Sunday, October 23, 2011

BANDIT'S HOPE - Marcia Gruver - Free Book

Welcome back, Marcia. Tell us about your salvation experience.
God saved me at a very young age, eight years old to be exact. I immediately sensed that everything important had changed forever. I’d love to report that I lived a life of total surrender from that moment on, but I’m a slow learner. After too many tumultuous years away from God, we reconnected in my late twenties. I discovered that, though I’d tried to walk away, He’d been beside me all along. I made more mistakes, of course, but I’d drawn a firm line in the sand. Come what may, I wanted no part of life without Him.

You’re planning a writing retreat where you can only have four other authors. Who would they be and why?
One, an aspiring author who I would try to dissuade from this crazy writing life.
Two, a brand new author who I’d offer to mentor.
Three, a contemporary to commiserate with.
Four, an author who’s sold a million copies so I can pick his/her brain and suggest we co-author the next bestseller.

If one and three sound negative, it’s not my intent. Writing is an all-consuming profession that not many people are ready for, whether they think so or not. Those I couldn’t talk out of it belong there. Those who have already taken the plunge are well aware it’s a love/hate lifestyle fraught with highs and lows.

People are always telling me that they’d like to write a book someday. I’m sure they do to you, too. What would you tell someone who came up to you and said that?
I always tell them I’ll be glad to help. I explain the process, involving hours spent writing first drafts, poring over books on craft, checking style manuals, submitting your work to critique groups, joining online communities, attending conferences to pitch your work to editors and agents, etc. If their eyes don’t glaze with fear, I figure they must be serious.

At what point do you stop proofing and editing and call a book done?
Writers are an insecure lot. Seldom are we satisfied with our finished product. I don’t think we ever stop tweaking our work. When I skim the pages of my published novels, I find myself still editing, wishing I’d written a line a different way or twisted the plot in a different direction.

Do you think reading other authors helps you as a writer? If so, who do you read?
I believe reading anything helps me as a writer. If there’s an author out there who wasn’t a reader first, I’d like to meet them. I think loving to read is part of the writer makeup. Who do I read? There’s no space here for that list. I have my favorites that I go back to repeatedly, but I love to discover new talent. I recently judged the ACFW Genesis Contest, and if those entries are an indication of the newly emerging pack of writers, I have stiff competition at my heels.

Tell us about the featured book.
In Bandit’s Hope we discover the fate of Tiller McRae, the runaway who disappears from North Carolina at the end of Raider’s Heart. In the years after he’s gone missing, Tiller’s been up to no good, running with a ruthless band of thieves along the Natchez Trace. Desperate to change his circumstances, he runs again--this time landing on the doorstep of Bell’s Inn near Canton, Mississippi. Tiller longs to pursue a relationship with the beautiful half-breed proprietress, but knows his shady past and secret life of crime take him out of the running for her heart and hand. Despite the danger he risks in staying, he finds it impossible to leave Bell’s Inn and sweet-faced Mariah Bell.

Mariah struggles with her attraction to the young man who has taken up residence at her boarding house, because his strength is the last thing she needs. After the secret death of her father, Mariah needs a weak and spineless husband to hide behind while she carries on as the new owner of Bell’s Inn. Handsome, take-charge, Tiller McRae, with his broad shoulders and manly ways will never do.

Can Mariah and Tiller escape the consequences of deception and find a way to be together?

Please give us the first page of the book.

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Mark 8:36


Pearl River, on the Natchez Trace, June 1, 1882

Mariah Bell reached the bottom landing, stumbling under the weight of the most precious cross she’d ever had to bear. Balancing her father’s lifeless body as best she could, she reeled across the kitchen to the door she’d propped wide with her boots, a yawning gateway to the backyard and the early-morning darkness.

A breeze laden with the smell of magnolias met her at the stoop. The fragrant gust wrapped around her face, and her labored breaths sucked in the scent of the blooms. Mixed with the odor of Father’s pipe tobacco and the vile stench of his illness, the cloying wind threatened to turn her stomach.

Searching blindly with her toes, she found the top step then allowed the drag of her load to shift her forward and over the threshold. Heart pounding, her panting gasps a roar in her ears, Mariah tottered briefly at the edge of the second step.

Exhausted, she surrendered to the pull of the earth, and her trembling legs staggered wildly to the ground. When her bare feet touched the cold, wet grass, she glanced over her shoulder at the shaded windows of Bell’s Inn and whispered a grateful prayer.

