Friday, May 17, 2013

Interview With Author Margaret Skea

What type of books do you write?  At the moment for full length fiction I am concentrating on historicals – having become fascinated by the late 16th and early 17th centuries. - Perhaps oddly, as I spent many years writing short stories, and with the exception of one recent historical short which is being published by the Historical Novel Society’ in a forthcoming anthology, my short fiction has always been contemporary.  However it is generally as distant from me in space, as my novels are in time – for example stories set in locations such as Africa or Afghanistan  - which also rely heavily on research to get the details right. One common thread is the impact that living within a conflict situation has on family, on relationships, and on personal integrity.

What is your newest book about? Although I’ve had short fiction published in the past, Turn of the Tide is my debut novel, published in November 2012 by Capercaillie Books, and available both in print and on Kindle. It is the story of a fictional Scottish family  trapped in an historic 150-year-old clan feud, and one man’s struggle with diverse loyalties and his desire to protect his family.

What inspired you to write it? My interest was first sparked by a footnote reference in 18thc  family papers to a notorious feud called the ‘Ayrshire Vendetta’ and a particularly treacherous massacre in April 1586. When I discovered that the two families concerned – the Cunninghames and the Montgomeries - had been dubbed the ‘Montagues and Capulets of Ayrshire’, I knew I had to write about them.

What is the writing process like for you? At the moment I’m juggling working, providing emergency foster-care, church voluntary work and writing, so it’s a little tricky. I am part-way through a first draft of a sequel to Turn of the Tide and have a modest target of a word increase of 5000 words per week. I try to get up at 6.00am to write before anyone else is up, and usually start by editing what I wrote the previous day.  I am looking forward to finishing this first drat, because I find re-drafting / editing  the best part of the whole writing process.

What did you do before you became an author? I have been a college lecturer – including teaching Creative Writing courses, and also worked  in Consumer Advocacy, but I’m really enjoying now being able to spend the majority of my time writing.

How does it feel to be a published author? Fabulous! I still have to pinch myself sometimes and get a copy of my book out, just to feel it in my hand. Getting the balance right in terms of how much time to devote to interacting with potential readers online is tricky though – my publisher does their part  in publicizing my novel, but like most writers nowadays, especially  emerging ones, I am expected to also do what I can.  I  love speaking at author events and having face-to-face contact with readers and I get  a real thrill each time someone tells me how much they loved my book.  It makes all the hours alone at my computer worthwhile.

Any advice for struggling writers? A piece of advice that I was given – ‘If you have something written, you have something to change.’ – Get the words down on the page and don’t worry too much about them first time round – you can always re-work them later.

Where do you see book publishing heading? Ah, the crystal ball?  Not my forte, but I do think there will be a lot more self-published work out there. A mixed blessing, I think. On the one hand it will give scope for some really good writing to be made available to readers, but at the same time the more there is, the harder it will be for readers to sift out the good from the mediocre.

Turn of the Tide is now available For more information, see:


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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This blog is copyrighted material by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2013 

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