April 19, 2010

Guest Author - Jeannie Marsland

Hi, Melinda. I’m really excited to be here today, because I’ve just completed the second novel in my Wallace Flats series. But first, I’d better back up and tell you a bit about the first, McShannon’s Chance, which came out last October from Bluewood Publishing.

I’ve written all my life, poetry, lyrics and short stories, but I’d never considered attempting a novel. Too long, too daunting. Then, in September of 2006, the hero of McShannon’s Chance simply materialized, fully formed, in my imagination. Tall, a bit on the lean side, dark hair and molasses-colored eyes. Cajun mother, British father. A Georgia boy who turned traitor and fought for the Union in the Civil War. I suppose all the Westerns I read growing up had been perking away in my subconscious, because I knew instantly who Trey McShannon was and what drove him. It’s summed up pretty well in the cover blurb:

Trey McShannon survived the carnage of the Civil War, only to discover that the deepest wounds are those to the heart. A traitor to his home state of Georgia, Trey has built a new life for himself in the untamed Colorado Territory. Now it’s time to find a wife to share the future he’s worked so hard for – but can he free himself from his past?

Beth Underhill is looking for choices. Needing to marry to escape being sent back East, she prefers Trey’s honest business proposal to false promises of love. Can a union between a man who isn’t sure he can still feel love, and a woman who doesn’t believe it exists, blossom into more than a marriage of convenience?

I was on a camping trip when Trey made his presence known, and couldn’t find anything to write on but paper towel. I grabbed three sheets and a pencil and started writing. I still have those sheets tucked away. Lesson learned: Carry a notebook! Six months later, I came up for air with the first draft of a novel on my hands. The road to publication was not boring, to say the least, but it’s been worth the ups and downs along the way.

I’ve always loved history. Glimpses of the past spark my imagination. The whole McShannon family took root in my mind like a set of distant relatives. The second book, McShannon’s Heart, is a prequel featuring Trey’s twin sister Rochelle. When her mother dies just before the outbreak of the Civil War, Chelle accompanies her father to his old home in the Yorkshire Dales. She leaves behind the man she loved, who wanted her to choose between him and her family. She has no intention of risking her heart again, and neither does talented musician Martin Rainnie, a widowed Dales farmer who’s turned his back on his baby daughter. As little Greer slowly draws them together, Martin begins to heal and Chelle discovers where her heart’s true home is.

Though the setting is different, the stories are tied together by common themes: family and a sense of community. I enjoyed spending some time in the Dales as much as I did with Trey and Beth in Colorado Territory. For excerpts of both books, check my website: http://www.jenniemarsland.webs.com/

Thanks again, Melinda. I’ve really enjoyed my visit today. For your readers: What is your favorite historical setting for a novel? Why?

Visit Jennie at her blog, too. http://www.jenniemarsland.blogspot.com/


Virginia said...

I love the western settings! I have really been hooked on me some cowboys lately! Love them!


Jennie Marsland said...

Hi Virginia, thanks for dropping by! As far as I'm concerned, Willie Nelson said it best: My heroes have always been cowboys.

Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

Welcome, Jennie. I love learning how writers make their journing to being published. Thanks for sharing yours with us. Great except and I'll have to look the story up. Can I get it electronically? I have a nook and should be able to red it there as a pdf.

Chelsea B. said...

I love the Victorin era! But I think it has to do with my love for Pride and Prejudice :-)

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Historical western are how my stories are judged but they are actually stories set in the west - 1849 gold rush era. I love this time period because I live where it happened and the living history is everywhere. I hope the western setting becomes more popular because I am stacking up stories with very few places to go. It is an exciting time and your stories sound so interesting.

Nice to meet you today.

Jennie Marsland said...

Hi Anna, thanks again for having me here today! Yes, the book is available as a PDF file from Bluewood. The simplest way to get there is to go to my website and hit the buy now link on my home page. Hope you enjoy it!

Hi Chelsea, I'm an Austen fan, too. I think Emma is my favorite, though who doesn't love Mr. Darcy?

Hi Paisley, I hear ya. I grew up on Zane Grey and Louis L'Amour, and I'd love to see Westerns make a resurgence. What's not to like about a rugged, handsome cowboy? Let's keep hoping!

By the way, I'm having a contest on my blog right now, with one of my original watercolors as the prize. Hop on over to http://www.jenniemarsland.blogspot.com and comment to be entered in the draw!