Thursday, 12 September 2013

Interview With Scottish Children's Author Maggie Reid

Maggie Reid is a Scottish Writer who trained as an Actor at ‘The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’, Glasgow and has a Post Graduate Certificate in Education. Maggie has had two children’s books published this year with a third manuscript well on its way to publication later this year!

A very warm welcome to you Maggie, and can I thank you, for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us today.
Thank you for inviting me Calum, it's great to talk to you.

For the benefit of our International readers can you tell us a bit about the part of the world that you are currently resident in and why do you like living there?
Yes, I live in Dumfries and Galloway in South west Scotland which is beautiful both in terms of scenery and tranquility yet still close to Edinburgh and Glasgow. I find it is a wonderful place for inspiration. I did once live near the garden where JM Barrie was said to have imagined ‘Tinkerbelle’. There has to be something magical about that, as well as the Bard Robert Burns.

Can I ask what sort of books did you like reading as a child?
As a very young child, I had a huge collection of Ladybird books. I loved them! I still remember ‘The Elves and the Shoemaker’ and ‘Cinderella’ as my favourites. I loved fairytales, Hans Christian Anderson, and Enid Blyton’s ‘Famous Five’ and of course Nancy Drew books. I also adore Lucy Maud Montgomery and Beatrix Potter. 

Do you think the books that you read as a child have influenced your writing in any way?
I think I have been hugely influenced by the wonderful novel “Little Women” and the character of Jo.  It has taken me lots of mistakes as a writer to discover that writing what is closest to your heart is the path to being a successful writer. Lewis Carroll and 'Alice in Wonderland' showed that there are no bounds for the imagination. Finally, I think fairy-tales are timeless and will always have relevance.

Do you have a set routine when you are working on a book?
Do I have a set routine? I write in long hand with a fountain pen, the entire manuscript is written that way. I do have ideas throughout the day, but cannot write in the morning without two cafe lattes!

Where do you do your writing best?
I write best in silence, without music or television.

What helped you in deciding to write children’s books?
 I did not ever decide to write Children’s books - but I was very lucky. I was given advice by a well known literary agent and followed that advice!

When you are writing, how do you place yourself into the scenes that you are actually writing about?
I have no difficulty in imagining the settings for the characters I create or where they are, as I trained as an actor and see my books like a theatre or film piece.

How do you go about imagining, developing and give real lives and personalities to the characters that we read about within in your books?

I visualize my characters in great detail and try to create inspirational characters. I create characters often with traits that I would love to have! My character: Marta Ziegler for example has real courage and strength of character and represents someone we would all like to be I think.

Did you encounter any difficulties in getting your books accepted and published?

I had huge difficulty in getting my work published like most writers. I have been rejected so many times, but was so determined to write I self published. A year later I had three contracts for my novels from ‘Crooked Cat Publishers’ and ‘Ecanus Publishers’. The rejection strengthens your belief in yourself as having your dream rejected is heartbreaking. If you are a true writer, you will succeed by perseverance as well as talent.

Did you have to undertake any research for your books?
I do research and that can come from anecdotes well as from the library. 

How do you come up with the unusual titles for your books?

Well, I think the more unusual title the book has, the more intrigued as a reader you are! ‘Fearless Frangipan Circus Pie’ is perhaps my most unusual!  I think choosing a title for a book is far more important than the synopsis!

What is your favorite book?
That is so difficult ......CS Lewis is an incredible writer ,,,,,,and Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s book ‘Sunset Song’ is a particular favorite of mine. 

Are you currently reading a book at the moment, and if so what is it?

I am reading a Book on learning Italian, as my son Joseph is currently studying Italian at Edinburgh University!

Do you have any other hobbies or interests that you enjoy in order to give you a break from your normal routine and your writing?

I sing and play the piano.

Can you give us a hint about any other books that you may have in the making at the moment?
I cannot give too much away at present, but I am working on a new children’s Book which has a gothic feel ....... ;-)

Maggie, I have been absolutely delighted and very honoured that you agreed to be interviewed for my literary site. I would also like to thank-you again for taking the time to speak to us today.

It has been my pleasure Calum!

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  1. I had the pleasure of reading Maggie's FEARLESS FRANGIPAN CIRCUS PIE. The title was a big part of what intrigued me enough to learn more about the book and then download a copy to my kindle. The covers of her books are also quite striking and underscore her playful and dreamlike writing style. Thanks so much for allowing me a behind-the-scenes peek at her creative process. Carrie.

    1. Thank you for leaving your comment Carrie. It is very much appreciated and I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed this post! :-)


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