Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Author Maggie Brendan - NO PLACE FOR A LADY - Free Book

We have another debut author today. Welcome, Maggie. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

I’m sure there are parts of me that seep into my main characters, but not physically though. That’s one thing I don’t believe a writer is conscious of doing until their critique partners tells you that you did. I think most writers write from their own life experiences, and how it has shaped them will find its way into our characters.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

I guess I’m pretty quirky when I play with my grandchildren. I have tea parties with them and always speak with a British accent or rich southern drawl while holding their dolls as if they are speaking. I get behind the doll and move her arms this way and that and it makes them giggle. They forget that it’s me speaking and watch the doll instead. I take my teddy bear that sits on my bed and prop him up under the covers, put my reading glasses on his eyes and place my Daily Light devotional book in his lap. I enjoy pretending with them in a make believe world. There you can do just about anything.

Make believe is what authors do, too. Right? When did you first discover that you were a writer?

That’s easy. I was in the 3rd grade and the teacher saw me writing on a piece of paper during our “free homework” time. She encouraged me by giving me ruled paper to write my story down. It was a pitiful story that I still have today. My second story I wrote in the 5th grade, a mystery. I’ve always had stories in my head and was constantly thinking what would happen if…
And "what if?" is what authors use as they build stories. Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

What can I say? Almost everything except sci-fi. I love historical, suspense, biographies, and apologetics and of course, my Bible.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

Sometimes it seems as if there is no sanity at all in our hectic world of cell phones, Internet, media, family, church, etc. Music and singing have always been a huge part of my life. Prayer keeps me centered and focused. Sometimes I focus on other people when they have a need, and it takes my mind off myself, which is healthy. Another important thing that I do for myself is maintain some form of exercise. I walk 2 miles 5 or 6 times a week and lift weights every other day. This actually gives me more energy, and some of my best ideas come while I’m outside walking.

I have an I-Touch but I don’t walk with it every time so that I can empty my brain or talk to God on my walks. Staying connected with my family is very important to me. I try not to spend much time in front of the TV—but I’m addicted to "American Idol" and "Dancing with the Stars" and I enjoyed the "Celebrity Apprentice." The Hallmark channel and TNT is my favorite to lose myself in good stories or westerns, but I must admit that I am a HUGE Tyler Perry fan! He is brilliant and got his start right here in Atlanta.

I like Tyler's work, too. How do you choose your characters’ names?

I’m not really sure other than sometimes I’ll hear a name, or read it somewhere and mentally take note or jot in down for future reference. Writing a historical is a little different in that a lot of names used today would not be in use then, so those are harder to come up with. Once I start using the name in my story, I read it out loud. It has to have the right ring to it for the particular make-up of my character as a whole.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

I’d have to say completing my book. A lot of people say, “Oh, well, I could write a book.” But it does take persistence and desire to finish what you create. Winning the 2004 American Christian Writers Persistence Award validated my writing and was a huge encouragement to me. Raising a fabulous son and daughter, now adults with their own children, is so incredibly rewarding.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

Probably a tiger or lion. I’m fascinated in the beauty of a tiger’s eyes and his striking face which is always observant and watching. The Lion represents power and strength and that makes me think of the Lord and his majesty. But I do love the horse with his unleashed energy, form and gracefulness. Maybe I could embody all of them. LOL.

What is your favorite food?

This is a hard one to answer, but the first thing that comes to mind is red beans, and rice with sausage, (or big white lima beans), cornbread and sweetened iced tea. I love crowder peas, mustard greens, fried okra and skinless fried chicken, topped off with homemade banana pudding. See why I have to make sure that I work out. Lol. I’m a true southern girl.

Tell us a little about your journey to publication.

