Friday, December 21, 2012

Interview 08: Marjorie Strebe

Greetings humans, half-breeds, and everything in between. A while back, I had the pleasure to interview my new friend, Marjorie Strebe. She has been visiting the ECS as a guest and sharing loads of interesting insights into her work. Be sure to look around and see what she has to offer. Here are the results of our interview. A good time was truly had by all, and here’s how it went down.

Hi there Marjorie! It’s so awesome to have you here at the ECS Universe. Don’t worry about the darkness, your eyes will adjust.

 So tell me who is Marjorie Strebe?

Raised in a military family, I moved around quite a bit, starting kindergarten in Cherry Point, North Carolina and graduating from high school in Anaheim, California.  In college, I majored in journalism.  I served in the United States Air Force, where I met my husband.  We’ve been stationed in England and Greece, and have visited Italy and Israel.  At one time or another, I have been through three-fourths of the states in the continental US.  I’m active in my local church and an active member of the Springfield Township’s CERT Team. 

Well Marjorie, it seems you’ve had quite the life. I’m sure what you have to share with us today will be very enlightening.

So whacha got for me today?
Another Day, Another Challenge is the biography of a child born with Williams syndrome, which most physicians had not heard of at the time of her diagnosis.  The theme of the book is “Dealing with the unique challenges of a special needs child under difficult circumstances.”

The unique challenges: mental illness nightmares (threatening voices and panic attacks), frequent obsessions, fixation with the police and fire departments, and a critical lack of self-control.

Difficult circumstances: know-it-all doctors and school faculty, ignorant family members and friends, judgmental church leadership, and ineffective services.

Michelle was a challenge for everyone who worked with her.

In my line of work, I must admit that I’ve heard of Williams Syndrome and also admit that it’s difficult to understand when so many don’t know anything about it. This book does indeed sound enlightening.

 So who’s staring is this 2 dimensional script read of Another Day, Another Challenge?

Michelle Marie Strebe was full term, yet she weighed a meager 4 lbs, 6 oz. She didn’t crawl or sit up until almost a year old.  Although not walking or talking, she started developing manipulation strategies at 18 months.  She took her first unaided step at twenty-five months.  She said her first word at two-and-a-half years old, and she finally talked in complete sentences at age five.  And while the pediatricians brushed off my concerns as insignificant, they blamed me for her failure to thrive. 

Michelle functioned higher than she tested, yet far below her peer group.  She struggled in all her academic subjects, displayed an intense love for music, and exhibited proficiency in the use of electronics.  She had no problem using a computer or navigating her way through the Internet, but found it difficult withholding personal information from strangers she e-mailed.  She manipulated unsuspecting adults and had such a mastery of the English language that most people couldn’t see past her intelligence to her learning disability.

Like most children, Michelle sounds like she was a handful, but it is quite obvious the difference between her and the average child. My hats off to parents in general for the amazing task of raising children, but to parents of a special needs child, kudus just doesn’t seem to be enough. I’m glad you’re spreading the word about this issue that is so close to your heart.

 Past, present, future, is there a rhyme or reason to your writing?

I usually do my writing in our computer room.  I rarely eat by my computer, but I almost always have a bottle of water close by.  I need quiet; I can’t concentrate if there’s any noise, so I never listen to music or anything while I’m writing.

Although my first published book is a biography, I prefer to write fiction.  I didn’t enjoy writing my daughter’s story because after living through it, I wanted to escape reality into a world of make-believe – a world that I created.  When I’m working on a story, I often brainstorm with me daughter, Jamie.  Then as the novel takes shape in my mind, I write a detailed synopsis of it, so I don’t forget any of the important details.  Sometimes, the book takes off in a different direction than I’d planned, and I just let it go and see where I end up.  I’ve never been disappointed by the ending.  I currently have a fiction series that I’m working on.

It never ceases to amaze me, the many different methodologies of writers. I too like quiet when I write, but find that if I get stuck, the right music will inspire me. I think it’s cool that you have a fiction series that you’re working on. I guess we’ll be hearing about that, next time.

What author(s) has most influenced your writing? Why or how?
My daughter, Jamie, got me hooked on the Love Inspired Christian romance novels.  Each novel may be penned by a different author, but as I read through the books, I learned how to develop my characters.  Terri Blackstock is also a favorite author.  Her books have been a great asset in helping me development both my characters and plot.

Love Inspired huh…Does that mean the series you’re working on will be something of that nature?

No.  I prefer writing action / adventure, so my stories will be more like Terri Blackstock’s than the Love Inspired series.  My main character is a godly Christian who has a way of influencing the world around him.

