Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Well you got to know more about Margay Leah Justice's first book in her Dante Chronicles called Nora's Soul in her guest blog on Friday, January 9th. Today you will be getting to know author who wrote the book in this following interview. I had fun asking Margay questions about her writing and herself especially since I loved her answers which gave me such insight into her and her writing. So enjoy the following interview between me and Margay.
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Phoebe Jordan: When did you know that writing romance was going to be the thing that you would do with your life? Which author inspired you to start writing romance? Margay Leah Justice: I have always known that I wanted to write, in some capacity or another. In fact, I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t write. As to when I decided to write romance, I think the idea might have been born in my early readings of Jude Devereux. I just loved reading about her Montgomery men and wanted to write rollicking stories like that, too. Phoebe: Did you know what type of romance you wanted to write about or did you experiment with different genres before you chose the one that you felt was for you? Margay: I started writing medieval novels in my teens (as stated above, I was really into Jude Devereux then), but kind of morphed into other historical periods (I have some ideas on the back burner in that regard—some in the Victorian era, one in the golden age of piracy and another set during the French and Indian wars) later on. Writing contemporary romances—and ultimately, paranormal—kind of snuck up on me. But it seems to be a comfortable fit because I have a lot of ideas brewing in this genre. Phoebe: What was the first fiction you ever wrote? And do you still have it with you? Margay: I think it was something about an Indian (American) princess. No, I don’t still have it, but it would be good for a laugh—I was only about twelve when I wrote it! Phoebe: How much research do you have to do for your novels and did it take you a long time to gather that research? Margay: I’m funny about gathering research—I don’t just do it for a specific book. I am constantly bookmarking sites for research purposes or saving news clips that spark an idea. For me, research is a continual thing. But when I do it for a specific book, I try to be thorough. Sometimes, gathering research could take months. Phoebe: How did you come up with the concept for your upcoming novel Nora’s Soul, which is the first in your Dante Chronicles series? Margay: It literally came to me in a dream, well, two actually, that I had in one night. Even as I went from one dream to the other, I knew they were interconnected because the woman in them was the same. They were so completely different that they sparked a myriad of questions that had to be answered. Dream number one was of a woman—let’s call her Nora—who was in a nightclub, dancing the night away with a devilishly handsome man and when she tired and turned away from him, his eyes began to glow red and his appearance took on a devilish glow. Why? I wondered. I had to find out. Well, before I could, Nora showed up in my next dream, dressed prim and proper, hair pulled into a severe bun, and she was moving into a garage apartment in preparation for caring for the twins of a widower. I was hooked at that point and had to tease out the story. Phoebe: How many novels are you planning to write for this your series called The Dante Chronicles? Margay: However many it takes for Dante to tell me his story! I think three at the least, possibly more. He is a larger than life character and has so much to say! Phoebe: Do you have a process of how you start to write your novels? Margay: I like to start with an outline so I have something I can look at to tease out the ideas. My outlines can be very detailed, including dialogue and bits of scenes—whatever comes to me while I’m sketching out the idea, I write in the outline. For me, this helps to conquer the dreaded blank page. Phoebe: Which do you like best, writing a series or writing stand alone novels? How is writing each different for you? Margay: That’s hard! Each has its merits. I do have a fondness for series, at this point, because it gives me more time with my characters. Phoebe: What process did you have to go through to get your first book published and did it take you long? Margay: Well, I had been trying off and on for a number of years, in between motherhood and dealing with a child with medical issues. But about five years ago, I decided to seriously pursue it again. My first step was to test the waters by entering Nora’s Soul in a contest. Although I didn’t win, I met a great group of people and several of us got together to create a critique group. We often talked about our difficulties in getting published and how much we believed in each other’s work. We even tossed out the idea of starting our own publishing company. Well, one of our members took the idea and ran with it and so Second Wind Publishing was born and all of us in that group have been or are in the process of being published. Phoebe: How did you feel when you finally saw your first published book came out? Margay: It was surreal. It didn’t start feeling real until the first time I saw my book on Amazon.com. But it really sank in when I received my own copies in the mail. Holding the book in my hand, looking at my name on the cover, reading my words inside—it was incredible. Phoebe: How do you handle your writing schedule and your personal life without going insane? Margay: Whenever I feel the pressure building in either area, I take a break. I either go read a book, watch a little television, knit an afghan—whatever I need to do relax. That is the key. Phoebe: What do you do to relax after having spent a long while writing? Margay: Catch up on my reading, knit something, watch television, or sometimes, I just take a nap. Phoebe: Do you have any hobbies? Margay: You might be seeing a pattern here, but I love to read and knit. Even my hobbies are creative! Phoebe: Is there any advice that you would give to an aspiring romance writer that you wish someone had given you? Margay: Don’t ever allow anyone to talk you out of your dream. If your dream is to write, then write. Take courses, hone your skills, learn everything you can about the techniques of writing and the market you’re interested in. Writing isn’t as easy as picking up a pen and scribbling on paper. There’s a rhythm and a structure to it that you need to learn before you attempt to reinvent it. And don’t write for the fame, don’t write for the money you envision making because it isn’t a quick windfall for most of us. Write for the sheer pleasure of writing; if you don’t unconditionally love what you’re doing, it will show in your writing. This is a tough business to get into, but if you have your heart set on it, don’t let anyone talk you out of it. This is a very subjective business. Just as you, the reader, don’t love every book you look at in the store, editors and agents won’t love everything that comes across their desk. Take it for what it is and move on to the next. Eventually, you’ll find the right fit. Phoebe: Is there any writing tips, research tips, promotion and marketing tips that you would give to an aspiring romance writer that you wish someone had given you? Margay: Writing tips: Learn, learn, learn. Whether it’s through a class or a book on writing, always hone your skills. Research tips: Bookmark anything you think might be an interesting tidbit—you can always delete it later if it doesn’t pan out, but it would be a pain to go looking for it again if you didn’t. Also, don’t let the research overwhelm you. Get enough details to lend authenticity, but learn when to draw the line before it overwhelms you. For writing and research: Back up everything. This is especially true for writing. Make copies of everything you write, send it to your email account, and copy it to a flash drive. You do not want to lose your only copy. Promotion tips: Start before the book comes out. Visit blogs, yahoo groups, social network spots, and brand yourself by commenting on other authors’ posts, writing announcements of your upcoming book, and the like. Use the internet to your advantage. Read the tips others post about marketing and promotion, familiarize yourself with what needs to be done and then commit to doing it. What many writers don’t realize is that much of the responsibility for promoting the book is on them, especially if they go with a smaller press. Even some of the larger ones are cutting back on their contributions to promotion, so keep informed about the trends and your responsibilities as the author. Phoebe: Now for a question that I have been meaning to ask an author. Do you have a favorite genre you like to read? Who is your favorite author(s)? Margay: I kind of read all over the place—kind of like my writing. I used to read and write only historical romances. But then I started reading the Silhouettes and Harlequins, so I opened myself up to a different genre. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of paranormal romances, some of which are YA. So basically, I read—and write—in whatever genre provides an interesting story for me. I have a few favorite authors, but topping my list are Julia Quinn (my go-to author for Regencies), Stephenie Meyer (who opened me up to reading YAs) and Luanne Rice (who is the queen of women’s fiction). Thank you so much for interviewing me. It was a pleasure.

2 comments:

  1. Phoebe, thank you for the interview! It was great fun sharing my thoughts with you.
    Margay

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well it was a pleasure interviewing you Margay. I learned a bit about you and your writing that I thought very interesting.

    Phoebe

    ReplyDelete

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Phoebe Jordan
I'm a part-time aspiring romance novelist, book reviewer and blogger. I've always wanted to travel the world and learn everything I can about other countries. Learning the Italian language is one way of trying to make that dream come true. Traveling will help me with my writing because I'll be learning about the history of the U.S., Latin America, England, Italy, and Ireland, the countries I find so fascinating while reading the romance genre.
 
I read and review romance novels of almost every subgenre along with erotic romance, mystery, sci-fi/fantasy and young adult novels. You can find the reviews at my blogs, Talk About My Favorite Authors and Phoebe Jordan's Reviews. I’ve also started a live podcast show called TAMFA | Phoebe Jordan hosted on Blog Talk Radio. This show is dedicated to everything I love about romance and young adult novels. I love having romance and young adult authors live on my show to be interviewed and showcase their books.

I plan to write contemporary romance, romantic suspense, erotic romance, paranormal romance and young adult when I get my writing career started with help from Keta. I'm not sure what genre I'll write to begin with since I love to read so many different romance genres.
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