I wrote off and on throughout high school and when my children were small. I submitted poems and a short story that was rejected. Then it seemed that life and raising children were front and center, so I placed my dream of becoming a writer in the background of my mind. My brother was a western writer, and he always encouraged me to keep working it at it. He was the greatest influence on my writing.
One day, I was going through my Bible and throwing out last week’s bulletin and saw a tiny blurb that said a study for people who were interested in writing would be starting up and gave the phone number. Somehow I had missed seeing that the first time around but decided to call. The teacher was really encouraging over the phone and said the study was, Write His Answer. During that study there were questions that would help to decide if you were called to write. That pushed me into making a decision to finish my book and write for Christian publication. By the way, that teacher, Jennifer Schuchmann, is the co-author of Your Unforgettable Life and has written more articles that I could ever count. My brother, Jess McCreede, was one of the guest speakers and so was Cecil Murphy who impressed me so much. Out of this study, I co-founded a writers group and I have been leading my critique group now for 5 years.
I attended the Atlanta ACW conference, the ACFW Denver and Nashville Conference and a screenwriter’s workshop in my area last summer. I met with Tamela Hancock Murray in Denver and she like my story, but decided not to take me on as a client then. DiAnn Mills critiqued my first three chapters and said it was almost ready for publication. I didn’t even know who she was at the time! What a fabulous writer and encourager! My author interview was with Colleen Coble who gave me direction and support as well. My mentor was the lovely and talented suspense writer, Brandilyn Collins.
One of my current critique partners, Caroline Friday, loved my manuscript and wrote a screenplay that has been optioned by Starz Media to Hallmark for a TV movie. Later, I met Tamela again at the ICRS in Atlanta and she asked me to submit my manuscript. She liked the story and chose to represent me as her client and we have signed a three book deal with Revell. God is Good! I am being quoted in an upcoming book, Word Weaver: The Successful Writers Critique Group by Eva Marie Everson and Janice Elsheimer.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

Probably finding time to myself or permitting myself to have time to pursue a writing career while taking care of the gazillion needs of my family. Women tend to be good caretakers of everyone except themselves, and feel selfish and guilty if they want to carve out time alone. I had a lot of other jobs from the time I got married until last July—some part-time and full-time.
It’s gets a bit overwhelming when your husband has his own high stress job and doesn’t take your writing seriously until things start to happen with your work. Even then, I think it’s hard for most men to see what needs to be done because it’s a never ending job to run a home smoothly. But women are expected to continue to do it all, along with their job, and I’m sure many writers can relate to that.
In the mix, there needs to be time out for and fun and relaxation, too. When we don’t get that a part of the equation our health and everything else suffers. It’s hard for us to do this in our culture in this country, because we are told to make every minute count for something.

My brother, who was my mentor and a writer suddenly died 4 years ago, and I still struggle with his loss even now. It wasn’t a roadblock, but it sure set me back for a period of time, with shock and grief. But I can still hear him encouraging me onward. He believed it me. I have every scrap of letters and rough drafts of his novels that I pull out and look at to lift me up from time to time.
What advice would you give to others who are trying to get their first book published?

Be persistent and finish what you start. Never give up on your dream. Keep plugging away and it can happen. Read, read, read. Especially in the genre that you are writing. That helps you learn your craft. Join a critique group to get feedback and connect with other writers and learn to take criticism without thinking that it’s a personal attack. It’s not. Attend workshops and conference where you can learn as much as you can about this crazy world of writing. Good reading for honing your writing skills are books like, Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain, and Writing Novels that Sell, by Jack Bickham, and of course, Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maas.

What would you like to tell us about the featured book?

No Place for a Lady is based on the scripture Jer. 29:11; that the Lord has a plan for our lives.

The heroine endures the hardship, danger and fatigue of a cattle drive. There are few recordings of a female on a cattle drive. She has very human failings such as personal prejudices and petty irritations. She has to rely on her faith in God for strength and guidance, which ultimately shapes her character and her future. I think readers will find it high entertaining, romantic and inspirational.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Maggie, thank you for spending this time with us.
Readers, you can order a copy of Maggie's book using this link:


Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Don't forget to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. There are still winners who haven't contacted me.

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30 comments:

Melanie Dickerson said...

