Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Author Spotlight: Tracy Groot + GIVEAWAY

I am honored to welcome the delightful Tracy Groot to The Power of Words this week. In addition to being an outstanding writer, Tracy has a great sense of humor, loves quotes, and has a very interesting website at www.tracygroot.com that is well worth exploring. For instance, readers could lose themselves in her two screens of "splendid quotes"!

Tracy is also a two-time Christy award winner for historical fiction with Madman (2007) and Flame of Resistance (2013). With her latest novel, The Sentinels of Andersonville, she has given us a story that challenges, confronts, inspires, motivates, and entertains at the same time (see my review here). Giveaway details are at the bottom of this post. Now grab a cup of coffee and sit down for an enjoyable visit.

Q:  Tracy, tell us a little about yourself and how you got started writing.

I love to read and write. That’s me, condensed. Oh, and I like to travel, eat, watch a lot of movies and TV shows, knit and crochet, play Settlers of Catan and backgammon and chess, and hang out with people—that’s me, diluted. I got my start by writing office memos and radio commercials.

Q:  What is it like to own a coffee shop? Do you like yours black or with cream and sugar? Favorite latte/cappuccino flavor?

It’s great. You get free coffee, the good stuff. I take it black. I do enjoy an occasional mocha, but I like to save my sugar for the solid version of chocolate.

Q:  Name a movie and TV show that you never tire of watching.

Movies: Star Trek, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Serenity, Last of the Mohicans, The Lord of the Rings movies. TV shows:  Once Upon a Time, Merlin, Firefly, Malcom in the Middle—don’t get me started...

Q:  A special birthday is coming up - your husband's or one of your children's. Since you enjoy baking, what wonderful culinary meal or treat will you prepare?

For Jack: Any kind of pie, preferably pecan or Banoffee. For Evan: Chocolate Éclair Dessert. For Gray: Red Beans and Rice. (He prefers that over dessert.) For Riley: Whopper Dessert. (Made with ice cream, Oreo cookies, hot fudge, and crushed Whoppers.)

Q:  Tell us about your newest release, The Sentinels of Andersonville. What attracted you to this infamous historical event?

I watched a movie when I was a kid called The Andersonville Trial. In it, testimony was given which included a fact that stopped me in my tracks: a woman had driven up 4 farm wagons loaded with food for men who were starving to death in the prison—and the food was forbidden. She and the food were turned away. The story never left me. Then about 20 years ago, a friend loaned me John Ransom’s Andersonville Diary. I finally asked: How could this have happened on American soil? How could 14,000 men have starved to death, by intention or attrition, right here? I had to find out.

Q:  What spiritual theme or question does your story deal with?

Where is my first duty? To king and country, or to God and conscience? If my government tells me it is treason to feed a starving enemy, how do I respond? How does God want me to?

Q:  Have you visited the Andersonville prison site and museum?

We spent a few days there for research. It’s quite a place.

Q:  One of my favorite quotes from your book is this:  "The devil's crowning achievement is a blindfold. Only the devil could blind good people to such evil." Why do you think this has been such a struggle for people through the years, and how can we better combat evil or indifference?

"My people go into exile for lack of knowledge." Blindness, by choice or not, is an exile. Staying open to the Spirit of God for what He wants us to do within our own sphere will keep us out of exile. It will keep the blindfold off.

Q:  After winning the Christy Award for Madman, a story about the Gerasene demoniac, why did you transition from biblical to historical fiction? If securing a publishing contract wasn't an issue, which would you prefer to write?

It was a stationary transition, in a way; I’m still retelling stories, I’ve just broadened the scope of my time periods in an effort to connect with other places where people like to read—and yes, that was an issue to securing a publishing contract. At the time, biblical fiction wasn’t selling. I didn’t make the transition willingly, because I loved writing ancient fiction; but once I made it, I loved it. That’s when I discovered the bottom line in myself, that I simply love to retell stories—I don’t care which time period. I love learning about those “small hinges” upon which history turns, doesn’t matter where those hinges appear on the timeline.

Q:  On your fantastic website, you have two screens of "splendid quotes." Give us a quote or two that are especially meaningful to you.

Oh, man. This is hard. They all seem to speak for me at various times, so I’d say what’s speaking now are these two: “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” –Thomas Jefferson. And, “I’d rather be in trouble for having done something than for not having done anything.” –C.S. Forester.

Q:  What's on the book horizon for you?

I’m wrapping a book called Maggie Bright, a story about the miracle evacuation of the British army at Dunkirk in May of 1940. King George VI (anyone see the fantastic The King’s Speech?) called upon the entire nation to pray for them. That’s hot. And when I mean hot, I mean sexy. When I first heard about this incredible Day of Prayer, I had to learn more. Turns out, WWII was nearly lost during those 9 days in 1940 when the entire British army was cut off and surrounded. Had Hitler wiped them out then, and he could have—well, sprecehn sie Deutsch? We’d all be speakin’ German, fraulein. Anyway—Maggie Bright is the result of studying this event in history. Oh—and it’s also a love story. J Having a lot of fun with this.

Q:  What are some ways we can support and encourage you, both personally and as an author, Tracy?

Wow. This question is a first, and a dandy. I think a condensed and handy and truthful answer is prayer. That’s a gift, and one that will always serve.

Q:  Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

Yes! It’s this: Thank you for asking great questions.


The Sentinels of Andersonville is a very moving book on many levels, but the best part has been getting to meet you, Tracy. Having you with us this week is a pleasure.

Readers, be sure to meet Tracy online at one or all of these places: Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Google+.



Tracy has graciously offered a copy of The Sentinels of Andersonville to one of you, so please enter by leaving a comment or question for Tracy, along with your e-mail address in a safe format. And I'm always glad to have new blog followers and "likes" on my Facebook page, The Power of Words Reviews.

