This evening in the Library we have Maggie Cammiss, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.
You are very welcome, Maggie, please introduce yourself:
It’s taken a while but I think I’ve arrived. This summer I put ‘novelist’ in the ‘profession’ column of my brand new marriage certificate. I worked in 24-hour rolling news for a long time which gave me a lot of inspiration for my writing. When I left I decided to jump straight in with a novel based on that environment.
Did you read much as a child? Are you an avid reader now? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?
My mum took me to the public library as soon as I could read and I’ve been a keen reader ever since. My first real job was in public libraries and it introduced me to lots of genres I wouldn’t have otherwise read: biographies, poetry, social history; true crime. I still read widely: historical and literary fiction; romance; lots of crime – from the UK and America – as well as the recent Scandinavia offerings.
Are you self-published or traditionally published?
I didn’t have an agent, so I submitted my first novel directly to Accent Press. I was absolutely delighted when it was published in December 2014.
Which genre do you write in and why?
I suppose it would fit into the chic-lit and women’s commercial fiction categories. This is where I’m most comfortable. It’s a bit of a cliché, but the old advice to write about what you know certainly worked for me.
Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?
No particular author, but the good stuff spurs me on to better things, and the bad helps me think I’m improving all the time.
Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?
Only insofar as my novels are set in familiar parts of the UK and feature characters who live in this country.
What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?
The editing is definitely the worst part. I’m a member of a writing group and they are very helpful at this stage – pointing out all the bits that don’t work; the plot points that need joining up; the adverbs that need deleting, and generally being very supportive. And giving me cake.
My biggest challenge these days is applying backside to chair and actually getting the writing done. I live in a beautiful part of the country and the temptation to down tools and go for a walk on the beach, whatever the weather, is always there. Self–control has never been my strong point.
Do you have a favourite time of day to write?
I don’t stick to a rigid timetable these days but usually I catch up on social media in the morning, leaving the afternoons for serious writing. And I make an awful lot of notes in the dead of night.
What is the best thing about being an author? And the flipside – what is the worst?
The best bit is being your own boss, being able to decide how to allocate your time, and spending it with an ever-changing cast of interesting characters who are doing your bidding. Well, most of the time! The worst is the isolation. Writing’s a pretty solitary business, and it’s good to get away from the screen and talk to other people. Oh, and those people who tell me they would write a novel if they only had the time….
Is social media an essential chore or something you enjoy? Which forum do you prefer?
I know I need to do the promotion and I’m getting to enjoy it more than I used to, but it is so time consuming! I have to ration myself or I could while away hours. I use Facebook and Twitter, but I prefer Twitter because it’s more immediate and it doesn’t take too long.
If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?
I’d like to say something dynamic, like concert pianist, or championship golfer, but sadly I haven’t got the talent, or the patience for all the practice, so I’d have to stick to writing, and reading, of course.
It’s the last day and the earth is facing oblivion – what book would you read?
Definitely not something I’ve already read. It would probably be something I’ve been looking forward to and stored on my Kindle.
Please tell us about your latest published work.
My first novel ‘No News is Good News’ is published by Accent Press. My second novel is nearing completion.
If you would like to know more about Maggie and her work please see the links below: