Meet Ginger Marcinkowski, author of Run, River Currents
Ginger Marcinkowski was born in northern Maine along the Canadian border, which plays a prominent role in Run, River Currents. She is a daughter of divorced parents and one of eight siblings. Her debut novel was published in August 2012 and was a 2012 semi-finalist in the Association of Christian Fiction Writer’s (ACFW) Genesis Awards.
Ginger has been a public speaker and visiting lecturer for many years. She has been a professional reader for the James Jones First Novel Award ($10,000 prize), and is currently a judge for the East-West Writer’s Contest. Her works have been awarded honorable mentions, and she has placed in several writing contests. She is looking forward to writing full-time in 2013.
Ginger, thank you so much for joining me today. Let’s start with the goods. Tell me about yourself.
I am a middle child of eight siblings, having two older brothers, two older sisters, two younger sisters, and one younger brother. I’ve always been known as the oldest of “the little ones.” I grew up between Ft. Fairfield, Maine, and Plaster Rock, New Brunswick, which was the home of my grandparents. My parents divorced when I was about nine, and my mother, four sisters, and a brother moved to Meriden, Connecticut. I graduated high school in Meriden and two days after graduation jumped a Freddy Laker charter plane to Glasgow, Scotland, where my best friend, Ann, and I visited her family for a few days before striking off to hitch-hike across Europe for several months. On my 18th birthday, I met my husband in a beer hall in Germany. Two days later he asked me to marry him. Seven years later we had our only son. I came to writing at a late age, after time had made me so much wiser, but not wise enough to see the pain I’d been enduring for so long.
Tell me about your latest book.
Run, River Currents was one of those books authors talk about that are inside of you and they have to get out. I’m a pretty upbeat person, but this darkness has been carried around within me for a long time. It’s a story of a woman who was abused by her father when she was a child. She carried that anger with her throughout her life until she finally exploded and punched her dead father in his face while he lay in his casket. The story then takes the reader back to the horrific things that brought her to that rage point and tempered her rage with the beauty of grace she’d been touched with during those awful years. The setting of New Brunswick, Canada, the deep-woods of the northeast, the potato fields, the Tobique River, the godliness of the main characters grandparents give the reader a feeling of hope. I’m both humbled and proud of the story.
Was there a magic moment you knew you were going to be a writer?
There was. I was writing about the running of the logs, a pertinent part of this story as the Tobique River (pronounced Toe-Bick) was so important to me growing up. As I was writing this scene and the scene of Emily’s baptism, I realized that the reader WOULD see the river and the happenings there. That night before I closed my computer, I reread the scenes out loud. They made me cry for that time. They made me visualize the baptisms and the beauty of that area and I knew others would “see” it with me.
What books have changed your life in significant ways?
First and foremost, The Bible. It may sound trite to some, but nothing has had a greater impact or given me more encouragement than God’s Word. For other readings, I have been moved by the books of Jeff Talarigo. He wrote The Ginseng Hunter and The Pearl Diver, both eloquent novels with great character impact. The latest one to haunt me has been Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. The story of Louis Zamperini will stay with me for my lifetime. I want to have his perseverance.
What inspired your latest book?
My older sister, Sue, had suggested I write a comical story about our mother entitled, The Glenna Chronicles. My mother was a woman who lit up every room she walked into, and everyone loved the way she commanded attention. She was a wild, red-headed woman with eight children. She had some funny quirks and often acted in ways that made us wonder if she had a brain. She was complex and selfish, but she did everything she knew how to do to keep her children together as a family. There were times she could make me so angry, and it took me a long time to understand why. When I did, it was too late to develop any kind of a real relationship with her. I did everything I could for her, but I never seemed to be able to forgive her for the way she emotionally abandoned us. So the comic novel became the dark story it really was. But it was emotionally freeing for me, as I came to forgive her and my father.
Is there a message in your book?
Yes. There is a message of hope for those who continue to make jails for themselves because of their past. I want them to know there is a way out of that prison.
What was your biggest moment as a writer?
I have had two big moments. The first was the day Ken Shear of Booktrope Publishing called to tell me he had an editor, Lori Higham, who wanted to work with me on the publishing of the novel. The second was just recently when a good friend purchased twelve books and had me sign them all so that he and his wife could present them as gifts to their family. I was so humbled by his generosity that I went into the bathroom and just cried.
