Marjorie is an incredibly talented woman, spiritual counselor and a lover of a good story and anything mystical. She is an award-winner for her book series The Boy with the Golden Eyes, yet she is one of the most humble people I have had the pleasure of coming across. She lives in Seattle, and calls Japan her second home.
An excellent book for readers of all ages
Marjorie Young has managed to blend a fantasy adventure and real life lessons in a manner that is always entertaining
The incredible world of the author’s creation comes vividly to life
These are just some of the reviews for her award-winning series, and they are well-earned and justified. I’m honored once again to have Marjorie make time to sit down for an interview. We discussed her series and any advice she may have for new writers.
1.Hi Marjorie, When we last spoke, you were close to finishing your amazing and award-winning series ‘The Boy with Golden Eyes.’ How was it received?
Book Six, entitled ‘The Tainted Throne’, was presumed to be the final entry in the series…but as I was writing it, I realized that a seventh installment was required, which came as quite a surprise to me! Meanwhile, the latest work did bring many vital matters to a conclusion though most likely a rather unexpected one for many readers. I’ve received so much positive feedback, especially concerning a resolution that urges them to reflect upon the real meaning of ‘victory’ or ‘defeat.’ And there has been rejoicing that another book is to follow.
2. Of all the wonderful characters in the series, which was your favourite to create and write about?
Oops! That’s like asking a parent to name their favourite child! Obviously my hero, young Rupert dominates the saga and I believe I’ve created someone memorable in him. He is superbly gifted in so many ways, but replete with imperfections as well. One advantage to creating a series is that characters have room to grow. It may sound odd, but those populating ‘Golden Eyes’ seem ‘real’ to me. I can see, hear, and occasionally even smell them! Each not only possesses his/her own vivid existence, but brings the others more into clarity through their complex interactions. I love Drego’s brazen boldness, Lira’s confidence and sweetness, Morley’s gallantry and easy humor, Liam’s sanity and wisdom, Zara’s demand for feminine equality, Komo’s steely yet tragic sense of honor, and so on.
3. You had plans to create a spin-off of “The Boy With the Golden Eyes” called “The Lira Chronicles.” How is that going?
Yes, I have begun book one of The Lira Chronicles and I’m enjoying the process thoroughly. It is very much its own thing…and there are few elements of ‘fantasy’ to be found, which may surprise fans of my first series. ‘Golden Eyes’ was a fantasy/adventure due to Rupert’s extraordinary spiritual and mystical gifts, abilities that his sometimes mentor Shomila shares in abundance. However, Lira, though remarkable in her own right, does not possess these particular talents. Instead this saga focuses on her arranged marriage with the crown prince of Castilan, and therefore is steeped in the world of dark political intrigue. At times it proves unsettling to absent myself from the ‘occult’ realm of my previous work, but it is also refreshing to have both feet firmly ‘grounded’ in the world of the ‘Chronicles.’ As a psychic medium, who has undergone many extraordinary experiences since early childhood, it is appealing as well as challenging to see the world through a new perspective.
4. You’re a big fan of self-publishing. What advice would you give to anybody wanting to self-publish?
Yes, I relish the fact that the author retains complete control of his or her work, which is vital to me. Of course, there are minuses involved. Nevertheless, it is essential that writers design a strategy to get the word out once their books are published. Even traditional publishers largely
leave it to authors to publicize their work. While I’m not a great fan of social media, it is a useful tool for getting the word out. I limit myself to Twitter, mainly because the posts must be brief lol! I spent time building a following and it has paid off. Directly and indirectly through Twitter, I have had contact with film producers and a major book publisher in China who were very interested in my series. Unfortunately, (as well as maddeningly) agreements fell through at the last minute. But despite any disappointment, this still demonstrates that social media can indeed bring attention to self-published authors and remains an essential element for every author’s work.
One other piece of advice is to enter contests aimed at indie writers. I did so for book one on a whim, placing ‘Golden Eyes’ in the Los Angeles Book Festival in the Young Adult category. Much to my astonishment…it won! It subsequently was chosen runner-up in the Paris Book Festival, and also received kudos in London and New York. Clearly, it is a plus to label a book/series as ‘award-winning’ and I hope every author will give competition a try.
