Marjorie was born in Rhode Island and when she was thirteen moved to San Francisco with her family. As she grew up she became enthralled with Japanese history and tradition and became an expert on Japanese cinema. She attended San Francisco State University and travelled throughout Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, China, India, Nepal and Central and South America; until finally setting foot in her beloved Japan where she spent the next twenty years working as an English teacher. Whilst there she learned Japanese and Aikido. The unforgettable life experiences she has had on these journeys have greatly inspired her writing.
Marjorie returned to the USA and set about creating her award-winning fantasy/adventure series ‘The Boy with Golden Eyes.’ What began as a bedtime story for her great-nephew Sam, has gone on to win awards in New York, Los Angeles, Paris and New York and is read the world over, with recent prospects of becoming a movie franchise and being translated into Mandarin.
Marjorie also uses her psychic and spiritual abilities to write for a Seattle publication called The Ballard News Tribune.
This is the second time I’ve been lucky enough that Marjorie has been able to find time in her busy schedule to sit and interview with me, and I’ve enjoyed it just as much as the first. She is inspiring, talented and has some amazing stories to share.
1. When we last spoke, you were working on the sixth book of your awesome award-winning series ‘The Boy with the Golden Eyes’. Do you have plans to write a seventh in the saga, or maybe a spin-off?
While I’m finally nearing completion of book six, my head is filled with ideas for book one of the ‘spin-off’ series, ‘The Lira Chronicles.’ It will centre on young Lira, one of the featured characters in ‘Golden Eyes.’ Her arranged marriage to the prince of neighbouring ‘Castilan’ will put her at the centre of complex political intrigue as well as royal family turmoil. Joining her from ‘Golden Eyes’ will be ‘Komo’ the extraordinary Asian warrior, now assigned to train Castilan’s army. Though only thirteen, Lira is confident, self-possessed, and ready for the challenge. After completing book one, I’ll return to ‘Golden Eyes’ for the seventh, and I believe the final, instalment.
2. Sagas like the one you’ve created always make excellent movies. Will we ever see yours on the big screen?
Actually, there has been interest in turning the series into a movie franchise. It’s a complicated business and I’m working with my agents and (newly acquired) entertainment attorneys to determine if we can come to an agreement. When selling the film rights, the author largely gives up control over the project, which is no easy thing. I’ve also heard from a publisher in China who wants to bring out the books in Mandarin. So, good things are happening for my hero ‘Rupert’ and his friends.
3. What are you working on right now, and can you tell us something about it?
I’m currently hard at work completing book six of ‘The Boy with Golden Eyes.’ It’s been a longer process than usual because not long after starting, my landlord put my place up for sale and I had to find another that I could afford…not easy here in Seattle. Eventually it worked out, but it was a long and stress-filled time and certainly distracted from my writing. But I’m finally nearing the finish line. Looks like book six will be the longest of the novels thus far. It will bring culmination to so many storylines and I confess I’m having a fine time with it. As usual, I never have anything planned out, so I’m in suspense myself as I sit down to write. And the solution to whatever dilemma I’ve written my characters into always somehow magically appears.
4. In the past year, have you read a book you would recommend to others?
I read a unique memoir called ‘Survival in Paradise’ by Manfred Wolf. It recounts the incredible story of how the seven-year-old and his family escaped Nazi occupied Europe during World War Two, eventually finding themselves on the exotic island of Curacao, and his growing up amidst the clash of many cultures there. It’s riveting, touching, often very funny, and in the end, thoroughly astonishing.
5. If you weren’t an author what would you be and why?
I spent many years teaching English in Japan…and teaching is something I’ve treasured. Touching the lives of my students and being touched in return is both fulfilling and exhilarating. However, if I had the choice of any profession at all, I would adore being an artist. It is something I did not pursue, for one sad reason; I have no talent whatsoever in that direction! But oddly, it appeals to me more than anything else I can think of. Since I believe in reincarnation, perhaps I’ll get my chance next time around. Meanwhile, I cherish writing and will have to be satisfied with that.
6. What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
My advice would be never to limit yourself. I especially find the ‘write what you know’ adage to be an artificial barrier. Imagination is the key! Science fiction writers haven’t been to other galaxies or fought off marauding zombies, but they manage to write about them all the same. So, let your thoughts fly and see where they take you. Also, don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. If you write romance novels, try a war story if a good idea presents itself. Or if you normally stick to fiction, writing the biography of someone you admire still holds possibilities. And most of all, recognize that whatever you choose to write, some readers will like it while others won’t. Not even Shakespeare has universal approval, so why would you? Keep writing and know you’ll find your audience. But the most important thing is expressing yourself; an unmatched reward all on its own.
7. Self-publishing has become a big thing for many authors/poets as a way of getting their work out there. However, it can still be daunting. What are your thoughts on self-publishing?
I remain a big fan of self-publishing. I never even sought out a ‘traditional’ publisher for my series. I wanted control over my work…especially the cover art, because my great-nephew Sam inspired the hero, Rupert, and I wanted his image on the covers. A traditional publisher would have never agreed; nor did I want them editing my work. As you can tell, I’m rather ‘exacting’ when it comes to my saga. So that’s one huge positive about self-publishing…the work remains the author’s own.
It’s not enough to simply publish your book, however. It’s a necessity to get the word out on social media. I admit that most are far more savvy than I on that score, but I have learned to make use of Twitter, with very positive results. Just beware of spending more time promoting your books than actually writing them!
8. If you had to write a book in a different genre than fantasy/adventure, which would you choose and why?
Great question! I enjoy historical fiction…so perhaps that’s an area I might explore. ‘Gone with the Wind’ and ‘Forever Amber’ are classic examples of that genre. I’d say the research must be meticulous, though, bringing a bygone era to accurate life. For some reason, I’ve always found The Black Plague fascinating! So perhaps that might be a fertile, if gruesome, place to start.
Another appealing category would be detective fiction. I enjoy a good mystery! Don’t know if I have the aptitude, but many very talented writers have produced an unending supply of terrific tales. ‘Sherlock Holmes’ has always been a huge favourite, and I remain in awe of its creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
9. You are also a psychic and spiritualist. Can you tell us about a psychic incident that has had a big impact on your life?
That topic would demand a book in itself! I’ve had a number of truly profound experiences that changed my life forever. Many of Rupert’s amazing fictionalized happenings in ‘Golden Eyes’ have their roots in what I’ve encountered in actuality. One event included tracking down a friend who was known to be somewhere in South America in the days before cell phones, texting, and the like. I had no idea whatsoever of his whereabouts, other than the ‘information’ conveyed from a mysterious source. I realized my true goal was to heed it and see what happened. And after an unforgettable odyssey, I found myself in a small town in Peru, where I was led directly to his door. After that, there was no question I would ‘trust the force’ from then on.
10. If you were trapped on a desert island, and could only take three items or people with you, what or who would you take?
It hardly seems fair to take other people, as that might be construed as ‘kidnapping’ lol! So, I’ll limit myself to items. Guess I’d take my computer so I could continue writing and keep contact with the outside world while viewing old episodes of ‘Downton Abbey’ (if solar power worked for re-charging), lots of sunscreen, and perhaps my well-worn copy of ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ which never gets old. Hopefully, food delivery could be arranged too. Since I adore the sight and sound of the ocean and the open sky, it might prove a glorious experience. And in the end, I could always write about it.
It was an amazing experience to sit down and interview Marjorie again. Her series is well loved and I urge you to check it out if you haven’t already; not only will the children love it but you will too
To follow Marjorie and her amazing series please visit the links below: