Delighted to be joined to day by the lovely Maggie James.
Maggie James is a British author who lives in Bristol. She writes psychological suspense novels.
Before turning her hand to writing, Maggie worked mainly as an accountant, with a diversion into practising as a nutritional therapist. From childhood, she always wanted to be a novelist, but when she grew up life decided otherwise. Instead, she became an accountant – not the most logical choice for a would-be novelist, you might think! Despite a long career crunching numbers, the desire to write never went away, leading to Maggie tentatively dipping her toe in the water. To start, she wrote some short fiction pieces, which were well received online. She also had an erotic short story published, although the publisher went out of business before she got paid! Undeterred, Maggie quit her job to go travelling in 2010, with the intention of becoming a novelist no matter what it took. She’s pleased to report that, so far, it’s all proved much easier than she dared hope, but then she’s a stubborn individual!
Once she’d completed her first novel, ‘His Kidnapper’s Shoes’, Maggie’s intention was to return to the UK and seek a publisher or agent. While she was enjoying South America, however, a fellow traveller introduced her to self-publishing via Amazon’s KDP programme, and she’s never looked back. No regrets about her former accountancy career, that’s for sure! Other novels followed, along with a novella and a non-fiction book aimed at would-be novelists.
In February 2016, Maggie received a call from an acquisitions agent from Lake Union, one of Amazon’s publishing imprints. It seemed she’d enjoyed ‘His Kidnapper’s Shoes’, and was interested in exploring working together. Six weeks later, Maggie signed a publishing contract with Lake Union, which included her forthcoming novel, ‘After She’s Gone’, to be published on March 16, 2017.
Diet and health remain high on her list of interests, along with travel. The urge to pack a bag and go off travelling is always lurking in the background! When not writing, going to the gym, practising yoga or travelling, Maggie can be found seeking new four-legged friends to pet; animals are a lifelong love!
Want a quirky fact about Maggie? She has synaesthesia, an unusual neurological trait in which the senses are muddled, and shared by other novelists such as Vladimir Nabokov and Orhan Pamuk. Not that she’s in the same league as such literary giants, but hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?
You can keep up to date with Maggie James and her books on the following sites:
Website and blog: http://www,maggiejamesfiction.com
His Kidnapper’s Shoes: http://smarturl.it/HKSnew
The Second Captive: http://smarturl.it/thesecondcaptive
Guilty Innocence: http://smarturl.it/guiltyinnocence
Sister, Psychopath: http://smarturl.it/sisterpsychopath
Blackwater Lake (a free novella): http://smarturl.it/BWLAmazon
Write Your Novel! From Getting Started to First Draft: http://smarturl.it/writeyournovel
Favourite book as a child?
I enjoyed a wide variety of reading material as a child, thanks to my father’s love of books. My favourite as a child Is probably ‘The House in the Square’ by Joan G Robinson. Why? Well, I won it as a prize in a writing competition, and have treasured it ever since. I believe it’s now out of print, but I’ll always keep my copy.
Favourite book as a teenager?
By my teens I was enjoying authors such as Agatha Christie, Jean Plaidy and Thomas Hardy. The book that made the biggest impression on me, though, was George Orwell’s ‘1984’. I recall wondering how on earth Winston Smith was going to defeat Big Brother, because I’d not yet read a book in which good hadn’t triumphed over evil. The ending came as a shock, therefore, stripping me of my literary innocence! I’m not it’s my favourite book from my teenage years, thanks to the grim subject matter, but it’s probably the most memorable. Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles might be my choice for favourite, therefore; Hardy’s magical descriptions of the Wessex countryside are justly famous. In my view, Angel Clare is a truly loathsome character; at least Alec D’Urberville doesn’t pretend to be a better person than he actually is. What a great story!
Hmm, a difficult one. I’m a big Stephen King fan, and I loved ’11.22.63’, but I can’t say Jake Epping is my favourite character; it’s the incredible plot that grabs me. I do have a soft spot for Henry James’s ‘Washington Square’, and the character of Dr Austin Sloper is, for me, truly memorable. His treatment of his daughter is appalling but James paints him so well he’s always stuck in my mind. By contrast, Morris Townsend is a far more overt villain, and it’s hard to say who screws up the unfortunate Catherine Sloper more thoroughly.
Favourite book to movie adaption?
So many to choose from! What about Daphne Du Maurier’s ‘Rebecca’? Stephen King’s ‘Misery’, or ‘The Shining’? Patricia Highsmith’s ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’? I think I’d have to pick ‘Rebecca’, thanks to the creepiness of the black and white 1940 film version. Not to mention the superb portrayal of Mrs Danvers by Judith Anderson. Scary stuff!
Favourite drink or snack while reading?
I don’t often eat and read, as I’m one of those people who like to keep books in pristine condition. Neither would I want smeary fingerprints on my kindle. If I do, though, hummus on homemade bread topped with black olives makes a great snack. I adore olives and anything made with garlic – yummy!
Favourite highlight of your writing career?
When I finished writing the first draft of His Kidnapper’s Shoes in 2011, holed up in a cheap hotel in Bolivia. I’d given up my job as an accountant in 2010 to travel the world, with the hidden agenda of returning with a completed novel. I’d dreamed of becoming a novelist since childhood, yet had procrastinated for decades. Somehow it all seemed too daunting. A few months into my trip, I still hadn’t written anything and a milestone birthday was on the horizon. One evening, while in a small town in northern Chile, I decided to get my act together. The next morning, I got on a bus to Bolivia, travelling to the gorgeous city of Sucre. I determined I’d write every day until I’d completed my first draft, and I did, while taking Spanish lessons and working my way around the local restaurants. It took about two months to complete the book and I burst into tears after I typed the last word. It was a hugely emotional moment for me and remains so every time I think about it.