Written on Apr, 01, 2017 by in | Leave a comment

WHEN YOU BEGIN your novel using certain techniques—such as “In media res” (in the middle of the thing) or “At the last possible moment”—you are deliberately planting a question in your readers mind. In the first instance, the question is “What is going on?” and in the second, “What will happen now?” These are great ways to trigger a reader’s …

Continue Reading...
Written on Feb, 21, 2017 by in | Leave a comment

A big box of Advance Review copies came in the mail last week. I’m totally thrilled! It’s 1838, and May Bedloe works as a seamstress for her cousin, the famous actress Comfort Vertue—until their steamboat sinks on the Ohio River. Though they both survive, both must find new employment. Comfort is hired to give lectures by noted abolitionist, Flora Howard, …

Continue Reading...
Written on Oct, 23, 2016 by in | Leave a comment

THIS IS THE MOMENT WHEN, in your story world, everything has changed. The stranger has come to town, the father has died, the mother has left, the best friend has announced that she’s moving to Pakistan. Like In Media Res, in which you begin in the middle of the action, this technique relies on triggering a reader’s curiosity. The world …

Continue Reading...
Written on Oct, 08, 2016 by in | 4 Comments.

STARTING A NOVEL, writing that very first sentence, is as exhilarating and intimidating as riding a bicycle for the first time without training wheels. Many new writers think they need to explain a good deal more than they need to explain. They think that the first chapter is about laying a foundation so that the story — the real story— …

Continue Reading...
Written on Sep, 07, 2016 by in | 2 Comments.

IT’S BEEN SIX MONTHS or more since I looked at my last novel, the one that was “done.” That novel is gearing up to go into production now, and I have a few notes from my editors, stuff to change. As I read through the manuscript for places to cut back or to develop a character more, I am getting …

Continue Reading...
Written on Sep, 02, 2016 by in | Leave a comment

Sugarland, my latest novel, was named for the corn sugar that bootleggers used to make hooch. One of the fun things about writing about the 1920s is all the great slang I could use, like hooch. My daughter has recently expressed a wish that saying “the bees’ knees” would come back into style. I agree! The novel is an historical …

Continue Reading...
Written on Jun, 01, 2016 by in | Leave a comment

Recently I answered a few questions for Gef Fox’s Den for Dark Fiction about the impetus for writing my latest novel, Sugarland; writers who inspire me; and my least favorite writing advice. I thought I’d post an excerpt here. What was the spark that made you sit down to write Sugarland? I was listening to an early piece of jazz—“Si …

Continue Reading...
Written on May, 23, 2016 by in | Leave a comment

Today’s Featured Kindle Book on FKBT: Thieving Forest by Martha Conway 4.4 out of 5 stars! Thieving Forest Share Tweet Pin Share +1Total Shares 0

Continue Reading...
Written on Apr, 26, 2016 by in | Leave a comment

“Good stories have a quality of authorlessness. The better they are, the more authorless they seem. . . They give a sense of being out there, like facts.” (Janet Malcolm) I have this quotation in front of me on my writing desk, and every once in a while I read it and ponder once again how I can apply it …

Continue Reading...
Written on Dec, 06, 2015 by in | Leave a comment

So happy that today Free Kindle Books and Tips is featuring Thieving Forest!   I’m also hosting a year-end giveaway. I’ll pick five winners for either a paperback or audiobook version of Thieving Forest on December 15th.   Martha Conway’s new novel, Thieving Forest, won the North American Book Award in Historical Fiction and a Silver Medal in Historical Fiction in the …

Continue Reading...