Friday, September 25, 2009

I Need Friends Friday: Marsha Ward

It's that time of the week:

(Every Friday I interview a different person and share that interview with you. Perhaps they will be a fellow-author. Perhaps one of my neighbors. Maybe the bagger at the grocery store. A member of my family. A follower of this blog. Maybe it will be you! Hey, it could happen.)

Today's friend is Marsha Ward, an award-winning freelance writer and editor who has published over 900 articles, columns, poems and short stories. Marsha works with other writers as a mentor, creative consultant, editor, workshop presenter, contest judge, coach and teacher. In 1986 she founded the American Night Writers Association (ANWA). [All this information was stolen, very nearly verbatim, from Marsha's website because I thought it sounded very professional and I did not want to have to try to rewrite it and mess the whole thing up.]

Let's get to know Marsha!

SME: Welcome to INFF!

Marsha: I'm so happy to be here!

SME: As I'm sure you know, I ask some pretty deep, hard-hitting and insightful questions around here. Today will be no different. So, let's start by getting to know you a little better. Question #1: What is your favorite pie?

Marsha: My sister makes this killer pumpkin chiffon pie that I love, but regular pumpkin pie is also good. With lashings of whipped cream on top. The real kind, not that whip stuff.

SME: Oh, man! I love pumpkin pie. Creamy, orange goodness!! So Thanksgiving must be pretty enjoyable for you.

Marsha: I do enjoy Thanksgiving. Family, Friends, Food. What could be better?

SME: Family, Friends, Food. That sounds like a pretty good summary of INFF. Half the people I interview are related to me. I'm making friends. And I inevitably talk about food.

Marsha: Awesome!

SME: Alright. Investigative question #2: What was the make/model of the first car you ever owned?

Marsha: My first car? That would be a Ford Fairlane with fins, but not the huge fins. I don't recall the year, but I bought it back in the mid 60s from my girlfriend's boyfriend.

SME: So you bought it used, I assume. How used was it?

Marsha: It was used. It had to be a 60 or slightly later. It was a great starter car. We used to have gasoline wars in Phoenix, and I could get gas for $.25 a gallon

SME: Holy crumb-ola! $.25 a gallon. I cannot even imagine. I have mini celebrations if I find gas for under $2.25 a gallon.

Marsha: Yeah. Times have changed, haven't they. When I went on a mission for the LDS church, my sister drove the car. She hit a bump real hard and broke a spring.

SME: And did it then have to go to the great auto-junkyard in the sky?

Marsha: It may have still been around when I returned from my mission. I'm hazy on what happened to that car, though. Maybe it just went down the line of siblings.

SME: Okay, now for the question I simply must ask each and every week. What is your favorite continent?

Marsha: Hmmm, that's a tough question. I think South America, because I lived there for two years. The avocados are HUGE! And, yanno, food is important when you're picking your favorite continent.

SME: You are the first INFF Friend to pick South America. I'm pretty excited. Where in South America did you live?

Marsha: I bounced between Colombia and Venezuela. Good times, with all the armed guards standing around during elections, curfews to try to observe, airline pilots who would let you into the cockpit if you were a cute American, stuff like that.

SME: Now that we've learned some very vital facts about you, I think it's time to play a game. What do you think?

Marsha: Sounds good!

SME: This is a game I particularly like. I call this game "Putting the Guess in Guest." This week, though, there's a theme.

Marsha: A theme? Exciting!

SME: In honor of you, Marsha, the questions are all Western Trivia. Get them right and you will be crowned the Champion of INFF. Get them wrong and it will have absolutely no impact on any aspect of your life, whatsoever.

Marsha: Except I'll lose face with my fans. Pretty big impact, I think. I need more chocolate!

SME: I'm thinking you'll either get them right because you'll be able to figure it out, or the questions will be so random that no one will care if you get them wrong.
I will give you three questions with three possible answers each. Your job will be to figure out which answer is correct. In other words, guess.

Marsha: Guess? I can do that.

SME: You ready to give this a go?

Marsha: I'm lining up the Kisses to fuel the guessing.

SME: Yes. Chocolate can help in most any situation.
First question: What was the most common cause of death for a cowboy?
1.) Accidents involving horses
2.) Gunshot wounds
3.) Broken hearts, because their backstabbing weasel of a brother stole their fiance

Marsha: I see you've read my books.

SME: Sneaky promotion of my INFF friend's books? Who? Me?

Marsha: Actually, I'm going for number 1, since that's more likely than gunshot wounds or broken hearts.

SME: You are correct!!

Marsha: Yay for me!

SME: Second Question: What would a cowboy do with chaps?
1.) He'd throw on a little lip balm and "the chaps" would clear up in a day or two
2.) His chaps, or good friends, would hang with him out at the ranch
3.) He'd wear them, possibly while riding over the dangerous Raton Pass

Marsha: Well, since chaps comes from the Spanish chaparreras, or riding chaps, he'd do #3, but more frequently, he'd use them to protect his legs while riding through heavy brush as he chased cows

SME: Impressive. And correct!!

Marsha: Thank you. It was nothing. I only had to pull out one reference book. Just kidding. It was a Spanish/English dictionary. Then I had to remember that ch is a separate letter in Spanish.

SME: Okay, last question. You are one answer away from being crowned Champion of INFF--which comes with absolutely no perks, benefits or recognition, by the way.
About how long did the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral last?
1.) thirty seconds
2.) Just under five minutes
3.) Not nearly as long as it takes some people to get engaged to the wrong person and then have to straighten all that out

Marsha: I believe #1 is correct, but if not, I'll choose #2. #3 is totally outlandish. It couldn't have taken so long as it did for poor Carl to find out he'd hooked up with a backstabbing girl whose main ambition in life was to live in town and have lots of chocolates and fine clothing.
Or for Ellen to break poor James's heart.

SME: Hmm. or Jessie getting engaged to Ned, for that matter. Man. You have some really confused characters.

Marsha: Characters need conflicts and tough problems in life, or they're no fun.

SME: The correct answer was, indeed, #1: thirty seconds. How very, very true about problem-plagued characters.

Marsha: In life, we try to resolve problems quickly, but in novels, we poor writer saps have to pile on the troubles or no one will read our works of fiction.

SME: We seem to enjoy creating characters who are even dumber about life issues than we are. Could that be a psychiatric problem, do you think?

Marsha: Oh yes, writers are probably all nuts, except for you and me.

SME: If I'm not nuts, than the rest of the writing world is in real trouble.

Marsha: You are not going to trick me into saying you're nuts!!!

SME: There is, of course, the glaring evidence of a certain video presentation I made for the ANWA retreat this past summer. That wasn't exactly the work of a sane woman.

Marsha: I thought it was well thought out, brilliantly executed, and the work of a totally sane and clever writer. Although it was kinda wacky!

SME: Well, I do take particular pride in the fantastic job I did summing up THE MAN FROM SHENANDOAH.

Marsha: Yes, that was entirely awesome!

SME: I thought you might say that, so I have created a couple other "unique" summaries for you... if you'd like to hear them.

Marsha: Of course! I can't wait!

SME: Awesome.

James: (On horseback) So, it's pretty crazy that we're married, huh?
Amparo: (also on horseback) Como?
James: (still on horseback) This Raton Pass is a beast, isn't it?
Amparo: (also still on horseback) Como?
James: (yep... horseback) Is it just me, or is it getting really, really cold?
Amparo: (you guessed it) Como?


Marsha: Good thing I wasn't drinking anything. I'd send you a bill for a new keyboard.

SME: So, a success!

Marsha: Yes indeed!

SME: Alright, TRAIL OF STORMS, or Life Lessons from Jessie:

Marsha: I can't wait

SME: "If you find out that the guy you're in love with is married and so you accept another guy's proposal and then find out that the first guy isn't married but you're still engaged to the second guy ... that can make your life kind of complicated."

Marsha: That sounds like a hard life lesson. I wonder how she worked it out?

SME: Wait. If you don't know...

Marsha: I guess we'll all have to read TRAIL OF STORMS to find out.

SME: I guess so.

Marsha: You didn't see that coming?

SME: See it coming? I set it up rather nicely, I thought.

Marsha: Brilliant!

SME: And, now, it's time for the portion of the interview where I draw a portrait of my new friend.

*In a wave of anticipatory silence, I produce yet another bit of artistic amazingness.*

SME: Voila!

Marsha: Ohhhh! That's so cute! How did you know my boots had spurs?

SME: I'm a boot expert. Aren't people from Arizona supposed to be boot experts?
OK. Actually, I guessed. And I thought it looked cool.

