Welcome, Maggie, and thank you for coming to my author chat. Also, congratulations on the release of your sixth novel, Champagne for Breakfast. With an alluring cover shot of the Noosa River and a catchy title, it’s sure to enjoy great success.
Thanks, Debbie. I’m delighted to be here.
Maggie, what inspires you to write and to keep on writing?
My readers are my inspiration. Good reviews, when someone tells or emails me that they’ve enjoyed my books, love my characters and want more, that my books mean so much to them, give them hope and inspiration. Even when mature women ask me for advice on their love life! All of these motivate me to keep going. It thrills me to have given pleasure to my readers and makes it all worthwhile. One especially pleasing comment I received recently was when a reader told me she was having coffee in one of the cafés I mentioned in my books and she expected the characters to walk in, even though she knew they couldn’t.
When writing a novel, do you plan the story from the start or ‘go with the flow’?
I start with my heroine and a challenging – or pivotal – situation and take it from there. My other characters appear, and the story begins to take shape. I may know how it will end, but not the intervening events. I most definitely ‘go with the flow’ and it sometimes takes me down surprising paths.
How much of yourself is reflected in your characters?
I guess there may be a little of me in all of my heroines, even though most of them is fiction. For example, Anna in Band of Gold is a teacher – I was a teacher. Jenny and Rosa in The Oregon Coast Series and Champagne for Breakfast both work in a Health Service, as I did. Jenny faces a redundancy, as I did. But there the similarity ends. I guess I use my experiences to provide background information and locations I’m familiar with. I lived for many years on Sydney’s North Shore, hence the location for Band of Gold and Broken Threads. My mother-in-law moved to the small town of Florence Oregon in her eighties, many visits there prompting the setting for my Oregon Coast books. I currently live on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, hence the setting for my latest novel, Champagne for Breakfast and the beginning of The Sand Dollar. And Anna in Band of Gold makes a trip to my favourite Peregian Beach too. My heroines are, like me, independent and organised women.
As an Indie author, what do you see as the future of writing and publishing?
I think there is a strong future for writing and publishing. I believe more and more authors will turn to indie publishing and/or become hybrid authors as it becomes more difficult to find acceptance with trad publishers, smaller publishing houses disappear and authors become disillusioned with the trad route.
In your writing career so far, what has been your proudest moment?
I don’t think there is one proudest moment. There was the time I held a copy of my first book, my first review, when someone I’d never met wrote, ‘I read this book recently and LOVED LOVED LOVED it. A mature heroine was what made it so special. Brilliantly written.’ When our local bookshop owner promotes me to other indie authors as someone to emulate, and last Saturday when I sat at a table for my book signing behind my six books and I realised I’d written all of them.
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently editing a book set in Scotland. I’m often asked why I haven’t set a book in Scotland, so when writing Broken Threads, I gave one of the minor characters, Bel, an ageing aunt in Scotland. The Good Sister picks up this story when Bel returns to her native Scotland to visit her terminally ill aunt. It’s a dual narrative which tells Bel’s story while in Scotland plus her aunt’s story going back to 1938. It’s been fun researching Scotland in the war years and remembering my own time growing up there – lots of words and phrases I haven’t heard or used for years kept coming into my head as I was writing this one.
I’m also working on a novella which will be Alex and Jack’s story. Alex is an executive coach who appears briefly in The Sand Dollar and again in Champagne for Breakfast where Jack is also introduced.
As you see, I’m continuing my custom of having my readers meet old friends in my books. It’s something I set out to do, as does one of my favourite authors, Marcia Willett. I enjoy reading her books and meeting characters I’m already familiar with.
Thank you, Maggie, for sharing insights into your writing journey and best wishes for your new novel, Champagne for Breakfast.
If you’d like to buy a copy of Champagne for Breakfast, go to getBook.at/ChampagneforBreakfast.
And if you’d like to contact Maggie direct, here’s how.