Marcia Quinn Noren is the author of Joan of Arc: The Mystic Legacy. This is a nonfiction biography that began as a series of essays. Two of those were published by a Berkeley anthropologist who required a scholarly format and academic style; including references, quotations and endnotes.
Marcia says, “That set the tone for the book, but my intention is to engage the reader’s emotions, while stimulating their interest in Joan’s history within the broader framework of Late Medieval France. Eventually, a consistent, less formal voice emerged. Another challenge was organizing the placement of thirty-seven color photographs from my three field trips to France and direct quotations from Joan’s trial records, without interrupting the book’s momentum and flow.”
Joan herself and all that she accomplished at age seventeen provided ongoing inspiration for Marcia’s book. “That Mark Twain and George Bernard Shaw each devoted years to writing their own published works about her inspired, yet terrified me (how dare I step into that arena?) As an English Literature major, I wanted to understand what motivated those writers and how they perfected their craft, as storytellers. That’s how I began reading nonfiction; scouring the letters, journals and memoirs written by my favorite authors.”
Marcia says that leading a well-balanced life while obsessed with writing projects is an ongoing challenge. “I wake up intending to include a trip to the gym, walking my dog, and perhaps, cooking a great dinner. Then, hours slip away without my being conscious of time. Prioritizing healthy activities interwoven with the tasks on my daily ‘to do’ list is how I attempt to deal with it, although I don’t always succeed in following through with those intentions.”
She sought out critiques from her mentors (nonfiction authors), and then worked with professional editors. Marcia says, “Because I write nonfiction, fact-checking is essential. The details of Joan of Arc’s life are highly complex. The need to include all essential historic facts, while providing fresh discoveries (those that came directly out of my own research) without wandering down too many tributaries required my asking others for honest feedback.”
Insofar as doing the groundwork for her marketing strategy, Marcia says, ” Hiring a great cover illustrator, Duncan Long and layout designer, Nick Inglish, brought invaluable results. Participating in marketing forums (LinkedIn groups, webinars, seminars etc.) for a year before the book was published in November, 2011 was helpful, but webinars too often are time-wasting sales pitches. I am still learning what works and what doesn’t. Although I have not used paid advertising thus far, I invested in website development. Advertisements will be placed in news publications, as I proceed to organize the book tour. Giving away innumerable review copies has brought satisfying returns. Now, I am participating in a “Goodreads” giveaway that began on January 18th and will close on February 14th. Offering eight books resulted in well over 250 member requests for those, within the first few days, and nearly 50 members have marked by book “to read next” as a result of the attention created through the giveaway program.”
Marcia supports and has read other titles by indie authors, including Jane Rowan’s The River of Forgetting and Kim Justus’ In a Flash (memoirs); and Irish novelist Paul Kestell’s Wood Point. “Next, I will read two more Indie novels; Lauren Gilbert’s Heyerwood and J.J. Brown’s Vector; a Modern Love Story.” She adds that my novel Upgrade is also on her TBR list!
Her advice to aspiring writers? “Practice writing often (daily, if possible), and interact with other writers.”
Marcia points out that we are fortunate to be creating our books during the greatest publishing revolution in world history. “In many ways, the options are infinite, but as Indie authors, writing a good book plus wearing so many additional hats is extremely hard work!”
Marcia’s book is Joan of Arc: The Mystic Legacy
A nonfiction biography that coincides with the 600th anniversary of Joan of Arc’s birth, “Joan of Arc: The Mystic Legacy” reads more like a descriptive novel, grounded in the author’s full decade of research and three field trips to France. Relying upon Joan’s own recorded testimony as the primary resource for understanding her motivations, perceptions and behavior, the identities of the visions and voices she described are traced into the roots of Judeo-Christian antiquity. Her daily interaction with these three primary spiritual guides is viewed through the broader lens of cross-cultural mysticism.
The book is receiving a growing variety of favorable reviews, posted by readers from radically different backgrounds on Amazon.com, Goodreads and other sites where the book is listed for sale in perfect-bound paperback and eBook formats.