I've set up this blog so that all my friends, relations and colleagues in the world of writing can keep up to speed with what I'm doing - from now on, I'll never have to say sorry for not keeping in touch.

Or anyway, that's the plan.

So do please link up with me on Facebook and Twitter - https://www.facebook.com/margaret.james.5268 and https://twitter.com/majanovelist

You can find my novels as digital downloads on Apple iTunes, Kobo, Kindle and Nook, and most are available as print paperbacks, too.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Meet Suzy Turner - versatility is her middle name!

Yorkshire-born novelist Suzy Turner is my guest on my blog today - welcome, Suzy! I'll just go and put the kettle on and then we can have a nice natter over coffee and cake. I'm looking forward to hearing all about your new novel Forever Fredless

Suzy has worked as a journalist, assistant editor, features editor and magazine editor. Early in 2010 however, she began writing full time and has since completed six books for young adults (the Raven Saga and The Morgan Sisters series) and one chick lit novel, Forever Fredless.

Although Suzy is a Yorkshire lass at heart, she left her home town of Rotherham, UK, to move to Portugal with her family when she was ten. The Algarve, where she lives with her childhood sweetheart and husband of 15 years, Michael, their two neurotic dogs and a cat who thinks she's a princess, is still her home

When and how did you become a writer of fiction, Suzy?  

I was made redundant from my job as a magazine editor a few years ago and so it seemed the perfect opportunity to follow my dream of becoming an author. Luckily, I have a very supportive husband who encouraged me to do just that! So, after a few rejections from literary agents, I decided to go it alone and self publish and I've just released my seventh novel.

What attracted you to chick lit?

Chick lit is my first love when it comes to books. I grew up reading it, learning all about love and life (and sex!!!). It's just such an enjoyable genre to read and, like a fellow author recently said to me, it's like being surrounded by your best friends.

What comes first with you - story, situation, character, setting?

I think it's different every time. With my first books, it was the setting, the second series it was a character and for Forever Fredless, the situation! My next chick lit book (in the planning stage!) is very much about the setting.

Did the characters in Forever Fredless turn up in your head unannounced, or did you have to work hard at developing them? 

I've been pretty lucky with characters so far, they have always just appeared, often unannounced and I love it when happens because I am often surprised!

Who is your favourite character in Forever Fredless, and why? 

Julianne (editor of Liberty Magazine) was a lot of fun to write but I particularly love Kate's mum. Although she's only in the book a short time, I really loved writing her. She's very unusual in that she lives a nomadic lifestyle in Africa!

Do you intend to write more chick lit?

Absolutely! I have so many ideas in my head but I need to finish my next YA book first, and then I can concentrate on my next Chick Lit book which is going to be lots of fun - both researching and writing.

Please tell me five fascinating facts about you?

Fascinating? Oh dear, am I fascinating? 

Yes, of course you're fascinating - all writers are fascinating, aren't we?


1. I chew my tongue when deep in concentration.
2. I grew up in Portugal (where I currently live with my husband).
3. I have a belly button piercing!
4. I worked as the Script Supervisor for a British movie that was recently shot in the Algarve. Find out more here: http://www.therightjuice.net/the-team/
5. I was once interviewed by ITV Yorkshire about living in Portugal, and I'm so embarrassed every time I see it!

Give us a taster of what Forever Fredless is all about?

Kate Robinson has spent the past two decades yearning to find her soul mate, the boy she found and then lost during a family holiday.

Shortly after her twenty-eighth birthday, however, she inherits a fortune from an old family friend and becomes something of an overnight celebrity. Can her new-found fame lead her to him after all this time?

Ooh, sounds great - looking forward to reading!  Thank you for talking to me today. Funny - all the cake seems to have disappeared...

For more details about Suzy and her books, visit:
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/suzyturnerbooks

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Creative Writing Student's Handbook - are you a writer?

It's the beginning of October, which means there is a new chapter of The Creative Writing Student's Handbook up on the Creative Writing Matters website - and it's free for a whole month.

This new chapter deals with the actuality of being a writer.  What do writers do all day? What inspires and what depresses them? Do they think writing is worthwhile? If you decided you wanted to write, where should you start?

After you've read the chapter, please comment if you wish.  Cathie Hartigan and I would love to hear from you.