Most popular authors today have a bibliography of a maximum of 8-10 books. But, when an author crosses 50+ published books, there has to be something legendary about them.
Let us introduce you to one such author – Herb Marlow – who has written over 65 books in different genres including war, historical fiction, contemporary, Christian fiction and non-fiction, self-help, and more.
At Vowelor, we got a chance to interview author Herb Marlow and talk about his books, his reading habits, his advice to budding authors, and more.
But, before we head to the interview, let us get to know the author a little more.
About the Author: Herb Marlow
Herb Marlow is a celebrated author, educator, and pastoral counselor living in East Texas, USA. Herb has published over 65 novels, mostly for children and young adults.
Born in 1940 in Iowa, Herb was the only boy in the family of three children, and the youngest too. His mother encouraged him to read books from an early of 3.
He graduated high school in Fremont, Nebraska, and went on to study Sociology for which he holds a BS degree. Further, Herb completed his Ph.D. in Pastoral Counseling.
In 1964, Herb got married to Lynn Marlow and they have successfully raised three children. After spending his young days in US Navy and then as a pastor, Herb starting writing in 2003 and never looked back.
Now, let us dive into the interview questions and his interesting answers as he shared more about his life, writing journey and more.
What were you like at school? Any childhood memory you would like to share.
In elementary and junior high I was average. In high school, I was a bad apple – always in trouble and a poor student. I only graduated because the Principal said to me “Herb Marlow, you don’t deserve to graduate but I’m going to allow it anyway. I know your mother and she’ll send you back until you’re thirty-eight – and we’ve had enough!” Five days after I graduated (at 17 years of age) I was on my way to U.S. Navy boot camp in San Diego, California.
What is your biggest achievement till today?
Probably being a father to three adult children, and a grandfather to four great-grandchildren. My biggest achievement professionally is to be a published author.
Which writers inspire you?
Elmer Kelton, Louis L’Amour, James A. Michener, Bruce Catton, Dick Frances.
Writing is stressful at times. How do you relax your mind?
Meditation, prayer, and Bible study
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
“You can do anything that you set your mind to.”
From my maternal grandfather, Arthur Paullin.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Start writing sooner.
What books do you like to read personally? What are you reading currently?
Fiction and non-fiction, particularly historical fiction. I am currently reading, “Honor at Daybreak” by Elmer Kelton, the story of the early oilfields (circa the 1920s) in West Texas. I read books over so this is my fourth read of “Honor at Daybreak.”
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Stillness at Appomattox by Bruce Catton. This is a brilliant treatment of the end of the Civil War.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start writing?
My love of reading. My mother taught me to read at three years of age. She would read to me and have me sound out the words. I went to kindergarten when I was four, and I was ahead of the other students in reading right away. It seemed to me that there was something magical about being able to write a book other people would want to read – I still feel the same way.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I write early (5:00 am) every morning seven days a week. By nine-thirty I’m done writing for the day. I guess my muse stops singing at 9:30.
About your Books
What is the genre of your books? What draws you to this genre?
I write in many different genres: Westerns: Old West and Modern West, War, Historical fiction novels, Contemporary novels, Christian fiction and non-fiction, Self-help, and more. I have had many jobs and several professions so I am interested in a variety of occupations. I often write from my own experiences, but I also do meticulous research for any book I write. Further, all of my writing is clean – no profanity, no graphic violence and no sex scenes.
Where did you get the inspiration for interesting Texan characters in your novels?
Some from reading about Texans, and some from people I know or have known, and some from my own experiences as a Texan. Texas really is “like a whole other country,” so in this state the subjects and characters are endless.
What makes your books stand out in this genre? What should a reader expect from them?
One thing a reader can depend on in my Westerns is authenticity. If I write about a certain gun that a character is carrying, it is the right gun of the period. If the story has a horse in it, that horse is modeled after a horse I have owned and ridden or one of my present horses. My characters are believable and true to the historical period. All of the leading women in my books are modeled after my wife Lynn.
The underlying theme of your books is Texan history and culture. What was the hardest & the easiest thing about writing such stories?
The hardest thing is getting things right for the period in which the story is set. That requires a lot of research. The easiest thing is the actual writing. Once I begin, the story will usually flow. However, I have learned how to short circuit writer’s block if it should appear – I write four or five books at a time so if the flow stops on one manuscript, I just turn to another one. So far I’ve never been blocked on all the books that I am writing.
Having written over 65 books, what is the reason you write for; is it for the readers or your own self or some other thing?
That’s a very interesting question, and the answer is probably three-fold. For one thing, I write because I have words and stories pushing at my mind all of the time. Also, I write for my readers, and I love to hear or read their positive comments. Finally, I write for the great satisfaction I get from the creative process.
Any special experience about writing stories for young kids that you would like to share.
For a number of years, I traveled all over the U.S. telling stories to kids in elementary schools, mostly stories from my own books that were available to them. I loved it, and the kids asked me to write stories about them or their schools. Several of my children’s books were inspired in that way. As in any of my novels, when I am writing a children’s book I live the story as I write it.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
To date, I have published 69 books in all genres. When the next book is published – “Rodeo Cowboy” – I will reach number 70. My goal is to live long enough to publish thirty more books and reach 100.
Are you working on your new project? What will be your next book about?
As I said above, I have just finished the rough draft of “Rodeo Cowboy.” This is a modern Western about a saddle bronc rider on the PRCA circuit. Probably the next one after that will be “Jedekiah Hawkins.” Jed is a trapper who guides a wagon train to Oregon Territory in the 1840s.
What does success mean to you as an Author?
Success means that people like my books.
What do you think of self-publishing and its future?
I own and operate a publishing company (Four Seasons Books, Inc.) that is really a self-publishing organization since I only publish my books. However, I also have books with traditional publishers. I think both are necessary for authors in this complicated world. Self-publishing is not going away, and will probably outpace traditional publishing in the not too distant future.
One learning that you’d like to pass on to young debut authors.
Understand the discipline of writing. No one is looking over an author’s shoulder, and no one cares if the writer writes or not. However, the only authors who actually publish books are disciplined enough to work at their craft. In teaching writer’s workshops, I always stress the importance of writing every day. Not only does this add up to a lot of words in a month of writing, but it disciplines the mind to treat the writing profession as a serious way of life.