My guest today is Marylu Tyndall, a successfully published writer who is fast becoming one of North America's favorites. Marylu may be a highly successful writer, but I've come to know her as a very humble woman who strives to use her life and writing to tell others how wonderful a personal relationship with Jesus Christ can be.
Not only is she one of those writers I strive to emulate, but she is such a caring individual who has--like myself--been deeply scarred by her own past choices. Her novels, including her latest, 'The Blue Enchantress' are exciting stories set in the Caribbean in the yesteryear of tall ships and pirates. While Marylu makes this time period come alive with rich detail, she fills the pages with her believable characters that are experiencing the same longings, and struggle with life choices, that consume the hearts of people today. Her character of Hope Westcott in the Blue Enchantress could be speaking from the heart of any modern-day young woman who has made some terrible decisions as to her purity and who strives to change.
In the following interview Marylu shares some of her personal life struggles, including her heart's longings for her kids and the dilemma of unanswered prayer. I hope you are as encouraged by Marylu's story as much as I have been--not only as an aspiring writer, but as a woman going through this journey called 'life'.
Christine Lindsay: Marylu, Tell us a little about yourself, where you live, your family.
Marylu Tyndall: Hum, well, I live in one of the most liberal states in the Union in one of the most liberal parts of the state and probably one of the most innovative places as far as science and technology goes: The Bay Area in Northern California. It's a gorgeous place to live with a mild, Mediterranean climate. An hour west of me is the gorgeous Pacific coast, and 4 hours toward the east, we have the beautiful sierras. I've lived here for nearly 30 years, but my true love is the tropics of Florida where I grew up and where my entire family still lives and where I go and visit as often as I can! My husband and I have 6 children, most all grown up, and 3 cats currently, although we seem to attract strays! (cats, not kids)
CL: What do you like to do for fun?
MT: I love to go on hikes, go to the beach, oil paint, garden, go out to dinner (anywhere as long as I don't have to cook!) and I also enjoy a great book or movie. In fact I used to love to go to the movies. I loved the whole experience with the hot buttered popcorn and the big screen and surround sound, but these days I rarely find anything I want to see.
CL: How did you come to write novels, especially this series?
MT: I never planned on becoming an author. I always loved to write and wrote several stories for fun while I was growing up, but it never seemed a very feasible or practical occupation! About 6 years ago I got the strangest notion that I should write a story about a Christian Pirate. I thought I was crazy but the feeling wouldn't relent, so I finally obeyed and wrote my first novel, The Redemption. I had never tried to get anything published before so that journey was quite an adventure, but I can honestly say that God was the One who opened all the doors to make that possible. My current series, The Charles Towne Belles was an idea that God gave me during one of my prayer times. The theme of the series comes from Matthew 13, the parable of the Seed and the Sower. Each story represents one of the seeds Jesus describes in that parable. My current release, The Blue Enchantress, is the story of the seed that falls among the thorns, where the pleasures of this world and the cares of life strangle out the power of God's Word in a human heart. In this case, the heart of my heroine, Hope Westcott.
CL: This next question is dear to my heart; Did you ever doubt your calling; ever feel like giving up?
MT: At least once or twice a week! I know that may sound strange coming from someone who has 6 books published, but even after God preformed a miracle getting me published, even after receiving the Christy nomination, even after all the books I've written, in my darkest hour when I'm tired and I'm struggling with a scene or I've gotten a bad review, I wonder if I'm truly meant to do this. Surely someone with a better command of the language or a more vivid imagination, or a degree in creative writing should be doing this. Surely someone who's a better Christian or a more benevolent person should be writing these stories, not some overly-sensitive, stressed out, no English degree, worry-wort person like me. But, then God reassures me in some small way, a kind word from a friend, an encouragement from a fellow writer, a good review, and I keep on plugging on, until He tells me otherwise.
CL: Tell us about your awareness of the Lord in your normal writing day.