 Whose brain are you just itching to scratch?

Eddie Wilson, the warden of the Wyoming State Penitentiary.  I am currently working on a story that’s taking place in the South Facility of Rawlins, Wyoming, and I’d like the details to be as factual as possible.

Wow, you don’t mess around with your research. I hope it works out.

Who is so you and why?

There’s a country song called “Don’t laugh at me” [by Mark Willis].  <=listenThe lyrics go, “Don’t laugh at me.  Don’t call me names.  Don’t get your pleasure from my pain.  In God’s eyes we’re all the same.”  I have a balance disorder.  In school, I wore thick, coke-bottle glasses.   I can relate with that song because I was often teased and made fun of.   Many days, I went home from school crying.  But God used the abuse I endured to make me a very sensitive person today.

It’s so interesting, the circumstances we find ourselves relating to fiction whether it be through literature or song. I’m a firm believer that all good fiction is derived from some level of reality. I think that’s why we relate so well.

What’s your ideal reading spot for your next highly anticipated read?
I prefer quiet when I read.  My favorite place to read is on the recliner-sofa with a bowl of popcorn and a cup of iced tea.  I recently finished Justifiable Means, a paperback written by Terri Blackstock.  But when I have to put down my book, and I can hardly wait to get back to it, as in the case of Justifiable Means, I usually take it to bed with me (minus the popcorn and tea) to get in a couple more chapters before going to sleep. 

Yeah, I’m guilty as charged. Sometime you just have to sneak books into bed to get that little lit fix in.

What was your favorite book or story, pre teen years?

My favorite books as a pre-teen were The Boxcar Children and Nancy Drew.

I think all my friends read Nancy Drew, but I was more a Ramona and Wayside kind of girl…Now this is where the questions get a little kooky; are you ready?


Alright then, here we go.

If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life, what would it be?
My favorite movie of all time is Courageous.  It’s full of excitement and action, has an outstanding Christian message, and features my life-time heroes, police officers.

Well, I’m not familiar with this film, but maybe I’ll check it out.

What makes you geek out?

I love karate, and have earned my black belt in a form of martial arts called Kenpo Jujitsu. I love the police department and volunteer my time there.  In addition, I sometimes go on police ride-alongs. I love my church and never miss a service.  I’m very active in my church.  And I greatly enjoy studying my Bible. I love helping my community during times of disaster, so I’m a trained member of Springfield Township CERT (Community Emergency Response Team).

It would seem that “charity,” in the purest sense of the word, is your joy…Who can argue with that?

 So what’s testing your patience right now?

I don’t watch much TV, and I seldom go to the movies, so I have no idea what’s coming out.

I’m not much of a tube watcher either (about 2 hours a week), but I’m always looking forward to something. I think around the holidays is the only time I actually go out of my way to find a TV, just so I can watch the classic movies I grew up with.

When the soundtrack of your life is playing in your head, what songs express your glee and what songs bring out your rage?

My favorite type of music is inspirational or southern gospel.  It’s hard to pick out one or two favorite songs because I love so many of them, but among my favorites are “God Wants to Hear You Sing,” “It Pays to Pray,” and “My Statement of Faith,” all sung by Greater Vision.  I also like country music.  I don’t like contemporary Christian or Rock.  And to me there’s no such thing as Christian Rock or Country Rock.  So if the music has a rock beat, it’s probably something I won’t listen to.

I find musical talents and creativity to be a gift from God and am an avid lover of music in general, but I understand why some people have their preferences…Not everything is for everyone, and that’s ok.

What’s the most fun experience you’ve ever had?
That’s a hard one because I’ve done a lot of fun things in my life; things that I have greatly enjoyed.  But I guess one of my most treasured experiences was taking my grandsons (ages 8 and 10) white water rafting in Montana.  We went down class III and IV rapids.

Now that does sound like fun. I must admit that I’ve been too afraid to try it myself so far, but I’ll do it one day…And I’m sure it was all the more fun being there with your grandsons.

 Remind me again how I was lucky enough to meet you?

We were connected through the Book Marketing group at LinkedIn.

Thanks for reminding me. It really is a great place to network.

Not that you can see into the future, but in your opinion, what does the future hold?

In the next five years, I expect to have two or three of my fiction books published and I would have developed a platform as an inspirational speaker.

Well, I sure wish you all the best and look forward to seeing your future works.

Ok humans, half-breeds, and everything in between, that’s all for today. Be sure to follow this blog to see who will be visiting next time. For more from Marjorie Strebe, check out these great links:
Author website:
To purchase Another Day, Another Challenge visit: