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Martha Conway Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

12 Bliss Street (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Thieving Forest (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sugarland (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Underground River (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Floating Theatre (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Physician's Daughter (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Martha Conway is an award-winning American author that writes mystery and historical fiction.


Martha Conway’s first novel came out in 2003. She went on to win the Silver Medal for Historical Fiction (Independent Publishers Book Awards). Her books have been referred to as extraordinary and hypnotic by industry professionals.

She has also had the pleasure of being nominated for an Edgar Award. And that isn’t even taking into account the short stories she has written for publications like The Quarterly and The Mississippi Review.

Martha was five-years-old when she picked up the writing habit. Of course, back then crayons and paper were her tools. By the time she graduated to writing on a computer, Martha was still struggling to learn the nuts and bolts of the art.

She doesn’t have the fondest memories of her first novel and is quite happy that it never got published. Though, she admits that that first failure pushed her to master her craft and to learn how to create characters and build plots.

She was a far better writer by the time ’12 Bliss Street’, her first published novel, hit the bookshelves. Martha believes her decision to try her hand at the mystery genre straight away prepared her for the rigors of historical fiction down the line.

The mystery genre doesn’t leave much room for error. You must learn to build a plot and generate expectations in your readers before delivering a climax that brings all your pieces together.

There is no room to let the plot wander. Writing ’12 Bliss Street’ shaped Martha Conway into the writer she eventually became. The author’s time at Vassar College and San Francisco State University also played a critical role in her growth.

It was from San Francisco that Martha got her Master’s Degree in Creative Writing. The author clashed somewhat with a teacher who warned her against getting into a character’s head and heart.

She never understood the lesson because she didn’t think readers could engage with a character or learn to care about them if you couldn’t take them into his or her head. Martha was willful enough to find her own voice, a voice that involved allowing her characters’ emotions to shine.

Historical Fiction was always a perfect fit for Martha, even if she started out in mystery. After all, the author majored in History and English in college. And she knows that she always had a knack for the genre.

She chose to go the mystery route because she knew historical fiction requires extensive research and that scared her away. Of course, once she went into the genre and actually did the research, she found that she actually enjoyed it. On top of that, the research she does has always been a rich source of story ideas.

And while Martha’s foray into historical fiction was a little surprising for fans that had come to identify her as a mystery author, the transition wasn’t too jarring because Martha has a tendency to mix genres.

Her historical tales always feature elements of mystery. She also loves to borrow techniques from thrillers and contemporary novels. She will use whatever helps her convey her message best.

Sometimes that makes her novels a little difficult to market because it isn’t always easy to identify her audience. But the right people have always gravitated towards her work.

It is worth noting that while Martha Conway started out in traditional publishing, she eventually saw fit to become her own publisher. The move wasn’t unprecedented. The author had had the privilege of doing various jobs in the field of publishing from typesetting to editing, and proofreading.

So she wasn’t completely clueless when she struck out on her own with ‘Thieving Forest’ and ‘Sugarland’. Martha has admitted that traditional publishing is definitely the easier route.

While self-publishing allows her to produce her books her way, she must also invest her own money and plenty of time into the projects. And that isn’t even taking into account the hassle of marketing.

Though, Martha admits that technology and the internet have made the process far easier. Even though ’12 Bliss Street’, her first novel was traditionally published, Martha remembers meeting with her editor and being told that there was no marketing budget for her book.

As such, she was expected to foot the bill and put in the time to garner publicity for her novel. That meant traversing the country and setting up readings in bookstores. The work was rigorous. And while the book readings were somewhat enjoyable for Martha, she doesn’t think they had that drastic an impact on the sales of her books.

In the years that followed, the marketing landscape changed so unexpectedly that Martha found she could market her books without ever leaving her office. The author has since crafted a strong marketing strategy using tour blogs and Twitter.

She is especially grateful for Twitter. Even when she doesn’t sell copies of her books, the platform allows her to meet so many amazing people.

Martha Conway tries to get most of her writing done in the morning. She writes every day for at least two hours. When she isn’t writing and publishing, the author is teaching creative writing.

+Thieving Forest

Susanna Quiner saw Potawatomi Indians kidnap her four older sisters in 1806. She was 17. Her parents were dead. So Susanna took it upon herself to rescue her siblings. What follows is her journey over the next few months as she tans hides in a missionary village, meets and escapes with a native girl and encounters an eccentric white woman.

Following closely on the heels of Susanna is Seth Spendlove, a part Potawatomi man who loves her. In his attempts to locate the love of his life, Seth learns about his heritage.

+The underground River

It is 1838 and May Bedloe thought she was fortunate to work for a famous actress by the names of Comfort Vertue until their steamboat sunk in the Ohio River. They survived the incident only for their lives to take unexpected turns.

May found work on a small flatboat cruising the border between the free North and slave-owning south.

Comfort was hired by Flora Howard, a noted abolitionist, to give lectures. As May is drawn into the fight to save babies given up by their slave mothers, and as she comes to terms with breaking the law for the good of others, she longs for the day she will see Comfort again.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Martha Conway

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