Welcome to Marsha Ward. Marsha is a well known author in Arizona and volunteers a great amount of time promoting and building other authors. She is the founder of ANWA, American Night Writer's Association, one of the fastests growing LDS Women Writer's Organization in the world. She is an amazing writer and lady.
(Please note CRW is me, Cindy R. Williams, the interviewer)
CRW: Welcome Marsha, It's a pleasure to have you visit with us on Writers Mirror. Let's get right to it. How many books have you written?
Marsha: I have written three novels and contributed articles to two non-fiction books about writing and publishing. I also have a great many publishing credits in journalism, articles, short stories, and poems.
CRW: You cover many areas and genres in writing. What inspires you to write?
Marsha: The short answer to that question is avid readers. I have the best readers in the world. The long answer is I write because I want to give people hope that no matter how very truly bad life can get, there is a bright future if you hang on.
CRW: What gets in your way of writing?
Marsha: Too much volunteer work. I'm on the boards of several writing groups and other associations, and maintain websites, write newsletters, and do a host of other tasks. Don't get me wrong. Volunteering is a good thing. However, I tend to overdo it, and that does hamper my ability to produce a larger volume of work.
CRW: How do you get past it?
Marsha: I have decided to limit myself in the future to volunteering for only a couple of groups, and cut back what I do for them. I have several more books to write, and need the time to do it.
CRW: Do you try to write daily or set goals of a certain number of words?
Marsha: Now that I'm working on a new novel, I do try to write every day, for three or four hours. If I hit a certain number of words, that's great, but if I get fewer words consistently, I'm happy with that.
CRW: What makes you CRAZY about writing?
Marsha: The hardest thing for me is plotting. I'm an organic writer, but I must have some inkling of the beginning, the middle, and the end before I can get much done. I have a couple of friends with whom I love to brainstorm, because they are really sharp in coming up with obstacles and plot twists for my characters.
When all that work is done, though, I love when a character suddenly gives me surprises, or an unexpected element comes into the plot.
CRW: How long does it take you to complete a book?
Marsha: The first novel, The Man from Shenandoah, took 38 years. Well, I wasn't writing all that time. Life was also going on. Maybe it really only took five years as I learned how to do it.
The second book, Ride to Raton, took about three years.
The third, Trail of Storms, took about eight months, once I buckled down to business.
I hope to have the fourth book completed by next February, or about six months from the first draft until the final output. It doesn't have a title yet, so right now it's called OwenFam4Draft1. Catchy, right?
CRW: I'm not sure that OwenFam4Draft1 flows off the tongue very well. ;o)
Where do you get your ideas for your books?
Marsha: I've had a folder with lists of novel ideas for a number of years, but I also get ideas from reading historical magazines, and from real life. Now that I have an established Owen-verse (my main characters are members of the Owen family), it's not hard to come up with adventures for the inhabitants.
CRW: Where do you get your character’s names?
Marsha: Some of them are set already. A few are minor historical characters. Some in my last novel were people I knew who won naming rights to characters through a Scout auction. I get names from baby books. The origins of villains' names are the most interesting. I have a collection of names from people who send me spam.
CRW: I love the spam idea. That would be a great place to collect names for villains.
What's the topic of your next book that has you excited?
Marsha: This new book features a spunky heroine who ventures into life-threatening trouble when she believes she's been betrayed by people she trusted. I'll be drawing on some personal experiences to fill in a few character traits.
CRW: What's your favorite writing food?
Marsha: Butter Pecan or Rocky Road ice cream and Cheetos.
CRW: Yum! Interesting combination.
Please tell us about Trail of Storms.
CRW: I have Trail of Storms and liked it so much I have one signed by the author to give to my mother for her birthday. Oops mom, if you read this, sorry.
Thanks Marsha for sharing with us. Best of luck on your books.