Fear in Writing: Interview with author Marvin D. Wilson

Today in Literary History

Today in Literary History...December 14, 1907: Rudyard Kipling receives the Nobel prize for literature, the first English-language writer to do so.ud

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Interview with author Marvin D. Wilson

"An old Hippie rock and roller, a non-religious, dogma free, Maverick spiritualist Christian."  That's how today's guest, author Marvin D. Wilson (known to most of you ast The Old Silly) describes himself.  Here, he answers my questions about his writing and his newest book, Beware the Devil's Hug.  I think I asked some pretty tough questions, and Marvin had no trouble answering them! 
A brief description of his book is a good way to start.  This is from a review by Ron Berry, author of Laughs from Corn Country and Math for the Family:
'The Old Man wagged his hand in the air. "That is of no significance. I am here to ask to take this man's place. Please - kill me instead." Thus we start our journey through the world created by Marvin Wilson ... in which even names are elusive ... each word hits harder than a punch ... As you weave your way down the path ... there are glimpses of truth, but then you ask ... which is truth and which is a lie. What does it all mean? This is not a book to be taken lightly ... rest assured, by the last sentence you will see yourself and those around you in a much different light....'

Michele: The dichotomy of a man so dirty he's untouchable, yet so powerful he's almost divine is a strong one. Where did this character come from?

Marvin: I am, or The Old Man as he is also called, is a representation of some of the vast potential within any of us. We can be anything from dirty, filthy, mean, untouchable and fearsome, to divine and healing—full of love and compassion. The name ‘Iam’, of course, is a play on the Biblical answer God gave when asked who He was. He said, “I Am That I Am.”

The actual character in the book was inspired by watching an old homeless man panhandling. I wondered to myself, and this is the book’s blurb-

What if a homeless, smelly, ugly, unkempt old man had a hug so powerful it could cure cancer? Cause a prostitute to stop hooking, find happiness and seek true love? Shake the demons of addiction free from a junkie? Make a radical terrorist Muslim want to befriend and love a Christian and visa versa? But rare is the beneficiary of his divine embrace – nobody wants to come near him out of fear.
Michele: When you begin a book like this, do you start with a Christian moral, a story you want to make fit a moral lesson, or a character with strong moral implications?

Marvin: Usually the book is inspired by a character who comes to mind. Someone who is unique in some way, yet someone we can all relate to in one way or another, be it through personal or vicarious experience. But for the plot I start with the ‘spiritual/inspirational’ message ideas(s)—not necessarily limited to ‘Christian’, there are messages drawn from all spiritual paths, the amount of overlap is greater than the amount of differences. Then I write an entertaining story wherein the characters learn and deliver to the reader moral/ethical/spiritual lessons.

Michele: Do you find giving your work such strong religious implications limits or broadens your audience and the reactions to your work?

Marvin: Neither I, nor any of my books, are ‘religious’. Spiritual, yes, inspirational, yes, delivering moral and ethical messages, affirmative. But I will have nothing to do with ‘religion’, which I believe is the very man-made, rule-oriented and limiting, opposite of true spiritual freedom found through the enlightened state of reunification with the One.

That being said, I believe my style of ‘cross-over’ writing expands my potential readership. People wanting a darn good entertaining story to read, be it a mystery/suspense, romance, intrigue, etc., as well as those looking for a book with some weight and message to it, will find my novels a worthy read. If anything, as far as losing any readers, I appeal probably least to those who are ‘religious’—my books would offend the stiff, narrow minded and prudish.

Michele: How much of yourself do you put into a book? If it is a lot, have you placed your own faults or your own victories in this one?

Marvin: I put a lot of myself in my books. Owen Fiddler, the main character in the book by that name, is a whole lot of me—both the lost man in the beginning and the loving, connected person in the end. In Beware the Devil’s Hug, one of the main characters is Christian Dean Wilson. He is really me, in terms of his spiritual and social outlooks, and is the author’s ‘voice’ throughout the book. I wrote him up as being much more conservative than I was as a young man when it comes to pre-marital sex, but ... other than that, Christian is Marvin. Well, Christian is already a household name best-selling author, so I exaggerated a bit there (wink), but my hope and prayer is that Hugs will catch me up in reality to my fictional counterpart, hmm?

Michele: How does this book differ from your other work? Is it continuing a thread in your writing and/or in your life?

Marvin: It is a continuing thread in that it is my style, my voice of appeal to everyone to, as Bob Marley so well sang it in,
“One Love, One Heart ...

Let’s get together and feel all right!”

How is it different? My last novel, Owen Fiddler, was a more straight forward and simpler story. Beware the Devil’s Hug is much more complex, with more sub-plots, genre crossover elements, red herrings and twists to it. It is definitely my most intricately woven work so far.

Michele, thanks for having me on today. These were thought-provoking questions, and I enjoyed the process of thinking them through and answering them. I will be stopping in today and early eve, so I would enjoy interacting with your readers if they would like to ask any questions and/or leave any comments that inspire a response in the comments gallery.

