Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Marcia Gruver Blog Tour


Today is my first blog tour ever! And probably my longest post. :-) Two days ago I posted a review for Marcia Gruver's debut novel, Diamond Duo. Today I'm posting an interview with her, followed by her bio and links to everyone else participating in this tour. Make sure to check out their sites, as each blog will be a bit different. And don't forget to stop by Marcia's blog, The Yielded Quill. Another thing! Two commenters will win either a Barnes and Noble gift card or five gently used books!

Now for her interview!



Q: Please tell us a little bit about who Marcia Gruver is.
A: Which Marcia? Like everyone else, who I am depends on the hat on my head. I’m wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, granny, and just recently, great-granny to a little sprite of a girl who seems well qualified to carry our legacy into the future. Even more recently, I’m a published author of inspirational fiction. How about that? Marcia Gruver is content, well loved, fulfilled, and grateful to God for every second of her life.
Q: How have your life experiences helped you as a writer?
A: I believe all of life’s experiences are fertile fodder for fiction. Try saying that three times really fast. I’ve traveled some bumpy roads in my time. I was a hippie in the 60’s, a yippie in the 70’s, a groupie in the 80’s, and a yuppie in the 90’s. Who else but a bona fide baby boomer can say that? At the dawn of this new century, I’m just a droopy—with a passel of kids and grandkids. I long to impart to them the nuggets of wisdom old granny picked up along the way, but since none of them will listen, I’m wrapping fictional stories around the lessons I’ve learned and slipping them to the rascals. Like hiding spinach in applesauce. Not to compare God’s grace to a slimy green vegetable, but the truth is both of them are good for you.
Q: Do you plot your novels out or are you a so-called seat-of-the-pants writer?
A: I used to fly by my seat from start to finish. My first experience with working a plan came after discovering Randy Ingermanson’s snowflake method for plotting a novel. After working through Karen S. Wiesner’s First Draft in 30 Days, I’m a born-again plotter. These days, I don’t think I’d do it any other way. I sort of like knowing where I’m going when I sit down to write.
Q: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
A: Guilty secret time? I love to play video games. I look for any slip of time and any excuse to play. I also love to read and watch movies in all genres.
Q: In Diamond Duo, your character Bertha is a breath of fresh air with her fun and refreshing sense of humor. If I were to ask those close to you about your sense of humor, would they describe similarities between you and Bertha?
A: Oh, boy! I’m afraid so. I’m actually dry and rather reserved at first—so much so that I’ve been accused of having a split personality. When I’m very relaxed and get to know a person well, the real me comes out to play. Yep, the lights are on and a whole bunch of us are home.
Q: Where did the idea for Diamond Duo come from?
A: On a trip to Jefferson, Texas, I heard the true story of the unsolved murder of the infamous Diamond Bessie, aka Annie Monroe. In 1877, a flashy, well-dressed couple rode a train into town for a short visit. They checked into a hotel as A. Monroe and wife. The woman seemed to go by more than one name, one of them Bessie Moore. Because she wore several large diamond rings, supposedly gifts offered in exchange for immoral favors, the locals soon dubbed her “Diamond Bessie.”
On the last day of Bessie’s life, she and her companion, Abraham Rothschild, took a picnic basket into the woods. He came out alone, wandering the streets of Jefferson by himself for several days. When asked about Bessie, he said she was staying with nearby friends, and would return in time for their departure. However, he left by himself two days later, carrying Bessie’s luggage along with his own.
A local woman discovered poor Bessie’s body in the woods several days later. Jefferson officials went after Abraham Rothschild and tried him for her murder, but due to his money and considerable influence, he was acquitted.
While standing over Diamond Bessie’s grave, assuming her eternal fate, I found myself wondering: “What if?” Maybe history had been unkind to Bessie. What if she wasn’t as bad as some claimed? Suppose God had arranged a surprise finish for her—a loving, merciful end that no one would’ve expected?
Q: When you sit down to read for pleasure what authors do you choose?
A: Linda Nichols, Kristen Heitzman, and Brandilyn Collins are at the top of the list. But I have so many books in my ‘To Be Read’ pile, I just know there are favorites sitting there waiting to be discovered.

Q: What three books that you’ve read this past year would you recommend others rush to the bookstore and purchase?
A: That’s a tough one. Readers’ tastes are so diverse, especially in fiction. For instance, I write quirky, sweet historical romance with a thread of adventure to spice it up a bit. I realized going in that this wouldn’t appeal to every reader. In the same way, there’s a huge fan base for the spooky novels written by Brandilyn Collins, yet I happen to know people too scared to read them. A great testimony to the quality of her work, by the way. It breaks my heart to read a scathing review of an author’s hard work, written by a person who had no business picking it up in the first place. Nonfiction? I highly recommend The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls. This book almost reads like fiction and is an incredible ride.
If you could take your dream vacation, where would you go and who would go with you?I once would’ve said England. I love the Brits. After watching Under the Tuscan Sun with Diane Lane, I’m now captivated by Tuscany. Whichever destination I chose, my traveling partner would have to be my hubby. He’s great to talk to. But since he wouldn’t take off work to go, I’d take my daughter Tracy, the most fun person I know.

