Tracy Krauss and I are exchanging blog visits today. We are both part of the 25 Years in the Rearview Mirror: 52 Authors Look Back tour. If you enjoy magazine columns and Chicken Soup for the Soul books, then you're sure to enjoy our collection of essays, designed to warm your heart, raise your spirits and compel you to examine your own life. Read about school days, quirky jobs, romance, raising a family, hard times, the writing journey, and find out what makes your favorite characters tick. Get a full listing of authors, essay titles and retailers here: Follow the 25 Years in The Rearview Mirror Blog and Radio Tour schedule here: 25 Years in the Rearview Mirror 52 Authors Look Back by Stacy Juba

Tracy, I grew up in Washington state, just south of the Canadian province of British Columbia where you live. But that isn't where you set your latest novel. Could you tell me a little bit about your setting?

I grew up in a small prairie town. I remember well the smell of grain dust in the air in the fall during harvest time, the constant chirp of crickets in the evenings, or the way the wind grazing over the tops of the grain fields made me think of a cat's silky coat being stroked by a giant invisible hand. I loved watching a thunder storm out my front room window, taking in the power and awesomeness from the safety of the indoors while the whole thing played out across the huge expanse of sky that is such an important part of the prairie landscape. These are the memories of my childhood, and even though I no longer live there, there will always be something special about the place where I grew into an adult. I think the openness of the land and sky has a profound effect on those that are connected to it, and sometimes I long still for that sense of freedom that only comes from wide open spaces.

My latest novel, Wind Over Marshdale , is set in a town very similar to the one I grew up in. In fact, I modelled Marshdale after my hometown of Mossbank , and those that are familiar with the area will recognize many of the unique geographical features, even though the names have been changed. For instance, there is a large, shallow, alkaline lake near my hometown which is a bird sanctuary of sorts and which is considered a prime hunting area for ducks and other water fowl. Old Wives Lake was named after a Cree legend of the 'Old Wives'. In the days before the arrival of the 'white men', there were some warring tribes in the area. In order to save their village, some elderly women stayed behind in the camp near the lake and kept the fires burning. This allowed the rest of the people to escape. When their enemies saw the smoke from the fires, they raided the camp, but found only the 'old wives' – the rest of the people made it safely away to a new spot where they were no longer threatened by their enemy. I invented a new legend and call the lake 'Old Man's Lake'; still there is some similarity.

I wanted to highlight the rich cultural heritage of the area, especially the indigenous aspects, while also bringing about some modern conflict. In my book, a Cree man is heading up an archaeological dig in the area, but is met with a lot of opposition – much of it racially based. Of course, there is also romance, and some other surprises, too. I love writing about interesting characters and this book is full of them. Many of them are what I consider to be 'types' that you find in every small town. I've moved a lot in my life and most of the time I've lived in small towns. Believe it or not, you really do find these same people everywhere – the town drunk, the town 'crazy', the town busybody… I know it almost sounds cliché, but these people really do exist in almost every town I've been to! I certainly did not base any one character on a particular person, but took characteristics that I've noticed are 'typical' and created my own cast of very unique individuals.

Of all of my novels so far, I feel a special connection to WIND OVER MARSHDALE, possibly because of the memories that were invoked as I described the setting in such detail. I hope readers will sense the authenticity of the place. In a way, when you read it, it is like stepping into the world I grew up in.

Wind Over Marshdale by Tracy Krauss
The cover blurb for WIND OVER MARSHDALE by Tracy Krauss
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.

Link to an excerpt:

Other links for Tracy Krauss:
Blog: http://www.tracykraussexpressionexpre...
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Published on September 30, 2012 18:46 • 680 views • Tags: 25-years-in-the-rearview-mirror, location, mystery, tracy-krauss, winds-over-marshdale
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message 1: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Krauss Hi Norma! So glad to have you on my blog today too! You are amazing and a great inspiration.

message 2: by Maryann (new)

Maryann So nice to get a bit more of the background of your book, Tracy. I really enjoyed reading it.

message 3: by Stacy (new)

Stacy Juba This sounds like a fascinating book, Tracy! The setting sounds as if it will be richly detailed - I'm looking forward to reading it.

message 4: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Krauss I appreciate both of you (Stacy and Maryann) stopping by both of our blogs today!

message 5: by Maryann (new)

Maryann You're welcome. I enjoyed the visits.

message 6: by Norma (new)

Norma Huss Sorry I haven't responded sooner - eye doctor visit and sluggish computer, which is hopefully better after I took advantage of a free program heavily advertised on TV.

Isn't this the most beautiful story of setting?

message 7: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Krauss Thanks Norma. You are an inspiration as well.

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