This sounds like a great book! Thanks, Maggie, for sharing your inspiring story. It's good to be reminded that it takes great persistence to make it in this business.
melaniedickerson at knology dot net

Deborah said...

i think i've been trying everywhere to win this book! lol i want to read it that bad!

Robin Shope said...

this sounds wonderful! Enter me!

A J Hawke said...

Good Interview.
Your book sounds interesting and one that I want to read.

I apprecite you sharing your journey to getting published.
Hopefully, this book is just the beginning.

A J Hawke
ajhawkeauthor[at]aol[dot]com

brendalottakamaggiebrendan said...

I'm glad that y'all enjoyed the interview and my journey into publication. Lena gave me some fun questions.

Cheri2628 said...

I love western historicals, and this book sounds like a wonderful story. Gorgeous cover, too! Please enter me in the drawing. :-)

castings[at]mindspring[dot]com

Kristi said...

Hello,

I would love the chance to win this book. I really enjoyed reading her "journey to publication" and love it that her brother helped her along the way!
Kristi
kherbrand(at)comcast(dot)net

Patricia PacJac Carroll said...

Hi Maggie,
The book sounds like a winner! I love westerns. Happy writing!

mez said...

No Place For a Lady sounds like an interesting story. I love the title, it starts me thinking about what will happen to the lady in a rough, western setting. Add me for the drawing, thanks!
worthy2bpraised{at}gmail{dot}com

ladystorm said...

I have seen this book posted on other blogs and it sounds interesting. Would love to win it.

Stormi
ladystorm282001[at]yahoo[dot]com

Maureen said...

I enjoyed reading the interview and would love to win this book
mce1011[at]aol[dot]com

Danelle said...

Please enter me into the drawing for the book. Thanks

danelli04 [at]hotmail [dot]com

sarahw said...

sounds like a really great book. please enter my name for the draw. thanks,
sarahwoll at hotmail dot com

Martha A. said...

Sounds like a great book!
martha(at)lclink(dot)com

windycindy said...

Romance and inspirational sounds like a great features of a book. Please enter me in your drawing. Many thanks.....Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

Abi said...

I love Jer. 29:11 that is a wonderful verse. This sounds like a good book. Congrats to a new author. Please include me in the drawing.

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Carolyn said...

I would love to read this book, sounds wonderful. Thanks, also for the interview with Maggie, very interesting to find out more about an author before reading on of their books.

carolyn s

ceashark at aol dot ocm

Stacie said...

Thanks for sharing :)

Sandee61 said...

I enjoy learning about new authors, and would love to read her debut book. It looks really good. Please add my name to your giveaway list. Thank you!

Blessings,
Sandy

Muzzley56[at]aol[dot]com

Carole said...

"No Place for a Lady" sounds exactly like my type of book and I would love to win a copy. Maggie, I also like the same TV shows and channels as you, except that I would add "So You Think You Can Dance."

Thanks for the interview and contest, and best wishes in your writing career, Maggie.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Becky C. said...

I really love the sound of this book.

Please enter me in the contest.

Thank you,

Becky C.

rec(at)hiwaay(dot)net

Carolynn W. said...

Thanks for the great interivew. I would love to win this book, it sounds great! Thanks!
carolynnwald at hotmail dot com

lisa said...

Maggie looks like a very promising new novelist. I'd love to win this one!

rebornbutterfly said...

i've read a lot about this books, and it sounds great!

buddyt said...

Please enter me in the drawing.
Thank you.

Carol

Edna said...

I would love to win a book, love the Christian fiction books

Marla said...

I love to read. Sounds like a book I would really enjoy reading. Thank you for the entry.
koinonia572001@yahoo.com

mommyjen99 said...

I just started reading westerns and would love to be entered to win this book!
jen62728@aol.com

Ausjenny said...

please enter me a bit behind in blogs this week but love the look of the book and love histroical books
ausjenny at gmail dot com

Janie M said...

I have read this book. I loved it! She had me from the first page. This was the hardest book to put down I have ever read. This has to be the best book I have ever read.
This would be a great read for a teen girl.
Can't wait for your nest book Maggie.
Janie M