Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance. This week, I’m so pleased to bring you veteran author Margaret Brownley. Margaret has been writing and publishing books in the Christian market for 20 years! I so enjoyed this interview and LOVE the premise of her new book, Undercover Bride. Please enjoy this interview as much as I did. Margaret is also giving away either a paperback or an ebook (winner’s choice) of Undercover Bride! Read on to see all of the different ways you can enter!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
First, thank you for letting me visit today. As for me, I was always a storyteller and constantly in trouble as a child for day dreaming. The writer part was harder to acknowledge, partly because English was my least favorite subject. I wasn’t that good in history either. I’m probably better qualified to be an astronaut than a writer of historical novels. Despite these flaws I’ve published more than thirty books—not bad for someone who flunked English, don’t you agree? Just don’t ask me to diagram a sentence.
Tell us about your current release.
Undercover Bride is the second book in my Undercover Lady series (though the books stand alone). Pinkerton operative Maggie Michaels travels to Arizona Territory as an undercover mail-order bride to track down the notorious Whistle-Stop Bandit. If she doesn’t prove the suspect guilty before the wedding—she could end up as his wife!
Have you always wanted to write a book?
I can’t remember a time that I didn’t want to write. I wrote my first “book” in fifth grade (it was something like 30 pages long). All though high school I entered the yearly Seventeen magazine short story contests. My angst-driven stories didn’t even earn honorable mention.
How do you push past the fear of your writing being average and be bold enough to sell it to a publisher.
I don’t know that you ever completely push past the fear. When I sent out my first manuscript I was certain the editor would laugh and think it the worse writing she’d ever read. I was probably right on both accounts, but she was kind enough not to say that in her rejection letter. Even today, I’m nervous about sending a manuscript to my editor, and I’m usually biting my nails waiting for those first book reviews. Fortunately, the need to write my stories has always been greater than the fear of rejection or making a fool of myself and that’s what keeps me going.
How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher?
I never really had a choice. I started writing twenty some years ago. Self-publishing was frowned upon back then, so I never considered it. If I was starting out today I would still go with a traditional publisher. Self-publishing is just too much work and I really cherish an editor’s input.
What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block?
I believe that writer’s block is the subconscious saying that something is wrong with the story. So whenever I’m stuck I go back to the beginning to see where I might have made a wrong turn. If the writing bogs down around page 50 I try changing a character’s name. Believe it or not, that often solves the problem. A character is pretty well defined by page 50 and sometimes “outgrows” his or her original name. For example I recently realized that my heroine’s feminine name just didn’t suit her tomboy ways. Once I figured that out, the story took off again.
What do you think is lacking in Christian Fiction?
Christian fiction has come a long way in recent years, but we still have a ways to go. I’d like to see more character diversity and more honest emotions. Some characters are too good to be true! I also think labeling our books as Christian fiction turns readers away. God didn’t say to share the gospel with other Christians; He said to share it with the world. It’s a shame we have to label the books at all but since we do I prefer we call it inspirational or hope fiction.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
My advice it so enjoy the journey however long it takes. An aspiring writer has the luxury of giving a book all the love, time and attention it needs. Once you’re published you’ll have deadlines and a bunch of other stuff to think about. Trust me, you’ll long for those pre-published days.
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