We had the good fortune of connecting with Marsha Ward and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Marsha, how does your business help the community?
I write fiction. My books reflect my goal that strong families and family members can and should be inspirational to individuals who read my works. If my readers each do one good deed every day, or reach out to help one person in need, the impact of my words can be global.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a writer and novelist who grew up with a love of American values that is reflected in my body of work. I’m a multi-published freelance writer, editor, workshop presenter, mentor, consultant, and the author of a novella and five novels so far in the historical Owen Family Saga: That Tender Light, Gone for a Soldier, The Man from Shenandoah, Spinster’s Folly, Ride to Raton, and Trail of Storms; and The Zion Trail, the beginning of a trilogy. I also have over 900 published articles, columns, poems, and short stories to my credit. Meticulous research is the hallmark of my work. I began telling stories at a very early age, regaling my neighborhood chums with my tales over homemade sugar cookies and cold milk. I loved to read, and had the imagination to write my own short stories and plays, beginning in my grade school years. My dad was an entertaining storyteller, and his accounts of living in Old Mexico as a child, and then settling in the Tucson area, influenced my love of 19th Century Western history. Visits to my cousins on their ranch reinforced my enchantment with all things Western. It wasn’t a very long leap for me to make to enjoying fiction of and about the Old West.
I married and had five children. As they grew, I began to study writing in earnest, and wrote with a view toward publication. I took several writing courses toward that end. I fell into journalism and started to get pieces published in newspapers. In the meantime, I hauled out the novel I had started in 1965 and worked on it for several years, tweaking and rewriting. Then I began the long process of submitting, and wrote a second novel to tell more about my characters.
My husband passed away prematurely. When I had a health crisis a few years later, the outcome of which was suspected to be severely debilitating, if not fatal, I decided to self-publish my two finished novels, and began a publishing company, WestWard Books, to do so. My novels were well received by both readers and critics. Fortunately, I recovered my health.
I continue developing ideas for additional historical Owen Family stories and companion books, and recently jumped genres to write Chill, a contemporary paranormal romance.
Among my many awards and honors, I received the 2015 Whitney Lifetime Achievement Award, given by Storymakers Guild. I am also the founder of American Night Writers Association, Inc., which I nurtured for 30 years before retiring from its administration to write my own works.
It hasn’t been easy to write, produce, and publish my work, but hard, continuous effort has paid off in terms of accomplishing my goals: to write about people who, despite their flaws, keep pressing forward toward a satisfactory end; to produce the stories in ebook and print forms; and to publish them for readers who appreciate my realistic stories. I’ve learned that setbacks are part of the process, but that I must get back up and continue toward my goal.
I want the world to know that when they buy a book by Marsha Ward, they are going to get a reading experience that will take them on an adventurous ride, full of heart-pounding action, realistic characters, and enough romance to please the gals and to strike a spark within the guys.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Since I’m an introvert and a teetotaler, a week-long visit from a friend isn’t going to be wild and crazy. Fortunately, my best friends are also writers. I would take my friend to a writer’s retreat, perhaps in what we call Rim Country in Arizona, below the Mogollon Rim. Although I like to camp, we would go to a large home that was rented for the retreat, and set up our laptops at a table in the dining room, or on our own “tray” tables somewhere in the house or on the grounds, and we would write for hours. You see, this is counted as a good time by introverted writers. We wouldn’t need alcohol to have a good time. Instead, we would let our characters out to play, and take their dictation. That’s what I do as an organic or discovery writer, sometimes called a “pantser,” or one who writes by the seat of their pants. If my friend is a plotter, she would have her extensive notes to guide her story. She may or may not stick strictly to the plot points.
We would eat regular meals, perhaps prepared by us and a few others who signed up to make that meal. After everything is shipshape, we would go back to writing, probably with a plate full of goodies contributed by the attendees, and a bottle of water. Ah, chocolate! There are always plenty of chocolate offerings.
At night we would all gather and play games for an hour or two, then get to bed (or back to writing).
At the end of the week, I would bid my friend goodbye and travel back to my own home, with perhaps half of a new book written.
I’m not sorry that the best part of life happens inside my head. All I have to do is extract it, write it, prepare it, and then publish it. This process is tremendously exciting to me, but would probably bore the life out of an extrovert. I don’t need to check out people, places, or things to obtain fulfillment. Enjoyment is right there in my brain, in my imagination.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to recognize novelists C. David Belt and Angelique Conger for their support to me in polishing my last book; also writers Brent Dunn and Carol Malone and editor Becky Rohner, who helped me get the details right and pushed me into high gear. The members of American Night Writers Association, which I founded in 1986, are always an inspiration to me.