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
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. North Carolina
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
pressing her nose to an upstairs window, the unthinkable scheme might work. Mississippi
Last night, the Widow Ashmore—Miss Vee, as she liked to be called—had returned from her sister’s down in
. Her arrival threatened to ruin
everything, and Mariah regretted the hasty decision to summon her home. Natchez
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 www.marciagruver.com . 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.