An interview with Maggie Plummer, author of Spirited Away and her newest release, Daring Passage.

Linda, thank you so much for featuring me! The reason you’re featuring me is because I have a hot new release in paperback and on Kindle. It’s called DARING PASSAGE: BOOK TWO OF THE SPIRITED AWAY SAGA.

 We met online, on Amazon’s Meet Our Authors Forum. Fun!

 

Tell us about your most recent release.

DARING PASSAGE: BOOK TWO OF THE SPIRITED AWAY SAGA is the much-awaited sequel to award-winning SPIRITED AWAY – A NOVEL OF THE STOLEN IRISH.

The first book paints an intimate, compelling portrait of 1650s Irish slavery in the Caribbean.

DARING PASSAGE tells the rest of Irish slave Freddy O’Brennan’s tale.

It’s still 1656, and Freddy is on the run. Determined to protect her young children and keep her family together, she is tested more than ever as she navigates a choking gauntlet of greed, corruption, duplicity, and bloody violence.

Romantic sparks fly, then smolder, and ultimately threaten to explode.

DARING PASSAGE is a 70,000-word historical romance novel that captures a rare glimpse of life in the New World colonies of the seventeenth century.

Is there anything you want to make sure potential readers know?        

Although I tried to write this sequel so that it can stand alone, I think readers will enjoy it more if they read the first novel (SPIRITED AWAY – A NOVEL OF THE STOLEN IRISH) first. It will deepen their appreciation of the sequel.

I haven’t read the sequel yet, it’s just now come out, but I read the first book and it was extremely good. Not just a good read, but great information that I missed in history class… probably because they never talked about it.

What genre do you write?

My first and second published novels are historical fiction. DARING PASSAGE could be classified as Historical Romance, I think. I enjoy these historical novels, but I’m ready to do some less-research-intensive novel writing. That means I will be writing some novels in other genres…soon!

Good, I am glad your heroine will get some romance.

What is the most demeaning thing said about you as a writer?

Wow, Linda, what a great question! As a matter of fact, there was a reader of my first novel who did a “review” and really trashed me as well as my book. Obviously misunderstanding at least one of my novel’s scenes, she claimed – even in the title of her “review” – that I am an author who thinks rape is OK. Oh, my gosh! That is just crazy. That was a very difficult one to accept. I contacted Amazon and asked them to remove that one-star “review,” because I do feel that it is libelous. They wouldn’t, saying it was a valid review. (Whatever!)

Maggie, I understand, I do. In an effort to show, not tell, some people declared they did not like the rape scene in my book. I didn’t write one. Sometimes people read more than what is there. And sometimes that is a good thing and sometimes, it is not.

How do you react to a bad review of one of your books?

Oh, it’s not easy to let the negativity roll off one’s back – especially when it gets personal, like the one I just mentioned above. I am fortunate, though, in having many more positive reviews than negative ones. I’m proud of the fact that I have never, ever, commented to any of the negative reviewers. Not a word. (I’m such a big mouth in general, I feel that this is a major professional accomplishment!)

Maggie, it is an accomplishment. I agree with you though, they read the book and they’re entitled to say what they thought.

Do you write in more than one genre?

Yes. I have one non-fiction book and two historical novels out, and plan to branch out into contemporary mainstream fiction and perhaps a few other genres. I may well have to return to historical fiction, though. I like it!

Well, I know you write historical fiction very well.

How do you choose the titles of your novels?

As I’m writing the novel, I try to keep the need for a good title uppermost in my mind so that if I happen to use a phrase or concept, I can grab it for a good title.

That sounds like a good way to do it. I have tried naming the story before I wrote it and it hasn’t worked well for me. I end up changing the name.

Are there any occupational hazards to being a novelist?

Yes! Poverty and sitting too much! Ha!

Poverty. You are a hoot! Sitting too much, definitely bad for us.

What are some of your favorite books?

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT, ANIMAL DREAMS, PRINCE OF TIDES, THE GREAT SANTINI, SHIPPING NEWS, and many others.

Very interesting list there.

What is the best thing said about you as a writer?

I love it when people call my writing “lyrical.”

Maggie, that is nice. It’s amazing the things that people really enjoy.

Have you ever dispatched a character and then regretted it?

Not yet.

That’s because you plan and research your books so well.

Tell us something surprising about yourself.

This summer, I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. That sure shocked me! I dealt with it, though, and I’m fine. The moral of the story: those of us who are “women of a certain age” really need those annual mammograms.

Maggie, good for you! The next doctor that says “women of a certain age” to me might get to be a bad guy in my next story. I know that was scary and I’m glad you made it through.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Harper Lee, Anna Quindlen, Pat Conroy, Wally Lamb, Barbara Kingsolver, Toni Morrison, Anne Tyler…I could go on and on.

I love to hear what other authors enjoy and especially who they enjoy reading.

Do you listen to music while you write? If so what kind and why.

No, I don’t. That’s a good idea, though. If I did, it would have to be instrumental only, because I wouldn’t be able to stand having any words in the background as I tried to write words. That’s just how I am.

I understand that. I listen to mostly instrumental music as well.

What did you do before you began writing and publishing?

I was a journalist, mostly a reporter for small town weekly newspapers.

A Lois Lane! That sounds exciting to me.

Describe your perfect job.

Writing novels under contract for an extremely generous publisher who would pay huge advances and royalties, and who would not only provide excellent editing services but impressive book promotion services as well.

When you find that job, hook me up, okay?

Describe your perfect day.

Being in Glacier National Park on a clear summer day, gazing at the mountains and sky.

I know you love the outdoors and enjoy the beauty of nature. I do too.

What are your favorite movies?

I think “Moonstruck” might be my favorite of all time. I also love “Steel Magnolias” and “Secondhand Lion.”

You and I have discussed Steel Magnolias. It was filmed in my neck of the woods. I also enjoy Moonstruck and Secondhand Lions is a great movie.

How do you remain sane as a writer?

What makes you think I am sane?

Hey, it was just one of the questions. I like to check to see if any author still thinks they’re sane.

Have you ever read or seen yourself as a character in a book or a movie?

Yes, but only when I think about writing an autobiographical novel about my 1970s life as a Volkswagen Gypsy roaming around the country working seasonal jobs.

You have had a very interesting life. I hope you will write down some of your adventures so we can all enjoy them.

What is the single most powerful challenge when it comes to writing a novel?

Hanging in there when the going gets tough, when you hit that inevitable “nausea phase.” Just sticking to it and finishing it.

I understand. It is a lot of work to finish a book.  

What do you consider your biggest failure?

I would say I’m a pretty bad failure at office jobs. It has never been the actual work that has been a problem for me; it’s the co-workers, the games people play, the undercurrents, the office politics. That stuff drives me nuts! I wish I was better able to play it cool in situations like that.

That is understandable.

Who do you want to read your books?

Everyone over the age of 18.

That’s a lot of folks. I hope they all get a copy.

How much impact does your childhood have on your writing?

Quite a bit. I think I do use my childhood to understand characters’ feelings of oppression, frustration, anger, low self-esteem, and general unruliness.

Yes, we’re all what life has made us.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?

How to write! You know, spelling, punctuation, grammar, word usage. Yes!

I know you are great at spelling and grammar and word usage and punctuation. You even edit tweets.

Do you laugh at your own jokes?

Sometimes.

Well I think your jokes are funny.

Do you admire your own work?

Sometimes.

Honest answer.

What are books for?

For me, they are for expanding my world view, and for escape.

I think that’s a great answer.

Are you fun to go on vacation with?

Yes! I am very adventurous and curious about everything, and I love maps.

Adventurous is a word I would definitely use to describe you.

How do you feel about being interviewed?

It’s a bit embarrassing, but this one is fun.

That’s good. I’m glad you enjoy it.

Why do you think what you do matters?

