Connie: Hello, and welcome to OUAR, Margaret. Thanks for taking a few moments to visit with me. Would you start us off by telling a bit about yourself and what we can see on the "bookshelf" by you in the near future?
Margaret: I am married to John, have one fantastic son and daughter in law and three gorgeous grandkids. I live in the north of England on the coast and I love to go out walking in the hills. Writing is my second passion – my family is my first. I just got back from four days in Paris. My son and the gang were there and he treated me to a fabulous trip with them. Paris was wonderful and is still the city of lovers. There were lots of couples walking around holding hands and pausing to kiss one another briefly.
In September I have a new novel out Beloved Deceiver published by Whiskey Creek Press and another book coming out next year His Other Wife. They are very different stories and I do hope my readers will enjoy them. The former has a great female character, I think, she has a sense of fun but she is young and makes mistakes too. She is a very human girl. The latter, my publisher called a "heartwarming story." And I guess I can’t say better than that.
Connie: My interest is piqued! Good luck with the releases on both.
You taught for ten years. In what way, if any, did teaching help you grow as an author? Did it make you see the mechanics of writing differently, or alter your thought process?
Margaret: No not really. I had written eleven books before I went into teaching and lecturing. Teaching absorbed me so much that I did not write at all. I write from my heart so the technical side comes really hard to me. I just go with the flow and am weak on editorial stuff. A good editor is worth their weight in gold, and I have had the very best.
Connie: Since teaching didn’t alter your writing thought process, how would you say your voice has changed from your first book to the most recent book you’ve penned?
Margaret: That is a really hard question, Connie. My first books were historical so in that way they are very different. I think I have improved as a writer and I now concentrate mainly on contemporary romances. Really, perhaps I have become more knowledgeable about my craft.
Connie: As they say, knowledge is power.
Told in 3rd person, some authors like to write their books featuring several points of view, and others like to write with minimal points of view. Where do you stand on that and how/when do you decide the point of view needs to shift to another character?
Margaret: Oh dear, it just depends. I do like to now and again give the male point of view – how he sees things and sometimes I do have a tendency to "head hop" a wee bit. I know editors loath that kind of thing. In the main I do write from the "female" point of view because I know how the female mind works, but sometimes the poor fellow needs to have his thoughts revealed. I don’t decide when to shift, my characters decide that. Sorry if that sounds twee but it is true!
Connie: It is nice now and then to know what’s in various poor fellows’ heads. : - )
Margaret, you’ve written both historical and contemporary romances. I would imagine both have their challenges. What is the greatest challenge you’ve encountered in writing a historical? And a contemporary?
Margaret: I am a big of a stickler for facts. I used to do loads of research – I do hate it when people in the middle ages are eating the wrong foods or enjoying a cup of coffee (ha ha, yes I have seen that!). But I did tend to be too fastidious. I discovered that children’s history books can tell you a great deal. The research part used to take ages for me. Also I find I do tend to write my historical men as they would have been – and some people don’t like that. It is a challenge for me to alter that point of view.
With contemporary romance it is much less confining but nevertheless it can be difficult to think of a new "plot" However, once I get my situation and my characters sorted in my head, then I go like the wind. I get carried away.
Connie: A minute ago you mentioned research. It can be an important aspect of a book coming together, especially with the historicals, as you said. What’s one of the most interesting pieces of research/trivia you discovered that didn’t make it in to one of your books?
Margaret: None that I can recall.
Connie: Secondary characters can sometimes become larger and more colorful than the main characters. Are there any you recall that gave you a hard time with this?
Margaret: The character I most had trouble with was the Mother of Helena in Fortune’s Folly there were times when she nearly took over and I had to push her out of my head.
In my historical novels, I sometimes had to be careful that the "real" people in the story did not take over the fictional characters.
Connie: Could you tell me what you learned through experience as an author that you wish someone had told you when you were one of the aspiring authors?
Margaret: Yes, rejection is not the end of the world, someone else might like your story, or you have another story inside you that will be better. If you feel you have to write, go to it and do not be put off.
Connie: Keep writing and grow a tough skin, hmm? Thanks for the advice!
Just a few questions to get to know you a bit better, Margaret… Either decades or centuries past, if you could pick one time period to live in, which would it be? Why?
Margaret: I quite like the time we live in now, the ability to travel is wonderful, but if I really had to choose I would like the medieval period, round about the time when Richard the Third was King. However, only if I can be rich! It must have been terrible to be a poor person in this time.
Connie: An understatement I’d think.
Would you give us some of your favorites and what makes them so? (see below)
Margaret: Time of day: I love early morning. Quite often I go for a walk, there are few people around and at that time in the day it is wonderful down by the beach.
Vacation spot: Can I have two? Florida because I love it and my family is there. Australia because I so enjoyed the country and the people.
Season: Spring – new life, new beginnings.
Dessert: My husband’s home made sticky toffee pudding – mm!
Connie: I can think of a lot of qualities I’d want my fictional Prince Charming to have. When you’re reading a book, what qualities do you want your fictional Prince Charming to have?
Margaret: A sense of humour, kindness (although this often will be hidden for a while!). He must be passionate about the woman he loves. He is not Mr Perfect but he is man enough to admit when he has been wrong. Did I say sexy, or is that taken as read?
Connie: Nice Prince Charming, Margaret! Very nice.
I think I’ll stop right there with a thank you. Thanks for the chatting with me. Before I let you get back to writing, is there anything I forgot to ask that you want the readers to know?
Margaret: Readers can check out my website and drop me a line. I enjoy hearing from readers. Thank you, Connie, for giving me the opportunity to chat with you. Good luck with all your endeavours.
Connie: You’re most welcome, Margaret, and thank you!
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