Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hugs Therapy Virtual Tour 2010

It’s my pleasure to welcome award-winning author and editor Marvin Wilson, also known as The Old Silly, to Thoughts in Progress today as he makes a stop on his Hugs Therapy Virtual Tour 2010.

Marvin’s book, BEWARE THE DEVIL’S HUG, has just been released. He has stopped by here today to answer some questions for me about his book and his writing.

Mason: Why should I read your book?

Marvin: Whether you are a lover of suspense/thrillers, mystery and intrigue, spiritual/inspirational, political/social/economic/religious commentary, or romance novels, or any or all of the above, BEWARE THE DEVIL'S HUG will deliver a thought-provoking, enlightening, inspirational and highly entertaining read for you.

Mason: Do you write about what you know, or about what you want to know?

Marvin: Both. And I think both are important to any fiction writer. Even with my rather extensive life experience to draw on, I “know” quite a few different ‘walks’ of life, having been a young Hippie rock and roller, a radical political activist, an interracially married man, a Zen student and then Buddhist lay-minister, a carpenter, a small business owner, a network marketer, a salesman, sales and success coach, a skilled trades instructor, a lost and broken down, homeless crack-head, and now a spiritualist Christian with a burgeoning writing career, to mention a few of the more significant ‘turning points’ in my life’s sojourn, I of course have—even with all that—only scratched the surface of all the possibilities here on this planet while in the mortal body. By the way, was that one of the longest sentences you’ve ever read? Sure felt like it, teehee.

But back to your question. I write about what I know, yes, but there is still so much I don’t know, and want to be able to write about, that I do lots of research when writing my novels. I have never yet been to England or the Middle East, for instance, yet a significant portion of Hugs takes place in those countries. I had to bone up on locations, weather conditions, landmarks, architecture, speech mannerisms, Islamic sayings and prayers, Muslim religious rituals, and get into the mindset of the terrorist, just to mention a few areas of research. And speaking of terrorists, people should know they do not consider themselves as terrorists at all, but rather freedom fighters and justice deliverers for their God, Allah. The reader will know I am referring to the Al-Qaeda in the book, but I used the fictional substitute name for the organization of Hrya-Al-Mqātlwn—which is the English characterization of the Arabic phrase meaning, ‘Freedom Fighters’.

Mason: Who is your best/worst critic?

Marvin: My editors. For my last novel, Owen Fiddler, I used Peggy Ullman Bell, a great gal, sharp as a tack, and a very good friend—when not acting as my editor. When she has her editor’s cap on, I need to put my thick skin on. She really lets me have it if she thinks I am writing even a baby’s lick below my fullest and best capacity. And the same goes for Deb Harris, chief editor for All Things That Matter Press, who did the edits for Hugs. When
I got her first edits back, I had to wonder if she even liked the book at all! She did, of course, she loved it, considered it of such high potential that she refused to let it be published in anything less than its absolute best form. After three back-and-forth edits and revisions—yes, three—she finally said it was ready to publish and a fine book to be proud of.

Mason: Who is your favorite comedian and why?

Marvin: Sorry, I have to go with two: Rodney Dangerfield, and George Carlin. Dangerfield because he is the most hilarious, self-effacing, classic down-on-my-luck standup of all time, my opinion, and Carlin because of his witty, sarcastic, politically/socially/economically/religiously scathing commentary, all wrapped up in a knee-slapping yet deeply thought-provoking comic routine.

Mason: If your four main characters exchanged Christmas gifts, who would give what to who?

Marvin: That would be Iam (The Old Man), Destiny (a.k.a., ‘Cocoa’ at the beginning of the book), Christian, and Ali. Hmm … good question. Okay, here we go.

The Old Man would give Destiny a $100 gift certificate to a bookstore, where she would buy all romance novels. Even though he detests novels of any kind, he would humor her silly indulgence and be happy for her happiness. He would give Christian a copy of the Qur’an, written in original Arabic, so Christian would have to work at it, study and stretch, but eventually get the true, original and un-translated meaning of the scriptures. He would give Ali a copy of the Bible, written in the original Hebrew, for the same reasons.

