Marcia Laycock is a pastor’s wife and writer whom I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know through Inscribe. She served for years as ICWF’s vice-president and president. She published her first novel, One Smooth Stone, in 2007 and left many readers waiting patiently for the sequel. A Tumbled Stone is now available, so I took the opportunity to chat with Marcia about both books.
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TKM: A Tumbled Stone has had a long road to publication. Can you tell us about that?
Marcia: The road was indeed long. I began writing the sequel shortly after One Smooth Stone came out, but then a lot of “life” happened. My husband resigned from the church he pastored to move on and plant a new church in a nearby community. That meant a big move and a big drop in salary. In the midst of that, a refugee couple arrived and moved in with us. Then two of our daughters married.
By the time I finally sent the manuscript off to my publisher, the economy had taken a drastic downturn and after holding on to it for quite a long time, he decided he could not move forward with publication—his company had scaled down a great deal and he was focusing on nonfiction. It was just after that when I was diagnosed with cancer, so once again “life” got in the way.
Then I heard about the Word Alive contest and decided to submit the manuscript. It did not win, but came close and Word Alive offered me a very attractive discount to publish with them. At first I thought it was not going to happen—even with the discount the cost was prohibitive for us at the time—but a wonderful lady who had been waiting patiently for the book contacted me to ask when it was coming out.
When I explained what had happened, she said, “Well, we just can’t let that go. I’ll sponsor the book.” So, at long last, A Tumbled Stone went to press. It was very exciting and I’m very thankful.
TKM: When you wrote One Smooth Stone, did you plan to write a sequel or did this story emerge as you wrote the first book?
Marcia: As I wrote One Smooth Stone, I thought it might lead to a sequel, but didn’t really think about it much until I finished the first book. I wasn’t quite ready to let the characters go and thought the readers might feel the same, so I wrote the epilogue and my publisher committed at that time to publishing the sequel. Then I started to play “what if” and the plot began to develop.
TKM: You’ve spent the last year battling with cancer. How has that affected your writing?
Marcia: I think the effects of having cancer will show up in all of my work, and life, in the years ahead. I don’t think you can go through something like that and not have it affect every aspect of your life. I think it will deepen my writing as it has deepened my relationship with the Lord.
TKM: You’ve now published two novels and three devotional books (congratulations!). What is your next writing project?
Marcia: I have a few manuscripts on my computer that I’d like to polish and market. One is a young adult fantasy series that has had some interest from a publisher in the past. The other is just an idea at this point but may evolve into something tangible. I also hope to put out a couple more eBooks and I would like to see my devotional for writers of faith in print as well as eBook form.
TKM: What advice would you offer to other writers encountering hurdles as they seek publication?
Marcia: Don’t give up. It was a frustrating time, waiting for A Tumbled Stone to be published, but I believe God’s timing is always perfect. I remember waiting what seemed like an interminable time for One Smooth Stone to arrive, after all the editing and process of publishing, but when it finally arrived I gave the first book out of the box to a friend who gave it to her daughter. That young woman had been raped and was very angry with God. But she read the book and called her mom in tears to tell her, “I think maybe God does still love me, in spite of everything.” That made the wait worth it. As I said, God’s timing is perfect.
TKM: If you could change one thing about either of your novels, what would it be?
Marcia: Hmm … interesting question. I remember when I got the email from my publisher saying that One Smooth Stone was going to press. My first reaction was, “Oh no, please give it back to me, I can make it better.” I felt that way about A Tumbled Stone as well, that it wasn’t quite good enough yet. So I guess there are always things you’d like to change. But there has to be a point when you take the step and put it out there and let God do what He will with it.
TKM: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
ML: Just a word of thanks to all the readers who have been so patiently waiting for A Tumbled Stone. I pray you will be blessed by it. I’d also like to say a public thank you to Jen and Evan at Word Alive Press, and to all the team there. They were great to work with.
Thank you, Marcia!
You can find more of Marcia Laycock’s writings on her website. A Tumbled Stone is available on Amazon. Marcia has also contributed to the Hot Apple Cider anthologies and to Inscribed: 30 Years of Inspiring Writers.