WG: Welcome Margaret. Thanks for stepping into my spotlight this month. To start off, please tell us about yourself.
MD: I live in
Oklahoma and besides writing for Love Inspired and Love Inspired
Suspense, I teach at a high school. I work with students with
learning disabilities and teach 11th grade English. This
allows me to use my writing skills and that’s fun. I have a Masters
in Education and have been teaching in Special Education for
Because I have a day job as well as a writing career, I don’t have that many hobbies—no time for them. I do play bridge once a month with a group I’ve been a part of for years. I love to go to movies and have lunch with friends. I also love to read books. I have so many books in my TBR pile, however, because my time is limited for reading.
I have been married to the same man for thirty-six years and he is such a support to me. We have one son who is married and he has two children.
WG: Let’s talk about your own personal road to publication: Is there some individual, group or event that you can point to as the catalyst/impetus that set you on the road to becoming a writer? Explain.
MD: Actually I started writing before Romance Writers of America was formed. I was a charter member and went to the very first national conference in Houston in the early 1980s. I did belong to a Writer’s Round Table and we met once a week to critique each other’s writing. That toughened me over the years.
WG: Tell us about your journey.
MD: I started writing to see if I could put a story down on paper. I’ve always had a vivid imagination and loved to weave stories together, but I had never written one down. I joined Tulsa Nightwriters and went to the OU Writing Short Course where I met other writers. Through a contact with an editor at Dell, I got my first agent. The editor recommended me to that agent. Shortly after I got my first agent, Silhouette launched their first line—Silhouette Romance. I sold my first book to them after writing for several years. I have had many rejections and I still receive them.
WG: How many books did you complete before you sold your first? Have all/any of them sold since?
MD: I completed three books (100,000 words) before I sold. One of them in a smaller version sold since then.
WG: What changed most about your life as a direct result of joining the ranks of published authors?
MD: I don’t have much free time.
WG: Let’s talk about your writing process: Do you maintain a set schedule? Is there such a thing as a typical day for you?
MD: In the summer and on weekends I write throughout the day. When I am teaching, I will come home most days and write after I have checked my e-mail and relaxed some from teaching. I do often write everyday at least some. One page is better than none.
WG: Do you have a ‘mood setter’, something (music, ritual, environment, etc.) you use to get you going when you sit down to write?
MD: I check my e-mail and play a couple of games on the computer before I get started. I also do that as a break.
WG: Do you do a lot of up front plotting before you start or do you just dive in?
MD: No, I don’t do a lot of up front plotting. I do know my characters well, though, before I start and the key points of the story (goals, motivations, and conflicts).
WG: Do you normally start with storyline or with character or with some combination of the two?
MD: I have started both ways in the past. It just depends on where my spark comes from.
WG: Do you find certain themes or character archetypes making recurring appearances in your stories?
MD: Yes, I like the tormented hero (alpha). Also I often write about trusting the Lord and yourself. Forgiveness is another theme I write about.
WG: Has anything about the way you work changed since you became a published author?
MD: Not too much. I usually am a steady writer who writes almost everyday anywhere from a couple of pages to maybe 8 or 9. I have rarely written over 10 pages in a day. I consider myself the tortoise to the hare.
WG: Is there anything else you'd like to tell us about your process?
MD: I write everyday to keep myself immersed in the story. That way it is easier to pick up each day.
WG: Do you have a favorite sub-genre as a writer? As a reader?
MD: As a writer—romantic suspense
As a reader—romantic suspense, mysteries, adventures, thrillers
WG: Is there a genre you haven't been published in yet that you'd like to try your hand at someday?
MD: Women’s fiction
WG: Do you have any advice to offer writers still striving toward publication?
MD: Keep writing and submitting. If you don’t, you will never sell. So much a part of this business depends on being in the right place with the right story. Perseverance is important.
WG: Is there some piece of advice you received or bit of ‘conventional wisdom’ that you wish you had ignored?
MD: No, I can’t think of any right now.
WG: What do you find to be the most rewarding thing about being a writer? What do you struggle the most with?
MD: I love piecing a story together.
What I struggle with the most is description. I don’t particularly like to read it, and I don’t like to write it. In some books it slows the pacing. I always have to go back into a story and layer it.
WG: When you’re not writing, what do you do for fun?
MD: I love to travel and try to go somewhere every year. Also, I love to read.
WG: I love to collect quotes, all kinds of quotes - inspirational, quirky, motivational, profound, etc. Do you have a personal favorite you'd like to share.
MD: God inspires faith, hope and love.
Mine—on my bookmark
WG: Please tell us about your current project.
MD: I am currently working on a Love Inspired Suspense that is scheduled to come out in October 2007. It is called Buried Secrets. It is a cross between Indiana Jones and National Treasure. It is the brother’s story from Heart of the Amazon, Love Inspired January 2007. Maggie is forced to work with a family enemy to find a treasure before both are killed for the secrets they know.
WD: Tell us about plans for future books.
MD: I just signed a three book contract with Steeple Hill—one Love Inspired Suspense (Buried Secrets) and two Love Inspired books (the second and third ones in my Fostering by Love series).
WG: And before we close, tell us how your fans can get in touch with you.
MD: You can e-mail be at Mdaley50@aol.com or visit my web site at http://www.margaretdaley.com. I also have a blog at http://margaretdaley.blogspot.com. If you sign my guest book at my web site, you have chance of winning an autographed book. I have a drawing every month from that month’s entries.