Before I move on to the interview, I would like to take just a moment to thank all who have sent inspiration in the form of comments or direct emails. That, along with meeting wonderful people is all of the incentive I need to conduct the weekly Ink Drop Interviews. Okay, enough mush… and now, I would like to shine my humble spotlight on Margaret Blake, author of over 20 novels. Please be sure to check out her contest, posted at the end of the interview.
Margaret’s first book, A Sprig of Broom, was published in 1978 and will be re-released by Whiskey Creek Press sometime in the near future. But, A Sprig of Broom was just the beginning of her extensive career. Since that memorable date, Margaret has published twenty-four novels of historical, contemporary and suspenseful romance. Next year, or sooner, she will be publishing two new novels and says, ‘I just want to hit the thirty mark, and then I might retire’.
Margaret is still raw and hurting over her greatest trauma – the loss of her husband in January of 2010, but gets by with great support. ‘My family and friends pull me through, I am more than fortunate in both,’ she says. Margaret has one son, a gorgeous daughter-in-law and three fantastic grandkids. They, as well as dear friends are a gift that keeps on giving.
IDI – Margaret, twenty-four novels! That’s quite an accomplishment. What keeps you passionate about your writing? What keeps you motivated?
MB – It’s the ideas, it actually burns my mind; I have to go ahead. Something just comes into my head… An idea or maybe a person and then I have to explore and see where it takes me. It’s a roller coaster ride and I get a great thrill from just going with it.
IDI – I like the roller coaster analogy and I think many of us can relate. Was there a specific moment when you realized, ‘Hey, I want to be a writer?’
MB – I wouldn’t say I was born to be a writer but I always knew I wanted to write from about age 7. I wrote all the time. However, it was my dear late husband, John, who made me try to see if I could be a ‘professional’ writer, i.e. one who gets paid for their writing. I had tons of stuff in suitcases in the attic and he said it was ridiculous to be able to pour out of myself all this stuff and not do anything about it. My first book was published in 1978 and I owe everything to John.
IDI – I could be wrong, but i think the support of loved ones counts for much of our inspiration. Can you tell us, what are you working on now?
MB – I have just started writing a story about a girl who meets up with a man she once loved desperately. it’s a straightforward romance. I have only done 5,000 words and I hope you believe me when I tell you, I have no idea what is going to happen!
IDI – …a girl who meets up with a man she once loved… Am I safe in assuming that your stories are character driven?
MB – Yes, I would say character driven. Plot is important but it is how the person deals with circumstances that drives the plot. A person with a different personality would deal with a situation differently. For example, Kerensa is very reluctant to level with Ned about the truth of her search. She is afraid that somehow she will be tarnished by the murder, in his eyes.
IDI – I’m a
pathological liar creative person and that’s why I write, to get what’s in my head on paper. I believe that writing is almost like being schizophrenic, without the personalities coming out verbally. Seriously, we ‘become’ the people we write, at least for a time. We have to feel what they feel, think what they think, know what they know… so how can we not ‘be’ them? What are your thoughts?
MB – I so agree with you, Kathy. It is like being schizophrenic, funnily enough that is something I told a group I was talking to about two weeks ago. I was saying how I wander around – perhaps striding along the sea front – with all these ideas in my head and muttering, occasionally out loud, about them and what they’re doing! So far, I haven’t been arrested.
IDI – Who is your favorite author, and why?
MB – Favorite book is The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Favorite author, I guess Charlotte Bronte, but I love lots of modern writers too. I was very fond of Kathleen Woodiwiss. I do like Kathleen O’Connor and John Lindermuth, Harlan Coban and of course, Michael Connolly. For non-fiction, I am a massive fan of Charlie Connolly who writes funny books, sometimes about serious matters and he makes you care, which is what a writer should do.
IDI – I recently had the pleasure of working with John Lindermuth as he was gracious enough to help me launch Ink Drop Interviews. Lovely interview.
Everyone has their own style/voice. What author would you say your work most resembles?
MB – My work resembles that of Margaret Blake and no one else. I know that might sound a tad arrogant, but if I wrote like someone else I feel I would be cheating my readers.
IDI – What is your outlook on genre-crossing?
MB – I have crossed genres myself when I began writing romantic suspense after having written contemporary romance. I had always written straight romance or historical, so suspense was a real change and a challenge. I have two new books out next year. One a straightforward romance and the other a suspense. I so enjoyed writing both. Actually, I wrote them in tandem. I found it hard as I had lost John, but I did it, so I know he is proud of me for finishing both.
IDI – In your opinion, what are the biggest misconceptions new authors have about the publishing industry?
MB – That they are going to make tons of money.
IDI – One last question, Margaret. What is the best advice ever given to you and by whom?
MB – By my late lovely husband, John Blake. He said, “Write something for publication.” I shall always be grateful, he was my greatest fan and he kept me on the straight road. He was the love of my life and I was lucky to meet him.
IDI – Your life sounds like it was a love story in itself. It’s a beautiful thing when personal and professional can form a fulfilling union, as it seems yours had.
Now, I did mention that Margaret had a contest to announce. Her next book is titled ‘The Longest Passion’. If anyone can guess what the title means, they can win either an e-book or print book of any of her Whiskey Creek novels. Get your thinking caps on now!
A note from Margaret about her books:
My last book published, ‘A Fatal Flaw’, is set in Cornwall and Florida. It tells the story of Kerensa, who discovers that her mother shot and killed her father. She decides to go to Florida to find out more after her mother dies. here she meets the gorgeous Ned Rochester, but can she trust him to help her? After all, he is a cop! I love this book, love the people involved and the way the plot twists and turns. It has had very good reviews and I so enjoyed it. Another exciting moment was to discover that an older book of mine, ‘His Other Wife’, has suddenly popped back into the best seller list at my publisher – www.whiskeycreekpress.com I love the hero in this book, Saul. I think I am still in love with him, although I have to confess that I do fall for all my dishy men. A visit to the publishers website will give details of all my books, plus an excerpt. My other books are all listed on my website, www.margaretblake.co.uk
I would like to thank Margaret for being such a wonderful interview. Twenty-four books and counting. I can only hope I one day reach such numbers!
I ask that if you enjoyed Margaret’s interview, let her know by leaving a comment in the space provided below. It’s one way of showing support for our fellow writers. If you would be interested or know anyone who would be interested in participating in an Ink Drop Interview, please contact me at ladybuggerly@hotmail.
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*All answers, excerpts and opinions contained in this interview are those of the interviewed’s and do not necessarily reflect those of the interviewer.