– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘The Final Reckoning’ blogtour, organised by Random Things Tour.
About the Author :
Margaret James has been a member of the RNA for 22 years. She has written thirteen published novels, many short stories, and she also teaches creative writing for the London School of Journalism. Margaret’s first novel was A Touch of Earth, a family saga set in Herefordshire where she was born and grew up, and her most recent is The Penny Bangle, set in Dorset and published by Robert Hale. But her personal favourite among her novels is Elegy for a Queen, published by Solidus, a small independent which has a varied and fascinating list. Margaret now lives in Devon, which she loves.
The Final Reckoning
A dark and twisty thriller by Margaret James
What if you had to return to the place that made you fall apart?
When Lindsay Ellis was a teenager, she witnessed the aftermath of the violent murder of her lover’s father. The killer was never found.
Traumatised by what she saw, Lindsay had no choice but to leave her home village of Hartley Cross and its close-knit community behind.
Now, years later, she must face up to the terrible memories that haunt her still. But will confronting the past finally allow Lindsay to heal, or will her return to Hartley Cross unearth dangerous secrets and put the people she has come to care about most at risk?
The Final Reckoning was published in ebook format by Ruby Fiction and in audio by Soundings on 22 January 2019. It is available on all major platforms including:
The price of the ebook varies: average is £1.99.
First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
Thank you so much for inviting me to be a guest on your blog today, Stefanie.
Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I was born and grew up in Hereford, a city in the English Midlands. When my children were little, I started writing short stories for women’s magazines. I was quite successful, so I felt encouraged to try writing longer fiction, too. My first attempt was a historical novel set in Herefordshire and was published as A Touch of Earth back in 1988.
Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I was a big fan of Enid Blyton and read all her school stories. I loved to imagine being at boarding school, getting up to all kinds of mischief and having midnight feasts. My own school was so boring in comparison! As a teenager I read lots of classics such as To Kill a Mockingbird and Sons and Lovers and Love in a Cold Climate and Catch 22, and all of Jane Austen. Nowadays I belong to a book group which encourages me to discover lots of new writers, the most recent being Salley Vickers and Rhidian Brook. Basically, I read anything and everything!
Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I’d love to have met and talked to Charles Dickens, and asked him how he managed to write all those long novels in serial format, knowing that once an episode was published he wouldn’t be able to change it. He would have known he’d need to write the rest of the novel respecting the decisions he had already made. How did he do it? Did he plan everything first and set it in stone? When I’m writing a first draft I change my mind all the time!
If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
I’d like to invite Nick, the astrophysicist hero of The Final Reckoning, to tea – or rather, to the pub – to ask him to tell me more about his work on deep space, and find out if he thinks there is life as we know it outside our solar system. He’d need to explain everything very simply and clearly to non-scientist me!
Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I don’t write any fiction in the mornings. My fiction brain doesn’t seem to function until after mid-day. I write notes for stories in pencil on waste paper, even though people are always giving me beautiful notebooks, which are too lovely to use. I get through lots of pencils!
Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
I tend to be inspired by places rather than people. I’ll see a particular house or factory or ruin and wonder what happened there. I live in a Victorian house, am gradually sorting out the garden, and I am always delighted when I find old stuff in my planting holes. Last week I found a Victorian silver sixpence. As for my characters – they sometimes have experiences that I or my friends or family might have had, but I don’t put real people into my stories.
Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
A plotter, definitely. I always need to know where I am going, even if I don’t know how I am going to get there.
Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Other authors are our best mentors and teachers. So do please keep reading, because reading will help you to become a more confident writer.
Reading will also:
• Act as a stimulus to your imagination.
• Encourage you to identify what works and what doesn’t work and why.
• Suggest new ways of putting phrases together, which in turn will help you to develop different voices.
• Give you the confidence to try different things.
• Give you permission to experiment.
• Give you permission to break so-called rules.
• Help you to acquire good writing technique.
• Help you to work out how an author is getting and then keeping you hooked, especially by looking at the first pages of novels, the openings of chapters, and at the ends of chapters/sections/parts.
• Stop you over-describing – to concentrate your writing and not use too many adjectives and adverbs.
• Enhance your vocabulary.
• Find out what is selling, what trends and genres are rising, what readers seem to want, what other writers are doing, what’s in and what’s out.
• Help you to understand the power of words – to work out why something makes you laugh, cry, sneer, snigger, throw the book at the wall.
As for don’ts – however hard the going seems to be, don’t give up! All those stories about now-famous authors having had their work rejected time and time again are probably true.
What are your future plans as an author?
I’m planning a new crime novel set in Herefordshire, and am also thinking about some non-fiction projects.
Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
How do you stop loving someone you fear might be a cold-blooded murderer?
Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Margaret James.
The Magic of Wor(l)ds
P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!