Thursday, October 6, 2016

Interview 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.

What first inspired you to write or who inspired you?

Nobody inspired me to write.  It just came naturally to me in my childhood.

At what age did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I wrote an Easter poem that rhymed for my Mother and Father when I was 7 years old.  I continued to write after that, mostly poetry, then short stories, song lyrics.  In high school I became the Newspaper editor and wrote editorials and patriotic poetry.  I won first prize in 1943 for a poem I wrote during World War II titled "A Soldier's Letter".

Do you take notes when reading or watching a movie?

 I do occasionally write it down if something strikes me as important or of interest. 

Has writing always been a passion for you or did you discover it years later?

Writing has always been a passion for me since that poem at the age of 7.

Do you have a day job?  What do you do?

I am 89 years old.  I worked from the age of 17 until age 44 as a Secretary; Operations Manager; and an Administrative Assistant. 

What hours do you write best?

I write best in the morning and early afternoon, probably 8 A.M. to 2 P.M.

How often do you write?

I write almost every day.

Are you an avid reader?

I have been an avid reader all of my life, although now, at age 89, I have been writing more than I have been reading.

What are you reading now?

Right now I have been reading and re-reading my own book over again.

Has writing always been a passion for you or did you discover it years later?

It has always been a passion with me.

What are you currently working on?

I am working on the completion of 7 volumes I have  been writing - The Founders of Our Nation - about 12 Generations of a family in America. 

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