If one curious lodger had peered out and caught her struggling along the hallway, knees bent beneath her unlikely burden, she’d be undone. With her clumsy gait and heavy tread, not to mention the squeaky step at the bottom of the stairs, it amazed her they hadn’t.

“Just a little farther,” Mariah whispered, a catch in her throat. “Almost there.”

If she could get Father’s remains secreted away without Mrs. Viola Ashmore, the most meddlesome woman in Mississippi, pressing her nose to an upstairs window, the unthinkable scheme might work.

Last night, the Widow Ashmore—Miss Vee, as she liked to be called—had returned from her sister’s down in Natchez. Her arrival threatened to ruin everything, and Mariah regretted the hasty decision to summon her home.

She trudged to the waiting wagon bed and eased Father down, her muscles straining from the effort to lower him gently. Clutching his nightshirt with determined fists, she lifted him aside to raise the tailgate.

Three months ago, toting him ten feet would’ve been impossible to imagine, despite her work-honed arms and sturdy Choctaw ancestry. Squinting in the moonlight at the dear face of the man who gave her life, his once burly frame reduced to a frail skeleton by the wasting disease, she bit off a cry of pain.

Not now, she ordered herself, choking on scalding tears. There’d be ample time for mourning once she hid the body. Covering up his disappearance would be another matter entirely.

From the time she’d leaned over Father’s sickbed the night before to find him still and cold, she’d known exactly what to do. She sat at his bedside until the parlor clock struck three times, long past the hour when even the restless Miss Vee had doused her lamp.

Slipping inside the barn, she’d hitched Sheki to the wagon and loaded a shovel before pulling around to the door. The hard part, the dreaded part, had been carrying Father through the house. It took all the strength she could muster, of both body and soul, but somehow she’d managed.

Mariah reached over the tailgate and smoothed his hair. “Forgive me, Aki,” she whispered. “It’s the only way.” Straightening, she wiped her eyes and steeled her trembling chin. She’d come this far, and she’d see it through.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Your readers can learn more about me at . I’d love to hear from them on my contact page or ‘friend’ them on Facebook.

Thank you, Marcia. I love the peek into the book. Can't wait to read it.

Readers, here's a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.
Bandit's Hope (Backwoods Brides)

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Patsy said...

Marcia, I'm so glad you reconnected with the Lord after the years you were not totally surrendered to Him. I'm sure He has blessed you in so many ways. Would love to read "Bandit's Hope".

from South MS


Marianne said...

Would love the Backwoods Bride series. Thanks, Lena for the chance to win.


from Peace River Country, Alberta

wfnren said...

Thank you for doing this interview, the first page has me wanting more of the story.


Anonymous said...

I would be blessed to win a copy of this book. I love the cover.

scottsgal said...

interested in the bad boy - sounds like a good premise
cheryl in IL
msboatgal at

rubynreba said...

I'd love this book. I'm from iowa.

Katie G. said...

Please enter me! I haveb't read the book preceding this one, but it sounds great! :) I am from North Carolina, so that interests me as well :) I love to read books that mention my state :).

God bless! Can't wait!

Katie G.

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this fabulous novel :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this fabulous novel :)

karenk (from PA)
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Cindy W. said...

Bandit's Hope sounds wonderful. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

I live in Indiana.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.


Anonymous said...

Bandit's Hope sounds fascinating :) Can't wait to read it!

from Michigan

Lorna Faith said...

Sounds like a great book...would love a chance to win this one:)

Lorna from Alberta

lornafaith at gmail dot com

Lady DragonKeeper said...

I haven't read anything by Ms. Gruver but wow, that excerpt ... I'll be keeping an eye out for this book.

Thanks for the chance to win!


(P.S. I'm from Hawaii)

CarlybirdK said...

I love Marcia's books. Please enter me. Thank you.
Carly in Burlington, NC

Robyn said...

My heart is already aching for Mariah and what she feels she must do. I can't wait to get my hands on this book and read the rest of the story. What a gripping opening!!!

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

Marcia Gruver said...

Let me begin by saying I'm sorry to be so late for the party. Mea maxima culpa! Please forgive me.

Marcia Gruver said...

Patsy, I'm glad, too! Cuddled close to God is the only safe place to be. Out there trying it without Him was a true wilderness experience. And He has blessed me in too many ways to count. Thanks for stopping by.

Marcia Gruver said...

Good luck on the drawing, Marianne!

Marcia Gruver said...

No, thank you, wfnren,for reading my interview. :)

Bless you!

Marcia Gruver said...

Good luck, Anonymous. I love this particular cover, too!

Marcia Gruver said...

scottsgal, I had fun writing Tiller McRae's character. He tries hard not to be a bad boy. He really does. :)

Thanks for stopping by.

Marcia Gruver said...

rubynreba, Best of luck on the drawing.

Marcia Gruver said...

Katie G, if you're from North Carolina, you would LOVE Raider's Heart, book one of this series. It's set in Scuffletown (Pembroke), Fayetteville, and the surrounding areas. It features Henry Berry Lowry and his gang. I hope you'll check it out.

Of course the characters revist those places in book two.

Marcia Gruver said...

Karenk, thanks for stopping in to comment. I hope you get a chance to read Bandit's Hope.

Marcia Gruver said...

Thanks for reading my excerpt Cindy W and Samantha. I hope you get a chance to read the rest. Good luck on the drawing.

Marcia Gruver said...

Love your name, Lorna Faith from Alberta. My granddaughter's name is Lauren Faith.

Best of luck!

Marcia Gruver said...

Lady Dragonkeeper, thank you for reading the excerpt. I tried to show the reader Mariah Bell's pain. I hope I succeeded. I've always wanted to see Hawaii. It's on my bucket list. :)

Marcia Gruver said...

Wow, Carly! What a nice thing to say. I wish you luck on the drawing, honey.

Marcia Gruver said...

Robyn, I absolutely love your comment. Makes me glad to be a writer. Good luck on the drawing and have a blessed day.

Marcia Gruver said...

Lena, as always, thank you so much for hosting me on your blog!I always look forward to your insightful and indepth questions.

Ginger said...

This will go on my TBR list (as well as the preceding one). Sounds like an awesome book.
Ginger in AL

Abigail said...

Looks interesting. Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks and God Bless!
Abigail Richmond
Blanch, N.C.

apple blossom said...

I've never had a chance to read any of Marcia's books but would love to. Sounds like a good book thanks for a chance to win
I live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Patricia said...

I love this verse! “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Mark 8:36
There is a song on Christian radio with this verse. I plan to put it on my playlist. This verse is a good reminder to all of us.
Reading about Mariah Bell, God has a since of humor when he gives us the opposite of what we pray for. He gave Mariah Bell the man she needed,instead of the man she thought she needed.

Marcia, The path we walk is not always easy when following the Lord's will but it is very rewarding at the end of the path.

Blessings, Patricia

plb1050 at gmail dot com

Sharon Richmond said...

Enter me I would love to win a copy of this book! Thanks and God bless!
Sharon Richmond
Blanch, NC.

Anonymous said...

I would to read Bandits Hope.
Please enter me in the drawing
for it. God Bless You!

Dennie Richmond
Blanch, NC

Aly Logan said...

I'd love to win.

Ann Lee Miller
Gilbert AZ

peachykath said...

This book sounds great. Please enter me in the drawing.
Thank you

Katherine from Northern California


Jo said...

This sounds good. Please enter me as would love to read "Bandit's Hope".


Sarah said...

It looks interesting!!
Please enter me in the drawing.
Thanks for the chance to win.
God Bless,
Sarah Richmond

Salena Stormo said...

This book sounds really good. : ) I would love a chance to win.


Courtney said...

Marcia, I absolutely LOVED Raider's Heart and I have been anxiously awaiting Bandit's Hope!! The teaser you gave us has me even more excited. You are an amazing writer!! Thanks for the chance to win this! Great interview!!

from WA state

Nathanael Richmond said...

Looks interesting!Please enter me in the drawing.
Nathanael Richmond
Blanch, NC.

Nancye said...

This sounds like a book I would enjoy! Thanks for the chance.

Nancye in Kentucky

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Katie McCurdy said...

I read the first book in the series a few months ago, and enjoyed it. Please count me in for this one! :-)

Katie from Florida

Joanna Richmond said...

sounds very interesting I would Love to read this book enter me in the drawing. Joanna Richmond
Blanch, NC
God Bless

Bakersdozen said...

I would love to read this and "Raider's Heart". I live in S. California.

Kristie said...

I can only imagine a writer's life. You must have God's help to overcome all the obstacles and all the "other" stuff a writer must do besides write. I'm from Ohio. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.