by Anna Campbell
It's my great pleasure to welcome back to the lair a wonderful fellow Avon historical writer Margo Maguire.
Margo's going to be talking about her great new release THE ROGUE PRINCE. Romantic Times called THE ROGUE PRINCE "a love story that reaches the heart with its inherent tenderness and pure romance."
Margo has just revamped her website so check it out for news and excerpts and contests! Sign up for her newsletter and you go in the drawing to win a signed copy of THE ROGUE PRINCE!
Welcome back to the Bandita lair, Margo. Your latest Avon release is THE ROGUE PRINCE which sounds absolutely delicious. Lovely cover, by the way! Can you tell us about this book?
That’s exactly what I’d call it – delicious – a tale you can sink your teeth into! To a large extent, it’s the hero’s conflicts that drive this story. Tom Thorne is a tortured young man who was transported at a young age to a penal colony for a crime he didn’t commit. He lives through the brutal years of his imprisonment by planning his revenge against the two young noblemen who set him up. When he comes into a vast fortune, he’s able to execute those plans. Tom comes home to England as the “Prince of Sabedoria,” with the intention of destroying his two accusers and their families, just as he and his own family were destroyed.
The heroine is Maggie Danvers, Lady Blackmore, an innocent bystander who is intimately connected to the two young scoundrels who falsely accused Tom. She’s the widow of one and step-sister of the other, but when she meets Tom, she doesn’t know him as anyone but the amazingly potent foreign prince. Maggie is a young, naïve mother of two little children, and when she learns how badly her husband and brother have duped her over the years, she decides to embark upon an affair of her own – with the prince who seems so interested in her. Little does she know that she plays a huge part in Tom’s schemes for vengeance.
What were the inspirations behind this story? It seems to me to have a touch of THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO about it? Or is that purely coincidental?
Ahhh… funny you should ask! Yes, I’ve always loved THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO (the book as well as the movie), and wished there was more romance (of course!)and I always wished it wasn’t quite so dark. And that the imprisonment part wasn’t quite so long, and that Edmond’s father didn’t die before he got out of the Chateau d’If … er, you get the idea, right? So THE ROGUE PRINCE begins a few years after Tom’s imprisonment, within days of his arrival in England. And the heroine has a character arc of her own – her late husband was her step-brother’s flunky who had no real talents of his own, which directly caused the downfall of the Blackmore estate.
It’s up to Maggie to try to salvage the estate for her little son, the heir. She must learn and grow …
I’ve noticed a bit of a trend toward royal heroes lately (Harlequins are awash with princes and kings!). What do you think is the appeal of a royal story?
I think it’s part of the fantasy, or the fairy tale, if you will. The characters are larger than life. I made Thomas so wealthy, his bank statement would make Bill Gates envious. With Tom’s money, any physical thing is within his reach. But there are emotional hurtles to overcome, and as we read about this kind of guy, we want to see him grow and risk it all because of a higher purpose.
What’s coming up next for Margo Maguire?
I’m working on a novel that will be out in March 2011, called SEDUCTION OF THE GOVERNESS. The heroine is a young woman who learns she was adopted by the straitlaced couple she always thought of as her true parents. My hero is a wounded Waterloo officer – a youngest son who never expected to inherit his father’s earldom and the guardianship of his little niece. The two are total misfits who come together in his old, ancestral hall in the Lake District, and find themselves facing a perilous situation.
Can you give us a glimpse into your writing day?
A good day or a bad day?
We’ll go with the good… I used to walk my dogs 2-3 miles every morning to get some exercise while I cleared my head for a day of writing, but when I injured my knee I had to stop. So my current routine is to ride my stationary bike for 40 minutes and then lift weights for another 15. I grab a quick shower after that, and I’m usually at my laptop by 8 am. I go through email and take care of other business for an hour or so, then get down to the creative stuff. I rehash yesterday’s writing – making corrections as I read. Then I get on with it, pushing the story forward (I’m a totally linear writer). After a couple of hours, I get restless, so I have some lunch, then pack up my laptop and head for my home away from home – Starbuck’s. I’m there practically every afternoon, so they know me well – and take great care of me! My Starbuck's “co-workers” are very protective of their resident author.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
I am the worst possible person to answer this question, and I’ll tell you why at the end of my sage counsel, but don’t read my punch line until you check out my three points …
The first thing I think an aspiring writer should do is to read like mad. Read everything, but especially the genre you think you want to write. I believe osmosis has a lot to do with how we learn to write. As you read, you get an unconscious “feel” for the genre and it will come out in your own settings, characters and voice.
Next, decide whether you want to write popular, saleable fiction. If you do, you have to see what kinds of books the current market supports, and not get hung up on a story that will only appeal to a limited audience. (Like certain Indie films – they get produced, and might be really good for what they are, but only 37 people go to see them).
Third, try not to let “experts” tell you how to do it. You have to learn your own process and follow it, and not get bogged down or discouraged because you think you’re doing it “wrong.”
And now for the punch line (and you’ll probably want to punch me!): I sold the first book I ever wrote, in 10 days from the moment I put the manuscript into the mailbox until I got “the call.” I never had to go through the uncertainty that most writers experience, never understood what it was like to receive a bunch of rejection letters. That came later, lol, when I was submitting proposals to my editors for subsequent books. I have a sneaking suspicion that if I hadn’t sold that first book, I’d have said, “Oh, well, I tried. I love my nursing career, and so that’s what I’ll be doing until they pry my white duty shoes from my cold, stiff feet!” Honestly, I was so naïve, I didn’t know how fortunate I was, not until I found out about RWA and all the active online author groups out there.
Wow, I'm guessing you have a few people gunning for you when you share that tidbit! Congratulations! Now, Margo, is there anything you want to ask our Bandits and Buddies?
I wonder what you think is the best writing advice you ever got. Did you hear your best advice at a conference workshop? Read it in a writing craft book? Or was it something one of your writing buddies said that just happened to resonate? Inquiring minds want to know!
Margo is offering one lucky commenter their choice from her backlist books WILD or TAKEN BY THE LAIRD (I'm rather taken by that cover, personally!). So get commenting, people, and good luck!