Welcome, Marcia. Tell us how
much of yourself you write into your characters.
I like to write my full-length
fiction in the first person, and I think that influences me to write a lot of
myself into my characters. Also, since I’m writing biblical fiction, the
characters and their stories address issues that are common to the human
experience. In the process of writing about human nature, I end up writing
about myself. For those reasons, I think I write quite a lot of myself into my
characters, although I'm not sure I do it consciously.
What is the quirkiest thing you
have ever done? In
my opinion, the quirkiest thing that I have done is spending three weeks
traveling alone by train from Chicago, across
the Southwest to San Diego, and up the
Pacific coast to Spokane, then across the
northwest states, back to Chicago.
I saw so much of the beauty of God’s creation, and met such a variety of
fascinating people—an Amish family, college students going to a “rave,” a
professor, a wildfire fighter, a Native American, a Mexican family who were
visiting the US, European tourists who were exploring America, and a drug
dealer (unbeknownst to me, until he was arrested at the station in Minot, North
Dakota). I had a blast, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat!
husband, however, thinks the quirkiest thing I’ve done is to create the
Brocklehursts, a family of humorous fictional characters, which I've written
and performed at conferences, etc. So far, there is Minerva Brocklehurst, with
her weekly program, “Today's Word from the Lord,” her daughters, Gina (who
loooooves to talk about looooove), Sunny Brocklehurst (the gospel singer
wannabe), and Cousin Ferdeena Brocklehurst Fennelalaneen. (When people express
amazement or amusement—or down-right laughter at her married last name, she
always responds “Don't judge me! The heart wants what it wants, and my heart
wanted Hubert Fennelalaneen!”)
tells me we still haven’t met all of the Brocklehursts!
When did you first discover
that you were a writer? There
were little hints and indicators along the way. I can recall when I was young,
being sent to bed for a nap, or tucked in bed for the night. Instead of
sleeping, I would lie in bed and tell myself stories. I also remember the
moment my relationship with words began. I was about five, and pretending to
read the newspaper when, suddenly, those little marks on the paper said
something to me. “t-h-e”…. “The!” It said, “the!” And so the love affair
began…. Then there was the interesting “business” I had in high school. I
honestly never thought of it as cheating, but the deal was, that if you did my
Chemistry lab work for me, I would write the intro and conclusion of your
English Comp paper. But, I really knew for certain that I was a writer when I
was in college. I had begun my freshman year as a nursing major—I wanted
to do something “meaningful.” Sometime during that year, after getting positive
feedback from professors and other students, I began to understand that the
most meaningful thing I could do would be something that I had a passion and a
gift for, and switched my major to English.
Tell us the range of the kinds
of books you enjoy reading. I like to read almost anything—history, sci-fi, mystery,
fantasy, the Bible, self-help, spiritual development, scripts, poetry,
biography, and some romance (if it has an unpredictable plot line). When I was
a kid, my mom had to put the cereal back in the cabinet at breakfast, after I
poured my bowlful. Otherwise, I’d start reading the boxes and make myself late
How do you keep your sanity in
our run, run, run world? I
talk to God all through my day. I listen to worship music—everything from
George Beverly Shea to Rend Collective. Sometimes, God will plant a song in my
thoughts and I’ll go around for hours (or longer) with it repeating in my head.
I might “chew” on a scripture passage, finding new insight. I may play with
grandkids, spend time with my husband, talk to a friend on the phone. I sew,
travel, go camping. And of course, writing helps me keep my sanity. But when
I’m writing to “stay sane,” my genres of choice are parodies, limericks, and
top ten lists—something to bring laughter into my day, and into the lives of
those around me.
How do you choose your
characters’ names? In
writing biblical fiction, the main characters names are usually already chosen
for me. But in the case of the secondary characters that I create to bring the
story to life, as well as when I write more modern fiction, the characters most
often introduce themselves and tell me their names. Very rarely, I might have
to give a name a little tweak.
children’s book I wrote, the main characters all have names that reflect one of
their personality traits. For example: Mia is self-centered, and Sophia really
values wisdom. I’m also working on a series of picture books that have kind of
“cartoony” illustrations, so the characters’ names become kind of caricatures
of the real names: for example, “Adele” becomes “Adeloonee”,
this book, When the Morning Stars Sang, I gave the two main characters new
names that sounded similar to the old ones, and retained the original meanings.
The purpose was to avoid what a writer friend calls “the curse of the
familiar.” This happens when the reader recognizes the characters’ names and
dismisses the familiar story, as if they know it so well that there is no more
What is the accomplishment that
you are most proud of? That
would have to be my family. The love of my life and I have stayed in love with
each other, and married to each other, for forty years. Together, we’ve raised
four relatively well-adjusted, reasonably mature contributors to society, and they
are raising thirteen of the cutest, smartest, most loving kids in the world!
