I love the title of your new book! Marsha, please tell us about 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.
We've asked Marsha to interview her character, Marie:
We've asked Marsha to interview her character, Marie:
* Way back in 2009, some of my characters began to visit me, and I established a blog entitled The Characters in Marsha’s Head, just so I could publish a record of our encounters.
First, some of the Owen boys came by, having slipped under the rainbow during a storm. We had a nice visit. Then their sister Marie knocked on the door in August, encouraging me to begin the book that would help her move on with her life. That, of course, is my newly-published novel, Spinster's Folly. I guess Marie came by the other day to check on the progress, because even though I've moved since her visit, she found me. It was after nightfall when I heard footsteps outside on the ramp up to my deck, and after a moment or two, I heard a rapping on the door. When I opened it, my security light came on and I knew Marie instantly, but I didn't recognize her clothing. It was nothing like what she'd worn before.
ME (flabbergasted to see her): Darling Marie! Come in, come in!
MARIE (Hiding her eyes from the bright light with her hand, then peering over her shoulder.): I have to hurry. I can't stay long.
ME: Whyever not? Let me just move these books off the chair. Sit down. What can I get you to eat or drink? (I move a pile of Civil War reference books onto the floor.)
MARIE (Moving hesitantly into the room, her hand still in front of her eyes.): I can't be gone long. He'll find out.
ME: Sit down, dear. (I feel my brow furrowing.) Who is "he"? You seem frightened.
(MARIE finally lowers her hand. We're both still standing.): Truth to tell, I am frightened, more than I've ever been.
ME (Gasping as I digest the fact that her face is mottled and colored with bruises.): What happened? Who's been beating you? Not your Pa!
MARIE: No, not Pa. He would never—
ME (Grabbing hold of her arms.): Who did this? He won't get away with it!
MARIE (Face crumpling.): I thought he loved me.
ME (Mumbling strong words under my breath.): I'll get a cold cloth.
MARIE: No. I can bear the pain a tad bit longer, if you'll just finish my book.
ME (Closing my mouth that's fallen open from amazement.): (Silence.)
MARIE: Please. (Her voice quivers, on the verge of losing control.)
ME: I'm-- I'm doing a final edit. It won't take lo—
MARIE: Now! You've got to publish it as soon as may be!
ME (Sinking into my chair.): Or . . . ?
MARIE: I'm obliged to stay in his power until folks can read the words. He won't release me until then. (She collapses into the chair beside mine.)
ME (My mouth is gaping open again. I close it with difficulty, knowing who "he" is, and what she's been through.)
MARIE: Please, Mom! (She's sobbing hysterically.)
ME (Shaken): I had no idea. I— Some folks have read it. At least they've read the first draft. They said lovely things about it.
MARIE (Looking at me through teary eyes.): That must account for how I was able to get away for a spell. (She sniffs, somewhat less bereft.)
ME (Digging out a tissue and handing it to her. On second thought, I give her the entire box.): I'll get a hold of Linda on Monday. Tuesday at the latest.
MARIE: Who is Linda? (She blows her nose and drops the tissue into the waste basket beside her chair.)
ME: She's the very helpful lady who will arrange my words all pretty for the inside of the book. Can you hold out until she's finished with it?
MARIE (Blowing her nose again.): I'll venture to do it, Mom. Ask her to hurry, please.
ME: You hang on! I'll get a hold of Deirdra and we'll figure out what to put on the back cover, too.
MARIE (Brightening a bit.): Some of them lovely things the folks said?
ME: You may be sure of that!
MARIE (Letting out a gusty sigh and dabbing at her eyes.): It won't take long?
ME: Oh sweetie, we'll go as fast as we can! I promise you, as soon as Spinster's Folly is published, he won't be a-worryin' you no more.
MARIE (Slightly chuckling.): You sound like Ma. (Sniffs)
ME: You'll see her soon. It will be a favorable reunion. I promise.
MARIE: It makes my heart glad to hear that. (She suddenly turns her face toward the door.) Did you hear that? I'm obliged to leave! (She gets up and kisses me on the cheek.) Mind you, hurry! (She's out of my arms, out the door, and running off my deck before I can move a muscle.)
ME (My shoulders slump.): Oh my gosh! (I try to get my mind around the idea that characters remain in dire situations until their books are published. I turn to the laptop.) Oh my gosh. (I look at the words swimming before me through my tears.) I promise you won't be in pain very long. (My voice is hushed. I had no idea!)
*This is a work of fiction. I don't really talk to time-traveling characters from my novels. I do like them a lot, though, and am glad they pass under the rainbow from time to time to visit me in my own place and era.
I’m very gratified to announce that Marie has been able to escape her dire situation, due to the release of her story, Spinster’s Folly, on November 10th.
Marsha, please tell us a bit about yourself:
Marsha Ward is an award-winning poet, writer and editor whose published work includes four novels in The Owen Family Saga: The Man from Shenandoah, Ride to Raton, Trail of Storms, and Spinster’s Folly; and over 900 articles, columns, poems and short stories. She also is a workshop presenter and writing teacher.
Marsha, thanks so much for being here on Actually Alethea today! Readers can find Spinster's Folly at these locations:
Read more about Marsha Ward at:
Author Blog: http://marshaward.blogspot.com
Character Blog: http://