MT: Each morning before I do anything else, I spend 45 minutes to an hour in prayer and reading my Bible. This is where God gives me my marching orders for the day and where I receive His peace and encouragement. This is the most important part of my day, of anyone's day. If you want to have success in your life, if you want to become a better person and impact the world for God's glory, then model what Jesus did when He was here on earth. He spent time in prayer every morning. Then during the course of my day I practice the awareness of His presence. He sits beside me at my desk and when I need help with anything, whether it be a word or a plot point or a character reaction, I sit back in my chair and ask Him for guidance. Without His help, I doubt I'd be able to write even one book, let alone six. I know to some this may sound crazy, but God's Word says the Lord delights in the details of our lives, that He sticks closer than a brother. So whatever your tasks are during the day, I challenge you to invite the Lord along, talk to Him often, lean on Him for strength, ask His advice. You'll be surprised at how your life will change for the better!
CL: How did you first come to believe in Christ and His promises for your future?
MT: Long story. But the short version is that I spent many years wandering away from God. Although I knew about Him and had learned all the Bible stories in Sunday school, I had a difficult childhood and decided I wanted to pursue my own happiness. I tried all the things this world has to offer in order to find fulfillment, but by the time I was 35, nothing had worked. I was miserable. My second marriage was falling apart, my teenage children were in rebellion, I had a drinking problem and I hated my job. One night in desperation, I dusted off my old Bible and began to read it from cover to cover. Somewhere in Ezekiel in the prophecies about Israel, I realized that what God had spoken of thousands of years ago was coming true in my time. As I sat alone in my bed in the middle of the night, I remember saying out loud "You're real" and instantly I was enveloped by this tingling warmth and a joy that bubbled up from within me. I fell to my knees and gave my life to God. Things didn't improve overnight. My husband and kids were non-believers, but now, 15 years later, my husband (a staunch atheist) and half our kids are committed Christians!
Just briefly (I realize I told you this was the short version) But I need to say that at one point shortly after this, God spoke to me and told me He had something for me to do that would blow my socks off. A year later I got my first book published. God delights in blessing His children!
CL: Would you be able to share with us your darkest hour, and how God brought you through it?
MT: Some of my darkest moments have been dealing with the pain of past regrets and guilt. Because I spent so many years away from God, I did many things--things that make me cringe now when I think of them, things that hurt others and caused pain to people around me, even my own children. My darkest hours have been when those memories resurrect and I fall flat on my face on the floor in utter agony, assailed with the weight of my own guilt. Sometimes I just want to die and I feel so worthless and ashamed. Oddly enough it has been during those dark times that I have felt the Lord's presence even more powerfully than at any other time. It is as if He gently lifts me up, wipes away my tears, shoves away the enemy who accuses me, removes the chains around my heart, and cleanses me utterly and perfectly with His sacrifice and His love. And I am reminded that no matter what we've done, no matter how horrible it may have been, if we turn to Jesus, we are forgiven and cleansed and justified (Just as if I never sinned)
CL: What message do you hope your readers will come away with after reading your novels?
MT: My tag line is "Live in the awareness of your eternal destiny". All my novels are interwoven with a strong spiritual theme but if I had to pick an overall general theme that I hope my readers get, it would be that God loves you more than anything and He wants to be intimately involved in your life, that He is as powerful and miraculous as He has always been, and that the good news of the gospel is that this fallen world with all its suffering and pain and heartache is NOT the whole story. There is another world, more wonderful and real and incredible than this one where there will be no suffering and where you will live forever.
CL: Tell us what your most audacious prayer was.
MT: My most audacious prayer was and is that my eldest son will become a youth pastor and lead many people to Christ. At this time, this 28 year old boy is not a Christian and is involved with the things of this world and wants nothing to do with God. But you know what? I believe our God is a mighty God. His arm is not too short that it cannot save, and there is nothing impossible for Him.! I believe in praying HUGE prayers because we have a HUGE God.
CL: And now the toughie---did God answer it?
MT: Not yet. But I believe He will. My son may not become a youth pastor, but I believe he'll get saved and do something great for God with his life. God has confirmed this in my heart and through His Word, and He is faithful!
CL: Thank you so much, Marylu. This particular blog posting has encouraged me on such a personal level. Like you, I have memories that like to come by once in a while and haunt me. But like you, I too know the power of what Christ did on the cross. Like you, I am a FREE woman, and He has given me a purpose. Thank you again, for sharing your heart with my readers.
Thanks Christine for having me!!!! God Bless.
You you are interested in seeing a list of Marylu's books and her latest release, check out her website www.mltyndall.com