Today my guest is New York Times bestselling author Margaret Brownley.
Thrills, mystery, suspense and romance: Margaret penned it all. Nothing wrong with this—except Margaret happened to be writing for the church newsletter. After making the church picnic read like a Grisham novel, her former pastor took her aside and said, "Maybe God's calling you to write fiction."
So that’s what Margaret did.
With more than 25 novels to her credit, the first book in her Brides of Last Chance Ranch series “Dawn Comes Early” was released this month. The book will be followed by Waiting for Morning January 2013.
Margaret’s first non-fiction book Grieving God’s Way: the Path to Hope and Healing will be published in July by Thomas Nelson. She wrote this book following the loss of her son and it’s especially close to her heart.
Anne – Welcome, Margaret. With so much to discuss and so little time, let’s get down to business and talk writing! Tell us about your book.
Margaret: It’s called Dawn Comes Early.
Looking for hard-working, professional woman
of good character and pleasant disposition
willing to learn the ranching business in
. Arizona Territory
Must be single and prepared to remain so now and forever more.
Her latest dime novel banned, twenty-nine-year old KATE TENNEY answers the above advertisement for heiress to an
cattle ranch. It seems like the perfect solution for a disgraced novelist with no intention of getting married—ever. Arizona
Trouble begins the moment she steps foot in
. The west is nothing like she wrote about in her books. Not only does she have to deal with a hard-nosed ranch owner, and nefarious outlaw, but a traitorous heart. Kate does not trust men and has no intention of falling for LUKE Arizona Territory ADAM’S charm. She’s determined to learn the ranching business and prove to the doubting ranch owner that she’s up to the task—if it kills her. If only she could stay away from a certain handsome blacksmith and his two matchmaking aunts.
Anne - How did you get the idea for the book?
Margaret - The idea was inspired by a group of fifty ladies of the First Church of Millford who formed a society of old maids in 1861. Each member vowed she would not marry. Each woman paid five dollars on admission with the principal going to the one who remained unmarried the longest. According to an article in The New York Times thirty years later all but fifteen of the original had married. I was never able to find out who won the prize—and being a romantic I sincerely hope that no one did—but where real life stops imagination takes off.
Anne - What do you enjoy most about writing? What part do you loathe?
Margaret - I love when characters start talking to me. That’s when I know my story is flowing. I just wish they wouldn’t be so chatty in the middle of the night.
Promoting a book is close to the top of the “things I least like to do” list along with exercising and figuring out my tax return.
Anne – LOL. Tax returns are my least favorite thing, too! How many rejections have you received? Was one more memorable than others? Why?
Margaret - I could paper a house with the number rejections received through the years. I remember not just one but seventeen rejections in particular—all for a single title. I remember them because when the book finally sold, it sold big and helped launch a new line. That taught me to view rejections as a second (third, fourth or fifth) chance to get it right or find a better publisher. A rejection is not the end of a story; sometimes it’s only the beginning.
Anne – So true! Any words of advice for struggling, unpublished writers?
Margaret - Enjoy the journey. Being published comes with its own challenges so you really have to enjoy each step of the way, or you won’t survive. Surround yourself with a support group and celebrate every success. Celebrate when you finish a chapter; enter a contest; pop a query in the mail; or sign up for a writing workshop. This is what kept me going during the five years it took me to sell my first book, and it will keep you going, too.
Anne - Have you experienced writer's block? If so, how did you work through it?
Margaret - Writer’s block is the subconscious telling you “this stinks.” Somewhere you made a wrong turn, lost your story or took your characters astray. The only way I know to fix the problem is to backtrack to where the problem first occurred. Apologize to your characters and start afresh. Try writing the chapter in another viewpoint. Sometimes (oddly enough) it helps to change a character’s name. It could simply be that your character outgrew your original vision and name.
Anne – What’s this I hear about a “Daily Reasons to Smile” Contest?
Margaret – Characters from my new book Dawn Comes Early from the Brides of Last Chance Ranch series will send you a reason to smile every day until April 11th. Join in the fun and you could win a book, potted cactus (the story takes place in
) or an iPod Nano and alarm clock docking station. To enter send an email to info@NancyBerland.com. Be sure to put “Reason to Smile” in the subject line. That’s it! Arizona Territory
Anne – I’ve enjoyed this immensely, Margaret, and wish readers the best of luck in your “Daily Reasons to Smile” contest.
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