Monday, July 22, 2013


On this first week of the Grace Awards Summer Launch, I'm featuring Tracy Krauss and her novel Wind Over Marshdale, one of the best books I've read this summer.  I hope you'll enjoy the interview and excerpt that follows, and give her novel a try.

About the book:
Marshdale. Just a small farming community where nothing special happens.  A perfect place to start over… or get lost. There is definitely more to this prairie town than meets the eye. Once the meeting place of aboriginal tribes for miles around, some say the land itself was cursed because of the people’s sin. But its history goes farther back than even indigenous oral history can trace and there is still a direct descendant who has been handed the truth, like it or not. Exactly what ties does the land have to the medicine of the ancients? Is it cursed, or is it all superstition?
Wind Over Marshdale is the story of the struggles within a small prairie town when hidden evil and ancient medicine resurface. Caught in the crossfire, new teacher Rachel Bosworth finds herself in love with two men at once. First, there is Thomas Lone Wolf, a Cree man whose blood lines run back to the days of ancient medicine but who has chosen to live as a Christian and faces prejudice from every side as he tries to expose the truth. Then there is Con McKinley, local farmer who has to face some demons of his own. Add to the mix a wayward minister seeking anonymity in the obscurity of the town; eccentric twin sisters – one heavily involved in the occult and the other a fundamentalist zealot; and a host of other ‘characters’ whose lives weave together unexpectedly for the final climax. This suspenseful story is one of human frailty - prejudice, cowardice, jealousy, and greed – magnified by powerful spiritual forces that have remained hidden for centuries, only to be broken in triumph by grace.

What others are saying:
The characters were realistic and the conflict was palpable
-          The Wordsmith Journal

Krauss weaves a story that satisfies the romantic soul and caresses the puzzle solver in each of us at the same time…
-          Barbara Ann Derksen, author

Krauss typifies all that is good in modern Christian authorship. She is consistently there for her readers and elevates her every effort
-          Joyce Godwin Grubbs, Author

Tracy’s characters are raw and real; her plots edgy and electric.
-          Lisa Lickel, award winning author

There is plenty of intrigue and mystery to keep any reader's attention, but for lovers of romance, this one will make your heart pound.

-          Michelle Sutton, author of more than 25 inspirational novels

Krauss writes about real stuff that real people, including Christians, struggle with. Her fiction is at times earthy, but that drew me into the very real characters, their failures as well as their hopes and triumphs.
 Ken Winters, author

Author bio:
Tracy Krauss is a high school teacher by profession, and a prolific author, artist, playwright and director by choice. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Saskatchewan and has gone on to teach Art, Drama and English – all the things she is passionate about. After raising four children, she and her husband now reside in beautiful Tumbler Ridge, BC where she continues to pursue all of her creative interests.

Q: Tracy, when I read the book, I was immediately immersed in the eerie feeling imbued in the story. What inspired you to craft this tale of simple small town life suddenly threatened by the emergence of hidden evil?

A: It started out with some interesting characters that I had been thinking about. I am from a small town and have lived in many small towns and I’ve noticed that every place has its own  ‘colorful’ people. I also have an interest in spiritual warfare and native history and I saw a way to weave all of these elements together.

Q: I think the title of the book really portrays sense of spiritual warfare. What other types of significance do you ascribe to the book's title?

A: It works on many levels. For anyone who has visited the prairies, they know that the wind plays an important role in the psyche of the people. Also, I saw this as symbolic of the spiritual forces at play within the book.

Q: I felt as torn as Rachel did between the two new men in her life, and I really didn't know who she would ultimately choose or if it would work out for either of them. Why is it so difficult for Rachel to choose between her love for both Thomas and Con?

A: She is rebounding from a previous relationship and her feelings of inadequacy have made her confused about her own feelings. Basically, she is subconsciously trying to boost her own self worth.

Q: She's definitely a "real" character, flaws and all. Sometimes I caught myself thinking, No Rachel, don't do that! Why do you think it's often so easy for us to give way to sin, whether major or minor in scope?

A: I suppose it’s what the Bible calls ‘the flesh’. It’s part of human nature to want our own way, and let’s face it, most sin is also fun – at least for a season.


Thomas shot up in bed, panting. The T-shirt he wore clung to his body with sweat. It was not the first time the dream had come to wake him.

He took a deep breath, disentangled himself from the sheets, and rose to get a drink of water. No point going back to bed now. He wouldn’t sleep anyway. He padded down the narrow hallway,
passing the half closed doorways that sheltered his sleeping children. Ducking to avoid hitting his head as he entered the tiny kitchen, he paused for a moment to look at the expanse of landscape beyond the window. Mostly flat, with a rise of gently rolling hills in the distance, it was clothed with a carpet of rippling grass except for the odd patch of dry fallow. Just like in the dream.

The early morning sunrise was just beginning to filter in, reaching to shed some light in the shadowed corners of the room. Thomas had managed to rent a house near the outskirts of     town. Correction. It wasn’t exactly a house. The realtor called it a “double wide.” Okay, it was a trailer, but it was the only property for rent in Marshdale at the moment. At least, that was what    the realtor had said. It wasn’t the nicest place—rather dingy if truth be told—and it was farther from school than Thomas would have liked, but it was still within walking distance. Better than    the overcrowded and dilapidated homes he’d been used to as a child.

But that was another time. Another life.

He was here now, for better or for worse, and the people of Marshdale would just have to accept it. He was Thomas Lone Wolf, proud of his Cree ancestry, and determined to do something about it. As a community liaison, he’d worked with dozens of indigenous groups all over the    western provinces trying to set up business propositions. This time was different, though. It was personal.

With practiced fingers he undid his nighttime braid and shook out his hair, which fell well past his shoulders. Even at forty, there was no sign of graying or hair loss. It was straight, coarse and
black, just like his ancestors’ - the perfect picture of a Cree warrior.

Now that he was awake, he allowed himself to replay the dream in his mind - at least the parts that he could remember. Like most dreams, the initial clarity soon faded after just a few waking moments. There were buffalo - always buffalo. And they seemed bent on suicide, careening to their deaths before he could stop them somehow.

He was going to start writing it down. The theme was too familiar; the mixture of fear and power too real. Some people said you dreamt in black and white. Thomas wasn’t sure about that. He knew there was blood in his dream - and lots of it. The redness of it stood out in stark contrast to the muted prairie landscape. And the stench. That unmistakable metallic scent filled his nostrils to such a degree that he could almost swear he still smelled it. Almost. But that was ridiculous and he pushed the memory of the coagulating stains out of his mind.

With a sigh he turned back to the cupboards and started readying the coffee. It would soon be time to wake the children and get ready for work himself. Another grueling day of lobbying for something that should be rightfully his to begin with. Reality didn’t stop for dreams.

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