Recently, Therese and Kathleen had the privilege of interviewing popular women’s fiction author and wordsmith extraordinaire, Marsha Moyer. Moyer’s first two novels, The Second Coming of Lucy Hatch and The Last of the Honky-tonk Angels caught our attention for her insightful detailing of the human spirit. Here’s what Publisher’s Weekly had to say:
…As the story of Lucy’s psychological and emotional bewilderment and her gradual coming of age develops, first novelist Moyer seduces the reader with pitch-perfect prose fed by an observant eye and a wise heart. If some of the situations are the stuff of women’s magazine fiction, Moyer is capable of sweet and insightful writing about the power of love to transcend grief. The dialogue is sharp and wry, with an authentic country twang, and humor is provided by colorful secondary characters whose only fault is that they’re all excessively decent and kindhearted-but maybe that’s the way people are in East Texas. On the other hand, Lucy’s attempts to reconcile her past and future are realistically portrayed, granting her full dimensionality and emotional resonance.
We spoke with Moyer about her unique work and characters, as well as her sometimes bumpy road to publication. Enjoy!
Part 1: Interview with Marsha Moyer
Q: How did the Lucy Hatch books begin and evolve? Did you always envision them as a series?
A: My original manuscript was 300,000 words long and encompassed what ultimately became The Second Coming of Lucy Hatch and The Last of the Honky-tonk Angels. I never envisioned a series, per se; I just knew I wasn’t done writing about these characters. Happily, I recently received an offer from Three Rivers Press, an imprint of Crown, for books 3 (called Heartbreak Town) and 4 (as yet untitled) in the series, to be published in mid-2007 and 2008, respectively. Depending upon how they succeed in the marketplace, there may be additional books about these characters.
As for how the story began and evolved: I spent 3 months on a writing retreat in far northeast Texas in 1990, and I always knew that I would write about the place someday, even though it took another 10 years for the characters and the story to mesh in my imagination. The relationship I started with was actually not that of Lucy and Ash, but of Ash and his daughter, Denny. The second book (which evolved into Honky-tonk Angels) actually came first; The Second Coming of Lucy Hatch was the backstory. My original plan to publish the whole thing as one big book was dashed after a string of rejections from agents who admired the writing but said it was too long. The manuscript was already divided into three parts, so I decided to collapse parts 2 and 3 and make two books out of it. That done, I was able to find an agent fairly easily, and a few months later she sold the first two books at auction to Morrow/ Avon. It was only after the second book was delivered to my publisher that I realized the story wasn’t finished. And hundreds of emails from fans to my website convinced me that I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. Luckily, the folks at Crown agree. I’m honestly not sure how many more books in the series there will be. Till the characters stop talking to me, at least.
Q: How difficult was it for you to make the decision to break your manuscript up and offer it as two separate stories? Did it take you a long time to reach the decision to do this, and how long did it take for you to reconfigure things on paper? [Read more…]