A little bit about Margaret...
Thrills, mystery, suspense, romance; Margaret penned it all. Nothing wrong with that—except she happened to be writing for the church newsletter. After making the church picnic read like a Grisham novel, her former pastor took her aside and said, "Maybe God's calling you to write fiction."
So that’s what Margaret did. She now has more than thirty books to her credit, is a New York Times bestselling author and past Romance Writers of America RITA finalist—not bad for someone who flunked 8th grade English. Just don’t ask her to diagram a sentence.
How to connect with Margaret...
To purchase her books: She prefer readers to support local bookstores, but the book can be purchased on line here: http://www.amazon.com/Gunpowder-Brides-Chance-Ranch-Series/dp/1595549722/ref=pd_sim_b_1
Author Interview | Margaret Brownley
You and Writing
Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing?
...I wrote my first book in fifth grade—a mystery I didn’t know how to end (still don’t). After flunking eighth grade English, my teacher told me not to even think about being a writer and for many years I didn’t. School, work, marriage and babies took up most of my time, but the writing bug never left. After being encouraged by my pastor to go for broke, I started writing my first novel. I was teaching at the time so I got up at 4 a.m. and wrote for two hours before waking the children and getting myself ready for work. Five years and four books later I sold my first novel.
...What’s kept me writing? The stories that keep popping up inside and letters from readers.
Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?
...This is like picking out a favorite child, but I have to say that Gunpowder Tea tops the list. I’ve always wanted to write a mystery and this book allowed me to go places I’ve not gone before...It has everything I love in a book; romance, laughter, mystery and faith, but I especially love the chemistry between the hero and heroine
What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?
...I’ve been in the business for twenty-five years and I would say the hardest thing has been keeping up with all the changes. Back then, the bookstore was king. Now it’s the Internet. Just when I think I’ve got a handle on social media, it changes. My grandkiddies just informed me I’m behind the times because I’m not on Instagram. The easiest? There is no easy.
Tell us a little bit about your book
...The heroine of Gunpowder Tea is a Pinkerton detective trying to track down a notorious outlaw suspected of hiding out on the Last Chance Ranch. She has good reason for suspecting Taggert of being the outlaw; mainly because he robbed her on the train. Little does she know that he’s a Wells Fargo detective also working undercover.
...It was a lot of fun writing about a female Pinkerton detective. I really love the interaction between Annie and Taggert. They start off suspecting each other of being the bad guy. Then they’re in competition to see who can track down the outlaw first. It’s just so much fun!
What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...The Pinkerton logo is an eye and the theme running through the book comes from John 9:25: I was blind, now I see. How true that is on so many levels. Sometimes we see only what we want to see or that which is the most evident. God encourages us to look beyond the surface and see the person inside.
Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...Actually Annie was inspired by a real person. Kate Warne was the first female detective and worked as a Pinkerton operative during the 1860s. She helped stop the first assassination attempt on Lincoln’s life.
...I’m afraid my goals when writing are far from lofty. My first consideration is to entertain and delight the reader. Second, my goal is to make them care about the characters. My aim for the end of the book is to leave readers smiling and feeling more hopeful.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
...First, enjoy the process; it’s easy to get so caught up in making that first sale that we forget the sheer pleasure of putting words on paper and telling our stories. Each step of the writing journey is exciting. Mine it for all its worth. Beginners have the luxury of giving a novel all the time and care that it needs. Professionals have deadlines to meet.
...Second: Rejections are not the end of a story; they are only the beginning. Think of them as an opportunity to find a better publisher or improve the work. I had one book rejected seventeen times before it found a publisher—and then it helped launch a new line. Thank God for those seventeen rejections.
When you get an idea for a novel, what is the first thing that you do?
...I run it by my agent or editor.
September is Classical Music Month (who knew?). In keeping with that theme, do you have a favorite character from a classical novel?
...Jo in Little Women was my role model growing up. I loved her spunk and that she was a writer. I wanted to be just like her.
Thank you so much for joining us at Thinking Thoughts today, Margaret. I know when I first read your short bio I laughed--hard--and could completely relate (working for a church myself). Fiction does seem a lot more fun to write versus bulletin inserts ;)
I also love your intentions for your books! You say they aren't lofty, but I think they are fantastic. Who doesn't want to be encouraged and feeling more hopeful after reading a great book? And when you said that you were rejected 17 times I'll admit that I was encouraged! To look at you and your prosperous writing career now gives us all hope to keep writing.
Readers, make sure you mark your calendars. Gunpowder Tea will be released on Amazon October 8th. It'll definitely be worth the wait, I'm sure!