Interview with fantasy romance author Marsha A. Moore

I’m happy
to have fantasy romance author Marsha A.
Moore
here today to tell us a bit about her newest novel, Shadows of Serenity, and a bit about
herself and her writing life.
Bio:
Marsha
A. Moore loves to write fantasy and fantasy romance. Much of her life feeds the
creative flow she uses to weave highly imaginative tales.
The
magic of art and nature often spark life into her writing, as well as
watercolor painting and drawing. She’s been a yoga enthusiast for over a decade
and is a registered yoga teacher. After a move from Toledo to Tampa in 2008,
she’s happily transformed into a Floridian, in love with the outdoors. Marsha
is crazy about cycling. She lives with her husband on a large saltwater lagoon,
where taking her kayak out for an hour or more is a real treat. She never has
enough days spent at the beach, usually scribbling away at stories with toes
wiggling in the sand. Every day at the beach is magical!
Welcome, Marsha. Please tell us about
your current release.
Shadows of Serenity is a novel that can be described as
women’s fiction paranormal fantasy/magical realism.
Joyce
Runsey spends her life savings to open a yoga studio in an historic Victorian
St Augustine house, only to discover the property is haunted. A female ghost’s
abusive and very much alive husband still tortures her by using dark
witchcraft. The disruptive energy thwarts Joyce’s ambition to create a special
environment to train students to become yoga teachers.
Joyce
engages in a deadly battle with not only the tormented spirit, but also the
dangerous husband. To protect her students from harm, she must overcome
mounting obstacles. An unknown swami pays an unexpected visit to give advice on
how to free the anguished ghost. Can Joyce comprehend and follow the wise man’s
guidance in time to save everyone who depends on her?
What inspired you to write this book?
Shadows of Serenity was inspired by my experiences while
completing a yoga teacher training program. I was overcome with joy seeing the
incredible, positive transformations of my classmates. I wanted to create a
story that would show this amazing growth. To do so, I created a force of evil
that the power of yoga must overcome. The negative energy manifested through a
ghost who haunted the yoga studio and was tormented by her former husband, a
man capable of dark witchcraft.

Excerpt from Chapter One:
“Stop
looking outside.” Eric slipped behind the main desk, a curved leg Queen Anne
piece that had been a business-warming gift from her previous clients and
teachers, and powered up the computer. “Do what you always tell your beginning
teachers to do when they fidget while waiting for students to show up—go lay
out mats for the number of students you want to show up tonight.”
Joyce
straightened her posture and marched to the mat storage bin. She grabbed two
armfuls without counting. In the classroom, she quickly unrolled a front row of
five. Progressing to the second row, she hesitated and slowly laid three more
in the middle. Looking at the pile of remaining mats, she took a breath to
steady herself. It caught in her throat as a muffled cough. Thirty-five had
enrolled in her last training session at the other studio. She wondered what
had made her take a chance on this rundown, more-than-century-old property and
mounting debts. She fingered the corner of a pink mat, its pebbled surface
clinging to her skin. Surely more than eight would sign up. She unfurled the
pink one and then four more. As she fought with a green mat that curled at the
corners, the motion of Eric entering the room caused her to jerk her head in
his direction.
“Only
thirteen?” he called to her with a smile. “Where’s the confident Joyce I know?
How about twice that number?”
She
glanced at the clock—seven minutes until starting time—and gave a shrug. She
turned toward one of the paired bay windows trimmed with wide, dark
Jacobean-stained woodwork.
A
pair of rain-bedraggled white egrets huddled unsheltered on the bank of the
pond. They stretched their necks toward her, tilting their heads to gain a
better view inside the studio. Joyce sensed their concern, but couldn’t meet
their gaze.
She
surveyed the canopy of pines and shivered. Mid-winter evenings set in early, even
sooner with today’s gray skies. The rain that calmed her moments ago now seemed
to be a destructive force. The cement mixer’s tracks were now mud holes. The
deluge cut short the daylight and seemed to be doing the same to her dreams.
Had she taken on too much? She’d trusted her business sense from her college
training and previous corporate career, but the world of yoga touched lives in
unpredictable ways.
The
creak of the door in the foyer startled her from her thoughts. She and Eric
battled each other to be the first to pass through the doorway.
