|Heather Gardner Photography|
She was born in the sleepy little town of Phoenix, Arizona, and grew up with chickens, citrus trees, and lots of room to roam. She attended Madison Elementary schools in Phoenix: Madison I, Richard C. Simis, and Rose Lane, and then graduated from Simis in 1960. She graduated from Camelback High School in 1964 and attended Arizona State College at Flagstaff (now known as Northern Arizona University) for one year. She also attended Phoenix College for a year in the 70s. She believes in continuing education, and has attended many seminars and college classes through the years. If she ever has any spare time, she might get a degree.
Marsha began telling stories at a very early age, regaling her neighborhood chums with her tales over homemade sugar cookies and cold milk. She loved to read, and had the imagination to write her own short stories and plays, beginning in her grade school years. Her dad was an entertaining storyteller, and his accounts of living in Old Mexico as a child, and then settling in the Tucson area, influenced her love of 19th Century Western history. Visits to her cousins on their ranch reinforced her enchantment with all things Western. It wasn't a very long leap for her to make to enjoying fiction of and about the Old West.
Before her marriage, Marsha lived in South America for two years as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and she still loves traveling to exotic, unusual, and interesting places. In fact, her "Bucket List" includes staying in several quaint inns and motels around the country.
Marsha married Rob Ward in 1972, and they had five children and a happy life. As her children grew, Marsha began to study writing in earnest, and wrote with a view toward publication. She fell into journalism and started to get pieces published in newspapers. In the meantime, she hauled out the "opus magnum" she had started in 1965, and worked on it for several years, tweaking and rewriting. Then she began the long process of submitting, and wrote another novel to tell more about her characters.
Adversity came along, and suddenly the Wards had only four children. Marsha's creativity dried up for several years as the result of her younger daughter's death. Three of her four children were grown and poised to be on their own when her husband was diagnosed with a quick-acting cancer, and inside of a year, he was gone. One son had married while his father was still alive, and two of his siblings moved out in the months following. In six months' time, she went from a household of six to one with only two people in it. It was a severe downsizing.
When Marsha had a health crisis a few years later, the outcome of which was suspected to be severely debilitating, if not fatal, she decided to self-publish her two finished novels. The books were well received by both readers and critics. Fortunately, she recovered her health.
When her last child married and moved out, Marsha sold her home to a family member, and now lives under Central Arizona's Mogollon Rim. She is a member of several writing organizations, among them Western Writers of America, American Night Writers Association, Arizona Professional Writers, LDStorymakers, and Indie Author Hub.
Marsha added a third novel to the Owen Family Saga in 2009, a fourth in 2012, and in 2014, the final book of the saga, Gone for a Soldier, arrived. Since then, she has revised the reading order, much like Louis L'Amour had to do when he wrote many of his Sackett Family novels out of order.
She's developing ideas for additional Owen Family stories, and has a stand-alone series of tales labeled "Shenandoah Neighbors," as well. Besides her stories in the Owen-verse, Marsha is writing stories about unrelated Western characters. See the Bookshelf at her website for further information.
When she is not writing, Marsha loves to travel, give talks, meet readers, and sign books. She welcomes readers' comments addressed to her at:
PO Box 53
Payson AZ 85547
or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org