Contributor:
Marianne Jones is a retired teacher and published author of four books. Her work has appeared in Reader’s Digest, Canadian Living, The Globe and Mail, and numerous denominational and literary publications. She was named International Christian Poet Laureate in 2010 by the Utmost Christian Writers Guild, and is a member of The Word Guild and League of Canadian Poets.