5. As someone who is successful, what would you say are the pros and cons of self-publishing?
As mentioned above, the main appeal is that self-publishing allows the author control of their work and to get it out fairly quickly to the world. (I would find it maddening if a publisher made changes to my story, for example). Meanwhile, finding a publisher can be a long and frustrating ordeal (usually requiring a search for a literary agent first…in and of itself a major challenge), and even if one is successful, the book may not appear for several years. Of course, if a traditional publisher believes in a work, they may publicize it, arrange for book signings, and the like, all of which is very positive…but such perks are largely reserved for authors already well established. Naturally, writers should consider all their options and seek out an agent/publisher if that seems their best route. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ approach…just the most suitable for oneself.
6. As a writer, what would you choose as your spirit animal, and why?
An odd and interesting question! ‘The Boy with Golden Eyes’ features a remarkable mastiff hound and a magnificent golden stallion, both playing a major part in the story. But if there’s a ‘spirit animal’ to the tale, it would have to be a red fox called Kara. She is featured in book one as Rupert’s dearest childhood companion and later reappears in distant lands and under mysterious circumstances, to continue to guide her friend. Having lived in Japan for many years, I recalled their folklore concerning foxes, or ‘kitsune’ in Japanese, as intelligent beings possessing paranormal abilities that increase with age and wisdom. Kara comes to represent an element of the unknown to Rupert (no one else can see her) causing him to follow where she leads.
As an aside, I should mention that I am a passionate champion of animal rights (as is Rupert) and I adamantly believe they and their natural world should be cherished and protected by all.
7. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Alas, since my older and young self are very much alike, I wouldn’t have any special counsel to offer the earlier version of me lol. But one piece of advice I’d give to every fellow writer
would be to never limit yourself. I always greatly resented the supposedly wise adage to ‘write what you know!’ Yes, that’s fine if that’s your inclination. But if all authors confined themselves in that way, we’d never have science fiction or crazy thrillers, for a start. I’m fairly sure Stephen King never encountered a psychic teen who decimated her senior prom, nor did Isaac Asimov likely travel to outer space. Imagination is vital for any author. Never allow anyone to label or categorize you…whether as a writer or as a human being.
8. Do you use real people as inspiration for your characters?
Originally, ‘The Boy with Golden Eyes’ began as a bedtime story for my great-nephew Sam, who was only seven at the time. Thus, many of my hero Rupert’s characteristics were inspired by Sam…his brilliance, fascination with the world, marvelous looks, and so on. As time went on, Sam continued to influence Rupert, including his astute contributions for plot twists as we brainstormed the story. Naturally, my personal experiences with the mystical/psychic realm figured heavily into Rupert’s outlook as time went on. At the same time, my hero emerged as an entirely independent being as well.
The character of Lira, now featured in her own spin-off series, was originally shaped by Sam’s younger sister Lucie. Her self-confidence, beauty, and clarity of mind influenced the fictional creation. By the way, Sam appears as ‘Rupert’ on all six book covers and Lucie will similarly grace ‘The Lira Chronicles.’
I do personally relate to Rupert’s elderly and enigmatic mentor Shomila who seeks to pass on wisdom from the mystical realm, just as I have with Sam and Lucie…with what measure of success is open to debate, lol.
My beloved Komo, the stoical warrior with a tragic past, is in many ways a tribute to the superb Japanese samurai films that fired my imagination and influenced me in countless ways…eventually leading me to make Japan my second home.
9. What does your writing schedule look like?
I write either in the morning or early afternoon. I find it an engrossing yet draining process, so I limit myself to no more than two or three hours each day. As has been the case from the start, I begin each session with absolutely no idea what is to come. Though my six books have been praised for their intricate plotting, I find that the story/characters emerge almost independently…graciously revealing what is unfold. Odd, perhaps, but true. I hear J.K. Rowling outlined all seven Harry Potter books before beginning the first chapter of book one. That’s quite unimaginable to me! But creating the journey without foreknowledge continues to be a truly exciting and fruitful ‘experiment’.
10. Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I’ve been fortunate that the reviews I’ve come across thus far have been very positive. But it’s important to keep in mind that everyone is entitled to their opinion. As far as I know, no work ever received a unanimously glowing reception…including those by Shakespeare, Picasso, or Mozart! Therefore, it’s good to take naysayers in stride as they might also prove to have interesting things to point out. Still, the goal of being true to one’s self remains paramount while bringing about something that resonates with your spirit. Each writer is entirely unique and only you can give life to your conception and summon up your own universe, which is a very precious privilege indeed.
Thanks again Marjorie for taking the time. It’s our third interview and I just know it won’t be the last!
I urge you to check out Marjorie’s work if you haven’t already. You can keep up to date with her, and of course her wonderful characters at: