I’m delighted to welcome Maggie Mason to my blog.
Hello Maggie, I’ve been looking forward to having you on Arabella’s Blog and Chit-Chat for some time and now you're here, I’m eager to discover all the news concerning your latest release, Blackpool’s Daughter. But first, here are a few questions which will hopefully give your readers a chance to get to know you a little better and discover some of the things that matter to you.
Arabella: How did you manage to get your first novel published and what did you learn from the experience?
Maggie: This took all of twenty years. But back in those days it was extremely difficult to get an agent, let alone a publisher. If I was privileged enough to receive a reply to my enquiry, it usually was along the lines of: Publishers are not interested in Clogs and Shawl novels anymore, or, thank you, but no thank you. With the innovative dawn of Amazon self-publishing, everything changed. The reader was now in the driving seat, and as we authors gave them our books and they downloaded them in their thousands, the publishers began to take note. On self-publication of my fifth book and it going to the number one spot in genre, they no longer ignored me. Within a week I had a message from a publisher showing interest, another from a large print publisher, and then a phone call from an agent. My real journey began from then, as I had never given up on the dream of being traditionally published and seeing my books in the shops.
Arabella: If you could choose, which would it be: A walk in the woods, a walk along a beach front to dip your toes in the sea, or a day shopping for clothes?
Maggie: A walk along a beach front. I love the sea, and the feel of the sand between my toes and the ever-present breeze on my face. And I find the sound of lapping waves, and watching the beautiful seagulls swirling and diving very relaxing. I can never resist dipping my toes and will often walk along the edge of the sea so that I have the constant feel of the water on my feet.
Arabella: Who or what inspired you to write your latest release, Blackpool’s Daughter?
Maggie: Ever since reading Gillian Mawson’s Guernsey Evacuees – a true account of those who, as children, were evacuated to Britain at the outbreak of war, I have wanted to write a novel based on the stories of heartache, hardship and tragically for some, never being returned to their parents. I saw in my minds eye the pain of a mother and daughter separated and began to imagine how desperate they would be to get back together. This led me to write Blackpool’s Daughter.
Arabella: Some authors write at first light, others need a mug of coffee or a glass of wine before putting pen to paper. When writing, are there any “essentials” you need to help the words flow?
Maggie: I begin my writing day at 5am, I find the peace of that hour suits me before most of the world wakes up. I wake up my brain, not by reading what I wrote the day before as many authors do, but by playing a few games of solitaire on my phone – I know, a strange habit. But once I have achieved the three goals the app sets me, I’m wide awake and ready to go. I can work all day then, being fed and watered by my lovely hubby.
Arabella: Where do you read? Sofa or bed or ____?
Maggie: I have so little time to read, and much that I do is for research or for a review, so with this limitation, once I start to read, the book goes everywhere with me – even into the toilet!!! My favourite place of all though has to be sitting on a beach bar lounger with an attentive waiter bringing me cocktails at my whim…sigh
Arabella: You’re halfway through the work-in-progress, you’re about to kill off the hero and there is going to be no happy-ever-after. In other words, you’re stuck! If you had to contact an “author/publisher/editor friend” for guidance, who would it be?
Maggie: Luckily, this has never happened, but if it did, it would be my lovely agent Judith Murdoch. Judith is very down to earth and would probably tell me to down tools for a couple of days or some such advice. Nothing ruffles Judith, and her answer to any queries or concerns are of that nature. She always signs off her short and to the point correspondence with ‘onwards and upwards’.
Arabella: The T.V. is on and you’re in control of the remote. Which is it to be: A quiz programme…An afternoon of sport…A family soap…A romantic film you always wanted to see but missed when it was shown at the cinema?
Maggie: Of those four it would be the film. I love to lose myself in a soppy film, especially if it is true life story. Tissues at the ready, and I’m happy. If documentary had been there, that would have won, as I am fascinated by finding out how this or that works – the ambulance service, the zoo, wild life dynamics – anything and everything, and for escapism, those that help others richer than I to find a place in the sun, or the country – oh and best of all, the ones that take you on the journey of an old property being brought back to life.
Arabella: Do you have any great writing, publishing, or marketing tips you’d like to share?
Maggie: My writing tip would be to get the story down, don’t keep going back over it and editing what you have so far, but keep going till the end. Nothing can be until it is created. Once you have it all down – a beginning, middle and end, then spend time reading it through and making any necessary edits. A much quicker process and a much more enjoyable one than anguishing over every scene.
Well, readers, if you’re still with me, thank you, and I hope you have enjoyed this little insight into my work and me. I loved taking part as this has been one of the most interesting set of questions set by an interviewer to date.
If you would like to know more about my work – my releases, join in competitions and receive three-monthly newsletters, then I would love to welcome you to my website: www.authormarywood.com and/or my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/HistoricalNovels
BLACKPOOL’S DAUGHTER can be found in Asda and Morrisons and is available in libraries on ebook sites.
And Coming Soon:
I have written a series called THE SANDGRONIANS – which is a name given to those born in Blackpool. Book one is available for pre order on ebook outlets and released in July and is called BLACKPOOL’S ANGEL, the paperback will follow in November. Book Two: BLACKPOOL’S SISTERS will be in ebook by Dec and paperback in April 2020. Book Three: BLACKPOOL’S CHRISTMAS isn’t written yet but is scheduled for Christmas 2020.
Much love to you all, Maggie x
Maggie, it was a tremendous pleasure having you as a guest on Arabella’s Blog and Chit-Chat and I’m sure your readers were just as enthralled as I was to discover some of your writing secrets. The fact you rise with the dawn chorus and start playing solitaire before pounding out the words to your next novel on the keyboard was fascinating. Thank you so much for sharing something personal about yourself and your life. It brings you closer to us.
Wishing you all the best with your family sagas…
About Maggie Mason
Maggie Mason is a pseudonym of author Mary Wood. Mary began her career by self-publishing on kindle where many of her sagas reached number one in genre. She was spotted by Pan Macmillan and to date has written many books for them under her own name, with more to come. Mary continues to be proud to write for Pan Macmillan, but is now equally proud and thrilled to take up a second career with Sphere under the name of Maggie Mason. A Blackpool Lass is her first in a planned series of standalone books and trilogies set in her home town of Blackpool.
Mary retired from working for the National Probation Service in 2009, when she took up full time writing, something she'd always dreamed of doing. She follows in the footsteps of her great-grandmother, Dora Langlois, who was an acclaimed author, playwright and actress in the late nineteenth – early twentieth century.
It was her work with the Probation Service that gives Mary's writing its grittiness, her need to tell it how it is, which takes her readers on an emotional journey to the heart of issues.
Clara is forced to flee her home as the Nazis invade the beautiful island of Guernsey
Separated from her mother, far away from anything familiar, she is at the mercy of a cruel shopkeeper. Clara is worked like a dog, but the warmth of her Blackpool friendships will go far to save her.
Julia just wants to find her beloved daughter - but the trials of war will keep them far apart.
They will meet again - but the war will change everything for mother and daughter...
Maggie Mason can be found touring at these places: