Today I welcome Maggie James back to the blog. Maggie signed a publishing contract with Lake Union earlier this year and they will be publishing a re-release of His Kidnapper’s Shoes tomorrow and Maggie’s next novel, After She’s Gone, next March. Thank you for visiting the blog again Maggie. Lets begin the interview.
What are the mains pros and cons of now being a hybrid author?
A friend of mine told me the term ‘hybrid author’ makes me sound like a space alien, but I’m happy to be one! I have yet to discover the answer to this question, though, as my first book with Lake Union hasn’t yet been published. (His Kidnapper’s Shoes will be released on November 15 2016 and is now available for pre-order). After that date I should find out the pros and cons quite quickly! I think being a hybrid should give me the best of both worlds – I’ll have the marketing power of Amazon behind me for two of my novels, yet still retain control over the rest of my writing career. I’m still very much a newbie at this, and I’m learning all the time. At one time, I would have said I’d never sign a publishing contract, yet this year I’ve done just that. Who knows what 2017 will bring?
What elements from your published work can you also implement in your self-published books?
For me, the main benefit has been working with a top-notch professional editor. This has been something I couldn’t afford before, but I’m now getting my other books edited by her, and hope to release new versions as soon as possible. Going through the process of editing His Kidnapper’s Shoes made me realise the blind spots we authors have with our work, and how an objective eye will spot things we can’t. It’s also made me consider getting new covers for my books, as first impressions are so important.
I know you’re planning on going travelling in America next year. Do you have ideas for a future book ready to take with you to write?
I have a few ideas tossing around my head at the moment, but have yet to settle on a definite topic for my next novel. Perhaps something around betrayal or emotional abuse (carrying on with my penchant for dark themes!) I’m also considering writing two short non-fiction titles, one of which I may offer for free to help anyone considering writing a novel. I’m not sure how well I’ll be able to blend travelling and writing, though! Most of my past trips have been done on a fast and furious schedule, but I suspect I’ll need to slow things down to get the routine I need for writing.
Are there any home comforts you miss whilst you travel?
I really enjoy cooking, so after a while I feel the urge to prepare my own food rather than visiting restaurants. Don’t get me wrong – I love eating out but when you do it three times a day for months on end the attraction wanes. I also miss being able to do my own laundry – again, I get fed up of taking my clothes to the launderette. Both are minor issues as I love travelling so much – there really isn’t any downside for me. I’m happy to spend hours on planes, trains and buses and there are lots more places in the world I intend to explore.
What do you enjoy the most about being an author?
The fact I’m fulfilling a lifelong ambition, one I put off for decades; words and language fascinate me. Although the road to get to where I am now has not always been easy, I wouldn’t change a thing; I can’t imagine a career better suited to me or which I’d enjoy more. I never felt that way about being an accountant, believe me! I’ve learned so much, made some wonderful author friends, and I love what I do!
If you were to start your writing career over, what advice would you give yourself?
I’d tell myself to be much more organised from the start. With hindsight, I should have delved into book marketing and set up a website and social media presences for my writing long before I actually did. Ah, hindsight, such a wonderful thing!
What author or book has influenced your writing the most, and why?
All authors and books influence my writing, because I gain so much from every one. It’s a way of exploring the craft of writing by literary osmosis; if I read a great book I learn from how the author has created the characters, plot and dialogue. However, if I read a novel I dislike or which I consider badly written, I can grow as a writer from that experience too. Every novel I pick up helps me understand further what doesn’t works and what does.
If I had to choose one writer, though, it would be Stephen King. I’m full of admiration for his skill and way with words, and he also seems a decent guy. As for books, I remember the impact that George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four made on me when I read it as a teenager. It was my first experience of a dystopic novel, and the ending came as a rude awakening! I also recall being intrigued by John Fowles’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman and its three different endings. The book was my first exposure to an author breaking the accepted norms for a novel.
Without giving away any spoilers, what are the main differences between the old and new versions of His Kidnapper’s Shoes?
There aren’t huge differences. My editor wanted a couple of extra scenes, which I agreed would be a good idea. The main thing she wanted altered, however, was the character of Daniel Bateman. She didn’t like the way I had portrayed him, saying he was an immature brat. Which I guess he was in the first version! She asked me to change his behaviour to make him more likeable, in particular the way he relates to his pseudo-mother, Laura Bateman. I respect the fact my editor is an experienced professional, so I decided to go with her recommendations and use them as a learning tool. Besides, it’s no bad thing to make a novel’s main characters ones that readers like and relate to.
Thank you for answering my questions today Maggie and all the best with the re-release of His Kidnapper’s Shoes!
You can find out more about Maggie and her other books (both fiction and non-fiction) across social media:
Google+ : https://plus.google.com/101511690389687930651