Friday, May 10, 2013

Interview with Margaret James

Today we welcome Margaret James to the blog. Margaret was born in Hereford, but now lives in Devon. In addition to her novel writing, she also teaches creative writing and is a regular contributor to Writing Magazine. You sound like a busy person Margaret, do tell us about your latest book, and what inspired you to write it.

A few years ago, my local group Exeter Writers ran a workshop which inspired me to wonder what would happen if a girl won a luxury dream wedding in a country house hotel, but didn’t have anyone to marry.

Oh dear, that sounds like a problem, no doubt delightfully resolved. So when doing your research what promotes the most ideas for you, people or places? 

The people come along first, followed by the places.

How long, on average, would you say it takes you to write a book, and how much editing do you do?

About a year, I suppose, but this can stretch to two or three or more, or be concertinaed into six months or less. I did a lot of travelling during 2011 and wrote most of the first draft of this novel on trains in real time, starting in April and finishing in November.

An excellent way to use all that travelling time. Which do you find the hardest part of the novel to write, and how do you get through that? 

The middle – and I try to deal with that by giving myself and my characters a really big challenge, setback or shock half way through the story.

Your characters are always very convincing. How do you set about breathing life into them?

I find the ones who end up in finished novels are also the ones who walk into my head unannounced and say write about me. Once I had thought of the situation in The Wedding Diary, my hero and heroine turned up on the bus as I was going home, and writing the novel was like taking celestial dictation from them.

If you were starting out afresh what advice would you give yourself as a fledging writer. 

Be sure you want to do this, because it’s not a hobby. It will take over your life.

Oh, I do so agree, but quite a nice life. Which of your books would you most like to see as a film, and who would play the hero? 

I’d love to see THE WEDDING DIARY on the big screen, with Richard Armitage playing the hero Adam. Richard, why don’t we get your people to talk to my people?

Let’s hope he responds. Now if you could have the best seats to any concert, what would you prefer, ballet, opera or a rock concert?

Opera – it has everything.

So what next? Can you tell us a little about your work in progress? 

I’m writing the story of one of the subsidiary characters in The Wedding Diary, whose life suddenly hits the buffers in a big way and who takes what she hopes will be a recuperative holiday in the USA, where of course she runs into more trouble.

Where’s a fairy godmother when you need one? 

If you won a fairy-tale wedding in a country house hotel, you’d be delighted – right? But what if you didn’t have anyone to marry? Cat Aston did have a fiancĂ©, but now it looks as if her Prince Charming has done a runner. Adam Lawley’s girlfriend turned down his proposal, and he’s made a vow never to fall in love again. When Cat and Adam meet, they shouldn’t even consider romance. But for some reason they can’t stop thinking about each other. So is this their second chance for happiness, or are some things just too good to be true? 


Find out more: 

Thank you for sparing time to talk to us today, Margaret. We wish you continuing success with your books. Best wishes, Freda 

Interviews on the RNA Blog are carried out by Freda, Henri and Livvie. They are for RNA members, although we do occasionally take guests. If you are interested in an interview, please contact: 


Margaret James said...

Thank you for talking to me today, Freda, and for doing such a great job for us all on the RNA blog - you're a star!

Jan said...

A great interview and a superb book. Read it in two days. A film would be fantastic. When will the next "chapter" be written? Don't leave it too long.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Excellent interview - love the premise of The Wedding Diary! And I adore writing on trains.

Beth Elliott said...

Thank you for sharing your writing life with us, Margaret. It's so reassuring to find that you also get people who just join in the story. it certainly makes for a different sort of you advise, 'be sure you want to do it'. Here's hoping you get your wish and see your book turned into a film [and please can I come along to watch RA being your hero]

Margaret James said...

Thank you for your lovely comments, ladies. Yes, you're all invited to the premiere, that's provided I am the one who gets to sit next to RA (hyperventilating, desperately in need of smelling salts or gin).

angela britnell said...

Loved the book, Margaret and will look forward to your next one! I promise to fly from Nashville for the premiere if you've nabbed RA for Adam!

Anna Jacobs said...

I enjoyed your interview, Margaret, and your stories sound great.

You are so right when you talk about writing taking over a person's life - and a person's husband's life,too! LOL