12 Days of Pioneer Christmas, Day 5: Marcia Gruver & A Badlands Christmas

Today's guest, co-author Marcia Gruver, writes historical fiction set in the Old West. A Texas native, her latest release, Hunter’s Prize, was published in July, 2013 and is part of the Backwoods Brides series. Marcia talks about her upcoming A Pioneer Christmas novella, “A Badlands Christmas”. For more information about Marcia and her books, visit her website: www.marciagruver.com

 What made you write about your period in time?

During a trip to Medora, North Dakota, I became immersed in the life and times of Theodore Roosevelt, Medora’s legendary resident. I fell in love with the beautiful town and their stories of Teddy and his exploits. I purposely timed A Badlands Christmas to include a brief cameo of our 26th President.

How is Christmas celebrated in your family and what effect did it have on your writing this story?

In the Gruver household we practice the three “F’s” of Christmas: Family, Food, and Faith (not necessarily in that order), with generous servings of each to go around. I tried to imagine a Christmas without these very important elements and how bereft I would feel, and then I placed Noela Nancarrow, my heroine, in this situation and allowed it to test her character.

What research did you do to authenticate Christmas celebrations in your story?

For the New York City chapters of my book, I found a series of early drawings depicting festive scenes of shopping, entertaining, and outdoor fun. To describe a Christmas spent inside a dilapidated sod house in the middle of a brutal North Dakota winter, I had to rely on earlier research of the period and a great deal on my own imagination.

When you dreamed up your story idea, what came first, the time period, the story, the location?

The location. After a brief business trip to Medora, ND, I left with reams of notes, knowing I would one day base a story on the town and its rich history.

What was the "germ" of your story idea and how did you flesh it out?

I had several “germs” to play with. The publisher guidelines asked for stories set during American westward expansion from the late 1700s to late 1800s. These words set a fire in my history-loving breast and launched me into a researching frenzy. Further, they asked for the characters to be housed in temporary or transitional dwellings. I had already begun plotting a story set in Medora, so I tweaked it to depict Christmastime in a sod house and threw in a former President. What a concept! How could I go wrong? :-)

Would you like to have been there?

In a way, I feel that I was. With many original homes and businesses still standing and realistic reenactments of historical events, visiting Medora is like slipping through a portal in time.

What aspects of your characters are reflected in yours?

I’ve always longed to leave the chaos behind the way my characters did and seek a simpler lifestyle in the peace and solitude of a wilderness land. Sounds romantic, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t last long without my cell phone.

Have you been to the locations in which your story is set?

As I mentioned above, I’ve been to Medora one time, but I plan to return as soon as I can. I highly recommend it for a vacation site, especially for those who love American history.

What surprised you the most about your story?

I hadn’t planned to write an Australian character. I fell in love with the name of a contributor to Overcoming With God, a reviewer blog site at http://cfpagels.blogspot.com. I jokingly asked Noela Nancarrow if I could use her charming name in a book. The Queensland resident heartily agreed, and it seemed only natural to make my Noela an Aussie as well. The biggest and best surprise is the close, personal friendship the real Noela and I have enjoyed ever since.

Would you have made a good pioneer?

My husband would get a very big laugh out of this question. The answer is a loud emphatic “No!” I’m far too high maintenance to make a passable pioneer. I try to leave the adventures to my characters.

Were any of your ancestors pioneers? If so, where and when?

Not in the American pioneer sense, at least not that I know of. But I’m currently researching my ancestry, so who knows what surprises I’ll unearth. My paternal great-grandfather came to America from France, so he blazed a trail of sorts, I think.

What spiritual themes did you deliberately incorporate into your story? Which ones did you discover later?  :-)

My scripture theme for A Badlands Christmas comes from Luke 9:58 - And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. I wanted to explore the human tendency to grow comfortable in our surroundings and resist any effort of God’s to move us into new territory. Later, because my precious mom passed away while I was writing this book, I incorporated the loss of a parent and the difficulty in dealing with her passing.

Thank you, Marcia, for your time and honesty!

For readers: as always, don't forget to enter the giveaway! These babies just arrived today, and they are SO pretty. :-)

12 Days of A Pioneer Christmas

Monday, August 19 12 Days of Christmas Introduction
Tuesday, August 20 Cynthia Hickey on cynthiahickey.blogspot.com
Wednesday, August 21 Kathleen Fuller on www.kathleenfuller.com
Thursday, August 22 Michelle Ule on michelleule.com
Friday, August 23 Marcia Garver on Yielded Quill
Saturday, August 24 Shannon McNear on www.shannonmcnear.com
Monday, August 26 Lauraine Snelling on michelleule.com
Tuesday, August 27 Kathleen Fuller on www.kathleenfuller.com
Wednesday, August 28 Vickie McDonough on www.shannonmcnear.com
Thursday, August 29 Anna Urquhart on The Silent Isle
Friday, August 30 Michelle Ule on Colonial Quills
Saturday, August 31 Michelle Ule on michelleule.com

Sunday, September 1

A Pioneer Christmas Collection Release!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thanks so much, Shannon! I appreciate you hosting me today. I just love our Christmas anthology, and I know your readers will love it, too.

  2. You're so welcome, Marcia! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Hi guys, that was fun to read!! And very sweet too - I am also so blessed to know you as a close friend Marcia!
    I don't know how I'd really cope with living in a sod... I think the bugs and ahem, 'other creatures' lol, would be my biggest problem! But oh how I would looove to visit Medora and see the Badlands!!!

  4. Hey Shannon! This is cool reading MARCIA's post and that NOELA's name will be used! I had the baby in our Colonial Quills Forted Frontier Christmas serial last year named Noela, also! It is a lovely name and she's a lovely lady!

  5. It is indeed a beautiful name! And I've enjoyed getting to know Noela a bit more after seeing Marcia's mention of her in the acknowledgements of the story. :-D Thank you both for coming by!

  6. I love these novella's and some great authors contributed to this one. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.


  7. What a great post, thanks SHANNON and MARCIA! Let me tell you Ms. Noela is so excited about being in your book MARCIA and it couldn't have happened to a better person. NOELA is a precious friend who I call my "sissy". I always wanted a younger sister since I was the baby in my family and I'm so glad GOD gave me one. I can't wait to read this terrific book. I LOVE Christmas it is my very favorite time of year. Thanks again for this and the chance to win a copy of A PIONEER CHRISTMAS! :)

  8. Thank you, Wendy and Teresa, for stopping by! I hope you both enjoy these stories! :-)


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt Stop #27

Merry Christmas! A free cookbook and a two-book raffle!

Blog Tour: The Most Eligible Bachelor!