AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: MARGARET BLAKE
We have found author Margaret Blake to spend a few minutes with us. Read carefully and you might find a surprise before the end of the interview…
What is your most current work out?
Tell us a little about A Fatal Flaw – what inspired you to write the novel
I came back from a visit to my son in Florida, I couldn’t get the sounds and scents and views of Florida out of my head. I was thinking how could I write a story about Florida and you know, it just came to me. The opening lines sang out to me “She was standing by the window, her arm hanging down at her side, a gun held limply in her right hand. The still hot handle of the gun burned into her palm like a branding iron. Irrationally she thought of the cliché, a smoking gun in her hand.”
I just went from there – found my heroine Kerensa, who incidentally isn’t the one holding the gun – that is from the Prologue, want to know more – check out the book! LOL
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
Not strictly plotted out, I know the basic plot but as to how it all comes together and pans out, that’s all down to my characters. Often I’ve thought such and such will happen and it never does.
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
I morphed. My first novel published in l978 was an historical romance, I wrote five in this genre, and then started writing contemporary romance. I wrote a lot of these and suddenly changed gear and started adding suspense. I still write historicals and just love those too.
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
I am always in love with the character I am writing about at the time. The male and female characters I inhabit for the time I am writing my book are my favourites. Just at the moment I am madly in love with Ned Rochester in my latest book but I still do, and always will, have a soft spot for Jesse Crane from A Poisoned Legacy, he is just the kind of guy I would love to meet but I guess, never will. I also love Job from Breaking the Clouds, a half Maori hero who is a real dreamboat.
Do you have a character that you look back on now and don’t like?
Yes, absolutely. My hero in Shadows of the Past. This like A Poisoned Legacy and Breaking the Clouds, was published in hardback by Robert Hale Limited. I thought I was going to always be in love with him and then realized there was something not quite right. Not going to reveal it here.
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
Not really, I think my people are just a little larger than life. Places inspire me more than people, which is why I wrote about Australia and New Zealand after a wonderful trip down there.
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
I think keeping up the momentum, when you get just over half way through I wonder if I am going to make it. Usually I take a break from it for perhaps a week and come back refreshed.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
I can’t ride a bike, I am lethal I have no sense of balance.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Chocolates, oodles of chocolate, I could eat chocolate till I drop but of course I never do. I remember I gave chocolate up once for Lent and on Easter Sunday I made a pig of myself. Won’t do that again!
What do you need before you start writing? Anything that is just a must have or the creative juice don’t flow?
I must have my desk cleared, what I mean is all the jobs have to be out of the way, the boring stuff, bed making, shopping, cleaning, laundry. I like to have nothing on my mind to do but write.
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
I like music but not when I am writing and yes songs do influence me somewhat. I remember Jesse playing “You are Always on my Mind,” by Willie Nelson, that really gets to me. When I hear that I think of Jesse. Also Jesse’s name was because I love the song “Jesse Come Home” by Janis Ian.
If your story was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
I love Russell Crow but he would be too old to play Ned Rochester, which is such a pity. I know that I would like Hugh Jackman for Nevis in Eden’s Child I like James McAvoy, I am sure he could play Ned. Otherwise, I can’t get really hooked on any young actors these days, so really I would have to have the producers find someone really special.
Where were you when you got your first contract? Who did you tell first?
I was at home in Manchester, UK. The letter arrived on the mat and my husband hadn’t left for work, so he was the first person. Then I told my parents. John came home from work, he said he couldn’t settle so we went out and we drank champagne and it was a magical day. We were both in a daze. He felt it was so special too for he always encouraged me. I lost John in January, and I miss sharing my books and my good news with him. He was always the first person to read my novels too.
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
Depends what you mean by romance. I was fourteen when I read Jane Eyre, is that a romance? Sort of would you say? Then I guess I was sixteen or so when I started reading romance proper. I did used to like the magazines that had short romantic stories. Perhaps you did not have them in the States but one was called “Secrets” and it had a story about a bride who wore black. Shameful in those days. I remember asking my dad how it could be bad and he skirted that question. He was a very shy man.
If you still have one of those pesky day jobs what is it?
Praise the Lord, I don’t, but I have had many pesky jobs. Secretary, window dresser, sales girl, barmaid, bar manager, waitress, teacher. But you know what it’s all grist to the mill for the writer.
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
I have been having trouble settling to writing since John only died, but now I am getting on track a little. I am working on a contemporary romance and a romantic suspense and I switch between them. I need to be able to do that at the moment, though it’s not generally my style.
What is your reaction to people who say one of the following…”Oh you write romance, I thought you were a real writer”, “Romance isn’t a real writing career” or the ever popular “Oh, one of those books”.
I ignore them. It’s very hard to write romance and people who belittle it don’t know what they are talking about. They can’t write squat probably! Besides which, in our world today we really need romance, for goodness sake we can’t be reading doom and gloom all of the time, there’s enough of that in the real world.
Where can readers find you?
And for the silly side – What is your favorite type of chocolate?
I love Black Magic, dark chocolate, a nice big box please!
Thank you so much Tanya, for having me here. I really enjoyed your questions.
I am giving away an e book copy of A Fatal Flaw so the first person to tell me the name of my heroine in A Fatal Flaw is going to be the winner.