Jennie Marsland Interview

Hello Jennie and welcome to Fallen Angel Reviews. It is good to have you with us this morning. I love your website, and your, Hearts Through History on the first page. We are anxious to hear about Jennie Marsland and her books.

Tell us, Jennie, what is a typical day like for you?
My days are quite busy. I teach grade 10 math and science in the mornings, and work as a private tutor in the evenings. In between, while my DH is at work and I have the house to myself, I try to get some writing done and cater to the four-footed tyrants of the house, my two rambunctious Nova Scotia Duck Tollers. When I get home at night, that's my hubby's time.

We would love to hear about your Wallace Flats series, why not tell us a bit about the series?
With pleasure! The series follows the McShannon family of Morgan County Georgia, from the beginning of the American Civil War until ten years afterward. The first book, McShannon's Chance, tells Trey McShannon's story as he finds love with his mail-order bride, Beth, in Colorado Territory in 1870. I grew up reading my father's collection of Westerns, so I suppose it's natural that my first book reflects that interest. My latest release, McShannon's Heart, is a prequel set in the Yorkshire Dales during the war years. The heroine, Chelle, is Trey's twin sister. She accompanies her father to his old home in England after the death of her mother, while Trey stays behind and ends up fighting in the Union army. Chelle thinks she's left love behind her, as the man she hoped to marry breaks up with her over their different views on the impending war. In England, Chelle finds love with Martin Rainnie, a local farmer and talented fiddler who's grieving the loss of his wife in childbirth. I'd characterize both as feel-good stories, with an emphasis on home, family and community. People tell me my writing reminds them of the 90's TV series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. I'm pleased with that. I like stories that leave me feeling hopeful.

How would you describe your writing space?
I write on a laptop, so my writing space is the living room sofa, usually with a dog beside me. I like being able to write anywhere in the house.

Do you dive right into your characters and become a part of the story?
Definitely. My characters drive my writing. I write a lot of back story that doesn't end up in the finished novel, but it helps me really get to know my characters. While I was writing McShannon's Chance the whole family took shape in my mind, and the series idea sprang from that. Now they feel like a clan of distant relatives.

When you are not composing, how do you spend your time?
I play guitar, as does my husband, so music is a big part of our lives. That's how we met - I was taking lessons from him. When he stopped charging me, I knew I was in trouble! We also like to garden and enjoy trips to our family cottage, our little slice of heaven by a secluded lake. Watercolor painting is another interest of mine, though I haven't done much of that for a while.

Do you have any special routine to help you get in the mood to write?
I set a goal of at least five hundred words a day, so I have what I call my 500 file. When I sit down to write I quickly skim what I wrote the day before, then open the 500 file and start writing. When I'm finished for the day I cut and paste what I've written into the main document for my WIP. It helps me hold myself accountable for getting my butt in the chair and writing every day.

Is there a particular character that you wish you could write about again?
All of them! That's why I'm writing a series. I get so involved with my characters; I hate to let them go.

Do you have any unfinished projects sitting around?
I'm almost finished a novel set here in Halifax at the time of the Explosion in 1917. For those who may not have heard of it, on December 6 of that year two ships collided in Halifax harbour, one of which was loaded with war ordnance. The resulting explosion devastated the city. When that book is finished, I have a children's novel waiting on the back burner. Then I'll be going back to Wallace Flats to write the third book in the series. It features Nathan Munroe, Trey's childhood nemesis from Chance.

Has being published changed your life in any way?
Being published hasn't changed the nuts and bolts of my day-to-day life, but it has made my life richer by introducing me to a lot of wonderful people. That's the change I value most.

Is there a book you have read that left a strong impression you will never forget?
I've always been an avid reader, and there are so many books that have affected me, but one that comes to mind right away is Wuthering Heights. I read it at the age of ten or eleven, and I remember clearly how appalled I was at the amorality of the characters.

Which room in your home would you say is your favorite?
Our dining room, because that's where our wood stove is. I love a fire on a winter evening.

Where would you classify as your most romantic place to visit to gather some story ideas?
I would love to visit the Yorkshire Dales, the setting of McShannon's Heart. I find the rugged landscape very romantic. I fell in love with the Dales years ago through James Herriot's books.

Your editor just phoned and said she needed you to host a banquet dinner tomorrow and she needs you to prepare enough food for sixty guests, plus do a book signing. Do you stay calm? And what menu would you delight the guests?
Stay calm? Not me! After I finished hyperventilating, I'd probably choose to serve fish, as it's so fresh here and so easy to prepare. Perhaps grilled salmon and a salad of romaine, Mandarin oranges and pecans - no, wait, I'd just order in sushi at the editor's expense.

What is your favorite city you love to visit?
I haven't been there for a long time, but I really enjoy Montreal. It's a beautiful city and there's so much to do there. It's really like being in Europe, only much closer!

If you had to cook a meal for 100 guests and could have a chef to come and help with the menu, what TV Cook would you choose?
Probably Michael Smith. I really enjoy his show, Chef at Home, on the Food Network. His dishes are simple and they look delicious.

Could you share with us your website, Myspace or Facebook?
You can find my website, my blog, A Chat With Jennie Marsland and I'm on Facebook. Drop by and say hello! And thanks, Linda, for taking the time to chat today.

Thank you very much, Jennie for taking time to speak with us today. I wish you the best in all your great works and look forward to more delights in the future.

Interviewed by: Linda L.

Linda L.