Veteran Writer Brings Area History,
Crafts Together In Launch of New Writing Service
Ferndale, Pennsylvania – Mary Shafer, a published author with 27 years in the marketing and publicity business, brings a deep respect for history and traditional craftsmanship to her new venture, The Word Forge, a full-service professional writing firm located here.
Shafer, who learned the business in her father’s Midwest advertising agency, did her first professional freelance job at fourteen and has been learning and refining her craft ever since.
“I do think of my work as a craft,” says the author of two hardcover popular history books. “It requires creativity, technical skill and years of practice to become proficient at writing, just as it always has for any artisan. And I really identify with that, both as a historian and an aspiring blacksmith.”
Indeed, Shafer’s appreciation for the historical shows in the subject matter of her two books—Wisconsin: The Way We Were (a popular history of the state’s first century of statehood), and Rural America: A Pictorial Folk Memory (an illustrated rumination on the rural, agrarian nature of American life before the industrial revolution)—as well as her choice of home and office. She resides and works in a large, 150-year-old stone farmhouse on Route 611 in Upper Bucks County. Part of the attraction when buying the house was the working iron forge left in the garage by the home’s former owner, a blacksmith hobbyist.
“I had wanted for years to learn the craft of blacksmithing, and it was almost as if the house was signaling to me that I’d found the place I needed to land. We put in an offer on the house on the spot. The seller also left some of the tools for use with the forge, including a full-size, mounted anvil. Now all I have to do is find the time to practice!” Shafer says.
When not doing corporate writing, Shafer is editing books for Amherst Press of Wisconsin, and working on a few of her own book projects. She is negotiating a series of non-fiction histories of American games, as well as working on her first novel, Lonely Cottage Road, a romance and ghost story set amid her Upper Bucks surroundings during the Civil War era.
“I’m really excited about this novel, because it happens in an area I’m becoming intimately familiar with, and during a time period I’ve always found fascinating. Just doing the research is exciting,” says the 41-year-old Pennsylvania native. She has made trips to the Civil War battlefields of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville in Virginia, to the new National Civil War Museum in Gettysburg, and has spent many hours at the Free Library and the Mercer Museum’s Spruance Library in Doylestown in search of accurate background material for the novel.
“I don’t think most people around here even know what fantastic historical resources we have right here in Bucks County,” Shafer says. “For a writer, this is a dreamland, but even people who don’t write can find something of interest and value in the treasures contained within the walls of these places. When I go in for a specific bit of information, I always find something else of interest that threatens to derail my research. I’ve even been able to track down the original deed to my home property, which dates back to 1775!”
Whether working on her books or writing corporate communications materials for area business, Shafer hopes that she and The Word Forge can hammer out a place for themselves in the long line of creative professionals who have called Bucks County home. To learn more about The Word Forge, call 610-847-2456 or visit them online at www.thewordforge.com