My guest today is my friend Margaret Blake, a writer of page-turning contemporary and historical romances as well as thrillers. Welcome Margaret. Tell us about your latest novel.
MB: My latest novel “Under a Grecian Moon” is set on a
and in London.
I have never been to Greece so it
was exciting to do this. I chose the Greek setting because one day I was
looking out of my window on a cold, dull November morning. I wanted to go
somewhere warm. The novel is the story of past loves meeting after many years;
there are secrets to be revealed and an adorable child. Although it is a
contemporary romance there is an element of suspense, I think.
JRL: When and why did you start writing?
MB: I’ve always written for as long as I can remember. I never did anything about it until John (her late husband) persuaded me to take myself seriously. I think I wrote because I was an only child and often used to do this to amuse myself. My dad used to think it was smart of me and he was so proud when I had my first book published in 1978. I am so glad he was around to see that.
JRL: What do you see as the turning point in your career?
MB: I guess when I started taking myself seriously. John nagged me to do something about it and I researched publishers and then wrote a book I thought they might like. They didn’t like it but suggested if I had anything else I might send it in. This was a turning point. Always having loved Richard the Third I decided to write a novel and try in some way to exonerate his character. That book was accepted and it was the kick start for me to write more historical novels.
JRL: You’ve written in several genres. Would you give us your insight on the challenges in doing this.
MB: Well, you do the same, John; many writers do. It is challenging in that if you are writing historical you must do your research. I always try to remember that someone knows more than I do so I am very careful. Writing suspense is very challenging, I have changed things in these kinds of books. In one I fell right out of love with my hero. I think it worked but had it not done so, then I would have ditched the book.
JRL: Do you see switching from one genre to another as a good or dangerous thing for a writer to do?
MB: No, I see it as fun. Sometimes I feel I like to do something new and fresh. For me if I am just writing in the one genre I feel I might become stale.
JRL: Do you have a favorite genre?
MB: It’s all down to how I feel at that moment. For instance I loved writing “Under a Grecian Moon,” not only did it take me away from grey England in winter but it was fun, too. My last contemporary romance “Tilly’s Trials”I also enjoyed writing as it was looking at a young woman who had a serious problem with intimacy. Although it was a romance it looked at the challenges she had to face, it had humour, too, so I felt very light hearted at times. The funniest thing about this novel was when my grandson, then 14, saw the cover he asked. “Is it about bikes, Nana?” as there is a bicycle on the cover! Covers are very important!
JRL: What do you consider the biggest challenge in writing a novel?
MB: Since my husband died every novel has been a challenge. I would not say I have had writer’s block, but I have put off writing quite a lot. I really have to drag myself into my little study to work. Once I start work I am all right but it is getting there. I think this is because John always was the wind beneath my wing. Generally, I didn’t have challenges, I just loved writing so much I got on with it. Really one challenge we all have is knowing when you have to ditch something you have been working on. Like parents with their children, they just don’t want to let them go when you know you have to.
JRL: Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers?
MB: It would be great if they would stop by my website and let me know what they think. It is quite new and I love it: www.margaretblake.com Also, if you want to be a writer, do it. I always used to tell people that it only costs the postage to mail a novel/story/article off to a publisher. Today it’s even cheaper than that with the Internet and e-book publishing. Don’t be shy. We all have to take that step into the unknown.
JRL: So, what’s next, Margaret?
MB: I have two books out next year. The first, in February, is an e-book version of a hardback novel I wrote a couple of years ago. Then, coming in April, is a new romantic suspense, “The Flower Girls,” which is set in
Yorkshire and the South of France, both favorite places
of mine. Thank you so much, John. It is always a pleasure to visit with you.