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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Marsha Ward Blog Tour!

Spinster's Folly is coming out! 
 
Marie Owen yearns for a loving husband, but Colorado Territory is long on rough characters and short on fitting suitors, so a future of spinsterhood seems more likely than wedded bliss. Her best friend says cowboy Bill Henry is a likely candidate, but Marie knows her class-conscious father would not allow such a pairing. When she challenges her father to find her a suitable husband before she becomes a spinster, he arranges a match with a neighbor's son. Then Marie discovers Tom Morgan would be an unloving, abusive mate and his mother holds a grudge against the Owen family. Marie's mounting despair at the prospect of being trapped in such a dismal marriage drives her into the arms of a sweet-talking predator, landing her in unimaginable dangers.
This fourth book in the Owen Family Saga is infused with potent heart and intense grit.
Bio:
Marsha Ward is an award-winning poet, writer and editor whose published work includes four novels in The Owen Family Saga: The Man from Shenandoah, Ride to Raton, Trail of Storms, and Spinster’s Folly; and over 900 articles, columns, poems and short stories. She also is a workshop presenter and writing teacher.
Interview with Marsha Ward:


Q: Tell us about when you first started writing and a little about your writing journey.

A: I've been a writer all my life. My sister tells me that when I was of pre-school age, I covered pages of notebook paper with scribbles and said it was my novel. I have no idea how I knew what a novel was. I do know I excelled at English and composition classes throughout my schooling. The teacher of the English class I took during my junior year of high school told me I should be teaching the class. Whoa! That blew me away.

I began what became my first novel, The Man from Shenandoah, in 1965. At the time, my goal was to write “The Great American Novel.” Soon I had a manuscript of twenty chapters that I carted around with me for years, but I didn't seriously work on it again until the 1980s, when I began to consider sending work out to publishers. I'd been reading certain books and told myself I could write as well as any of their authors. I dusted off my “Great American Novel,” realized it was only a summary, then studied creative fiction writing with several teachers and through reading many instruction books.

In the meantime, I started writing commercially for LDS newspapers, so feature and news articles were my thing for several years.

After learning what commercial fiction writing really entailed, I began to hone what natural talent I had, and bit by bit, after throwing away a lot of chaff—such as too many characters—and adding the good stuff—like sensory details and emotions and actual plot—I had a manuscript to send out. That I did.

I was getting good remarks from editors (but no offers yet), when I had a health crisis in 2002. It looked pretty bad. I wanted to leave my work behind in fixed form so no one would throw it out upon my death, so I looked into self-publishing. After some intensive study and thinking about what form of self-publishing I wanted to engage in, I chose to go with iUniverse. After a terrible false start on the cover, I provided them with a photo to use. I was so delighted with the quick turn-around and then the great response to The Man from Shenandoah from readers, that I decided to use the same method of publishing for the follow-up novel, Ride to Raton.

When word leaked out that my third novel, Trail of Storms, was finished at last, I was encouraged to submit it to a couple of publishers. I knew it wasn't right for them, but did so. I regretted wasting those eight months until rejection when a reader came up to me in a grocery store and begged for the new book. Why delay what clearly had a ready market? I went back to iUniverse for a third go-around.

After the success of my electronic books, I decided to go in another direction to publish the print edition of Spinster’s Folly. It is published by WestWard Books, my company.

Over the years I've won national prizes for poetry, and published columns in several periodicals. I've also written chapters for non-fiction books on writing and publishing. All of my novels include romantic elements. There may come a time when I'll write a mystery.

I had an epiphany several years ago when I realized that I write to let people know there is always hope, and to show them through the experiences of fictional characters that they can get through hard times, even really, really terrible times, and find happiness at the end of it all.

One of the hallmarks of my fiction is fast-paced adventure peopled with believable characters. Readers tell me when they're forced to put a book down they worry about my characters until they can read about them again. If I can take people out of their own worrisome lives enough to be concerned about fictional folks and see them through to a satisfying ending, then I've done the job of relieving some of their day-to-day stress. Isn't that what books are for?

Q: Tell us about your novels and where we can find them.

A. Actor Tom Sellack once said there should be a shelf in bookstores labeled "Darn Good Reads." I like to think my novels go there. My fiction works are historicals set in the 19th Century West. That broadly classifies them as Westerns, but if you think all Westerns are about outlaws and lawmen, or cowhands and sheep-herders, guess again. The Western genre has grown and evolved into many sub-genres, including my action/adventure/sweet romance novels dealing with Western Migration and post-Civil War angst.

My novels have evolved into The Owen Family Saga, with more books to come. The Man from Shenandoah, featuring son Carl, introduces the series and the family in post-Civil War Virginia, and starts the group moving west. Ride to Raton tells the other side of the coin to Carl's happiness, as it details his brother James's travels to get away from an unhappy situation, and his growth through some really interesting events. Trail of Storms goes back to Virginia and brings neighbors of the Owen clan out of the beleaguered South. A stop on their trip to Albuquerque brings new turmoil into the life of Jessie Bingham, the protagonist. Spinster’s Folly recounts the harsh adversities Marie Owen endures because of poor decisions she makes in her desperate search for a loving husband.

The first three books are available in print at iUniverse.com; and at retailers Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, and other online booksellers. Spinster’s Folly is published by WestWard Books. It is available from my website, marshaward.com; at CreateSpace.com; and at the above online retailers. Autographed copies of all my novels can be purchased at MarshaWard.com.

Electronic versions of the novels in The Owen Family Saga may be found at Smashwords.com, BN.com, and all the Amazon Kindle stores. I also have various collections and short stories available as ebooks.

I’m in the research stage for the fifth Owen Family Saga nove, Gone for a Soldier. Since it deals with the Civil War experiences of oldest Owen son Rulon, I suspect I’m in for some intensive study to get the details right.

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to new writers?

A. Do your homework and learn how to write well. Then don't be afraid to check out the freedom and almost instant readership being an independent self-publisher can give you. If you are the kind of writer who wants to connect with readers, you may want to do an end run around the very time-intensive and very limited traditional publishing world and check out the electronic and print self-publishing arena. If you are the kind of writer who needs the validation of gatekeepers and has plenty of time to spend chasing down an agent or a publisher, not so much. Over all, have faith in a bright future!
 

Links to her author pages at Smashwords and Amazon:
And links to her Social Media sites:
Online Book Release Event at Facebook on November 10:

3 comments:

  1. Heidi, thank you for posting this interview! I appreciate your hard work.

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  2. Great interview and advice. I love your confidence, Marsha! You are a great example to all writers who know you. You have inspired me. I love your novels.

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  3. Nice interview Heidi, and great invite for the Launch party. Marsha's books will be classics one day.
    Margaret Turley

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