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Marcia Gruver Writing Interview

Tell us about your first contract.
Each year, at the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference, Barbour Publishing awards first contracts to lucky recipients. In 2007, they thrilled me out of my skin by awarding me the first three-book contact ever awarded at the ACFW conference. I’m trying very hard to live up to the confidence Barbour has placed in me.

Has being a published novelist differed from your expectations?
Yes. I’ve discovered that when you do it right, it’s actually work.

Do you plot your novels out or are you a so-called seat-of-the-pants writer?
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.

Describe the place you write in most often.
Awhile back, my hubby spent far too much on a desktop computer for me. We set it up on a big desk in my office and attached all the geeky peripherals we could find. Um…I use it to play PC games. For some reason, I prefer to curl up in the corner of the sofa squinting at my laptop.

Has being a writer brought you closer to God and if so, how?
Not really closer. More in tune, maybe? I just know there’s no step in the writing/marketing process that I could pull off without His guiding hand. That teaches you to report on a regular basis for your marching orders.

What’s your favorite part of the writing process?
The first draft. Once you’ve developed characters, tweaked the plot, and come up with a satisfying ending, that’s when the fun starts. You can let your fingers fly while you flesh out the story. At this stage is when the surprises come. One of your characters gets a mind of their own and takes off in a direction you didn’t have the vision or the foresight to predict. Or your heroine gets sassy and insists on having her way on some minor detail that winds up the most important scene in the book. I love this part. The first draft is when the magic happens.

How have your life experiences helped you as a writer?
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.

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