Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wednesday Writer ~ Sarah M. Eden

(CRW is me, Cindy R. Williams)
CRW:  Today's Wednesday Writer is the wonderful, delightful, ever gorgeous, humorous, and a bit snarky, Sarah M Eden. I am delighted to interview you for Wednesdays Writer.  Please tell us a little about yourself.

Sarah:  My family has lived in the arid deserts of Arizona since before the invention of air conditioning. So insanity runs in my family. Not something most people would include on a resume, but it's great for an author. Writing requires a certain degree of mental instability. And a tendency toward insomnia.
          I write a lot at night and while my kids are at school and any time I am supposed to be cleaning my house. I am sometimes overly enthusiastic when protecting my claim on a table at the back of my local library where I do most of my non-nocturnal writing. Insanity, like I said.
          My 6-year-old describes my books this way: “Kissy, romantic books where the people lived a long time ago and talked funny.” Yep, pretty much. I write clean romances that take place in Regency England (think the first two decades of the 1800s: Napoleon, Jane Austen, Mad King George). The endings are always happy, the characters are usually funny and my mom thinks they are amazing.

CRW: How many books have you written?
Sarah:  I have 9 books currently available, which I regularly talk unsuspecting relatives, friends and vague acquaintances into buying. A 10th title will, if I can pull of the pseudo-miracle I am currently attempting, be available before the end of this year. An 11th was recently accepted by Covenant Communications, Inc. and will be released toward the end of 2010 to, I am certain, wide-spread acclaim and fanfare. I have completed a 12th manuscript in an entirely different genre that will, depending on the miracle-making power I referenced earlier, be published sometime by someone somewhere. I am about to start writing lucky number 13.
          Now if you will excuse me, I need a nap.

CRW:  Me too, but sorry, you aren't done yet.  What inspires you to write?

Sarah:  Perhaps the single greatest source of inspiration for me lies in the fact that writing gives me an excuse to avoid responsible things. “Wow, I have very large piles of dishes on the counters (yes, plural) of my kitchen. Sorry. I need to write.” “The PTA is hoping I will bake 6 dozen cupcakes for the bake sale in a half-hour. Sorry. I need to write.” “What is that, children? You want dinner? There are frozen waffles in the freezer. Mom needs to write.”
         Inspiration? Check.

CRW:  You sound like a dedicated writer to me. What gets in your way of writing?

Sarah:  I have a deep and unshakable need to consume large quantities of unnecessary and useless calories. This need creates another need—to exercise my backside, hips and gut off. These very real needs often get in the way of my writing.

Cindy:  (Can you say Cheetos?) How do you get past it?

Sarah:  To my joy, I have managed to jury-rig an ingenious contraption made up of cardboard boxes, a roll of paper towels and my kitchen counter which allows me to spend some quality time with my elliptical machine while burning calories that I'd rather not become too permanently attached to and typing at the same time. I would take a picture, but it's pretty embarrassing. Embarrassingly awesome!
          I am also developing a system by which I can type and eat at the same time. I call it “Click, click, click, chew.” Fascinating. I'm thinking of writing a book about it.

CRW:  Please write that book. I'll be first in line before all this sitting and writing turns me into a mound of chocolate.  Do you try to write daily, and if so, do you set a goal of a certain number of words?

Sarah:  I write 6 days a week—Sunday is my day off. My goal for the day is to write something. Anything. I don't even have coherency requirements. On some days I can eke out only fifteen minutes in which I write the literary equivalent of crème brulee. On other days, I spend hours writing nothing even remotely usable. Either way, I consider myself a success. Good writers are the ones who “do the time.”

CRW:  What makes you CRAZY about writing?

Sarah:  The voices. C'mon, back me up on this one fellow-authors. I am constantly bombarded by ideas and thoughts. I'll find myself having drawn-out and engaging conversations with characters. Characters! As in, people who don't actually exist. I even argue with them. I say things like, “I made you, you have to do what I say.” And, in the end, they always win those arguments.
          If that isn't crazy, I don't know what is.

CRW:  I agree with you on the voices in the mind. Just as long as they are characters, I think you're are okay.  How long does it take you to complete a book?

Sarah:  That depends on the book. I write historicals, and some of the storylines require a lot of research, which adds to the time requirements. I once decided to see if I could pump out a good, solid pretty-much final draft of a full-length novel in only 6 weeks.
         It can be done. If you don't sleep.
         I don't recommend it.
         On average, I need 6 months to go from story idea through first draft (second draft, third, twentieth) to final, polished draft.

