Welcome everyone. I want to welcome Margaret Rose to my little corner of cyberspace. Pull up a chair, have a cup of coffee and get ready to dig into writing.
Tracey, thanks for having me. This is my very first appearance on a GAP family member blog and I’m so excited to be here.
Margaret, would you like to tell me a little bit about your writing career?
I have a degree in news writing and editing and have been a professional writer for more years than I’m going to say. My favorite job was as a disk jockey and to give you a clue as to how many years ago, I spun the disks for Saturday night requests. 😉
In between, I’ve managed multi-million dollar ad campaigns and worked with shoestring budgets, too. I freelance feature articles for business-to-business magazines mostly about commercial construction, architecture, oil refineries, and road construction – all the cool stuff guys like to talk about but not with girls. LOL Men are always surprised when we start talking and I “get” the subject even if I don’t know the details. I really love writing for magazines. If the market ever came back strongly enough, I’d quit my day job – which is writing direct marketing in the credit union industry – and just write for magazines. It’s quite lucrative and there’s always something new to learn.
I began writing fan fiction about four years ago and that turned into writing romance novels. I sold my first book in late December 2008. Since August 2009, I’ve had five novels and my children’s book published.
Wow, Margaret! That’s very impressive. You have definitely been playing the field in literature. You mentioned that you write for children and adults. What is the biggest difference between the two?
In some ways there’s no difference, because you are writing to appeal to a specific type of reader. So, you need to understand that and not lose sight of it when you’re developing your story and characters. I’m noodling on a young adult piece about not caving into peer pressure when your passion happens to be an unpopular choice. In this case, I’m delving into the mind of a middle-teen and trying to appeal to the emotions and choices they must make to be happy while fitting in to the pressures of high school. I have a child this age at home so I feel more comfortable writing this than if I didn’t. Kids are smart. They’ll nail you if you aren’t believable just as adults will.
The other significant difference I experience is the complexity of plots and subplots. Adult books give me much greater leverage to explore subjects and characters that I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing as a young adult/children’s author.
How do you get your ideas between the different genres?
Sometimes I see a photo or a concept comes to mind and I just let my subconscious work on the image or story concept for awhile. For example, I’m going to write a ghost story soon. In the back of my mind, I’m thinking about these characters, coming up with names, and bits and pieces of the plot will come to me. I’ll write those down. When that book comes in cue, I’ll start fleshing out these areas – in fiction writing, I’m called a PLOTTER not a PANTSER (I do not “wing it”). My young adult piece has been swirling in my brain for months. I’ve scrapped one approach completely and am now working through story issues.
How did you get started writing?
I’m a born writer. It is my passion. I write almost every single day and between my writing job, the books and all the promotion that goes along with it, I probably write 60 hours a week.
What are your biggest goals with your writing?
I just want a reader to be glad they spent the money on one of my books and enjoyed every word. That seems a simple goal, but it’s not. Writing is very subjective and the reader reactions are equally so.
How do you hold yourself accountable to those goals?
I’m very disciplined. I have a 1,000 word-per-day goal and I work hard to improve as a writer. Many readers think we can just write what we want, how we want. But authors know that isn’t true by any stretch of the imagination. Excellent writers have mastered the most challenging aspects of writing and know there is always something new to learn. I want to be an excellent writer.
You are a true testament of hard work paying off. Writing is definitely something you have to work at. If you could write anything and have it published, what would it be about?
LOL Gosh, that’s a good one. I don’t think I know. I will say, however, that I’m really glad to live in America and be able to write what I want. There are many brilliant authors whose voices are silent because of political and religious censure.
What is the worst idea you’ve ever come up with?
Teasing a bull in a pasture and then trying to dive through an electrified fence to escape. It was hair-raising.
Hahahahaha! ❤ it!!! Which story of yours do you think is the best?
I like them all for different reasons. As an author, you have to be passionate about what you’re writing or it’ll be soggy on the page. I have favorite characters and scenes, and great memories from each piece I’ve written.
How do you market yourself and your books?
I pound the electronic pavement pretty hard. I belong to several author groups, including Guardian Angels, and a number of reader sites, such as Goodreads. It’s all pretty time consuming, when you add this to your website (I have two), blogs (I have three), and e-mail (don’t ask…I might implode). I participate in contests, reviews, volunteer to help other authors, trade blog appearances, I have signings, send out autographed books, and I leave my cute bookmarks accidently here and there (a sneaky marketing thing to do). I recently walked into an electronics store, Googled myself on all the iPads and left them up that way. 😉 I’m very involved in social media for my adult books.
ROFL!!!! I must remember the iPads the next time I’m in the electronic department. VERY SAVY!!!! How do you separate yourself from the world to write?
I have an office at home but I also have children at home and my husband works at home. The kids have grown up with mom banging on the keyboard. I worked from home for about 12 years, too, so they sort of get that they need to stay out of my hair some of the time. But they live there and I spend a lot of time working – yes, I’m a workaholic – so it’s unreasonable to ask them to tiptoe around all the time. I’ve learned to tune things out and get in the zone or spend my time answering e-mail and writing blog posts until it’s quieter. It has to be pretty quiet for me to edit.
If we could know one thing about you, what would surprise us the most?
I’ve panned for gold in Alaska (and found some).
Also, give yourself a plug… any web pages? Books? Or any other tidbits you would like to include.
Since we’re talking family books here, then of course I want to recommend my sweet nursery rhyme, First Spring! It’s the story of a young child’s experiences with Mother Nature after a long, cold winter.
You can find me at Margaret Rose Writes (www.MargaretRoseWrites.blogspot.com). Please come by to say hello! It’s always hard to get to know new people. Please become one of my blog friends!
Buy a copy of First Spring at Guardian Angels Publishing. http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/first-spring.htm
I’m excited to announce that Margaret has been gracious enough to run a contest too! WOOO-HOOOO! Look below to find out how you can enter for a chance to win an autograph copy of “First Spring”.
I’d love to give away an autographed copy of First Spring. I wrote this book for my son, Dylan, and we’re having so much fun co-autographing the copies. He has created many special memories for me and doing this with him has created special memories for us.
So this is what we need you to do:
Leave a comment here sharing your favorite memories of you with your child in nature. Was it a first swimming lesson? A crazy frog that scared your child in the grass? A bug that chased you into the house or out of your sleeping bags? Silly, heartwarming, scary, crazy, I don’t care, just tell your story. You could win the book. If you live outside the U.S. or prefer, you will receive an eBook instead.
Don’t forget your name & e-mail address!
We will announce a winner January 28th.
Til the next time.