Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Tanya Writes About author Jennie Marsland...and HER mail-order bride
Howdy! Today I’m doing something for the first time, blog-swapping with a fellow author who’s featuring me at her site. I sure hope you’ll visit me there.
Right now, let’s show some down-home hospitality to my friend Jennie Marsland. She might live a world away from my homestead on the central coast of California, but we share some common bonds: we love Retrievers, Lucy Maud Montgomery, and mail-order brides! You’re going to enjoy her latest release, McShannon’s Chance, where half-Cajun, half- British Trey McShannon raises Thoroughbreds and seeks to ease his loneliness with a mail-order bride, affluent watercolor artist Beth Underhill.
Needless to say, she’s a lot more than he bargained for.
Jennie is a teacher, a painter, a musician and, for over thirty years, a writer. She fell in love with words at a very early age and the affair has been life-long. She enjoy writing songs and poetry as well as fiction and shares a home in Nova Scotia with her husband, cats Patch and Emily and a Duck-Tolling Retriever, Chance.
Jennie, what got you interested in writing?
Reading. My parents read to my brother and me every night, and before I started school I picked it up by osmosis. Words became the natural outlet for my overactive imagination. One of my grandfathers was a writer, so genetics likely played a part too.
How long have you been writing?
About thirty-five years off and on, with long dry spells in between. I’ve been actively trying to get published for the last two years.
For you, what are the most important elements of good writing?
For me, the most important thing is character. The people I’m reading about have to be multi-dimensional, real and sympathetic, and they have to change and grow over the course of the story. My biggest turn-off, especially in romance novels, is a hero or heroine I can’t root for because I can’t like them. As for plot, it has to be believable and well researched.
Tell us about your new release
McShannon's Chance is set in the Colorado Territory in 1870. The hero, Trey McShannon, is half-British and half-Cajun, a Georgia boy who fought for the Union in the Civil War. For obvious reasons he couldn’t go home afterwards, so he went west and settled near the fictional frontier town of Wallace Flats. After nearly five years of working on his dream of raising Thoroughbred horses, hard work and loneliness are wearing Trey down, so he sends for a mail-order bride and meets Beth Underhill.
Beth is a watercolor artist, strong-willed and a bit too unconventional for the liking of her proper, affluent eastern family. Living in Denver with her cousin after the death of the aunt who raised her, she doesn’t want to be sent back east to find a ‘suitable’ husband. Beth is disillusioned with the marriage market and finds Trey’s honest business proposal more appealing.
Trey thinks the war has left him too emotionally burnt out to feel real love. He’s hoping for a wife he can live with, but Beth is a whole lot more than he bargained for. She’s looking for choices and determined to live on her own terms, which include pursuing a reputation as a painter. She shares Trey’s love of Thoroughbreds and isn’t afraid of the hard work his life entails. Her nerve and honesty win his respect and he can’t look at her without wanting her in his arms, but Trey has to overcome his personal demons and learn to trust before he can have the family he longs for.
What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
There are so many, but the biggest is probably Lucy Maud Montgomery. I learned from her very young that everyone has a story and that everyday life is full of small-scale drama. Montgomery’s own writing journey, as described in her journals, taught me about perseverance. I love her sense of humor and her sense of place – and the fact that she was one of the first female authors in North America to sue her unscrupulous publisher and win! The fact that she’s a fellow Maritimer doesn’t hurt either.
Others…Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour are responsible for my love of Westerns. I grew up reading my father’s collection and had childhood crushes on L’Amour’s Ty Sackett and Grey’s Lassiter. I read Westerns instead of romances as a teenager. Rugged, romantic heroes, spirited heroines, horses, what more could a girl want?
Are you working on anything at the present you’d like to share with us?
Yes, I’m working on a prequel to Chance. It’s called McShannon’s Heart and it’s the story of Trey’s twin sister Rochelle, who moves with her father to his old home in Yorkshire, England at the outbreak of the Civil War. Chelle leaves a fiancé behind in Georgia with the promise that she’ll wait for him until the war ends, but she finds herself attracted to a Dales farmer, Martin Rainnie, who happens to be a talented musician. I’m incorporating some of my own love of folk music into this one.
Wow, you have so many talents, Jennie. I love that you incorporate them into your writing. Thanks so very much for spending these next few days at my blog. I’m eager for your next book and wish for you much creativity and many sales! To purchase McShannon's Chance, please click here.