Margaret Chatwin who is our Spotlighted Author for the month of September has granted me this wonderful interview. I really had a great time doing this interview and learning more about this amazing writer. I hope you readers will enjoy this just as much. 😉
Q: You have described yourself as a closet writer; what particular thought or event led you to finally share your writing with the world?
A: It’s kind of funny you ask that question and I debate about how to answer because the truth isn’t the most positive story. But I guess it ends well, so here goes. When I was younger I wrote only for my own entertainment. In fact I was pretty embarrassed to even let people know I wrote. I kept all my stories hidden in a box in the closet and only a select few was ever allowed to read them.
Then, for some reason, about two years ago I got really excited about writing and it was all I wanted to talk about. Yes, I was one of those people. You know, the annoying kind that won’t shut up about a certain subject.
Wait, it gets worse.
Being the very private person that I am, I only had one trusted friend that I dared talk to about my writing and . . . yep, you guessed it, I finally drove that person straight up the wall.
In an attempt to avoid permanent residency on the loony farm, this person was forced to tell me they were sick of hearing about it.
I can laugh about it now, but at the time I was very angry and I said, “fine, I’ll go find someone else who wants to talk about my books with me.”
So, with hostile determination I published my first book. Yes, I did it as a get even thing, but as it turns out, I’m very glad I did and it was just the push I needed.
PS my friend is still my friend and has been a great support to me and my writing.
Q: After writing over fifty novels what made you decide to only publish three?
A: It’s really only about time. Simply haven’t had time to get more out there yet. I just began publishing my books last year. I got Taking the Fall and Sweet so Fragile published in 2011 and 101 in 2012.
I do plan on getting more books out there in the future, though. I’d probably be faster at it if I didn’t have one of those “normal” day job thingies. Oh, and if all my manuscripts were already in the computer. But they’re not. I wrote them the old fashioned way; pen and paper.
It takes me about three months to totally update the story and enter it into the computer. Then it’s on to editing and covers, and that usually takes a month or so. Once I have all that done I send for the copyright which is another three month wait.
I do have to admit, the next book has been on hold simply because so much of my time and attention has gone into marketing the three books I already have out. There is so much to learn and do when you self-publish, but I’ve had a blast with it all.
Q: What can we look forward to with your next novel?
A: Well, I haven’t decided which one to put out next. I’ve been working, on and off, on three different stories. One is bran new and would be a dystopian. But in all this time I’ve only managed to make it to chapter four. (Insert eye roll here.)
The other two are older stories that are already in manuscript form and are partly typed up. One I was thinking about calling, By Blood & Will, but don’t quote me on that. I change titles like I change underwear. It’s about a washed up superstar. The dude used to be “it” when he was a teen, although he never wanted to be.
Rob is a music prodigy whose father exploited his talent and pushed him until he broke. Until the unthinkable happened. (I won’t say what that is ‘cause that would be a bit of a spoiler.) Anyway, Rob wants nothing more than to just fade away, except now he can’t because his father, who’s the un-nicest guy ever, still holds a music contract on him. The contract is virtually unbreakable and no respectable lawyer will even try to help him because of how well known and evil his father is.
Enter the struggling, starving, newbie attorney who just happens to be a beautiful woman, and we have the makings of a romance. But wait, I failed to mention that these two just happen to have a rough and rocky history together.
The last book would probably be called, Lines of Courage. It’s about a “good boy” turned drug addict.
Dane comes from an awesome family but has distanced himself from them because of his habit. They know nothing about his problem and he’ll do anything to keep it that way – lie, cheat, steal, even destroy precious relationships.
I’m a little hesitant about putting this story out there because the main character, though he does have some redeeming qualities, is actually the antagonist. I’m just not sure how readers will receive that and I don’t want to get yelled at or have a page full of one star ratings. I was thinking about putting a disclaimer on the book. Something to warn that this guy is more of a zero than a hero. 🙂
Q: Is there anything you want your readers to know about you?
A: I can’t spell and my grammar and punctuation would make every English teacher I’ve had from K to 12 pass flat out. It really is that terrible. If I didn’t have help from Word Perfect, Ivona Reader, and from good friends and family, I would NEVER have published. The moral of this story is, don’t let your weaknesses cripple you like mine did for so long. Find ways to work around them.
Q: What is the biggest constant that you draw inspiration from?
A: Wow, I like that question. It’s really making me think because I’ve never looked at things from that direction before.
This might sound weird but the one and only constant that I can think of is a feeling. I always have a distinct feeling come over me when I’m about to be inspired to write. It’s a weird, uneasy, yet totally at peace feeling. It makes my stomach flutter with excitement at the same time that it numbs my brain. I have never felt it at any other time than when a character is about to manifest his entire self to me.
I say “him” because nearly every story I’ve ever written has a male main character. I don’t know why, it just is.
Q: If you can have one lasting impression on your readers what would you want it to be?
A: I hope that each and every one of my readers walk away from my books feeling a little more tolerant and forgiving.
On the exception of Mike from Taking the Fall, (‘cause he’s just plain perfect. And yes, those are hearts circling my head.) I’ve tried, really hard, to create characters that are real. Ones that have weaknesses, make mistakes, and say stupid things. Characters that the readers will need to forgive and accept. By doing this, I’m hoping that it will carry over into real life. That people will be more willing to look at those around them a little differently. That they will try to find the good in others and be a little more open minded about what might be behind a persons actions.
Q: As far as being a writer, what is your biggest aspiration?
A: Being that I came from a time where I was embarrassed to even admit I wrote, my aspirations were really quite low. (Which might explain why I’ve never sent anything into a conventional publisher.) I guess I kept them that way so that I wouldn’t get hurt. Can’t fall far if you’re already on the ground.
Since publishing, I’ve really only wanted two things from my writing. One; I want to know if others think and feel the same way I do, or if I’m just some weirdo tapping keys on the keyboard. And two; I want to give my readers something to feel. I want them to experience something that will move them. I want to make them laugh and cry and connect to that one thing that makes us all human; emotion.
Q: Lastly, being that you are now in the Spotlight, are there any parting thoughts you would like to share?
A: Enjoy life.
Look for the positive in everything around. You’ll find yourself much happier and better able to meet challenges head on if you do. (Trust me, my halo isn’t always on straight in this area, so this is as much a personal reminder as it is advice.) 🙂
Q: Where can readers follow you?
A: Well, if you want to leave a review or see what other readers are saying about my books, or if you just want to read my occasional blogs, I suggest going to Goodreads. http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5342646.Margaret_Chatwin
If you want to follow me on Facebook my link is: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Margaret-Chatwin-Author/308495362497433
If you’d like to purchase a book you can do that at Lulu.com or Amazon.com. My ebooks are only $2.99! And watch for coupon codes on Lulu’s home page. They are great about having lots of sales. Amazon will give you a place to read a little of each of my books to help you get a feel for them.
Remember, you have until September 8th to enter to win a copy of Margaret Chatwin’s book 101. To enter please: click here.