Name: Maggi Andersen
Where are you from:
A little about yourself `ie your education Family life etc
My parent’s families came from England and Denmark, but I was born in Australia. My brother is 18 months older than me, so we played together a lot, growing up by the sea. We had a wonderfully free childhood, roaming the bushland creating stories, and swimming in the creeks and the sea. My father was in the building industry, my mother an accomplished artist. I married quite young, had three children, and then attended university in my thirties, studying for a BA and an MA in Creative Writing, before I began to take writing seriously.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I have just completed my second Regency series with the novel, The Scandalous Lady Mercy – The Baxendale Sisters. I am now writing another Regency series: The Kinsey Family.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I remember writing when about eight years old, and telling stories to the birds in our yard. I was always creating something new.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Not until my first novella was published, a Regency, titled Stirring Passions. It was not the first book I wrote. I had intended to write contemporary romantic suspense, and wrote Murder in Devon for my university degree.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I was reading a lot of English murder mysteries at that time. Our local library had an excellent section. Murder in Devon is set in England. It’s a big story about murder and racial prejudice, which is still current today.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I believe all writers develop a distinctive voice in time. Mine comes from years of reading certain authors, my life experience, sense of humor, and other things unique to me.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The title of The Scandalous Lady Mercy came to me before I wrote the book. I like to have an alliterative title. Something that rolls off the tongue. I already knew Mercy as a character quite well, because she grows up in the four previous Baxendale books. I thought the story line suited her personality and once I had that, I built up the idea of a scandal that would throw two unwilling people together. Then Grant, the grandson of a duke, appeared. Once the basic plotting was done, the story unfolded as I wrote it, driven by two strong characters.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not really. My heroes and heroines are always good people if flawed, basically honorable and honest, and kind to animals. I prefer to write an HEA even in my murder stories. The world is so filled with troubles, and life is hard for many people, so I like to offer an escape for readers to a place where everything turns out well.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Writers do take from life, in fact, we’re like bowerbirds, gathering bits of information from everywhere. I don’t consciously write about people I know. Or myself for that matter.
Fiona: What books have influenced your life most? a mentor?
I haven’t been blessed with a mentor. I’d have to say the books of Georgette Heyer, because my series are set during the Regency period. She was a wonderful writer whose characters leap off the page.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest, and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
My current favorite is Anna Lee Huber, her beautiful prose really captures the Regency era, and the 1830s. I adore Eloisa James’ unusual Regencies, especially her humor.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My wonderful critique group. They are scattered all over the globe and are very good writers.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Definitely. It took some years for me to build up a readership. Very few authors are overnight successes. It’s different these days, in some ways it’s easier to be published and promote one’s work than it used to be. But conversely, there’s lots of great books competing with yours. It takes a lot of time and effort to keep up with the ever-changing industry, and target the right audience, but anyone can do well if they set their mind to it.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not really, I’ve grown very fond of my characters. It’s always tempting for an author to improve on a book, though, given the chance. 😊
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
The urge to tell stories was there from a very early age. I suspect I was born with it.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I’d love to. The first novel in The Kinsey Family Series, features Lord Kinsey’s eldest daughter, Lady Helen. Helen has developed trust issues because of something that happened in her past. She prefers to be involved in the running of her parent’s homes than be part of the London Season and look for a husband. But she is drawn out of her shell, after her family is placed in danger, and discovers a strength she didn’t know she had. And a passion for a certain gentleman.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
US spelling. 😊 I prefer it to the UK but although I’ve worked hard to perfect it over the years, I still trip up. Writing romantic suspense is challenging, too. You have to get all your ducks in a row, feed in red herrings at the appropriate time to hold your readers’ interest, and of course, balance it with the love story arc.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, but I have spent time in England, because most of my books are set there.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I have two favorite cover artists. The talented Erin Dameron-Hill created my fabulous Baxendale Sisters Series covers, which I adore. Victoria Vane, who is equally talented, created a few of my others including my very favorite contemporary romantic suspense cover, With Murderous Intent.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The plot was the most difficult in this one. There’s several plot twists. The characters are always easier, they seem to write themselves into a story.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I guess I reinforced my view that parents aren’t always perfect, and while they love their children and want the best for them, they sometimes make mistakes.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead.
In The Scandalous Lady Mercy, Aidan Turner who plays Poldark was in my mind when I wrote it. I like Emma Watson too, from Harry Potter.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
It’s a special gift. Enjoy it. And don’t let anyone tell you can’t or that you’re no good. I couldn’t say it better than this:
“Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it’s the answer to everything. … It’s the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it’s a cactus.”
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope that if you read my series, you enjoy the Baxendale sisters and their journeys to matrimony.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Secrets in the Mist (A Gothic Myths Novel Book 1) by Anna Lee Huber
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I think it was NODDY, and a special book which stays with me is THE MAGIC FARAWAY TREE, both by Enid Blyton
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Animals and babies. Stories where people triumph over adversity.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Reading fiction and nonfiction. Good theatre. Walking along the lovely paths here in my village. Watching old black and white movies, especially Billy Wilder comedies like Bringing Up Baby and Some Like It Hot. They have such great dialogue and the actors and actresses were so glamorous.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Game of Thrones, Big Little Lies is good– written by an Australian. 😊 I like HBO thrillers, and historical telemovies.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Italian pasta and seafood/ red, and turquoise/Katy Perry and Adele.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Images of my town and the birds I feed