A
tall blond-haired woman greeted them with a wide smile. Rather than yoga
clothes, she dressed in jeans that were stylishly frayed and holey. Joyce
wondered if the girl walked in by mistake.
“I’m
Joyce Runsey, the owner of Serenity Woods Yoga.” She extended a hand. “Are you
here for the information meeting about yoga teacher training?”
“I’m
Tara.” The girl accepted Joyce’s handshake. “I didn’t bring my yoga mat. I
wasn’t aiming to come here tonight until I noticed a brochure for your new
studio that I must’ve left on my front seat. I’m glad I saw that in my car
since today’s the deadline.” She glanced down at herself, then leaned her head
to one side and fluffed her long, golden hair. “Sorry I’m not in yoga clothes.
I was on the way to the grocery store.”
“That’s
not a problem. We’ll just be talking tonight. I’m so glad you’re here.” Joyce’s
face lit with a grin, then fell as she noticed a single mourning dove
fluttering on the porch outside the door. Doves seldom left their mates. The
solo bird alarmed her, and she peered around Tara for a closer look. Even
stranger, the bird clutched a flower stem in its beak.
Tara
glanced over her shoulder, and the dove whipped its wings closer to the screen.
“That bird’s trying to get in, and look, it’s carrying my favorite flower, a
daisy,” she said with a laugh. “Where would it get a daisy in January?”
Joyce
shivered and studied Tara, wondering why the lonesome dove needed to deliver
that special flower to comfort her.
Footsteps
reverberating on the porch chased the bird away, and two smiling women, who
appeared to be in their early thirties, peered through the window of the front
door.  A brunette with a bouncy ponytail
stepped through the threshold first. “Sorry we’re late.” She juggled a purse
and a large bag. A yoga mat stuck out from one end of her tote. “I’m Megan. I
made a wrong turn…my daughter called, and I got distracted. She’s not used to
being apart from me; I’m a stay-at-home mom.”
“You’re
not late. Welcome. I’m Joyce, the program director.”
Arms
full, Megan smiled and nodded.
“I’m
Katie,” the other woman said, extending a hand to Joyce.
“Hi,
Katie. Welcome back.” Joyce took her hand into both of hers. “I’m so glad you
decided to sign up.” She motioned toward her partner at the desk. “This is
Eric. You’ll see him helping out in just about every way here at Serenity Woods
Yoga, teaching our new men’s classes, helping at the desk, and—”
“Doing
the endless yard work,” he added with a warm smile.
“Please
make yourselves comfortable in the classroom.” Joyce waved a hand to the open
door. “Find a mat. There are blankets on the side you can fold to sit on.”
“I
remember where everything is and will help them.” Katie brushed her light brown
hair behind her shoulders and steered her friend down the hall.
As
soon as the three entered the classroom, Eric nodded toward the door and gave
Joyce a wink. “Look! Laying out mats did the trick.”
A
slim gray-haired woman opened the door, and, beyond her, Joyce glimpsed several
people walking in from the parking lot.
The
laughing gulls continued to swoop at the porch, narrowly missing the
gingerbread fretwork.
The
approaching students shooed them away, but not one person turned back.
Joyce
shook her head and blinked back tears as she welcomed each new arrival.
When
she walked to the front of the classroom, eleven students sat up straighter on
their mats. She stood near the bay windows and made her usual opening remarks.
“In the teacher training program here at Serenity Woods Yoga, you will be embarking
on a journey where new doors to self-exploration and discovery will open.”
Familiar words she’d said many times during the past three years at her other
studio spilled from her lips, while a new energy burst from her heart. Her
cheeks rose with a smile. “The ancient art and science of yoga will help you
access your inner wisdom to prepare you to share this experience with others
through your own teaching.”
The
two empty mats caught her attention. The green one now lay perfectly flat
despite its earlier fight and the pink one, which wouldn’t let go of her
fingers, gleamed orange at its edges. She wondered why those two particular
mats remained.
Eric
appeared at the door and escorted two students into the room. One was a trim,
middle-aged woman. Despite being carefully dressed, she seemed ill-at-ease. The
lady fidgeted to take a seat on the folded blanket while keeping her attention
fixed on Joyce. When asked, she replied in a soft tone that her name was Susan.
