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Thursday, 21 April 2011

Author Kristie Leigh Maguire, Interviewed:

Kristie Leigh Maguire’s current titles are Second Chances, Affairs of the Heart: Desert Heat and Cabin Fever (Collector’s Edition), Desert Heat, Cabin Fever, You’ve Got Mail from Japan, and co-author of No Lady and Her Tramp.

She was voted Best Up and Coming Author of the Year and her novel Desert Heat was voted Romance of the Year by the Affaire de Coeur Magazine Reader/Writer Poll. Her novels Cabin Fever and No Lady and Her Tramp placed in the Top Ten in the Preditor & Editor’s Poll.  

Kristie Leigh Maguire and her husband have lived all over the United States and many foreign countries while following his career. While living in Japan, she found it very difficult to find books to read that were written in English. This situation was intolerable as she was an avid reader and had been known to resort to reading cereal boxes if nothing else was available. Have you ever tried to read a cereal box written in Japanese? It was not a pretty picture. Ms. Maguire began writing her own books just to have something to read. She discovered a new passion in writing.   

Although Kristie Leigh Maguire is originally from the South and will always remain Southern at heart, she and her husband now live in St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. During her expatriate years she lived in St. Croix, Aruba, Thailand, Japan and three times in Saudi Arabia and visited many other countries.

Tell us about Second Chances in a few sentences.

My latest release is Second Chances. It is a sweet contemporary western romance. Second Chances is a story of love, betrayal, and redemption.

Jane Porter’s dreams of marrying Mike Farley, the handsome cowboy who lives on the neighboring ranch, are shattered when Mike suddenly marries a redheaded stranger he met at the Wild Horse Saloon in Casper, Wyoming. After Mike stomped all over Jane’s heart with his cowboy boots, can Jane ever trust her heart to a man again?

Mike Farley marries beautiful Samantha Jo Smith after a whirlwind courtship with no thought to Jane Porter, his childhood sweetheart and the woman everyone in Fremont County thought he would marry one day. Mike soon learns to regret his hasty marriage to Samantha. Can Mike win back Jane’s heart even though he had shattered it into a million pieces?

Longtime friends and neighbors Jim Porter and Liz Farley turn to each other for support after the unexpected death of their spouses. Will Jim and Liz’s friendship turn into something deeper even though they both feel they have had, and lost, their chance at love?

Is it ever too late for love? Is it ever too late for second chances?

Set in rural Wyoming, Second Chances is a sweet contemporary western romance that will warm your heart. One reader stated, “I read it through in an evening, and felt as if I had spent that evening with ‘salt of the earth’ folk.” Another reader said, “I loved the double, no triple, second chance. It was a very sweet ending.”

How did you come to write this particular book?

I wrote Second Chances for my 95-year-old mother. Since my other books are a bit on the spicy side, I wanted to write a book my mother could read without blushing.

If you have a favourite character in your novel, why that particular one?

My favourite character in Second Chances is a secondary character named Samantha Jo Smith. She started out from nothing and overcame great odds to get what she wanted out of life. She hurt people along the way but in the end she didn’t let anything stand in her way of following her dreams.

Where and when is your novel set and why did you make these specific choices?

Second Chances takes place in Wyoming. Since I wrote this book for my mother, I picked her favourite state. She’s never lived in Wyoming but she visited there many years ago and fell in love with the state.

Where can people buy your books?

What qualities does a writer need to be successful?

Persistence to keep after it and a thick skin to take the criticism after you release your work into the world.

What is your working method?

I write by the seat of my pants. I get the idea for a story, sit down and start writing. I do not outline. I let the story go where the characters want to take it. Sometimes they go in a different direction than I had envisioned but I find the story flows better if I let them take the reins.

What’s the single biggest mistake beginner writers make?

Tell instead of showing.

To what extent are grammar and spelling important to a writer?

Grammar and spelling are extremely important. A writer should never publish until their manuscript goes through a fine toothed comb edit.

How much do you revise your MS before you send it off?

I revise until I am about 90% pleased with the story. I am never 100% satisfied. Even after publishing, I am always thinking of something I should have done differently or could have done better. That is the reason I hate reading my books after publication. I want to snatch them back and redo them.

As a writer of romance, to what extent do you think genre is useful in the publishing world?

Romance is the spice of life. Everyone needs a little love. A good romance novel provides that love even if it comes from between the pages of a book.

Marketing is often seen as a chore by authors. What's your opinion on this issue and how do you deal with it?

I totally agree. I would much rather spend my time writing than doing promotion. Being a shy person, I find it much easier to do promotion online rather than in person. I break into a cold sweat when doing book signings but I learned how to deal with it and try to have a good time.

How do you know where to begin a given story?

That is a hard question to answer. It depends upon the story. Sometimes I just have to play around with it to see what works and what doesn’t.

What sort of displacement activities keep you from writing?

Life in general. My family. Reading. Many things too numerous to list.

Do you have support from family and friends, or a writing group?

I have the full support of my husband. He is my biggest fan. He knows to let me alone when I am writing but he is there for me during my ups and downs. I do belong to a couple of online writing groups.

Is presentation of the MS as important as agents and publishers suggest?

I’m not sure I understand that question but I never submit a manuscript until it is as error free as I can humanly make it.

How long does it normally take you to write a novel?

Each book is different. I wrote Second Chances in about 5 months but then came the editing and the rewrites after I finished the story.

Who or what inspires you?

Nature whether it is the mountains, the ocean, or anywhere in between. God created an awe inspiring world that we live in.

If there’s a single aspect to writing that really frustrates you, what is it?

Editing, rewrites, and promotion. Oh, that was three things. Hmmm. If I had to narrow it down to one thing, I would have to say promotion.

Is there an aspect of writing that you really enjoy?

I enjoy creating an imaginary story and the characters to go with it, while trying to make it so believable people ask me if it really happened.

Do you think writing is a natural gift or an acquired skill?

I think it is a natural gift but a writer needs to learn the skills to go with that natural gift of storytelling.

What are you writing now?

Nothing at the moment. I do have several ideas percolating in my mind though.

Do you have a website or blog that readers can visit?

Given unlimited resources, what would be your ideal writing environment?

I would love to have a house on a tropical island in the Caribbean with an office that has wall-to-wall windows with a view of the sea, lots of bookshelves, a door to close out the world when I need to do so, and a maid to do all the work that needs to be done around the house.

Where do you actually write?

I set up a corner in my bedroom in my condominium on a tropical island in the Caribbean where I look out the windows but instead of having a view of the sea, I have a view of the trees and flowers and listen to the birds singing while I write.

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