My first novel is about 1650s Irish slavery, so I feel that it matters a great deal. Most readers have never heard of Irish slavery. Not only do they get to enjoy a good story, they have their eyes opened about an important yet forgotten chapter in the history of human trafficking.

Maggie, that is the main reason I bought your book before I even knew you. I had never heard of that event in history. That was an excellent read.

Do you prefer being an independent author or one who is with a publishing company?

I have never been with a publisher, so it is hard to say. I choose being an indie author rather than allowing my manuscripts to be stashed away in a drawer. If a publishing company offered me a very, very good deal, it might be very fun to be with them.

Ha ha! Well said.

Are you jealous of other writers?

Only the very secure, wealthy ones.

Funny.

What makes you cry?

Animal suffering.

I’m right there with you on that.

What makes you laugh?

Life’s frequent absurdities.

And we have plenty of those don’t we?

What are you ashamed of?

The fact that I am seriously obese and have such a difficult time doing anything about it.

I understand that too.

Describe your writing process. When and where do you write?

I write in the early part of the day, when I’ve had plenty of coffee. Usually I am in my living room…

I wonder if the snow drifting up on your house has any effect on that.

Who is the most supportive of your writing?

My good friends and many of the first novel’s readers.

That’s good. We all need support.

What are you planning to write in the near future?

I am revising and rejuvenating a novel that has been gathering dust for a while. It includes a lot of Montana gold rush history, but is told within a modern framework. So, I guess it would be categorized as Contemporary Mainstream Fiction.

Sounds interesting.

What compels you to write?

I feel like I am meant to do this; that not to do it would be a waste.

That’s a very compelling reason.

What was the biggest challenge you faced writing this book and how did you overcome it?

I suffered from “sequel-itis” during the writing of DARING PASSAGE – that is, the horrible feeling that no matter what I did, no matter how hard I tried, this sequel would not measure up to my first novel. However, my ‘first readers’ loved the book. One of them told me that I have just gotten better. That made me feel so good, and excited to release the sequel.

Yes, that would be tough. Your first book was very popular, I understand how you could feel that way.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Work hard, don’t cut corners, don’t rush your writing, aim for excellence, and stick to it.

That sounds like great advice.

What is your favorite genre to read?

Character-driven Women’s Fiction.

I like that also.

Do you write under a pen name?

Nope. That’s the real me.

And that is true, it’s the real Maggie.

What is something you really want your readers to know about you?

I appreciate their support more than they will ever know.

That is a great statement.

Bio:  

Maggie Plummer is a writer who lives in western Montana. Along the lengthy, winding trail to becoming a novelist, she has worked as a journalist, book publicist, book editor, census enumerator, school bus driver, field interviewer, waitress, post office clerk, fish processor, library clerk, retail salesperson, Good Humor girl, fishing boat first mate, race horse hot walker, apple picker, and bus girl.

Maggie is the author of SPIRITED AWAY – A NOVEL OF THE STOLEN IRISH (2012, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform) and PASSING IT ON: VOICES FROM THE FLATHEAD INDIAN RESERVATION (2008, Salish Kootenai College Press, Pablo, Montana). DARING PASSAGE: BOOK 2 OF THE SPIRITED AWAY SAGA is her second published novel.

She is already working on her next novel.

Links:

SPIRITED AWAY – A NOVEL OF THE STOLEN IRISH
http://amzn.to/1qK9PwF

DARING PASSAGE: BOOK TWO OF THE SPIRITED AWAY SAGA
http://amzn.to/1B0DDyt

Amazon Author page:
http://amzn.to/1p0gBDy

My web site:

http://maggieplummerauthor.weebly.com/

My fan page on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/SpiritedAwayANovelOfTheStolenIrish?ref=br_tf

Find me on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/maggiep1951

Maggie, thank you so much for taking some time to share with us. I look forward to reading your newest book, Daring Passage. Spirited Away was very well done and an enjoyable read. I know Daring Passage will be also.

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