Contest ends at midnight on Monday, April 21. Winner will be chosen by Random.org and announced on Tyesday, April 22. Due to postage costs, US and Canadian addresses only.


  1. Thanks, Carole, for this interview and the great giveaway. I would love to win this book. msudawgtooATcomsouthDOTnet

  2. Thank you for the wonderful interview with Tracy. She's a new author to me but I want to read her newest book.
    campbellamyd at gmail dot com

  3. Great interview! I haven't read any of Tracy's books, but when reading your post, Carole, I remembered that I have Madman on my TBR bookshelf. Yep, just went and looked. I will move it up to the top of my list--to read next. Would love to win a copy of Tracy's new book.

  4. Oh man I use to love watching Malcolm in the Middle! Such a funny show! That's really cool you own a coffee shop! I think it would be fun even though I don't drink coffee! :)

    Thank you for the giveaway! Your novel sounds really good! :)
    sylvesternator at yahoo dot com

  5. Great interview Your book sounds exciting
    Im a blog follower and I liked your fb page
    Most of all though I want to wish both of you a terrific day
    God bless u

  6. Beckie, we share a state heritage with Tracy's book, as we talked about earlier. I can't wait to hear your thoughts on it.

    Amy, I hope you will find a new favorite in Tracy's work.

    Kay, I'm like you because I just discovered that I have Tracy's first book, The Brother's Keeper, on my Kindle! I just added her other two that I don't have, Stones of My Accusers and Madman, to my Kindle watch list.

    Laura, I love coffee too much to ever survive in a coffee shop! They are such fun places to sit and read a book, though.

    Chris, thank you for dropping by and your sweet wishes. All of us here love to read books that glorify God, and that's a great bond to have in common!

  7. I have read so many good things about this book, would love to win a copy and read it sooner rather than later.
    Rebecca Maney rmaneyATfirstarpchurchDOTorg

  8. Thanks for the interview and giveaway ladies! Those were some great questions... I love Tracy's idea of writing about those hinge moments in history.


  9. What a wonderful interview. Tracy is a new author to me, so thank you for introducing her. This book actually looks fascinating. Can you imagine taking time, energy and funds to take that much food just to be turned away? I can't. I like Tracy would like to know why.

  10. Interesting interview and book! We had an ancestor die in Andersonville prison., we found out. His widow married his brother after the war;
    they were my great great grandparents. So sad what happened there. Look forward to reading this. Karen R. Kjrochon40@msn.com

  11. I agree, Tracy, those were wonderful questions, and I loved your answers! I am going to have to look up a couple things from your answers though, like the game - Settlers of Catan (Huh?) and Banoffee. I've never heard of either of those, but it will be fun learning about them.

    I'm very interested in reading your new book and will be putting it on my wish list as soon as I am done here.

    God bless you on your future endeavors. I really appreciate that you have been willing to share your gift with us and that you do it so that those of us who appreciate clean reading can read your stories without concern! Thank you.

    Kim Gregory


  12. I have to agree with you Tracy about not knowing how someone could turn that food away when offered, and let 14,000 people die. That is horrible. And, not feeding people in other circumstances. That is just not a good policy in my opinion.Enjoyed listening to your answers to this interview. Thanks Carole for the good questions. some that are not the same every time. Thanks for this give-away. Would like to win this book. Maxie mac262(at)me)dot)com

  13. So much good reading. Putting on wishlist.

  14. I had never heard of this story before. It's heartbreaking that so many men starved. The interview is very interesting.
    Please enter my name in the drawing to win a copy of The Sentinels of Andersonville.
    ~Cindi from PA

  15. Tracy, I heard about this new book of yours a few weeks ago and knew I'd like to read it. Would love to win a copy! Thanks for the opportunity!

    ckbarker at gmail dot com

  16. This book sounds so awesome, cannot wait to get to read it. Thanks for the opportunity to get one free! I love historical fiction, writing it & reading it, whatever time period it is.


  17. Tracy, this book sounds SO interesting! I can't wait to get a chance to read it. I think it's awesome that you're taking historical and biblical events and retelling them--gets people thinking!

    Carole, thanks for the chance to win! jennismith1983(at)gmail(dot)com

  18. Thanks for the interview!! Sounds like such an interesting book - thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!!


  19. I enjoy reading interviews of authors whose books I have not had the chance to read. Thanks! It was a nice interview.

  20. I forgot my email. Sorry! Sonja dot Nishimoto at gmail dot com

  21. I would love to win this book for my church library.
    Check out our website, www.churchatthemall.com/library
    Thanks for entering me in the giveaway.
    Janet E.

  22. I'm a home body - thank goodness we have so many great authors like yourself to keep me entertained- 4jessad@gmail.com

  23. Already commented but I think I forgot my email momtr3@yahoo.com

  24. Thanks so much to all of you who are leaving comments! The contest ends at midnight tonight and I'll announce our winner tomorrow.

    Karen, this book will be especially meaningful with your family history. Thanks for sharing with us.

    Kim, I haven't heard of Settlers of Catan or Banoffee either. I love it when an author makes me want to look things up!

    Maxie, thank you so much for your comment about my questions! I do try to make them a little different from what we normally see.

  25. Sounds like an interesting read, I will have to add it to my TBR pile.

  26. I know that I am too late for the giveaway, but I really enjoyed the Spotlight. I dearly loved reading "The Sentinels of Andersonville" and I know that I'm going to be reading more of her works.


  27. Congratulations to our winner, Beckie B! This is a book you will certainly enjoy.

    I especially want to thank Tracy because she is not only a talented writer, but a delightful person. Tracy, I hope we can feature more of your novels in the future.