Destiny would give The Old Man a new suit to wear, then get so turned on by how handsome and sexy he looks to her all dressed up she would insist on taking him to bed. Now. She would give Christian a gift certificate to a nice gourmet restaurant for dinner for two, so that he and her best friend, Angel—Christian’s fiancé—could both have a good time together. And for Ali? She would give him a finely crafted prayer mat.

Christian would give The Old Man and Destiny an all expenses paid, week-long trip to Disneyworld, where Iam would give young Destiny all she could handle keeping up with him wanting to try every ride and experience all things therein in rapid, here and now manner. Christian would pay Ali’s way to a Zen retreat, wanting him to experience for himself how meditation can deepen anyone’s spiritual path, no matter what religious name it goes under. Ali would take him up on it.

Ali, although a Muslim, would honor his Christian friends’ holiday, and give the following: to The Old Man he would give his sacred, handcrafted by himself as a young man, prayer beads—knowing Iam would treasure them as the special spiritual heirloom they represented to Ali and his family; Destiny would receive Christian’s last two best-selling novels—she hasn’t even read them yet, and she needs to expand her literary experience beyond just drippy romances; and Christian? He would give Christian a belated Christmas gift, promising to take a week off in mid-summer for them to travel somewhere together and spend some time alone in camaraderie, nurturing further their deep friendship and love for each other.

Marvin, thanks for stopping by today on your tour. I especially like the Christmas exchange gifts, interesting.

Now be sure to check out Marvin’s blog at The Old Silly’s Free Spirit Blog where you‘ll find contests, prizes and giveaways. In addition, tomorrow Marvin will be stopping at Tossing It Out where he will be talking with Arlee Bird. Be sure to stop by.

Here’s a bit of background on Marvin. He has a widely varied and rich life experience background - from Hippie Rock and Roll musician, to nightclub entertainer, to Zen Buddhist minister, to carpenter, to small business owner, to network marketer, to sales and sales training, to skilled trades instructor and adult education teacher, to public speaker and motivational coach, to now in his chosen “golden years” career, a writer and multi-published author with the self-proclaimed, “audacity to write novels”.

Wilson describes his spiritual path as one who is a non-religious, dogma-free, maverick spiritualist Christian, with a strong bent toward Zen, Taoism, and the Law of Attraction, and who believes in the Oneness of all creation and all paths leading to re-awakening to the One. He is a family man with three grown children and six grandchildren, and works with his son and oldest daughter in their organic compost and vegetable farming business when not writing, traveling, and marketing his books.

Marvin writes primarily in the spiritual/inspirational genre, but likes to pen “cross-over” novels that appeal to a wide variety of readers. His books are uplifting, sometimes weighty, oftentimes humorous, abidingly thought-provoking, meant to instill and create passion and emotion, more than occasionally provocative to the point of controversial, and always “tell it like it is”, real world, no punches pulled writing. He likes to deliver spiritual messages in a non-preachy, often irreverent, sometimes sexy and ribald way, through the medium of an entertaining story.

Here’s a brief blurb about BEWARE THE DEVIL’S HUG: What if a homeless, smelly, ugly, unkempt old man had a hug so powerful it could cure cancer? Cause a prostitute to stop hooking and seek true love? Shake the demons of addiction free from a junkie? Make a Christian want to hug and love a Muslim and visa versa? But rare is the beneficiary of his divine embrace – nobody wants to come near him out of fear.

Now a book trailer of BEWARE THE DEVIL’S HUG


  1. I think Marvin gave a unique and comprehensive answer to your first question. On the heals of his genre-hopping post from yesterday. Hugs does offer something for everybody while staying true to its genre

    When you are able to place the reader in the shoes of your characters and make them ask, "What would I do in this situation," then you know you've accomplished what most writers hope to do. Which is what Marvin has done in Hugs.

