From her home in the forest, writer Marsha Ward offers up an eclectic collage of musings on life, insights into the writing process, sample scenes and snippets from her work, book spotlights, and author interviews. Now including "The Characters in Marsha's Head."
Author interview - Joan Sowards, author of The Star Prophecy
My friend Joan Sowards is my guest today. Joan is an LDS author and songwriter who lives in Arizona with her family. Her brand-new novel, The Star Prophecy, is available just in time for Christmas gift-giving.
Joan, you're well known in LDS musical circles as a songwriter. How long have you been writing fiction?
Kerry Blair lived in my ward back then. She'd edit my chapters and I tried to learn the rules behind her changes. I learned a lot from her, too. During that time, she wrote her own first novel and sent it to Covenant. They accepted it within two weeks. Gotta love her!
How did you break into publishing?
I admit it was luck. I was in the right place at the right time. An editor suggested I send Walnut Springs Press my novel The Star Prophecy--so I did. I pestered editor Linda Prince every few months asking if she had read it. After the eight month, she asked if I had an LDS romance and that she needed one right away. I sent Haunts Haven and she liked it! Chocolate Roses was published next. I was surprised when WSP came back and said they were ready to publish the Star Prophecy since it had been two years since I submitted it.
Okay, The Star Prophecy is your third published novel. What genre or sub-genre do you write, and why did you choose it?
The Star Prophecy begins its tale in the land of the Nephites. Haunts Haven is a paranormal mystery romance, Chocolate Roses is pure romance with a Jane Eyre parallel. I haven't been able to get away from the LDS genre, I guess, because it is so ingrained in me.
Do you write with music playing? If so, is the music likely to be songs with lyrics or only instrumentals?
I have too much music going on in my head as it is, so I have to have it quiet so I can think above it.
That makes sense! What has surprised you about being a published author?
As soon as Haunts Haven hit the stores, I was expected to promote it and myself. I've never felt comfortable with that.
It's expected so much these days, isn't it?What one thing do you like most about writing? Least?
I love crafting the story, plotting, writing subplots.
Least? The final editing process can be exhausting, but I'm grateful for my editor!
What do you like to do when you aren't writing?
I'm a family history addict. I love to sew, and to write music. My adorable grandchildren take a lot of my time, and I love being with my husband.
Tell us about The Star Prophecy.
The Star Prophecy is about Nephite young men who set sail to Jerusalem to find the Christ Child. When my daughter Kristy gave me the premise for this novel, I felt electrifying tingles come over me, the ideas began to flow, and I wrote the first draft in three months--an incredible experience! The main character, whose quest it is to find the infant Messiah, is named Enoch after my nephew, a beautiful, bright child, who passed away at the age of four.
The back cover blurb says:
“You are crazy. No Nephite has ever returned.”
Most people laugh when they hear of Enoch’s dream of returning to Jerusalem to find the infant Messiah. Even Enoch's future father-in-law mocks him when he asks for a postponement of the long-awaited wedding to his beloved Rebekah. A few take Enoch seriously—the shipbuilder Omnihah, Enoch's teacher David, and Nephi the prophet.
Five years previously, a Lamanite named Samuel had stood on the wall of Zarahemla and prophesied that “five years more cometh” and the Christ would be born in Jerusalem. Time is running out! Enoch knows he must set sail across the great waters in search of his dream—to see the face of the Messiah.
The Star Prophecy is a surprising story of courage and love, faith and fortitude. Sail with Enoch and friends across the sea through hardship and adventure in search of the Christ Child.
That sounds awesome! I can't wait to read it. I know you're always coming up with new stuff. What are you working on now?
I'm writing a story about a recent ASU college grad who takes a summer journalist job in a seaside village in Oregon. The working title is Clairvoyance. I love the characters.