What's happening in your writing life and mine; Book Updates and recommendations; The wonderful world of reading, writing, and everything in the middle.
Thursday, March 31, 2011
WHAT IN THE WORLD IS A "WATER COOLER" STORY? Ask MARCIA
Marcia Gruver’s southern-comfortable roots lend touches of humor and threads of faith to her writing. Look for both in her Texas Fortunes and Backwoods Brides series. When she’s not perched behind a keyboard, you’ll find her clutching a game system controller or riding shotgun on long drives in the Texas Hill Country. Lifelong Texans, Marcia and her husband Lee have five children, an even dozen grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter—so far.
SKC: Welcome Marcia. I read your bio with great interest. And I've been blessed to have had the opportunity to read a couple of your books. Both so good. What books or project are you hoping to tell us about this week?
MG: Thank you, Shirley! I’m excited to share the release of book one in the Backwoods Brides series. The first installment is Raider’s Heart, and the title describes the plotline. The story’s about a raider hiding out in the backwoods of North Carolina, but Hooper McRae doesn’t steal to line his own pockets. His raiding stems from a tender heart toward his people, the Lumbee Indians, who suffer starvation and persecution in the post Civil War south.
A fiery, passionate man with strong convictions, Hooper is often misunderstood, even by those closest to him. While searching for a mysterious golden lamp, he meets an even more mysterious woman who challenges everything he believes about himself. Dawsey Wilkes questions his methods and even his motives for helping the Lumbee tribe. Not sure why he cares what she thinks, he gambles all he has to try to make her understand.
Yet Dawsey has good reason not to trust a word Hooper says, since he hogtied and threw her from a window, and then whisked her away to the swampland of Scuffletown, North Carolina, against her will.
SKC: Ooh. Sounds intriguing, all right. And I LOVE the cover. What special something inspired you to come up with each of the books you've written?
MG: The idea for Diamond Duo came to me in Jefferson, Texas, while standing over the grave of Diamond Bessie, Jefferson’s infamous unsolved murder victim. I wrote Chasing Charity, set amid the huge oil boom in Humble, Texas, because I’ve lived near Humble and mingled with oil people for most of my life. The idea for Emmy’s Equal was born deep in South Texas while my husband fulfilled a contract job. I fell in love with cactus and mesquite, and the very unique blend of cultures there. As for Raider’s Heart, I watched a documentary on North Carolina legend, Henry Berry Lowry, one of the most interesting figures I’ve come across in my research, and I just had to write a story around his band of backwoods raiders.
SKC: Tell us about some of the authors who have given you insight on how to express your own voice, and have taught you the most about development of style.
MG: I belong to a close-knit “band of sisters,” a collection of wonderful women authors. Some came of age alongside me, and some were veterans of the writing trade who graciously bent to offer me a hand up. Without these women (critique partners past and present: Jessica Ferguson, Linda Kozar, Elizabeth Ludwig, Janelle Mowery, Sandra Robinson, Martha Rogers, Susan Sleeman, Janice Thompson, Kathleen Y’Barbo Turner) I wouldn’t be published today. I highly recommend anything written by these amazing, gifted writers.
SKC: Oh, me too, Marcia. Gifted writers have been quite an inspiration to me also. When you are in the middle of series and deadlines does it cramp your creativity, or enhance it, and why or why not?
MG: I think I can safely say that no author likes the “dreaded deadline,” but we all learn to live within its boundaries. To be honest, I feel it does hamper creativity to know you must produce X-number of words within a certain timeline. Who can schedule the creative urge?
Unfortunately, once you’ve signed a contract, committing yourself to a deadline, you’re expected to trudge faithfully onward, often without benefit of the so-called ‘muse.’ This is where Christian authors have an edge. We can call out to God for help and inspiration. In my case, He’s been faithful to supply. A fact for which I’m grateful.
SKC: Yes, the Lord makes all the difference for us, doesn't HE. What for you is the KEY to writing a good book?
MG: I’m a firm believer in story first. Anyone can learn correct punctuation and the craft of writing, but if you can’t produce stirring plotlines where winsome, multifaceted characters run amok, I’d say. . .well. . .don’t quit your day job. There’s nothing more exciting than a good story, those that keep readers awake and turning pages until the wee hours of the night. These are the novels people talk about around the water cooler the next day. Who doesn’t love a book like that?
I’m still striving for my ‘water cooler’ story. It’s a goal every published writer should aspire to.
SKC: A water cooler story, huh? Yes, that makes sense. After you finish your present project what plans outside of writing do you have?
MG: Your question struck a chord. Nearing the end of two consecutive three-book contracts, it’s one I’ve been asking myself lately. Once I wrap up Hunter’s Prize, the final installment of Backwoods Brides, I plan to find a hilltop somewhere and spend some time finding the answer.
SKC: Sometimes it is important for us to simply get alone, isn't it. As we close please let us know which book you plan to donate to one of our readers, and share a reflection question that deals with reading material, or writing techniques, or whatever else comes to your mind.
MG: I’m pleased to offer a copy of Raider’s Heart to one of your readers. Good luck on the drawing, everyone!
The reflection question is dedicated to my daughter, Tracy, who buys a book based mostly on the front cover. If the cover art grabs her attention, she reads the blurb on the back, otherwise she passes it by. So the question for your reader is: What piques your interest first, the cover art or the back cover copy?
SKC: Thank you to Tracy and to you, Marcia. We really appreciate your coming here to visit and for being a follower of A Pen for Your Thoughts. How can our readers find you and also locate your books?
MG: Thank you for having me! It’s always a pleasure dropping by for a visit.
Readers, you can write to me on the contact page of my website: http://www.marciagruver.com/. I’d love to hear from you. And you can always find me chatting about something over on Facebook.
Viewers: Don't forget to check out Marcia's question for you above. We look forward to hearing from you. And if you haven't read Marcia's work yet, be sure to get one of her books. They are a joy to read. HOPE I DRAW YOUR NAME!
Congratulations to Courtney Melone from Moxee, Washington. You have just won Marcia's book. Be watching for it soon in your mail box! THANKS SO MUCH FOR BEING A PART OF OUR BLOG.