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An Interview with Bobbi Groover, author of Inside the Grey

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From the first of many times her grandmother commented on the jet blackness of her eyes, Bobbi Groover viewed the world from a very unique perspective. The proverbial glass was not half full of emotions and words; it was overflowing. Raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, her family then moved to a remote rural farmhouse with an in-ground spring and a twenty-two-person party line telephone. Wandering through fields of corn, climbing to the tops of fifty feet pine trees, hanging in the branches of an apple orchard, milking cows, churning butter, driving tractors, haying fields, and shattering nineteen out of twenty clay pigeons with a .410 shotgun provided the fodder for the imagination and numerous scenarios that enrich the scenes of her stories.

Following a well-rounded education at an East coast boarding school, Ms. Groover graduated cum laude with a B.A. in psychology and English and secured her M.S. from the University of Pennsylvania, all of which help her skillfully reside in the heads of the hero and heroine. With drawers full of stories, both finished and “cooking” she has been writing as long as she can remember. She has been published in numerous papers and periodicals, grounding her in the real world, while researching and wandering through the nineteenth century to create the vivid roles and splendid, complex individuals who inhabit the worlds of her romances.

As a third-generation equestrian, Ms. Groover rides, trains, and hunts with her three beloved horses. The personalities and antics of her equines are woven with flawless ease into the storylines. These querulous, four-legged rapscallions offer a unique flavor as they wring emotions from the characters and readers alike.

At home, Ms. Groover shares her life with her husband, two boys and a menagerie of animals. Dividing her time between the stable and the studio, she spends her days doing what she loves best—writing and riding.

You can buy Inside the Grey here!

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

What made me want to write? That’s an easy one…horses. I’ve been enamored with horses since birth. In fact, I think my first words were, “Show pony, Daddy. Show pony.” I have a vivid memory of sitting in an empty stall of the stable on my grandmother’s estate as a precocious five year old. I traced the outline of a horseshoe in the dust of the floor and imagined it was my pony in that stall. I stood and pretended to nuzzle the equine. On the wall I spied the empty water bucket and glanced inside. A ferocious giant spider (remember, I was only five) seemed to glare at me amidst the silk of the web. I went back to the house and drew pictures that told the story of the unlikely friendship between the equine and arachnid, although I believe I used ‘pony’ and ‘spider.’ My mother once told me my story was quite detailed and imaginative. From then on I was off and running, filling drawers with stories, especially once I could put pen to paper and yes, horses make an appearance in all of my novels.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

The biggest surprise might be that my first published novel was a coming-of-age story. It received many 5-star reviews and was used in several school districts. The most fun was being asked to be ‘visiting author’ and introduce the students to the joy and excitement of writing. They wanted me to write a sequel but my writing journey took an unexpected tangent. You see, I’m the quintessential insomniac, so I read a lot of romance paperbacks from the library to fill the long nights. As I finished each one I told my husband, “I could have written this.” Finally he retorted, “Prove it. Sit down and write one.” My husband’s dare was the impetus I needed to take the plunge. I have three published romances, all of which earned 5-star reviews and several awards.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

Groover EXTRA

Once again horses have influenced my writing. I was at the stable on a particularly damp, misty day. I captured a picture of the scene in front of me. To the casual observer it was a veiled, serene image. As I walked closer, the author in me spied something profoundly different. When the mist enveloped me, I felt an uneasy twitchiness like a miasmic hood, an emotion nearly palpable.

A tempestuous story came into my head. I suddenly saw the characters and knew what crises they were facing. I wasn’t certain at the time how they would come to solve those crises but I knew I would as I started typing. I spread my arms and spun around feeling the cryptic grey mist on my face. My characters, my story and I were literally, ‘inside the grey.’ Hence the name.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

I can’t speak for other writers but I cannot write without music in the background. Each of my novels had a ‘theme song’ that played in my head as I was driving or riding my horse. I always have a pad and pencil nearby to jot down the ideas that flow. The songs that play over and over as I write my stories bring up emotions that are needed for the scene I’m writing. Just to name a few: “If You Could Read My Mind” by Gordon Lightfoot helped me with many heart wrenching scenes. Numerous songs from John Denver had my characters galloping across the countryside. “The Drover’s Ballad” from the movie Australia, set the tone for the intense battles. Lastly, “Pachelbel’s Canon in D major” along with the theme song from The American President wrung my heart for the romance.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

Actually there are three. The first would be I hope my readers attempt to understand that not every issue is cut and dried. There are usually grey areas, the implications of which need to be understood to ensure fairness to all. Many times people on every side are caught up in circumstances not of their making, and they are attempting to make the best they can with what life has thrown them. Second, women have been undervalued, underestimated and cast aside for decades. In all my novels, while appearing to be a secondary character, the heroine is the one who, quietly and without fanfare, ‘saves the day.’ Never underestimate the inner strength of a woman.

Third, and most important, hopefully my readers (as well as my characters) come to realize that just because things are the way they have always been doesn’t make it right, doesn’t mean it is the way things should be. Keep an open mind and an open heart and the right path will usually present itself.

What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?

I’ve started a new romance that is a bit of a continuing story of my first three. Each of my novels stand alone although many of the original characters continue to creep into each new story and play parts in the plot. My original novel is set in 1849 and the next two novels advance through the years. My latest venture is set after the war and delves into the trial and tribulations of the aftermath. When I’m not writing, I’m riding my beloved horses and honing my craft. The kisses from their bewhiskered lips soothe and inspire me. In fact, Inside the Grey was composed entirely on horseback. So back to the first question as to what influenced me and continues to make me want to write? Horses!

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