Who is your favorite author and why?
As much as I have learned to read, I have no right to have a real favorite at this point. I had never been encouraged to read. I’ve only been reading regularly since I started to write. I love comic reads, historical fiction and “real” stories with a “sense of place.” So really, I have quite eclectic tastes!
Who are the most influential writers in your writing life? Why?
Sara Pritchard, Bev Donofrio, Kaylie Jones and Kevin Oderman were very influential in my writing. Sara, because of her ability to create the extraordinary out of the ordinary, Bev because of her ability to distance herself from her pain as she wrote, Kevin, because he understands the importance of structure in a story, and Kaylie because she is not afraid to tell the truth.
Is your book character-driven or plot–driven?
Run, River Currents was definitely a character-driven story. It is Emily who drives the story with her rage and ultimately with her forgiveness.
What do you do besides writing?
Ha! Right now the question would be what don’t I do? I travel full-time as a Professional Relations Representative for a Midwest Insurance Company teaching Risk Management and Starting into Practice seminars at chiropractic colleges around the country. I am busy promoting my book, am a judge for the East-West Writers Contest, am in training to teach online writing for two universities, am submitting work for publication, and am working on my second and third novels! I’m tired just thinking about it!
What was the most important thing you have learned in life?
That’s easy, but the lesson was hard. I’ve learned that I am nothing and that I can do nothing without God’s hand. I was a woman without hope.
What are your favorite movies and why?
I have one favorite movie, Rudy. I loved the story of his perseverance, of his tenacity and his passion for what he believed in. I loved that he believed in himself enough to reach his dream. I want to emulate that kind of confidence.
What are five things on your bucket list?
I want to interview Laura Bush. I want to dance the tango in the rain with no clothes on. I want to walk across America. I want to make a difference to a lot of people I may never meet. I want to write ten successful books!
If you could have dinner with one person, real or fictional, who would it be and why?
I’ve actually thought about this before. I’d love to sit down with my grandfather once more. He’s been gone since I was sixteen. You know how it is. I knew everything, and he was just an old man. Now, as an adult, I see the beauty in his life’s witness to me, and I still feel the love he had for me. I’d tell him that and apologize for the foolishness I had in me then. I’d listen to every word he had to say and I’d learn from, not make fun of, his wisdom.
What is your greatest fear?
That I’ll never be good enough
What makes you angry?
Years ago, I’d say it was everything, as I walked around with so much rage inside of me. I’m calmer now, though anyone around me says I move too fast. They are always telling me to slow down. It makes me laugh. I do get very angry when I read about the abuse of children. It’s a silent disease that affects so many. No one likes to talk about it or read about it, but its happening and I don’t think we are doing enough to protect these children. That makes me mad.
What music do you listen to?
I rarely listen to music anymore. But if I have background music on, I like Southern Gospel, Blues and Country music.
If you could be anyone else—real or fictional—who would it be?
I guess I’ve lived my whole life never daring to dream I could or would be anything or anybody, so I don’t even know how to answer that question. In the end, I’m pretty happy being me. I’ve done some incredible things, been some beautiful places and been loved by some very special people. I’m quite content being me. But then again, Scarlett O’Hara has always held my interest. I love the big ball gowns and the way she sashayed down those big staircases.
Ginger, it’s been a pleasure! Your inner strength and belief in yourself is truly inspiring. Thank you for taking the time to stop by, and I wish you all the best in your current and future projects. Be well, and be happy.
About Run, River Currents
As the last of the mourners departed the ornate Catholic Church, Emily entered a side door unnoticed, walked to the coffin, and punched her dead father in the face. “You’ll never be dead enough,” she whispered. “Never.”
Determined to recover from the hands of a father who sexually abused her and an emotionally distant mother, twenty-seven-year-old Emily Evans seeks the peace she’d lost in her youth. Yet, shattered by the betrayal of those she was taught to respect and love, she fears that she may never overcome the devastating effects of generations of abuse. Will she ever let herself truly open up to the power of unconditional love?
Set in the rich backwoods of New Brunswick, Canada, Run, River Currents is inspired by a true story of abuse, pain, and the struggle to find healing and forgiveness.
Where to find Run, River Currents
Connect with Ginger Marcinkowski