I’m so excited to have the chance to spotlight Hold Me Close and talk with its author, Marguerite Martin Gray, on Independence Day! You see, the book is set in Charles Town, South Carolina, just as the stirrings of the Revolution are beginning, so the history we are celebrating today in our nation is very much the history being lived out in this book.
Louis Lestarjette, a Frenchman, arrives in Charles Town, South Carolina, in 1772 without purpose or plans. He encounters a society on the brink of revolution and is forced to make decisions that include finding meaning and direction in his carefree life. Who can he trust in his endeavors to prosper? Will he be able to stay neutral in a battle for independence? When decisive events confront him, will he stay or leave? Running from God and commitment is a constant option.
Elizabeth Elliott, daughter of a prominent British citizen, believes God will hold her close in uncertain and changing times. Faced with making difficult decisions about her loyalties, she finds comfort in close friends, a devout sister, and her music. When the mysterious Frenchman with no commitment to God or Charles Town enters her life, her role in the political battle is challenged. Can she trust her heart in volatile situations?
Set in pre-revolution Charles Town, Hold Me Close takes the reader into the lives of immigrants, ordinary citizens, and prominent historical figures at a time in which decisions are made that will change the world.
SERIES: Revolutionary Faith #1
GENRE: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction
PUBLISHER: WestBow Press
RELEASE DATE: December 28, 2015
Marguerite Martin Gray enjoys the study of history, especially when combined with fiction. An avid traveler and readers, she teaches French and has degrees in French, Spanish, and Journalism from trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. Recently, she received a MA in English from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene. She has two grown children and currently lives with her husband and Cleo, her cat, in Abilene, Texas.
How did you get started as an author? What or whom inspired you?
Marguerite: My number one love since a child has been reading. I read and continue to read anything I can get my hands on. I have always enjoyed writing, too, starting with daily journaling since the fifth grade. In high school I leaned toward Journalism and continued that route in college with a BA in Journalism. But I noticed and my professors hounded me about my writing being more creative than journalistic. I give blame to my constant nose in a book, whether a children’s book about animals especially Black Beauty or a Nancy Drew Mystery or a classic like Jane Eyre or an epic tale like The Source by James A. Michener. When I finally started putting all my thoughts on paper, my children were grown. I started working part-time and spent the other half of my day writing. Within a few years, I had written six novels. My husband encouraged me to write and my parents inspired me from childhood until today with educational opportunities through travel, books, and continuous family stories.
Carrie: My childhood was full of books and reading and family stories too! I love finding kindred reading friends, and it sounds like you and I have very similar tastes in books 🙂
What is your current WIP? What can you share with us about this project?
Marguerite: I have completed Book Two Surround Me and Book Three Bring Me Near of the Revolutionary Faith Series. The Pre-revolution story of the citizens of Charles Town continues. I plan to release Surround Me in the fall of 2016. This summer I will begin researching and writing Book Four Draw Me to Your Side.
Also, I have another series called Gardens in Time. I have loved the research for each of these novels. The first two are completed and waiting for publication. The first is Labor of Love, 1550 Florence, Italy in the Boboli Gardens. Number two is Promise of Purity, 1660 Hampton Court, England. I’ve begun the research on number three taking place in 1740, Chenonceau, France. The last will be 1850 at Middleton, South Carolina.
I am busy writing and researching and have other ideas for the future.
Carrie: Those all sound fantastic!! Looking forward to these books!
What authors inspire your writing?
Marguerite: Where do I start? I have many favorites. Although I read across the genres, I tend to always have a Historical Christian Fiction open and ready to devour. My favorite general authors are James A. Michener, Edward Rutherford, and Jean Plaidy. I have read every one of Plaidy’s books on the kings and queens of England, France and Italy. After being introduced to the writing of Lori Wick, I added Christian authors to my library including Siri Mitchell, Dawn Crandall, Laura Frantz, Julie Klassen, Karen Witemeyer, and Jamie Carie….and many more. I’m constantly adding new ones. I’m inspired by their stories of faith, love, and hope.
Carrie: Your last list there includes many of my very favorites as well. I knew we were kindred reading friends 🙂
What inspired the idea for Hold Me Close?
Marguerite: Hold Me Close is a story about Louis Lestarjette, a Frenchman arriving in Charles Town in 1772. My great-great-….grandfather, Louis Lestarjette, came from France in 1770. I’ve always been fascinated with his life and dreams. What would bring a man to the colonies at this time? Why would he stay? So, I created a story around the facts that I knew. I wanted to breathe life into characters in this time period against the backdrop of the pending revolution. They love, eat, dance, cry, hurt and dream like we do. I travelled to Charleston and walked in his steps, worshiped where he worshiped, saw where he lived and my imagination took flight. The joy of fiction…he lives on the pages today. Perhaps not the same Louis but a very, realistic, interesting rendition.
Carrie: Ahhhhhhh I love that! So cool!
What other hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
Marguerite: By all means, reading. The good thing about reading is that books can travel. I always have a destination in mind and a plan in the works for my leisure time. I try to go to Europe every two years. Each summer I go on a mission trip to a foreign country—Guatemala for the past three years. I do research for my books in the country or city of the setting, so I’m constantly on the lookout for a new exciting place. Walking occupies a portion of my time, as well as watching movies, photography, and spending time with my husband and family.
Carrie: You have a much more well-rounded life than myself… My time is pretty much spent reading and blogging about reading LOL.
I had the privilege of reviewing Hold Me Close back in April, so I’m not going to repost the whole thing again now. But here’s a snippet:
A current of faith runs alongside the historical framework of Hold Me Close, Louis Lestarjette’s journey to a personal relationship with Jesus highlighted as the most important of all the decisions he faces. And as the decision that provides the needed clarity for everything Louis is debating in his heart and head. His friendship with Elizabeth progresses sweetly, and watching both of them mature into their own beliefs – and then gravitate even more toward each other – over the course of the novel added to the enjoyment of their relationship for me.
Click here to read the rest of my review!
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