“Sorry
I’m late.” A black woman quickly took a seat on the green mat, her long braids
falling across her face. “It’s been a hard day.”
“I’m
glad you’re here. I’m Joyce.”
“I’m
Ricca.” She curled her legs to one side and sprawled onto an elbow.
“Make
yourselves comfortable,” Joyce replied, pleased to see the latecomer so at
ease. Most beginning teaching students sat rigid and stiff to display their
best postures. “It’s been a hard day for many of us. Let’s take a deep breath
to center and relax before we begin our talk.”
As
Joyce exhaled, she exchanged smiles with Eric who stood in the back of the
room.
He
grinned ear to ear. He’d been right, just like when she advised her beginning
teachers who laid out empty mats that were filled with exactly that number of
students. Thirteen students, eleven women and two men, in her first yoga
teacher training class in the new studio of her dreams, lucky thirteen.
A
single gull cried at the window, and Joyce whipped around. Its beak hung open,
gaping in her face. Past the wiggling pink tongue, a message emerged from the
dark depth of its gullet: Thirteen steps
to a gallows.
As quickly as it came, the bird flew away.
Joyce
sucked in a sharp breath. She turned toward the egrets, but they had gone.
Without looking at the class, she stepped to the stereo, taking an awkwardly
long time to select a new song. She inhaled slowly, filling her lungs
completely, then released with an extended exhale. The soothing music helped
prana flow into her. But as she scanned the room, her hands still trembled. No
one’s face showed any sign of surprise. Instead, they waited patiently for her
to continue. With a shaky smile, she got everyone on their feet and led a quick
asana routine to throw off any lingering negative energy.
What exciting story are you working on
next?
I’m working on the beginning book of a new series, Coon
Hollow Coven Tales, which will be a new adult paranormal romance. Set in
present-day southern Indiana, there is an illusion of time travel with the
coven living in a separate village that follows customs of the 1930s.
Interesting things happen when folks of the two groups interact!
When did you first consider yourself a
writer?
I’ve
followed a circuitous path to end up as a fiction writer. I graduated with a
degree in Biology, minoring in English. I wanted to pursue Literature and Fine
Art, but my parents encouraged me to study Biology, so I might eventually find
a reliable job. That was fine, since I liked that subject also. I wrote essays
as a fun break from my full load of Science. Yes, weird that I thought writing
essays was fun…still do!
Along
the way, I picked up a hobby of writing music reviews for record companies.
During that time, I was inspired by some of those experiences and tinkered with
fiction. Initially, I wrote fiction based on the world of rock music. Through a
lucky happenstance, a man who worked for a major book publishing house read my
first attempts at fiction, which were posted on a music forum. He repeatedly
encouraged me to submit my creative writing to publishers. Over time, I came to
believe him and did. After that, a new world opened up and it’s been a
wonderful time.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?
I mostly
write full-time, but I also keep busy as a yoga teacher. I’m certified in
Restorative Yoga and have trained in Trauma-Sensitive Yoga for veterans through
the Warriors At Ease program. In yoga classes I teach, using sensory enhanced
yoga, adaptive yoga, and trauma-sensitive meditation, I help veterans and all
my students reconnect to a sense of wellbeing.
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
I
get a lot of positive and amazed comments about my imagination, usually, “Where
do you get these ideas?” or “You are talented storyteller,” or “How do you
drive with all these wild ideas in your head?” I honestly have no idea—it’s
just me and how I think. I see odd stuff in nature, like portals and strange
creatures.  I’ve been this way as long as
I can remember. It does make for some great tales though!
As a child, what did you want to be
when you grew up?
I was always, and still am, happiest when being creative. I wanted to
be an artist. When I entered college, I wanted to pursue Literature and Fine
Art, but my parents encouraged me to study Biology, so I might eventually find
a reliable job. That was fine, since I liked that subject also. I wrote essays
as a fun break from my full load of Science. Yes, weird that I thought writing
essays was fun…still do! And I still paint and draw, creating my own cover art
for my books.
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
Thank you,
Lisa, for this fun interview!

It’s been my pleasure, Marsha. Thank
you for being here!

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