Copyright Choc Lit
I recently invited Margaret to tell us a bit about herself and her latest novel, Magic Sometimes Happens. Over a cup of tea and some of her favourite brand of chocolates, Margaret began by writing a short synopsis and then answered some questions.
Magic sometimes happens – so could a trip to the USA also be a passport to love?
London-based PR and promotions consultant Rosie Denham has just spent a year in Paris where she’s tried but failed to fall in love. She’s also made a big mistake and can’t forgive herself.
American IT professor Patrick Riley’s wife has left him for a Mr Wonderful with a cute British accent and a house with a real yard. So Patrick’s not exactly thrilled to meet another Brit who’s visiting Minnesota, even if she’s seriously attractive.
Patrick and Rosie couldn’t be more different. She’s had a privileged English upbringing. He was raised in poverty in Missouri. Pat has two kids, a job that means the world to him and a wife who might decide she wants her husband back.
So when Pat and Rosie fall in love, the prospects don’t seem bright for them.
But magic sometimes happens – right?
Oapschat: Where were you in your writing career five years ago?
Margaret: I was teaching creative writing for the London School of Journalism, writing regular columns and doing author profiles for Writing Magazine and putting together a guide for creative writing students with fellow creative writing tutor Cathie Hartigan.
Oapschat: Where did you get the idea for your latest novel Magic Sometimes Happens?
Margaret: My elder daughter lives in Minnesota and one year I had a fabulous autumn holiday there, which got me thinking: what if a much younger version of me had arrived there trying to get over a terrible family tragedy? What would she do? What would she find? Who would she meet?
Oapschat: Where do you hope to be in five years time?
Margaret: Years ago I wrote a paranormal novel called Elegy for a Queen which was way ahead of its time genre-wise and which got some lovely rave rejections from mainstream publishers before it was finally published by Solidus, a small imprint in the UK. It’s currently getting a new lease of life on Amazon Kindle. Paranormal is hugely popular nowadays, so I hope to have written and had published another paranormal story.
Oapschat: Which was the last book you read that you wish you'd written?
Margaret: Oh, that’s easy – it’s One Day by David Nicholls, a romantic novel about two people who meet on their last day at university and agree to see each other on the same day every year until – well, I won’t give the story away! The hero and heroine of this novel, Dexter and Emma, became so real for me that as I read their story I could see them, I could hear them, and if they’d walked into the room where I was sitting reading I wouldn’t have been at all surprised.
Oapschat: Was there any particular author or book that made you want to be a writer?
Margaret: When I was a teenager I was profoundly moved by Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, and I thought how wonderful it must be to take your reader to a completely different world. I wanted to see if I could do it, too.
Oapschat: What’s the best writing advice you've ever been given?
Margaret: Choose your rut carefully, because you’ll be in it for a long time. My first novel was a romance, and this turned out to be a good rut for me.
Oapschat: Thank you for your time Margaret. I hope you have a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
You can win either a signed paperback or an audio version on CD of Magic Sometimes Happens. Details will be on the website soon. My thanks to Margaret for donating these two great prizes.