Marlene has five sisters and says, “There was never a time where I felt alone. It was fun growing up, always being able to engage our imaginations by staging a play or a film (musical) down in our basement.”
Marlene dedicated her life to the Lord as a teenager. Since then, she’s had a heart towards ministering to the Lord and his people. Ulysses’ Diaries, her first published work, continues that mission.
As historical fiction, Ulysses’ Diaries tells the story of three African-American women who find reconciliation with one another and Jesus. The story is told from the point of view of Esther, a journalist, who finds diaries of her mother and great, great grandmother (who was one of Thomas Jefferson’s slaves.)
More information about Marlene Griggs and Ulysses’ Diaries can be found at Marlene’s website.
Alternate Arts: How much of you is in Esther, the journalist who shares the story of her mother and great, great grandmother?
Griggs: Esther really did not know her purpose until finding the diaries. And as a twin I did not know my purpose until the writing of this book.
Alternate Arts: Your book feels more like it’s passing a story down verbally from person to person, as compared to a dry, dusty historical document. How focused on oral story-telling tradition were you as you wrote this book?
Griggs: My parents told us stories all the time. Sometimes using household items or music for sound effects. I remember one time my mother drew a story board while the song “Band On The Run” was playing.
Alternate Arts: How difficult was it bringing Ulysses’ Diaries to life?
Griggs: I think the most difficult step in bringing this book to life was the financial part My retirement funds were used and family contributions.
Alternate Arts: What emotion hit you strongest as you wrote Ulysses’ Diaries?
Griggs: There were many, but the strongest was excitement!
Alternate Arts: Were there any surprises along the way, as you wrote this book?
Griggs: I believe the surprises started when the Lord told me the title of the book and what the book was going to be about.
Alternate Arts: What is your hope for Ulysses’ Diaries?
Griggs: The journey of each of the women in Ulysses’ Diaries is a simple one, a rewarding one, and a healing one. I want everyone who reads this story, especially African-American children, to find reconciliation with the God of all gods, and to know his gift to us, his love for us through Jesus Christ.
Alternate Arts: What encouragement would you offer to someone who has a story to share?
Griggs: To those who love the Lord, I would say the first and foremost objective is to lift up the name of Jesus, then with Him write it. In the Word of God it says, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages , world without end. Amen.” (Ephesians 3: 20-21)