CRW:  Where do you get your ideas for your books?

Sarah:  My books always begin with a character, oddly enough. The plot and setting develop around him or her. I write romances, so the next step is deciding what kind of person would be the love-interest for that character. Then I flesh out where and exactly when within my time period these people live, their circumstances, etc. Those things which come in the way of their being together are usually obvious at this point—if not, I figure that out.
          So, my ideas come from people. This is probably the primary reason I have no friends—everyone is afraid they'll end up in my next book. It probably doesn't help that I tell them about this possibility.

CRW:  Actually sounds like power. An authors favorite saying, "Be nice to be or you may end up in my book" comes to mind. Where do you get your character’s names?

Sarah:  Generally, I just know what their names are. Perhaps this another argument against my sanity, but there you go.
          Regency era names tended to be very traditional. However, at this time, people were sometimes named for things and places, as well. If I'm struggling to name a character, I'll thumb through lists until I find something that fits.
          If I don't have a name yet and haven't been able to come up with one, I have a list of stand-in names that I use. For the guys: either Poppadoo or Hippopotamus. For the ladies: either Lipstick or Peroxide. Generally, I'm so annoyed by the time I've written two or three chapters using those names and I force myself to figure it out.
          Psst. Don't tell anyone, but, sometimes I just ask the character. Characters are remarkably opinionated.

CRW:  Too true, but I won't say a thing, not a thing!  What is the topic of your next book that has you excited?

Sarah:  I am about to start writing a Regency romance—shocking, I know—about a young lady who, unexpectedly, receives a proposal of marriage from the man of her dreams. What more could a girl ask for? A young gentleman she has loved in silence, loves her in return. Only after the vows are made and the register is signed, does she discover that he was coerced into marrying her. Suddenly, her dream-come-true has become a nightmare of loneliness and regret. Now she is faced with the arduous task of convincing her reluctant husband that she can be his dream come true, as well, before circumstances pull them apart completely.
          Ooh. Now, that's gonna be an amazing story!

CRW:  Sounds fascinating. I can't wait to see how you do it. What is your favorite writing food? (Like everyone doesn't already know this one.)

Sarah:  Cheetos. Period.

CRW:  Your love for Cheetos is actually legend in the writing business. Maybe someday you will get your picture on the bag. ;o)  Please tell us about your next book.

Sarah:  The next book to come out is book five in my “Jonquil Brothers Series.” Captain Stanley Jonquil, decorated veteran of the Napoleonic Wars, barely survived the Battle of Waterloo. He has returned home to England, broken in body and spirit, to a life he no longer knows how to live and the lady he left behind. Crippled by grief and haunted by years of war, Stanley desperately needs the peace and solace that love can offer, but he no longer feels worthy of it.
          Marjie Kendrick anxiously awaited Stanley's return, anticipating a reunion filled with joy and declarations of love. She has worried over him for months, and prayed for his safety. Stanley returns changed—he is badly injured and weighed down by his experiences. Can she help him overcome his past and learn to love again?

CRW:  Sounds like a great love story full of great emotions and struggles. I'm in line waiting for it.
          As a fan of your books---my personal fav is "Seeking Persephone"---My daughter loved it too. Your fun sense of humor steps out of the pages.  I look forward to your next books. 
          Thanks so much Sarah, for taking time out of your worldwide schedule to visit with us. It would be awesome if you had a few minutes to check out Tuesdays Tales on the blog "Write a Story Together at  Writers can visit the blog and add o the story.  This weeks story is "The Princess and the Masquerade Ball".  It's right up your alley!

Sarah:  Thanks for interviewing me.

CRW:  Are you kidding me?  I am tickled pink, blue, green, yellow, orange . . . to be able to have you visit us here on Writers Wednesday on the Writers Mirror Blog.  Someday soon, I'll have to contact your people to get to you, if that will even be possible!

For more information on Sarah M. Eden please see her website at:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday Writer ~ Marsha Ward


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.

Marsha Ward

(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.

Marsha: Trail of Storms is the story of Jessie Bingham and her two sisters, and how they each deal with hard times, evil people,and turbulent emotions in a post Civil War setting. It's also the story of the men who love them, and who try to support them through their trials. During their journey from Virginia to New Mexico, these characters encounter a former neighbor who once loved Jessie but left her behind when he moved west. At that point, things get really complicated, but I promise, there is a happy ending.

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.

For more information on Marsha Ward, please see: