Welcome to another author interview, this time with mystery writer, Maggie Thom, an Indie writer from Canada who is soon releasing her third book in a 3-part Kindle series, Split Seconds. Split Seconds will be Maggie’s fifth book overall and is due out on July 20, 2017 with pre-orders available here.
In addition to writing, kids, a dog, a husband, and walks in nature occupy Maggie’s time, but she took a break from her work and life to talk about her writing process, things like jumping in, allowing yourself to make mistakes, and opening up to where the story takes you. So without further adieu, here’s Maggie:
What’s your writing routine? Were you trained formally? What’s your routine? Do you work out while writing, take breaks, or simply gut it out?
I’ve written most of my life. I wrote my first novel at age 9. I didn’t share my writing for many years but in the 90’s I got serious about it. I started taking courses and then joined a writing group and then a critique group. I find that my routine for each novel is very different. With the latest novel that I’m working on, many things were getting in the way of getting it finished. So I committed to writing every day until it was done. I wrote 55,000 words in 21 days. I’d never done that before. I do make sure I take breaks and that I exercise daily. When I am done writing draft one of my novel, I walk away from it for a few weeks to a month before I come back and do the rewrites.
What is your favorite genre of book, to write? To read?
I love suspense/thrillers – reading and writing them. I enjoy creating the twists and turns that keep people guessing until the end.
From where do your ideas come?
My ideas come from things I read, see or hear. I love taking something and then playing ‘what if?”. What if identical twins were separated as toddlers and raised apart unaware of each other? How would that affect their connection? What if these twins met as adults? Would they feel that instant connection? What if someone built their legitimate empire on dirty money? What if someone was kidnapped as a baby and then kidnapped a second time? How would she unravel her life? Ideas for my novels can be triggered by anything. For me it’s about allowing my imagination to play with those ideas and see where they go.
Do you think writing is a form of therapy and, if so, has it helped you work through anything in particular? What has been your greatest writing lesson?
I think writing is extremely cathartic. I learn something new about myself all the time when I’m writing. I think one of the best things that writing has taught me has been that writing is a process – the more you do it, the more you open yourself up. The more you remove yourself from it, the better you’re going to be at it. Sounds simple but when you want to be a writer yet don’t believe you’re good enough, it is a huge milestone. Writing has really helped me to get over my nerves about sharing my writing. It really taught me that without taking a leap and just jumping in, you will remain stuck. One thing is guaranteed, you will make mistakes. Things won’t go as planned, but if you keep opening yourself up to learning … the ride is amazing.
Do you have a day job or is writing your full time gig?
I don’t work outside of writing, but I do offer a few services to authors – how to write a compelling fiction book blurb, writing workshops and helping women find their voice through writing.
What’s your best time of day to write?
I love to write early in the morning but I am at a point that I really can write pretty much at any time of the day.
From where do you pull inspiration? How do you keep the creative spark going?
I get inspiration for everything around me — from my experiences, from others… I give myself time just to play with ideas and see where they will go. If I feel there is a story to be developed, I will start asking a lot of questions: What if…? Why would she do that? Would she do that? How could she…? Where would she…? Who or what is getting in her way? Who are some of the other characters? If ideas start to come to me and I like them, then I will jump in and write.
As for keeping the creative spark going, I am at a place that I love the process of writing. I enjoy creating stories and figuring out where I can go with them. I have fun with it.
Pantser or perfectionist who meticulously plots out their stories?
Panster until the story is written and then I’m the perfectionist. I do not plot out my stories, at least not fully. I start writing and let ideas come to me. I then play with those ideas to see where they might go. I write and plot and write and plot. When I am finished with my first draft, that’s when I go back through and really figure out what works and what doesn’t. I make sure that the plot is really intriguing, makes sense, that all the moving parts are there and everything is tied up by the end.
What’s your perfect writing day look like?
To get up at 5:00 a.m., have the birds singing, clear skies and just normal silence. And I write. I feel good, I feel energized and I get to do what I love. I usually write for about 2 – 3 hours and if it is flowing I can write between 2,000 – 5,000 words.
How about your favorite childhood memory?
Tobogganing for hours with my siblings
And the final question, do you think writing can save the world and if so, why?
Absolutely. I think writing is not only cathartic but a great way to learn. When people write stuff down and then read it, they get a very different perspective on it. It can give some simple realizations or some profound realizations. For some people if they wrote down and read what they were going to say, they might realize how it truly sounds. Hopefully it would wake people up to treating each other with more kindness, acceptance and love.