Today, I want to introduce you to a talented writer and an all-around great lady, Marsha Ward, founder of The American Night Writers Association.
ANNA: Marsha, you’ve got some great news to share, don’t you?
MARSHA: For a while now, everyone has been asking me if my books are on Kindle. They mean, of course, “Are they available as electronic books for the Kindle ereader at Amazon.com?” While I have had the first two eBooks of my series available on Smashwords.com in the mobi format—which is the Kindle format—for about 18 months, I didn’t have the three novels on Amazon as eBooks. Well, now I do! I also finally uploaded the third one, Trail of Storms, to Smashwords, so users of other ereading devices can acquire it, as well as The Man from Shenandoah and Ride to Raton.
ANNA: Are all your books Westerns?
MARSHA: Yes and no. I have a long background in writing for other genres, ranging from poetry to newspaper and magazine articles, to essays. However, there’s something about historical fiction that really vibrates in my soul. I grew up listening to Patsy Cline on the radio, and hearing my daddy talking about his life on farms in Mexico and southern Arizona. They dug wells by hand; excavated great holes for lakes with horse drawn scrapers; raised beans and other dry-land crops on the “Bean Ranch” in Sonoita, Arizona; and escaped to the mountains to avoid the heat of summer. My grandfather was a teamster (as in driving a team of horses, not a union man), and a great hand with horses and other animals.
ANNA: Wow! What a life!
MARSHA: I always felt like I was born in the wrong century. Except for the very enjoyable modern conveniences that I have today, I feel an affinity for those hard times. I believe that’s why I write about the 19th Century American family.
DONNA: Definitely! Are you a plotter or pantser?
MARSHA: Definitely a seat-of-the-pants writer. I start with a character and a situation, and let the writing take me on an adventure. I guess you could call me an organic writer.
ANNA: What’s your secret to making the characters in your books come to life?
MARSHA: I get to know them very well. I have a sheet of questions I fill in about them, and I also interview them. Then I don’t overwrite them with too much description. I let their actions define them, instead. That way, the reader invests the characters with their own unique qualities and peculiarities, and they come alive in the reader’s mind.
ANNA: What other authors inspire you or have influenced you?
MARSHA: Louis L’Amour, Elmer Kelton, Robert Newton Peck, Frank Roderus, G. Clifton Wisler, who died too young. Maybe I write from the male perspective so well because I’ve had great examples?
ANNA: Do you have self-doubts, even after publishing several books and many articles? If so, what do you do about it?
MARSHA: ACK! Yes! I think many writers walk a fine-line between good mental health and insanity. We’re up, we’re down. We’re either the best writer in all time, or we can’t write our way out of a paper bag. Usually this occurs from one minute to another. The only cure is to talk to other writers and realize you’re not alone in this emotional upheaval. Once you know other writers have the same feelings, you can level out for a while. It’s like chanting a mantra. Ooooooommmmm, I’m not aloooooooone. I’m normal for a writer. Yes, I am! That will work for a day or so.
ANNA: You’ve mentored a lot of writers through the years. What’s the best advice you can give a writer just starting out?
MARSHA: Believe in yourself, but learn all you can about writing, too. No first drafts are set in stone. Don’t hang around negative people. Write at least 25 words a day. Listen to people to learn the flow of language. Find a good, encouraging group of writers who will show you the ropes. Read, read, read! When you start writing in earnest, find a good critique group. Reach down and help another writer along the way. Is that enough?
ANNA: What is your next project?
MARSHA: I’m writing Marie Owen’s book, Spinster’s Folly. It’s coming along very well. I put snippets up on “The Characters in Marsha’s Head” blog from time to time, if you want to know more. That’s found at http://charactersinmarshahead.blogspot.com. [rushing over to write something fresh]
ANNA: Where can readers find your books, both trade paperbacks and eBooks?
MARSHA: All the online booksellers, such as amazon.com and bn.com, have the trade paperback books. The easiest way to find all my online eBooks is to go to my author pages at Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/marshaward and at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Marsha-Ward/e/B003RB9P9Q/
ANNA: Thank you thank for being my guest today. It was great hearing more about you and I look forward to reading your newest book!
MARSHA: It was my pleasure. Thank you for having me.
Visit Marsha’s website at http://marshaward.com
Writer in the Pines blog at http://marshaward.blogspot.com
The Characters in Marsha’s Head blog at http://charactersinmarshashead.blogspot.com
Marsha Ward’s Bio:
Marsha was born in the sleepy little town of Phoenix, Arizona, (back when Phoenix WAS a sleepy little town) , and although she spent two years in South America, she never roamed far from the Southwest. She grew up with chickens, citrus trees, and lots of room to roam. She became a storyteller at an early age, regaling her neighborhood friends with her fanciful tales during after-school snacks. Her love of the 19th Century Western era was reinforced by visits to her cousins on their ranch and listening to her father’s stories of homesteading in Old Mexico and in the southern part of Arizona.
Over the years, Marsha became an award-winning poet, writer and editor, with over 900 pieces of published work, including her acclaimed post-American Civil War novel series The Owen Family Saga. She is the founder of American Night Writers Association, and a member of Western Writers of America, Women Writing the West, Rim Country Writers, and LDStorymakers. She makes her home in a tiny forest hamlet in Arizona. When she is not writing, she loves to spoil her grandchildren, travel, give talks, meet readers, and sign books.
Tags: Amazon, ebook, electronic books, Kindle, mobi format, mountains Mexico, Ride to Raton, smashwords, Souther Arizona, team of horse, teamster, The Man from Shenandoah, Trial of storm, union man, westerns