Thank you, Marvin, for stopping by!  I wish you the best in book sales and future writing.
For more on Mr. Old Silly, check out his
blog by that name, or his books, Beware the Devil's Hug and Owen Fiddler.

Tomorrow on Southern City Mysteries, we go back on tour! 
Jackee Alston joins us to show us what the Southwest US can bring to a book.  And on Monday, writer/blogger Cold As Heaven brings exotic Winterland to this blog.  Don't miss either of these great posts!


  1. Michele - Thanks for this terrific interview!

    Marvin - Thanks for the insights into how Beware the Devil's hug came about. What an intriguing concept! And I agree 100%: there is a difference between spiritual and religious...

  2. Michele, great interview.

    Marvin, it's interesting learning more and more about you the author and your book as well. Best of luck on your tour.

    Thoughts in Progress

  3. Michele, thanks again for having me on today!

    Margot - I'm glad you understand the difference - it's a MAJOR one, hmm? Thanks for the comment. :)

    Mason - Much appreciated. Also looking forward to bringing the Hugs Therapy Virtual Tour 2010 to YOUR blog on the 26th!

    And hey everyone - there is a reader/commenter contest in which LOTS of people can win books and prizes for participating - just click right here to read all about it!

    Hugs Everyone, I'll be back shortly to chat with anyone who wants to interact.

    Marvin D Wilson

  4. Put me down for two points in the contest, Old Silly - commented over on Free Spirit AND here, lol.

    Michele, love your blog and both of you did a great job in composing and answering the questions in this unique interview. Always interesting to find out more about the author's motivations and reasons for writing, and Hugs is an awesome novel. My sister is reading my copy right now and couldn't agree more!

  5. Marvin is really an interesting guy. When he first asked about stopping here on his blog tour I thought, "Sure, always willing to help authors out." But I didn't think much of his approach to writing and life. I wasn't even sure if his books fit in with the theme of my blog. Then I composed the interview...and I knew this was going to be an interesting post.

  6. Thanks for using my review as the opener. I've read all of Marvin's books and they are all quite enlightening. I agree that the extremely religious would not 'get' his writing. He pulls in most of the world's major beliefs and shows them to be much the same. Organized religion and spirituality are not the same. A 'religion' only has one belief. A spiritual person recognizes the good in all religions.

  7. Cactus, thanks again - you're really piling up the points, GF! ;)

    Michele, glad you DID decide to give my writing and life outlook a chance, and Hugs is definitely a suspense/thriller with elements of mystery also, so again, it 'crosses over' well, I think, into what you cover here, albeit a bit 'off beat', lol.

    Ron - Yes I'm glad Michele included excerpts from your great review, and your understanding of 'religion' vs 'spirituality' is spot on, dude.

  8. Thanks for sharing the wonderful interview! It seems like there's something for everyone in the book, and I'm looking forward to finding out for myself what touches me in it. It sounds like I will definitely want to read it more than once!

  9. The "religious" versus "spiritual" is definitely interesting, especially when combined under the auspice of Christianity. This makes the book all the more intriguing, and I would have worded some of my questions differently if I had researched properly!

  10. Connie - thanks for your email order for an autographed copy. Your Hugs will soon be in the mail!

    Alex - thanks, and I'll be dropping by your tour this afternoon, too. :)

    Michele - Glad to hear the 'intrigue' is drawing you in. (wink)

  11. Wow I've missed a lot of this tour already - internet issues, aarrgh! Really enjoyed the interview, good questions that made the Old Silly dig a little, Michele, and Marv - well done on the answers. As one who has already read Hugs, I can attest to the fact that it reads like a great suspense/thriller with plenty of romance (even a bit of erotica) and also has great depth and messages to it. Something for everyone!

  12. Enjoyed the interview. You ask great questions Michele. It's been fun learning more about Marvin while he's zipping around on his tour.

  13. Very interesting interview. You've had a great series of guest on this week.


  14. Great interview! Beware the Devil's Hug sounds like a very intriguing read.

  15. I agree with Helen, don't think I saw or thought of a couple of these questions.

    Great job.

  16. Another great inteview. Thank you Michele.

    Tossing It Out

  17. Iam is an enigma. Dirty yet divine, or at least has the spark within him. Of course, John the Baptist, Elisha, and any other host of Biblical characters would look out of place in today's world. But wouldn't want to mess with them.

    Stephen Tremp

  18. Thank you, Marvin, for a great guest post opportunity, and thanks to you all for stopping by to read the interview! Welcome to those who are new to Southern City Mysteries.


  19. Stanley - I know all about internet issues ... had a laptop crash right in the midst of the tour! AAARGH!

    Helen - thanks for stopping in, Michele DOES know how to lead an interesting interview with her questions!

    Clarissa and Belle - thank you, glad you stopped in. :)

    Kissie - yuup, Michele can throw some interesting curves, hmm?

    Arlee - glad you stopped in, thanks for the comment.

    Stephen, dude - so right, them was some seriously mighty dudes, huh?

    Michele, once again, this was fun and much appreciated. Please count on me to host you in the future, ok?