Tuesday, February 01, 2011
My books tend to have four distinct threads woven throughout or at least touched on. The themes most prevalent in my novels are salvation, forgiveness, parent/child relationships, and racial prejudice. Can’t seem to escape these topics, so perhaps they’re a calling of sorts. At least for now.
I know what you mean. Many of my my books touch on the same themes in varying ways. What other books of yours are coming out soon?
The fate of Reddick “Tiller” McRae, the impish but lovable boy the McRaes open hearth and home to, remains a bit of a mystery at the end of Raider’s Heart. In Bandit’s Hope (release date: October, 2011) we discover what happened to Tiller and the scandalous mischief he’s been about in the ten years since he’s been missing.
I'll put that on my schedule, too. If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?
I’m thinking Bill Gates, one of the richest men in the world. Many people believe that acquiring great wealth will solve all their problems and ultimately make them happy. Since Bill is in a position to know, I’d like to ask him if he agrees.
I admire the way he and his wife have become philanthopists. What historical person would you like to meet (besides Jesus) and why?
Funny you should ask. After researching Raider’s Heart, I would love to meet Henry Berry Lowry, North Carolina’s infamous bad-boy/hero featured in the book. I first learned of Henry in a TV documentary where he was portrayed as irresistibly handsome and a tireless champion for his people.
There are very few pictures of Henry available, but from the written accounts, they hardly do him justice. Said to resemble a gypsy, he was known as the Don Juan of Scuffletown. Even the families of those he killed in the post civil war conflict called him one of the handsomest men they ever saw.
In The Swamp Outlaws by George Alfred Townsend, Henry is described in much detail. Some of his many charms are quoted below:
“His voice is sweet and pleasant, and in his manner there is nothing self-important or swaggering. He is not talkative, listens quietly, and searches out whoever is speaking to him like a man illiterate in all books save the two great books of nature, and human nature above all.”
“No man who stands face to face with him can resist his quiet will and assurance and his searching eye. Without fear, without hope, defying society. . .if he had lived ages ago he would have been a William the Conqueror.”
Sigh. . .
Yes, I’m a hopeless romantic. I confess to having quite a crush on Henry Berry Lowry by the time I finished my research.
How can you encourage authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
Tell us about the featured book.
Since I can’t say it better, allow me to answer with the back cover copy:
A Silly Little Lamp has turned Dawsey Wilkes's life upside down.
Hooper and Duncan McRae grew up hearing their father's tales of the little golden lamp that eluded his possession. Hooper, always the daring brother, seizes a once-in-a-lifetime chance when passing the Wilkes house to get a peek at the legendary lamp. But simple curiosity could open a Pandora's box of trouble for the McRaes.
Whisked from her opulent home in the middle of the night, Dawsey Wilkes wakes up deep in the Carolina swamps, the prisoner of a rowdy family who support the infamous Henry Berry Lowry, a vigilante intent on bringing justice to the poor.
Wooed by the competitive McRae brothers and shunned by their sister Ellie, Dawsey remains intent on getting back home to her ailing father. But has it been God's plan all along to unite these two very different families?
I know I'm going to love reading this. Please give us the first page of the book.
Fayetteville, North Carolina, 1852
Silas McRae crashed through the moonlit cornfield and burst out the other side panting like a hounded deer. Free of the noisy stalks, he lit out at full speed then tripped and kissed the bottom of an irrigation canal. Cursing his foolhardy decision to return to Fayetteville in the first place, he lifted his mud-smeared face and took stock of the situation.
He saw not a soul of his band of misfits across the wide expanse of newly mowed grounds, and no one hunkered along the tree line past the nearby manor. They’d cut out on him when the heat turned up. As simple as that.
A surge of warmth crept up his neck at the thought of the skirmish he’d just dodged. Every lead slug exploding from the end of a scattergun had missed him cold. Every indignant hand on the scruff of his neck had fallen away as he ran.
By thunder! He loved the thrill of the chase. The bulging knapsack of loot under his arm only topped the cake.
His roaming gaze eagerly swept the stately main house, and he closed his eyes for fear their sudden twinkle might be spotted from afar. It appeared his night of plunder wasn’t done. What treasure lay behind those gilded walls? Beckoning. . .
As stealthy as a panther, Silas crept toward the siren’s call. With any luck, he’d have a king’s portion to lay at Odie’s feet on his return. His lovely wife would be most proud.
He angled across the courtyard to the backside of the house and came to the first window. Squinting in disbelief, he watched the curtains gently swaying. With a sense of destiny, he raised the sash higher and peered inside. Cocking his head, his trained ears strained for the slightest noise.
Smiling, he swung his lithe body over the sash and soundlessly touched the floor. When his eyes adjusted to the meager light, he gasped.
Trinkets and charms of every description lined the top of the polished dresser. On one side a solid brass bell, a fine kerosene lantern on the other. In the center, a delicate silver tray held an infant’s brush and comb along with matching vessels of various shapes and sizes. Fanciful falderal, his for the taking.
He placed the lantern near the window to snatch up as he slipped out. But first. . .
Stuffing a crocheted doily into the mouth of the bell to silence the clapper, he opened his sack to add it and the silver pieces to his collection. Rubbing his hands together, he took inventory of the dusky room to see what might be next.
A glint of reflected moonlight caught his eye from across the room. He tiptoed toward it, amazed that the shimmer seemed suspended in midair. Closer inspection revealed an item displayed on a glass-topped table.
A chill shot up his spine. Had he stumbled across Aladdin’s magic cave?
The curious low-slung lamp had a long spout and ornate handle—fashioned of gold, if he knew his business. Breathless, he hefted it to test the weight and smiled.
Worth a fortune!
Rustling in the corner spun Silas toward the sound. More startled by what he saw than what he heard, he crept close for a better look. Heart racing, he parted the mosquito net draped around the crib and gazed at the unforeseen windfall.
A baby sat up in bed, propped by legs so fat they creased in impossible places. A white nightdress tucked under one side of its bum made it difficult for the little mite to stay upright. Struggling to keep its balance, the child stared at him with round, questioning eyes.
Laying aside the lamp, Silas’s hands inched forward, stopping when sudden creases feathered the delicate brow and the rosebud mouth puckered to cry.
Odie’s words flew at him like darts from the shadowed corners. “Promise me! Swear on your life you won’t steal a babe and leave its mother with empty arms—not even for me.”
He straightened and patted the pudgy leg. “S’alright, snippet. Don’t aim to hurt you none.”
With practiced hands, he eased the child down on the mattress, tucking the cover into the folds of its chubby neck. The delicate threads of the blanket were so fine, they snagged on the tips of his calloused fingers. “There you are, little one,” he cooed. “All snug in your bed.”
The baby blinked up with wary eyes.
Silas chuckled. “Don’t fret, now. Go on to sleep. Tomorrow’s another day.”
He carefully swept up the nearby bounty and bundled it into a spare knapsack. Satisfied, he nodded. “Your husband’s a man of his word, Odell McRae. What I take from this room will leave no empty arms behind.”
Crossing to the door, he cast one last glance at the sleeping baby in the cradle and nodded. “That’s right, good wife. A man of his word.”
Wow! Once again your opening really grabs me, Marcia. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Readers may contact me at http://www.marciagruver.com/. I’d love to hear from you.
Thank you, Marcia, for the thought-provoking interview.
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