Marcia Gruver is a full time writer who hails from Southeast Texas. Inordinately enamored by the past, she delights in writing historical fiction, with a Southern-comfortable style and a touch of humor. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Authors Network, Fellowship of Christian Writers, and The Writers View.

Lifelong Texans, Marcia and her husband, Lee, have one daughter, four sons, eleven grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter—so far.

What sparked your writing journey?

It sounds funny to say boredom sparked the most exciting journey I’ve ever taken, but I’m afraid it’s true. My youngest had left for college and my husband had a few more weeks to complete an out of town assignment. I woke up one morning with nothing but time on my hands and sat down at the keyboard with a cup of Earl Grey. The rest, as they say, is history.

How does your faith play into your work?

Without faith, I wouldn’t be writing at all. I sat down with that cup of tea, no plotline or characters in sight, and I realized I couldn’t write a story without God woven throughout the pages. I guess because I’d learned I couldn’t live without Him woven into my days. Art imitates life, doesn’t it? And I gave my life to Jesus a long time ago.

Let’s talk about A Badlands Christmas, which is part of a new novella collection, A Pioneer Christmas Collection (Barbour Books, August 2013). Please tell us about your story and the book.

Here’s a short synopsis of A Badlands Christmas:

The story opens in sophisticated and affluent New York society, circa 1885. Noela Nancarrow is missing her dearly departed mum and is homesick for Australia, but she’s settling in quite comfortably in her adopted city, especially where it comes to her neighbor Julian, the dapper young heir to the Van der Berg fortune. Unfortunately, in her scheme to become the mistress of Van der Berg Mansion, Noela fails to factor in her father’s adventuresome spirit. Against her wishes, she finds herself stepping off the train in a distant railroad town, hitching a ride from a sober young ranch hand to the wilderness settlement of Medora. Instead of accompanying Julian to New York City’s annual Christmas Ball, Noela is doomed to spend the season in a dilapidated sod house in the midst of a brutal Dakota Territory winter. Can her unexpected friendship with Hiram McGregor, the obliging ranch hand, ease the pangs of loss she feels in too many areas of her life?

I had so much fun writing this story. Along the way, I had the distinct pleasure to become acquainted with the real-life Noela Nancarrow, a true-blue Australian gal kind enough to loan me her name. We’ve since become great friends.

As for A Pioneer Christmas Collection, I’m extremely honored to be a part of this project. Never mind the talent represented here, the stories are some of the most poignant and nostalgic that you’ll read this Christmas season. Michelle Ule, author of A Gold Rush Christmas (included in A Pioneer Christmas Collection), put together a brief teaser for each of the stories that your readers can find on my blog. With a little digging, you’ll find my interviews with each of the authors of A Pioneer Christmas Collection on the blog as well.

Detours in life can be frustrating—kind of like plot twists in the stories we write—but the outcome is often more intriguing than our original plan. Can you tell us about a recent “detour” in your life—or in one of your character’s lives—that taught you something?

My most cherished detour will always be taking my mom into my home for her last days on earth. We always imagined she would one day move in with my older sister. It made sense because Mom was more comfortable with my sister’s family than mine. However, none of us can see the future, and few of us can predict God’s plans. As the time drew near when mom could no longer live alone, my sister’s health took a serious turn. Unable to care for mom, she tearfully helped me prepare to take her into my home instead. This major plot twist in all our lives proved at first a gut-wrenching adjustment, and later a heart-rending blessing. I’ll cherish the hours I spent with my mother in her final days for the rest of my life. I consider it a Divine Detour indeed.

A few fun questions…

When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?

This is a tough question for a self-confessed foodie. Where it comes to food, I try to live on the straight and narrow, but I’m a bit of a junk food junkie. Comfort food can range from sweet to savory on any given day. I love healthy homemade soups with rich bone broths. I’ll eat anything with potatoes. Desserts? I’d turn up my nose at very few, but I love pudding in any flavor. Something about the creamy texture, I believe. Fill a chocolate éclair with vanilla crème pudding, and you’ll have my undivided attention.

This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?

I’m a world class singer . . . in the shower. Dried off and dressed, I know to keep my mouth shut. In other words, I doubt I’ll be invited to join the heavenly choir.

If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?

Despite my choral dysfunction, I love music of all kinds. But I think I’d choose to be a praise song, the kind that raises the hair on your neck and gives you chill bumps. The kind that lifts and carries you into God’s presence. What a thrill to be used to offer praises to Him.

In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?

I long to be the heroine or the mysterious woman in dark glasses, but I’m afraid I’m more the little girl in high heels. I’m going to plead the fifth on why I feel that’s the case.

I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.

As a child, I had a small blonde Chihuahua named Cindy. I dressed Cindy in a little skirt and she waltzed with me. She’ll always be my favorite. I haven’t had much luck with pets in recent years because we travel so often. I tried to make it work a couple of times, but now Hilde (my mini schnauzer) resides in my daughter’s house and a sister-in-law adopted Ruby (my little dachshund). It’s too hard on the pets to live on the road and too sad to let them go, so I won’t be trying again until we become more settled. Although, I have been looking at kittens . . .

Thank you, Marcia! It’s a pleasure to have you as a guest at DivineDetour.

My absolute pleasure! Your questions were different and fun to answer. Thank you for the invitation.

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For more information about Marcia, visit her website.

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