Black Walnut Publishing: Is it true that this story started out as a letter to your wife?
Philip Marshall: Sort of. A job separated us by a few thousand miles for a while. We were dead broke, so long phone conversations were out of the question and I had no internet access. We would write long letters to each other but really, how often can you write about how much you miss one another? I had the basic idea of Barn Politics swimming around in my head, so I started including a chapter with each letter. Once the job was finished and we were back together, life took over and the book sat around unfinished for a few years.
BWP: So what prompted you to finish?
PM: My wife wanted to know what happens in the story, and having me sum it up was not good enough, she wanted to read about it. Her tenacity is what kept the project going, and is one of the reasons the book is dedicated to her.
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BWP: Surprising then, that you would write under a pen name.
PM: There are a couple of reasons for that. For one, people seem to seize up when faced with a name ending in “ski”, and start throwing in extra consonants—‘z’s in particular. I call it Easterneurophobia; in fact, I have had clients for over a decade who still stumble over the correct spelling of my name. I figure Philip Marshall is doing search engines and bookstore employees a huge favor. I also do a fair bit of professional writing and speaking, and wanted some separation between the veterinarian and the author.
BWP: Makes sense. Will any of these spelling-challenged clients find themselves in the novel?
PM: There are traits, both physical and personal, from people I've known over the years lent to the novel. But more than that, anyone involved with horses can identify with the main characters because you’ll find them in and around just about every barn.
BWP: Thanks for your time. Are there any other Pascoe novels in the works?
PM: Definitely. Jordan (Pascoe) is a flawed man, and I’d like to see him face, and conquer, some demons in future books.
It's All in The Name
Philip: from the Greek; "horse friend" Marshall: Germanic origin; "horse servant"