Marsha: It does look cool!

SME: They are also very colorful--another must for boots.

Marsha: Absolutely. However, the spurs do make a racket when I walk around the house. I sometimes have to take them off indoors.

SME: I'm glad you like the portrait. I think it just might be my favorite western-themed stick figure portrait I have ever drawn.

Marsha: How many have you drawn?

SME: Ur.. umm... just this one. But it's still my favorite!

Marsha: It's my favorite western-themed stick figure portrait drawn by Sarah M. Eden!

SME: I'm glad we are in agreement on this.

Marsha: Well, Friday Friends need to stick together

SME: And, now, the Final Question. Top 5 reasons this is the best blog interview you've ever done. Ready. Go.

Marsha: 1-I have a new Friday Friend
2-I love to talk about continents--and writing
3-Boots with spurs are HOT!
4-I do believe people are going to check out TRAIL OF STORMS to find out how Jessie worked out her hard life lesson thingy
5-You made me laugh!

Marsha: I like to laugh, a lot.

SME: All excellent reasons. I rather enjoy talking about continents, myself. I also like to laugh. And I really hope people do check out TRAIL OF STORMS (I think that's a record number of links--bonus!!).

Marsha: I hope I can be your friend all the other days of the week, yes?

SME: Once you have been a Friday Friend, you are a friend forever!

Marsha: I'm so glad. You're an excellent friend.

SME: Thanks for stopping by INFF, this has been a blast! *cue exit music* Well, this has been "I Need Friends" Friday. Come back next week when I will make another friend!!

If you'd like to be interviewed for "I Need Friends" Friday, shoot me off an email: friends at sarahmeden dot com!
I am looking for anyone and everyone, whether or not you think you are interesting. You'll get a fantastic stick figure portrait of yourself, a little promotion (if you're looking for that sort of thing) and the opportunity to tell your friends and family that you've been interviewed by SME, er... by ME!


Marsha Ward said...

I laughed, I cried, I enjoyed myself immensely. Thank you, Sarah!

Readers can check the progress of my newest novel at my blog entitled The Characters in Marsha's Head, or check in on my life in general at the Writer in the Pines blog.

Rachel Rossano said...

Another great interview!

Aubrey said...

Very funny stuff... but now I'm craving pumpkin pie. Definitely going to have to read Trail of Storms now just to see how Jessie manages to work it all out.

Joyce DiPastena said...

Well done, Marsha! You have more courage than I do, facing down Sarah on INFF...tempted though I am, just to get my own stick picture. (Not volunteering, though. Too scary!)

Heather Justesen said...

Hilarious, of course. I had to break in the middle to go see your ANWA video. Apparently I'm seriously missing out by not going to those retreats.

Oh, and I need to work on my author bio--mine is nowhere near as impressive as Marsha's!

Imagine Dragons said...

Marsha, you have a bit of a wild streak in you. Sarah, you have the crazy, streak. You are both awesome!

Jean Henry Mead said...

Loved the interview. Very entertaining. You can interview me, anytime, Sarah. :)


sweetvictorya said...

Is this Marsha, Audra's mom?

Marsha Ward said...

Thank you, Rachel. Aubrey, let me know how you like Trail of Storms. Joyce, you can do this; it's not as scary as I thought it would be.

Heather, yes, you do need to come visit us. Imagine Dragons, Who? Me? Thanks! Jean, it's a blast to be interviewed by Sarah.

Sweetvictorya, I am indeed Audra's mom. I hope you enjoyed the interview.

Sandy said...

I have read TRAILS OF STORMS and loooved it. I can not wait for the next book. I love those families. I love to hear about their "visits" to Marsha. Sandy Foster

Valerie Ipson said...

Too, too funny!!! I loved it, guys (gals)! Now I can aspire not just to be an author interview on Marsha's blog, but one on Sarah's as well.

Heidiwriter said...

LOLROF!! Very entertaining and fun.

M. Gray said...

Hey, Sarah! Don't know if you got my email, but I just wanted to let you know that I posted a review of your fantastic book, Seeking Persephone at

Jessica G. said...

Oh. My. Goodness. That was about the funnest/funniest thing I've read in a while! Yet another reason to look forward to Fridays...

Marsha Ward said...

Sarah, now people are asking me why I don't wear my boots and spurs to church. Oy!


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