Marcia Gruver is a full time writer who hails from Southeast Texas. Inordinately enamored by the past, Marcia delights in writing historical fiction. Her deep south-central roots lend a Southern-comfortable style and a touch of humor to her writing. Recently awarded a three-book contract by Barbour Publishing, she’s busy these days pounding on the keyboard and watching the deadline clock.
Marcia’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW); the Christian Authors Network (CAN!); Faith, Hope, & Love (FHL)-the Inspirational Outreach Chapter of the Romance Writers of America; Fellowship of Christian Writers (FCW); The Writers View; and a longstanding member of ACFW Crit3, her brilliant and insightful critique group.
Lifelong Texans, Marcia and her husband, Lee, have one daughter and four sons. Collectively, this motley crew has graced them with ten grandchildren and one great-granddaughter—so far.

Other participating blogs:








30 comments:

anita said...

Great interview, Jessie!

Marcia, you sound like such and interesting and diverse lady. And let me say that you certainly don't look a bit like a great grandmother! Lovely picture!

I really like the southern tone to your voice that comes through even in your interview. I'll have to buy your book and see how that translates onto the page. Congrats on the three book deal and on being a published author!

I just have one last question, if you're monitoring the blog today. How long did it take you to get to this side of the publishing tracks--from the time you started seriously writing to the time you got a contract? And did you have to deal with many rejections along the way?

Tammy Doherty said...

Marcia,

I agree with Anita - you don't look like a great-grandmother. In fact, you don't look like a grandmother, either. Did you use your daughter's photo? LOL

I think I've heard about that mystery of Diamond Bessie. What a fantastic way to present history! I've toyed with the idea of writing about real historical events but I only like fiction. Now you've given me fodder - playing the what if game. Of course, then it isn't truly factual, but if it gets someone interested in the time/events enough for them to learn more, then it's worth it :-)

Best wishes for Diamond Duo and your other books. I'll certainly put Diamond Duo on my Christmas wish list.

Blessings,

Tammy Doherty

Marcia Gruver said...

Good morning, ladies! Thanks for blessing me today. Not my daughter's picture, just a well touched up version of me. :)

Anita, I started writing "for real" after attending Marlene Bagnull's Colorado Christian Writer's Conference in 2004. I left there convinced God had called me to write. . .something. After that, I rode a rocket straight to publication. A hesitant, chicken-hearted rocket, but a rocket no less.

Nearly every article or poem I submitted was accepted and printed. The first proposal I got the courage to submit was picked up by Barbour, three books worth. Hey, I'm smart enough to know God was behind the whole thing. He knew I needed strong confirmation or I'd run for the hills. :)

I’m still in awe of the journey, and very thankful.

Tammy, there are so many small town legends and fanciful stories out there, hidden in out-of-the-way little towns. You can find LOTS of fodder out there. Go for it!

Jessica, thank you so much for hosting me today! You've made me feel right at home.

Jessica said...

Hi Anita! Thanks for stopping by! :-)
She definitely has a historical voice and I was surprised to hear she was a grandmother, too.
:-)

Jessica said...

Hey Tammy,
Thanks for stopping by. Diamond Duo was a great read. I didn't realize until afterwards that it was based on a true story. Marcia did an incredible job of subtly loading the story with facts and not losing its fictional appeal. Normally I don't like biographical fiction but this was very good.

Jessica said...

Hi Marcia!
Very cool that you stopped by. I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed some of your sentences, as well as your humor
:-)
Two posts back I posted a review of your book, if you're interested.
Great story and congrats on the book deal!

anita said...

Thanks so much for answering me, Marcia. Take it from me, you really have been blessed. It's taken me four books, over two years of querying, and countless rejections to finally snag an agent. Now we're in the throes of trying to woe some publishers. So to get such a great response (I mean three book deal? WOW) first time out, that's amazing.

But you are giving credit where credit is due, and I believe God's rewarding you for that.

I pray you have an illustrious and long career with much success. You're definitely off to a great start!

Rose McCauley said...

I loved this interview with another woman from my generation! I came home from conference with this book and will have to move it up closer to the top of my ever-expanding TBR pile. Thanks to marcia and jessica!

juliepollitt said...

Jessica,

You did a beautiful job for your first blog tour!

Marcia's book is great! I loved reading it!

Jessica said...

Hi Rose,
Thanks for stopping by. It was a good read with resounding themes, so I liked it :-)

Jessica said...

Thanks Julie :-)
It was fun designing how I wanted things to go, etc.
Thanks for stopping by!

Terri Tiffany said...

Hey Jess,
Thanks for stopping by my blog--are you a fellow Floridian?? Did I see your post on ACFW?

Jessica said...

Hey Terri,
Yep, I'm in Dunnellon, FL. And yes, I posted on ACFW trying to lure people to my blog.
LOL

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm. Just today I was browsing on publishers' websites and saw Diamond Duo and thought, 'that sounds interesting!'

First of all, Marcia, you can't be a great-granny by the looks of your photo! Thanks Jessica and Marcia for an interesting blog today. I look forward to reading this "gem"!

Debra Marvin
dem35@cornell.edu

Kristen Painter said...

I need to check out that snowflake method. I keep hearing about it!

Jessica said...

Hey Debra,
Thanks for stopping by. It really was a good story with great characters. :-)

Jessica said...

Kristen,
If you like detailed, it's the way to go. Or plotting. Anyhow, I've read one of Ingermanson's books and I couldn't put it down. I blame his "snowflake" method, LOL

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jessica -

You and Marcia provided an entertaining and enlightening interview. I'll have to check out your blog and your book.

At the risk of sounding redundant, Marcia, when were you married - at 10? You look amazing.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Jessica said...

Hi Susan,
You're too funny with that age joke. I totally didn't see it coming. :-)
I noticed you're my "follower" too. Hehehe, that's good for the ego!

Debbie said...

Hi I think my favorite question was what inspired Marcia to write Diamond Duo. It sucked me right in and now I have to go buy the book to see her twists. It sounds intriguing. And you did a great job with your questions. I will be doing my first interview on a blog tour in December. Just learning all that goes along with being an author is mind boggling.

Terri Tiffany said...

Did you go to the ACFW meeting in Orlando last weekend? I was going to and then didn't but might go to the one in January.
What are you working on with your writing?

Jessica said...

Yeah, I didn't even realize it was based on the true story. Fascinating. Debbie, I hope you announce your blog tour so I can stop by :-)

Sharon A. Lavy said...

Hmm . . . I've been accused of having a split personality too. And this year at ACFW Georgina refused to believe I am shy.

Jessica said...

Sharon,
That's too funny! I'm the same way. Mostly quiet, but sometimes there's a wild streak. :-)
Thanks for stopping by.

Rhonda McKnight said...

Very good interview, Jessica.

I'm a Randy Imgermanson fan also. I think there are very few truly organic writers. I think alot say that because they don't want to do the work up front to plot a novel. I have a friend who's just sold her 5th novel. She wrote the first 3 SOTP and then had me help her plot the last two. She swears by plotting now and you could never have told her that she would ever plot. I wrote my first novel SOTP and never again. It was just a nightmare not knowing where I was headed.

Thanks for stopping by my blog, Jessica. I appreciate your support.

Joanna Mallory said...

Hi Jessica,

Thanks for stopping by my spot on Marcia's blog tour. I peeked back at your Diamond Duo review -- hey, Sarah King was my favourite too. She and Henry taught me a few things, and I really enjoyed meeting them.

Blessings today!

Joanne said...

Great interview! I like how Marcia talks about using all her life experiences/identity as fodder for her writing. So much of what we do and who we are informs our writing, and I enjoyed her elaborating on the eras she's experienced. Thanks for sharing.

Marcia Gruver said...

Had to pop in once more to say I’ve enjoyed all your lovely comments.

Want to know a secret? Sarah and Henry were my favorites, too. I loved writing Bertha’s story because (another secret) I actually wrote book two (Chasing Charity) first then started a prequel about Charity’s mama, Bertha, which became Diamond Duo. My editor suggested we release Diamond Duo first, so book two became book one. Confused yet?

Anyway, as much as I loved fleshing out young Bertha’s life, writing Sarah took me to a whole new place. Her chapters flowed onto the page.

As for my “youthful” photograph, I may need to change it. Though very touched up, it is a recent picture. However, three book deadlines in rapid succession have taken their toll. Ever notice how old a president looks at the end of his term? Stress not only kills, it ages a person. I doubt you’d recognize me now. LOL!

Jessica, thank you for your wonderful review.

Blessings everyone!

Jessica said...

Hi Joanna, Joanne and Rhonda,
Thanks for coming by!
Rhonda, I used to think that I was a pantser, but now I wonder if I've been lazy in my writing and just didn't want to plot. It's something to consider.
You're probably right, though. While plotting takes more work in the beginning, I definitely think the rough draft is better for it.

Jessica said...

Marcia,
That's so funny about book #1 being book #2. :-) Thanks for spilling the beans! LOL
And thank you for coming by to comment. That means a lot :-)
You gotta keep that photo! It's so nice!