  2. Mason, thanks so much for this very special post - you really did a comprehensive, bang-up job hosting for the Hugs Therapy Tour! And yes, answering the "Christmas Gifts" question was so off the wall different, really a cool idea for an interview question.

    I'll be back a few times later today to interact with your readers. Chow, and thanks again!

  3. Stephen - thanks for the endorsement. It's good to have a one line sentence that can answer that question, "why should I read your book," right?

  4. Mason another great interview. Thanks for the interview.

    Marvin, I believe writers have to "put my thick skin on" or we feel squashed. Creative people tend to be thin skinned or how else would we create--my opinion. Your book sounds interesting.

  5. Mason - Thanks for hosting Marvin; great interview!

    Marvin - Thanks for sharing this interview. I like the way you describe writing about what you know and what you don't know (yet). I think most writers are that way, at least to some extent. It's comfortable and authentic to write what you know. It's exciting to write what you don't know...

  6. Marvin, thanks for including Thoughts in Progress on your tour. I like the fact that your books doesn't follow just one genre, there's something there for everyone.

    Stephen, Teresa, and Margot - thanks for stopping by.

  7. I doubt there's any writer who has "made it" who doesn't have thick skin. It's almost a requirement.

    Interesting choices for presents by your characters. You really know your characters when you know what they would give each other.

  8. I've always enjoyed writing as a way to learn more of what I don't know, to pursue knowledge of certain interests. Sometimes writing is so much more than writing! And Mason, love the Christmas gift question, great idea.

  9. Love this interview. Thanks for hosting, Mason, and thanks, Marvin. In personal essay writing, you never know what you want to say. The essay is your exploration of the question. This sounds a bit like that.

  10. Great questions, Mason. I love that Marvin says he writes about what he knows AND what he wants to know. This answer is right on! What fun would it be if you didn't explore and grow while writing? Getting trapped in what we know is something ALL of us fall into--writers and non-writers alike. It's important to suspend the boundaries when writing, like Marvin points out here.

    Great post!


  11. Today we are given some additional insight to Marvin's book and well as to the author himself. Have to agree about George Carlin--his intellectual approach to humor made you think about what you were laughing about.
    Nice interview.

    Tossing It Out

  12. Teresa - agreed, creative people tend to be sensitive, hmm? So therein lies the rub ... we FEEL so much, so intimately our world, but we must be able to take criticism and not be offended.

    Margot - yes, writing what you do NOT know IS exciting. We just have to make sure and do our homework!

    Mason, thanks, and yuup ... a little bit of something for everyone. ;)

    Helen, I agree, and I thought that was such a clever idea for an interview question. Made me really dig deep into my characters' psyches.

    Joanne - so true - writing the MS is only PART of writing, hmm?

    Karen - "The essay is your exploration of the question." Well put - I like that!

    Michele, great comment. It's all about suspending boundaries, stretching, reaching, and growing as writers!

    Arlee - we seem to have SO much in common, dude! Looking forward to bringing the Hugs Tour to your blog tomorrow, too!

  13. Another great interview. I've read about this guy before in the blogisphere. It looks like an intriguing book.


  14. Loved the unique interview questions, Mason and enjoyed your answers, Marvin.

  15. If we only wrote what we knew, some of us would write some really boring books, right Marvin?

  16. Clarissa - thanks for stopping in, and it IS and intriguing book. :)

    Jane - thanks to you too, also for hosting a stop on the Hugs Tour.

    Alex - you got that SO right, bro!

  17. Stopping by to lend my support!

    Thanks for having me and being part of this great tour. :-)

  18. Hi Mason and Marvin .. enjoyed this - and the video at the end .. more enlightenment as to the tale and the characters .. the Christmas present suggestions made an interesting read too .. thought provoking ..

    Thanks - Hilary


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.