Sometimes, the world can be a dark and disgusting place.
That’s a fact that’s hard to ignore.
But the world can also be pretty amazing when we know how to look at it and ourselves the right way. That’s the topic December’s Author of the Month, Michael Marini, brilliantly tackles in his recently published nonfiction book, Seven: In the Lane of Hope.
It’s not like he shies away from acknowledging that life doesn’t always go the way we want it to. Seven isn’t an exercise in unreality.
It simply turns reality around to approach it from a more inspiring, more encouraging, more engaging angle.
Think you have an inspiring, encouraging, engaging story yourself? Innovative Editing would love to consider you for your own Author of the Month spot! Just reach out right here.
Or, if you haven’t quite gotten around to starting said story, reach out anyway. There are so many ways to make it happen.
December’s Author of the Month: Michael Marini
Featured Title: Seven: in the Lane of Hope
Genre: Inspirational Memoir
Age Appropriate: All
Bio: Michael J. Marini is a professional pianist (whose favorite time to play is after midnight), an educator, the proud uncle to 27 nieces and nephews, and the proud godfather of three. When it comes to sports, he’s all about Philadelphia – a hardcore “four for four for life” fan. And though he’s an all-around sports enthusiast, he particularly enjoys boxing and baseball… including their history.
You can easily find him reading sports or musical biographies in his downtime, or watching Columbo reruns. He and his wife, Wendy, live in Central Pennsylvania with their dog, Gus “the lovebus,” an ambassador of goodness wherever he goes.
Jeannette: Considering the name and focus of your book, it seems fair to start out with a focus on your family. You have 10 siblings, seven of them being sisters, which begs the question…
What was that like?
Michael: Well, I definitely had to be on my toes having seven sisters. Nothing gets past them.
It was entertaining, chaotic at times and, in some ways, a circus in my house in the early years. There was usually a lot going on in the house between day-to-day stuff and our two family businesses. And we had to work together in both businesses, which was not always easy.
But when push came to shove, we would gets things done. Just like in the Incredibles movie, we each had our own “superpowers” to bring to the game.
At the risk of mixing metaphors, I’d also add that, in life, our family is our first team. I happen to have a lot of great teammates in my family, and now with all my nieces and nephews bringing up the next generation, we’re stronger than ever. They’ve added a whole new set of incredible superpowers to the way we get things done.
Jeannette: You have so, so, so many amazing family memories that you share in Seven. What would you say is your favorite one?
Michael: Wow! That’s a tough one. Mind you, the first draft was about 390 pages, which I then brought down to 212. So I had a TON of stories that didn’t make the cut.
But out of all of those, the day my little sister came home from the hospital really stands out.
It had a major impact on how I went on to see the world and my life. So much so that it was the first sentence I penned for Seven. “On the seventh day of the seventh month, my seventh sister, Angela, was brought home from the hospital… and I was seven years old.” That thought and memory started me on a writing tear that lasted day and night for 12 straight weeks.
Jeannette: I want to ask a few more questions about your family, but you just segued too perfectly into a different question I have. Those 12 straight weeks happened, and then life – the good and bad – interrupted your writing fervor. So I know it took a bit between beginning Seven and publishing it.
Now that you’re published, was it worth it?
Michael: Considering that the first sentence and vision for this book happened in March 2001, I would say it was certainly worth it. Honestly, it had a major impact on my life these past 17 years – especially when I wasn’t working on it.
During the early years, I thought it was a curse that I had such a strong desire to finish something I had no idea how to complete. Not a day went by between starting Seven and publishing it that I didn’t think about or chip away at it. I even kept a rough draft of it in every room in my house so I wouldn’t forget about it.
Now that it’s done, it’s kind of hard to believe. For a decade and a half, it was like having a term paper I knew I needed to finish. So now that it’s done, I would have to say that, yes, it was all worth it.
I hope it gives people encouragement to keep following their own dreams no matter how much time has passed.
Jeannette: And you’ve given me another great segue there. If you could ensure one message for readers to come away with, what would it be?
Michael: To use all the gifts we each have inside us to run our own race in life. Simply put, do your best, keep the right perspective and follow God’s lead.
It sounds simple, but it isn’t easy, especially when the world is a tough place and we’re getting knocked around a little right now. Times are not easy for people.
This book is a reminder though that God has it all under control. We need to hear what He’s saying to each of us individually.
In a nutshell, Seven is a message of hope at a time the whole world needs it most. I wrote this book for everyone! No matter your age, race, nationality or religion.
As a kid, I heard a story about the war in Heaven, where the archangel Michael stands up and rallies God’s angels when the odds were against them. I’m just following his lead and standing up at a time when the Earth is in great distress, saying, “Who is for God? And who wants to see what He can do?”
Jeannette: I like that message, particularly when you’re right: There is a lot of discouragement in the world right now. We need a serious rallying cry to get behind.
Judging by the stories you share in Seven, your dad was particularly good at giving that kind of inspiration with all of the mantras and sayings he would use to encourage or instruct you and your siblings.
I know there were a bunch, but which one was your favorite and why do you appreciate it so much?
Michael: “You’re right where you need to be.” It was one of the lines he would yell back in our running days at critical times during big races. When I would hear that line, it was like hearing the voice of God telling me not to worry and just run my race no matter what was going on around me.
“If we aren’t in Heaven, we’re at least in the same zip code” was another favorite that very much ties into this book. It reminds us that it’s all about perspective.
Each of us gets our slice of paradise if we look at life from the right perspective. In good times and in bad, God is at the center of it all. He’s with each one of us no matter what we’re going through in life.
Jeannette: Considering your family size and many talents, you seem to constantly have a lot going on in life. For one, you’re a musician on top of being a published author.
Would you say that Seven’s matching music inspired the book or the book inspired the music? Or is it some mix?
Michael: I started playing piano long before I began the book, so that is my true passion. When I had the vision for the book, I saw a story and an album to accompany it. And when I stopped writing from 2002 until 2016, I put all that passion into my piano music.
I would practice two to four hours most days. Weekends I would play even more.
Eventually though, the book caught up, and I found the voice of the story again. Now the music is bringing more exposure to the writing, which is great because they have and always will be one and the same.
The book is Seven and the music is Spirit of Seven. So the music, in essence, is the spirit of the book. The heartbeat of the story, so to speak.
Jeannette: On that inspiring note, let’s get to the good stuff. Where can readers and music lovers find you online?
Jeannette: Michael, thanks so much! And readers, here’s Seven’s link.
I’m genuinely not sure it’s possible to read this book and not be encouraged... well before the end.