The other day, my 11-year-old grandkid and I were talking about how God plans
His care for us in advance. The child said, “Yeah, Grandma, God never says,
‘Whoa! I didn’t see that coming!’” (Oh! And did I mention these kids are wise,
If you were an animal, which
one would you be, and why? If I were an animal, I’d be a cat. If you’ve ever seen a cat
sleeping in a patch of sunlight, you might understand why. Cats like to be
independent and self-sufficient, but they’re open to pampering. They can be
poised and dignified, or playful and goofy, but on their terms. They know how
to totally focus, and how to completely relax. They know how to set boundaries,
and they make it clear that you are not the boss, you are staff.
What is your favorite food? What day is it? Actually, I
have a lot of foods that I really like—foods from different cultures and iconic
American foods, main dishes, desserts, and snacks. But my current favorite is a
Hoosier staple, Sugar Cream Pie. With only five ingredients in the filling,
it’s super easy to make. I made my first one (really, two) over the holidays,
and if you have a weakness for things that are rich and creamy and sweet like I
do, it’s love at first bite! I’ve posted the recipe on my “Book and Blankie
Society” Facebook group page.
What is the problem with
writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it? The problem that was the
biggest roadblock for me was believing that God could use me, a stay-at-home
mom with no college degree, living in a quiet, little town. While I was giving God all my excuses, I
stumbled upon the all excuses Gideon gave God, for why he couldn’t save Israel. Then,
God said to Gideon (and to me). “Go in the strength you have…am I not sending
you?” (Judges 6:14) My biggest roadblock was learning to believe what God says
about me. And, as I trust and believe Him more, and go in the strength I have,
He gives me more words to encourage me. “God doesn’t call the equipped, He
equips the called.” and “Let God dream for you…your dreams are too small!”
Tell us about the featured
book? Eva had
perfection. Her home, her marriage, her life—it was flawless. Then Sypher
showed up, telling her she was missing out. Was it worth the risk? Should she
trade the perfection she had for the “something better, something more
exciting” Sypher claimed he could give her?
re-imagining of the story of Creation and the Fall is told by Eva as she
recalls the perfection of her life—the unbounded love she and Aidaan had
shared, the perfect beauty of the newly created earth, the indescribable joy
she’d experienced in the presence of Shaddai—all of which she valued so lightly
and threw away so thoughtlessly. In the story, she recalls the enticements and
rationalizations offered by Sypher. And how her choices had set in motion the
downward spiral, from interest and intrigue, to temptation, to sin. As her
story unfolds, it becomes clear that in the thousands of years since The Day of
Darkness, the deceitful Serpent hasn’t changed, and he still uses the same old
tactics and tricks on us as he has with every generation that came before us.
books title comes from Job 38:7, where God in His conversation with Job, refers
to Creation as, "...when the morning stars sang together....”
Please give us the first page
of the book.
book has a slightly larger than normal font size, because there are several
people I love, who are vision impaired, so if you don’t mind, I'll give you the
equivalent of the first page.
When will it stop?”
couldn’t take any more. I felt certain my husband was as clueless, as powerless
as I was, but I asked him anyway. I couldn't keep myself from whimpering as
another wave of pain came. It had started early this morning, waking me out of
a sound sleep, and had been growing stronger and more constant as the day had
crouched beside me under our small lean-to. I could tell he wanted to do
something to ease my pain, but nothing was helping. He sighed and waited. When
he could see by my expression that the pain had decreased, he answered.
don’t know, Eva. I’ve never seen anything like this happen….”
realized my voice had been sharp, almost harsh. But in this moment, I had no
patience with anything which didn’t help me accomplish whatever it was my body
was doing. Another wave of pain stabbed at my lower back and squeezed at my
belly like a giant hand. I heard a low moan and realized it was me. My entire
body was drenched in sweat. Aidaan reached out and tried to brush back the damp
hair that stuck to my forehead. I found him annoying. My mind and body needed
to concentrate on the pain, and his touch was distracting, like a fly buzzing
around my head. I swatted impatiently at his hand.
again, Aidaan stood and picked up the wooden bowl that sat by my sleeping mat.
His stiff movements as he stretched his legs and straightened his back told me
he had been sitting too long. I immediately felt sorry for my impatience, but I
couldn’t bring myself to apologize.
water is warm,” he said. “I’ll get you some cold from the stream.”
turned to go, I felt the hysteria rising within me, like a cobra preparing to
strike. I could feel myself beginning to panic. I needed the water, but I
needed Aidaan here, too. I would have to tell him what I had seen. I called
Aidaan! Hurry! That thing is still there, in the tree. I saw it watching me
with those lifeless eyes. It still wants something—it still wants more! Hurry!”
How can readers find you on the
Author Page - https://www.facebook.com/marciagunnettwoodard
Group (The Book and Blankie Society) - https://www.facebook.com/groups/mgw.book.n.blankie
(The Learning Curve) - http://itsallaboutmarcia.blogspot.com
for inviting me here, Lena! I had a lot of fun
answering your questions, and I hope sometime I’ll get to come back and answer
some more of them. You have the best questions!
Thank you for sharing your book
with my blog readers and me. I’m eager to read it, which I can do soon, since
my copy has arrived.
here are links to the book.
https://amzn.to/3oYLgBM - Paperback
https://amzn.to/3sDNZ65 - Kindle
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