Purple Prose + release

Spinster's Folly by Marsha Ward

Today is a real treat :) I have Marsha Ward here today to talk a little about herself, how she writes, why she writes, and if she's a pantser or a planner... How did you become interested in the Civil War?
Author Robert Newton Peck once said that every historical writer has their favorite war. While his was the French and Indian War, mine turned out to be the Civil War. I don’t know what sparked my passion for it. It could have been reading some of historian Bruce Catton’s work, or Gone With the Wind, during high school. My interest certainly did not stem from a personal or family issue, since none of my relatives fought on either side. If they had, they’ve have been Union soldiers, and my characters fought for the South.
That said, my current novels actually have post-Civil War settings, dealing with the aftermath of that great struggle, so they fit more in the classification of Western Migration novels, or Settling of the West.
Very cool. Tell us about your novels.
The Man from Shenandoahbegins as Carl Owen returns from the Civil War to find the family farm destroyed, his favorite brother dead, food scarce, and his father determined to leave the Shenandoah Valley to build a cattle empire in Colorado Territory. Crossing the continent, Carl falls in love with his brother's fiancée while set to wed another girl, but he might lose everything if the murderous outlaw Berto Acosta has his way. Carl battles a band of outlaws, a prairie fire, blizzards, a trackless waterless desert, and his own brother-all for the hand of feisty Ellen Bates.
Ride to Ratoncontinues from there: after losing the heart of his fiancée to his brother, James Owen leaves home to make a new life for himself. The turbulent world of post-Civil War Colorado Territoryis fraught with danger and prejudice that increase his bitter loneliness as personal setbacks threaten to break him. Then James's journey brings him into contact with another wayfarer, beautiful young Amparo Garcés, who has come from Santa Fe to Colorado to marry a stranger. Through a twist of fate, their futures are changed forever when their lives are merged in a marriage of convenience. James and Amparo undertake a hazardous horseback trek over Raton Passto Santa Fe, battling their personal demons, a challenging language barrier, and winter's raging storms.
My third novel, Trail of Storms, goes back to tell the tale of a peripheral character from the first novel. Jessie Bingham and her family flee post-Civil War Virginia after her sister suffers a brutal attack, and together endure a perilous trek to New Mexico Territory. When she hears her former sweetheart, James Owen, has taken a wife, Jessie accepts Ned Heizer’s marriage proposal on the condition they wait until journey’s end to wed. But then Jessie encounters James again... and he isn’t married now!
Spinster’s Follyis the fourth book in the series, and tells Marie Owen’s story. Marie lives in a land that is long on rough characters and short on fitting suitors. Her desire to get married before she winds up a spinster propels her into making hasty decisions that drive her into the arms of a sweet-talking predator, landing her in unimaginable dangers.
Wow, all of those books sound like they would be great reads. How much research was necessary to make your books so historically believable and where did you conduct most of your research? Did you visit the locations where you set your novels?
I read 150 books to research my first novel. Some I bought, but most came from the library. Over the years that I’ve been writing the series, I have been able to do some on-the-ground research, and I recently took a trip back East to visit Civil War battlefields and other areas in preparation to write my next book. I’ve also been amassing books on the Civil War in the last year. Lots of books!
In the earlier years, I conducted several interviews with people familiar with the areas I wanted to learn about. Photographs were also helpful, as were the state guides produced as WPA projects during the Great Depression. I’ve found several very good online sources for research on my later books.
Are you a pantser or a planner when you write?
I definitely write by the seat of my pants, once I have an idea for a story and know who my characters will be. I’m doing more planning now than I used to, though, so I don’t spend way too much time rewriting. However, I’ll never again write a complete synopsis early-on. That doesn’t work for me, because my brain then thinks I’ve already written the book.
While I’m writing, I make various charts and spreadsheets to help me analyze the number of occurrances of different points-of-view, and events within scenes. This helps the revision process goes faster.
I now use a great writing software program called yWriter5, which allows me to focus on one scene at a time. This is important, so that I don’t become daunted by the vastness of the project. A huge upside to using it is that the software is free!
I'm a writer too, so I like to ask other writers. 'What's your writing schedule like?'
Very fragmented. I’m easily distracted, but when I’m white-hot in the initial draft, I can write for up to eight hours, broken up by short breaks. This is only possible because I live alone.
I wish I had a better schedule. Almost every writer I know wishes the same thing!

I know I do lol... actually, I wish my fingers and eyelids kept up with my brain lol. Have you held a "day job" in addition to your writing?
Yes. Through the years I mothered my children, and then worked as a journalist, an educator, and in a retail store. I’ve also volunteered with several organizations, doing websites, newsletters, and a multitude of other chores.

Something I'm always curious about... How do you promote your books?
I have a website and a couple of blogs, I’m active on Facebook and other social media venues, and I’m always looking for ways to let people know I’m an author, such as giving talks and networking with various groups. I find that word of mouth from enthusiastic readers drives the most sales, though.

Advice to anyone contemplating writing a Civil War novel?
Do thorough research, keep accessible notes, then let the fingers loose.

Finally, How would you like to be remembered?
As a kind person who could write a little.
Thank you so much, Marsha, for being on my blog today... and HAPPY RELEASE DAY!!!!!!


Book Release Party Nov. 10

(I love that book cover!!)
What exactly is Spinster's Folly? 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.

My Photo

Marsha Ward is an award-winning writer and editor who has published over 900 pieces of work, including three previous novels in the Owen Family Saga, numerous newspaper articles, and sections in books on the craft of writing. She is a member of Western Writers of America, Women Writing the West, and American Night Writers Association. Born a while ago in the sleepy little town of Phoenix, Arizona, Marsha grew up with chickens, citrus trees, and lots of room to roam. She began telling stories at a very early age, regaling neighborhood chums with her tales as they snacked on her homemade sugar cookies and drank cold milk. Visiting her cousins on their ranch and listening to her father's stories of homesteading in Old Mexico and in the Tucson area reinforced Marsha's love of 19th Century Western history. After many years in the big city, Marsha now makes her home in a tiny hamlet under Central Arizona's magnificent Mogollon Rim. When she is not writing, she loves to spoil her grandchildren, travel, give talks, meet readers, and sign books. Here are links to my author pages at Smashwords and Amazon: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/marshaward
http://www.amazon.com/Marsha-Ward/e/B003RB9P9Q/ And links to my Social Media sites: Website: http://marshaward.com
Author Blog: http://marshaward.blogspot.com
Character Blog: http://charactersinmarshashead.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authormarshaward
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MarshaWard Online Book Release Event at Facebook:

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Spinster's Folly by Marsha Ward + release