Welcome back to my Author Interview series. Today we have the wonderful historical fiction author, Marsha Ward with us. Ward is an Amazon best-selling author who writes authentic historical fiction set in 19th Century America. She is a multi-published writer, editor, workshop presenter, mentor, and consultant. Marsha has written five novels in The Owen Family Saga, another that begins the Promised Valley series; and many other works. A former journalist, Marsha is the recipient of the 2015 Whitney Lifetime Achievement Award and President of Arizona Rim Country Chapter of Arizona Professional Writers.
Thank you, Marsha, for visiting with us today.
1. Let’s start with something fun. What’s your favorite hobby?
Almost every author will say “reading,” but I consider much of my reading to be business, education, or entertainment, so I’ll say writing and arranging music. I was raised in a musical home and majored in music on the university level. Hearing or performing music sooths me. A natural extension of my love of and training in music is to arrange a piece of music to make it suitable for the small choir in my congregation to sing.
2. If you had the opportunity—who would you like to spend an afternoon with and why?
I think that depends on my motivation. If I’m looking to the edification of my soul, I would choose Thomas S. Monson, the president and living prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons), because he is such a gentle, caring man who can teach me much about giving service to others (and I need to be reminded of that daily) and centering my life on Jesus Christ.
If I’m seeking advice about my writing and publishing businesses, I’d like to spend an afternoon with Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch, because they are the best teachers and mentors I can think of in that realm.
3. Coffee, tea, soda or something else?
I drink water or fruit juice. If I am traveling and am getting sleepy, I’ll drink a caffeinated soda like Dr. Pepper, but recovering from the caffeine takes a day or two, so I pay a price for that and prefer not to do it.
4. What are you working on right now?
I have a couple of projects I’m working on concurrently: a nonfiction book about a checklist I use in indie publishing, and a piece of fiction called That Tender Light, in which the principal characters of my fictional Owen family, Rod Owen and Julia Helm, meet and marry.
5. How would you describe your writing style?
My brain is wired so that I am a pantser (discovery, or organic writer) if I want to make any writing progress. If I outline, the little grey cells rise up in rebellion at the suggestion that they cooperate in writing the story thereafter. They complain, “But you already wrote it! Don’t expect to involve us in doing it again!” I can begin with some kind of end in mind, but I let the characters reveal the story to me as I type.
6. Do you have any advice for a person just beginning their writing career?
Read, read, read. Write, write, write. Don’t overlook “practice” as you learn the craft of writing. Trust your creative voice to know how to tell a story. Don’t revise the life out of your piece. You don’t really know what needs correction, if anything does.
7. Do you immerse yourself in new situations for writing ideas or do your ideas come to you through your normal, day-to-day life?
I do an immense amount of research sometime during the writing life of a work, whether that’s from reading, exploring a place, or talking with experts, because I write historical fiction. The ideas, however, come all the time, faster than I can keep up with them. I don’t know if that’s because of the research, or if something in life sparks a thought.
8. Where can we find you on the interwebs?
I love to hear from and interact with my readers. Here are the places to find me:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarshaWard as well as
To be notified of new releases, join my Readers Mailing List at http://eepurl.com/vBKEj
Thank you so much, Marsha for taking the time to chat with us.
Gentle readers, Marsha’s latest works include Blood at Haught Springs, Faith and the Foreman, and From Julia’s Kitchen: Owen Family Cookery, a recipe collection from America’s earlier times. See the cover above. Isn’t it beautiful?