Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Margareth Stewart: My real name is Mônica Mastrantonio and Margareth Stewart is my pen name, but I like it so much that you can call me Margareth. I´m forty eight.
Fiona: Where are you from?
Margareth Stewart: I was born in Brazil in a little town called Londrina which stands for Little London as it was colonized by the British, and I also have Italian citizenship because of my great-grand-parents that immigrated there. Now I live in Sao Paolo, few months in Miami and at writer´s residencies, too.
Fiona: A little about yourself (i.e., your education, family life, etc.).
Margareth Stewart: Well, I´m a PhD professor in Social Psychology, and had been following an Academic career if I had not felt totally in love with the writing life.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Margareth Stewart: Well, soon flying Cork for a two week residency at Greywood Art, my first time in Ireland.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Margareth Stewart: I´ve always written, as Academics – mostly scientific papers and articles, though lately felt an urge to start writing fiction. It´s not something I´ve planned, much to the opposite, I even tried avoiding it.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Margareth Stewart: When I published my first novel Open/Pierre´s journey after war – at the end of 2017, so I´ve just began (lol). I had also compiled, edited and published anthologies, short stories, articles before, but I did not regard myself so. Then, when Open was accepted and published by web-e-books.com, it felt like the real thing was coming to life.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Margareth Stewart: Can you believe it was a Facebook group? Awesome, I know. It was November – Nano writing month and this group ran a contest for the person who would reach 100.000 word count first. Obviously, I´ve missed it both the month and the word count. But it somehow gave me courage to book a writer´s residency in January in Wales and accomplish my target there. That was how my novel came to life. Then, it took me two years to have it published. So, my advice is never ever give it up. Champagne takes two full years to have the bubbles in it, so good things do take time.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Margareth Stewart: The title is a reference to a scene from the book, the only romantic scene in it – when the main character falls in love. They were in a village stepping on the grapes to make wine, the weather changes and rain is about to fall heavily, the owner of the land was holding a bottle ready to be opened in his hand as a tradition to the new harvest, everyone surrounding him started shouting “Open open, open”. It was the first time Pierre held Claire’s hand.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Margareth Stewart: Guess not, only the fact that because of my background in Social Psychology, I mainly focus in the human beings, their relationships and their inner selves more than anything else.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Margareth Stewart: Mix of everything. There is no such a thing as a blank page, everything we ever lived influences us, what we read, hear, see, the people we´ve met, etc. Writing is putting all that in order.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Margareth Stewart: Yes, for sure. I´m a divorced mom of three kids, so my writing depends on having a break, getting to Writers Residencies somewhere far and isolated. I´ve written Open at Maelor Studio in Corris – Wales; Mademoiselle-sur-Seine at Camac – France and now comes the time to go to Greywood Arts in Cork, Ireland – so glad about it.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The Publisher, but I did some changes and suggested the main colour which is orange.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Margareth Stewart: Yes, indeed. A message about last wishes. Pierre the main character lives for his last wish which is revenge. People do not pay attention to things they need to accomplish in life, so when old age comes, they become very bitter and frustrated.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favourite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Margareth Stewart: Oh, so many influencers. I´m an avid reader since a small kid. I read everything I can ever get my eyes upon, and I love libraries and Book Shops – to a point that I could spend days inside one. So from Tchekov, to Dante, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Sidney Sheldon, Yeats, Kafka, Steinbeck, Wilde to Agatha Christie, Cervantes and Mills and Boon to name a few. I´ve learned so much from them all.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Margareth Stewart: Facebook groups can play a great motivational role to new writers, feed-back from beta-readers, and artist residencies.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Margareth Stewart: Yes, it’s a career like any other. I wake up, get some tea, sit down and type until bleeding – as Nietzsche would say.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Margareth Stewart: No, nothing, really, I´m very happy with the book, its edition, and so thankful to everyone that helped me along this way.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Margareth Stewart: Yes, so much with Pierre, and also about the way I can produce more and write better for next time.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Margareth Stewart: Oh, love this question, wish they read this interview, buy the book and decide to film it: Clint Eastwood or Jeremy Irons.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Margareth Stewart: Keep writing – keep walking, and “Cheering” accordingly.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Margareth Stewart: Just read it.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Margareth Stewart: Cyrano de Bergerac – I want to learn more about dialogues, spoken language, you know.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Margareth Stewart: A series of adventure books for a contest at school, I just remembered I won, and read loads for weeks.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Good talk & nice people, I get emotional when I meet people who are passionate about what they do.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Margareth Stewart: Shakespeare & Theodore Zeldin – one from the past and the other from the present – a great historian writer at a bar drinking beer.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Margareth Stewart: Jogging, cooking, dancing, and reading (lol).
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Margareth Stewart: Can you believe I watch no TV? Zero. That´s me, I´m keen on films, but “zero” TV, not missing much is the feed-back I have from people watching it.
Fiona: Favourite foods, colours, music?
Margareth Stewart: Homemade Pasta made by me (my Italian side) and all sorts of music from Jazz, to folk, rock, samba, bossa, and classical.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Margareth Stewart: Can´t imagine it any longer…there are some paths that there is no turning around – writing is one of them.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Margareth Stewart: Oh, nothing, so many things to write and do before that.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Margareth Stewart: Yes, please follow my Facebook Page where I post offers and new book releases. For 2018, we have Mademoiselle-sur-Seine (erotica) much hotter than 50 Shades of Grey.
Open/Pierre´s journey after war is available at the link below, it can be easily read at any device, just look for Stewart, Margareth.
Fiona, thank you so much for putting these together for all of us; it´s an immense pleasure being here, and looking forward to next book interview, sincerely,
Margareth Stewart January 2018