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WRITE: Interview with Joyce Magnin

Joyce Magnin loves stories, video games, cream soda, Parcheesi but not laundry or elevators. She is a frequent conference speaker, the mother of three amazing children, three grandsons, and a parakeet who thinks she’s a chicken. Her previous Bright’s Pond releases include The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow (Library Journal’s Top 5 Christian Books of 2009; ACFW Carol Award nominee) and Charlotte Figg Takes Over Paradise. Note from Marti: I’m back after a wonderful few days at the Florida Christian Writers Conference and another few spent with my parents while my dad had cancer surgery. I know you’ll enjoy this interview with Joyce Magnin, author of last week’s READ review, Griselda Takes Flight. You and I share the experience of falling in love with writing during our elementary school years.  Would you please describe your beginnings as a writer? It all started in the third grade. My teacher, Mrs. Nichols asked us to write a story. I wrote about Martians who invaded Earth to knock over Fort Knox. Apparently Martians eat gold—who knew? She loved the story and asked me to read it to all the classes in the school. She then told me that I had been “gifted with words.” I was smitten because it was at that moment I felt God’s hand on my shoulder and knew that I knew that I knew she was right. How did you decide on the fictional small town of Bright’s Pond as a setting? I enjoy small towns. Bright’s Pond is really an amalgam of a bunch of quirky, little towns in the Wilkes Barre/Scranton part of Pennsylvania. There is just something unique and wonderful about small communities that feel more like family than neighbors. Your work, although often humorous, also touches on deep issues. How do you decide on the struggles your characters will face?   They come that way. Truthfully, I don’t think I have ever sat down and had to think or consider what sorts of issues my characters struggle through. But, that being said, all you have to do is listen to friends, read prayer requests for your church, eavesdrop on a few conversations at work or the grocery store and you get a clue for what people are handling every single day. You’re keeping busy these days as a full-time novelist and part-time editor/conference teacher. What upcoming projects can readers expect? Oh boy, well on the writing front after Griselda Takes Flight there are four more Bright’s Pond novels coming. Blame it on the Mistletoe will release in September. Also in September my first Middle Grade novel for Zonderkidz, Carrying Mason, is releasing and I also have novels coming out with Zondervan including Harriet Beamer Takes the...

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READ: Review, Griselda Takes Flight by Joyce Magnin

Oops, she did it again. Joyce Magnin combines the ridiculous with the poignant in a way that spells sublime. And that’s especially true of Griselda Takes Flight (Abingdon, releases 4.1.11), the third offering in her Bright’s Pond series.  No one but Magnin could put together a comatose treasure hunter; his not-so-concerned fiancée; an obsessive pumpkin farmer; two sisters learning to love their way out of dysfunction; and a pilot who makes an emergency landing and decides to stay a while. And no one but Magnin could weave all these and more into a loveable, believable, page-turning story.  In what’s become her signature style, the author uses flawed characters and awkward, often humorous situations to teach powerful lessons. Griselda Sparrow, who takes flight in not only an airplane but her self-confidence, shows readers the power of truth to set free. And as other Bright’s Pond residents work through their own versions of truth-telling, readers will no doubt do the same.  At one point in my reading, I realized I was holding my breath. Charlotte Figg, heroine of Magnin’s second novel, was about to encounter Griselda and friends for the first time. My concern for my fictional friends defined my discovery about their creator:  Oops, she did it again.  Read it and smile. Because when Griselda Takes Flight, your heart will,...

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