Sunday, October 9, 2016

PUYB Virtual Book Club Chats with Marian Small, author of 'When Johnnie Doesn't Come Marching Home'

Marian Small was born in Cleveland, Ohio; she has been writing for most of her life. She began her 25 year business career as a secretary, a cashier and manager of a Detroit mortgage company, and as an Operations Manager of a Florida stock-brokerage firm. She moved to Beverly Hills, Calif. with her the 10-year-old son from her first marriage and became the Administrative Assistant to a Vice-President of the Regional Office of the same brokerage firm, which entailed frequent stints within the Wall Street office.  She married again in 1973, at age 46. She and her husband shared a 34-year long marriage before they divorced. After surviving breast cancer and minor strokes, Marian resumed writing at age 86 and has been writing ever since.

For More Information
About the Book:

Title: When Johnny Doesn’t Come Marching Home
Author: Marian Small
Publisher: Friesen Press
Pages: 341
Genre: Memoir

First-time author Marian Small’s WHEN JOHNNY DOESN’T COME MARCHING HOME does for World War I what Tom Brokaw’s THE GREATEST GENERATION did for World War II.

Written as a memoir of her father, WHEN JOHNNY DOESN’T COME MARCHING HOME expands to pay tribute to the generation that fought in the trenches and on the battlefields of what has been called the “forgotten war.”

Employing an inherited cache of her father’s letters home, his diary of the war, and voluminous family and historic photographs, Small, at age 89, has scrupulously created a narrative rich in vivid, sometimes heartbreaking detail of First Sgt. John Small’s experiences on the front lines and as a returning wounded veteran.

As a young man touched with the “spirit of adventure,” John R. Small enlisted in the Ohio National Guard in 1916, when he was 20 years old. He was first sent to Gen. John J. Pershing’s command on the Texas/Mexican border in pursuit of the legendary revolutionary and bandit Pancho Villa. When America entered World War I, in 1917, Small was mustered into the Army and promoted to sergeant. His unit was sent to France in 1918. Among his personal possessions was a diary given to him by his wife, Mary. He made almost daily entries during his time witnessing and enduring the horrors of the war.

John Small was severely wounded by a high explosive during the Meuse-Argonne campaign. His legs were badly mangled. After six months in hospitals in France, he was sent home. “At the tender age of 23 years, Johnny didn’t come marching home,” says Marian Small.

Although John Small’s incredible story took place nearly 100 years ago, it is still relevant today as American troops continue to be deployed around the world in harm’s way. WHEN JOHNNY DOESNT COME MARCHING HOME is certain to appeal to military history buffs, veterans, their families and friends, and readers who enjoy a compelling tale.

Marian Small believes that her book is unique “in that every word is true as told by Johnny in his diary or in his letters as narrated by me. I do not believe it can be compared to any other World War I war story that I have read or that has been written.”

Readers are sure to agree with her.

For More Information

  • When Johnny Doesn’t Come Marching Home is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.

Before you started writing your book, what kind of research did you do to prepare yourself?

I bought and studied many World War I books.

Did you pursue publishers or did you opt to self-pub?

I sent the original manuscript to 2 publishers who did want to publish it, but I then decided to contract with Friesen Press to publish it.

If published by a publisher, what was your deciding factor in going with them?

They were recommended to me.

If published by a publisher, are you happy with the price they chose? 


Did you purposefully choose a distinct month to release your book?  Why?

I wanted the release to be as close as possible to the Centennial observation of WWI in April 2017.  By releasing it now, it can be promoted to sell before, during and after that date.

How did you choose your cover?

It was obvious that the cover should be a 100 year old picture of JOHNNY with a flag background.

Did you write your book, then revise or revise as you went?

I revised it several times  as I wrote it and even afterwards before I was satisfied that it read the way I wanted it to read.

Did you come up with special swag for your book and how are you using it to help get the word out about your book?

I did send out 4 x 6 postcards with the front cover picture of JOHNNY on it to my close friends and certain organizations.  The rest of the PR is in coordination with my agent, The Barrett Company.

What’s your opinion on giving your book away to sell other copies of your book?

In certain cases, I will be giving the book away. For example, I will be presenting JOHNNY to a large group of Seniors in a Retirement Home, so I probably will be donating it to them. 

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do before their book is released?

(1) Read it over for mistakes in sentence structure, punctuation, and spelling, etc.
(2) Have it edited by an editor or someone qualified.
(3) Read it over, and over, and over again to be certain it is ready for release.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do after their book is released?

(1) If doing your own PR, decide on different methods for promotion.
(2) Make a list of various organizations, etc. who would be interested in your book and send Press Release to them.
(3) If using an agent to do your PR, get books to him ASAP so he can begin the PR for you.

What kind of pre-promotion did you do before the book came out? 

At 89, I am limited in setting up promotions although I did promote it to my friends in Face book and had a Website set up. 

Do you have a long term plan with your book?

Yes.  I believe it will be timely in 2016 - 2017 - 2018 as the story takes place 100 years before, - in 1916, 1917, and 1918 and later.  It also would make a good history book about WWI, which would be timeless.

What would you like to say to your readers and fans about your book?

As one reader of the draft of my book responded to me:
"What a wonderful book. The way you  have presented the war history is masterful and makes it a dual book - a love story and a war story.  It should be required reading for students in school."

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