Maggie Jaimeson writes romantic women’s fiction and romantic suspense with a near future twist. She describes herself as a wife, a step-mother, a sister, a daughter, a teacher and an IT administrator. By day she is “geek girl” – helping colleges to keep up with 21st century technology and provide distance learning options for students in rural areas. By night Maggie turns her thoughts to worlds she can control – worlds where bad guys get their comeuppance, women triumph over tragedy, and love can conquer all.
Her latest release, HEALING NOTES, is the second book in the Sweetwater Canyon Series of four books. The final two books will be available in 2013.
Healing Notes by Maggie JaimesonBLURB:
Forgiving yourself is the first step, but helping others forgive may be just too hard.
Rachel Cullen grew up in Scotland with a fiddle in her hand from the age of four. She couldn't imagine life as anything but a musician. When her husband brought her to America she was immediately embraced by the Celtic and Bluegrass communities. But after her divorce, Rachel's life is a mess.
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First, Rachel must reconcile who she is, what she wants, and how to get there. Maybe then she'll know how to be a part of the family she's always wanted.
Before treating us to an excerpt, Maggie Reveals:
In a couple of sentences, describe the hero’s character. What do you like best/least about him?My hero, Noel, is someone who is dedicated to raising his young daughter. As a single parent his primary concern is making sure his daughter feels safe and secure, and gets the right education and personal confidence that will allow her to be successful in life. The thing I like best about him is his focus and his honesty. I also love his romantic, poetic side. The thing I like least about him is how stuck he is in the past—stuck in the wounds from his previous wife and stuck in blaming himself. Of course that is also how he must grow in the novel.
And the heroine? How do you relate to her?The heroine, Rachel, relates to me and many of my sisters in cousins who have been raped and have had challenges moving forward, often not even realizing how it impacts daily life. Also Rachel’s perseverance and striving to find her own unique way in the world. It takes confidence and the ability to balance having a thick skin and being vulnerable to be a great artist, a musician, a writer. Rachel portrays that part of me as well.
Who controls the story – you or your characters?I would say my characters control the story 80% of the time. However, in the 20% where I fight back and insist on a specific direction, I always win. If I didn’t fight for that 20%, I’m afraid no book would ever be finished.
What do you most enjoy about writing romance?I love knowing that no matter the obstacles in my character’s lives, they will triumph in the end and find a happily ever after (HEA). I know it sounds cheesy, but I really believe spending time in a world where that happens consistently is a large part of why I’m an optimistic person. I’m doubly blessed because I read probably 100 romances every year, and I get to spend many hours every day reinforcing those HEAs.
What do you like best and least about writing?I love learning about my character’s, their lives, their problems. I love recording that and fashioning it into a story. Then my most favourite part is the editing to most accurately reflect their settings, tensions, emotional growth. All of the writing craft I love and find it constantly challenging. The think I like least is the waiting to find a publisher and then to find an audience, after the book is done. In many ways, that seems the most time consuming and difficult.
Do you have a writing routine?Prior to this past September, I have always worked another job full time. That meant my writing routine was to come home from work, have dinner, (My husband has always been the primary cook in the family), and then head upstairs to write for three to four hours. Depending on family schedules, I might also eek out one day of the weekend for a four to six hour block. Since September, for the first time in my eight years of writing novels, I am writing full-time. I’m still figuring out exactly what that routine is. At the moment, I wake up around 7am and spend until 10am doing “chores”—meaning everything from making phone calls, doing housework, or responding to email. I work on writing from 10am to somewhere around 4pm, with a half hour break around 1:30 or 2:00 for a snack. Then depending on the day and what other obligations my husband and I have, I will either return to my computer at 8 or 9pm and work until midnight or we will be out of the house.
What is the best writing advice you have ever received?There are two pieces of advice I follow religiously. 1) Once you thin you have finished writing and editing the book, put it away for at least a week and don’t think about it. Then print it out and read it again. You will find a lot more things to change and edit when you approach it fresh. 2) Once you send the book to the market (agent, editors, publisher), forget about it and immediately start the next book. Don’t wait for responses or think about what you could have done differently. If you receive rejections, send it to the next person/company on your list and keep writing the next book.
What can we look forward to from you in the near future?Healing Notes is the second book in a four book series. Undertones was released last year. The final two books, Heart Strings—Sarah’s Story, and Two Voices—Theresa and Kat’s story, are scheduled for release in July and October/November of 2013.
How do you like to spend your free time?My husband is in a classic rock band. As much as possible I like to go to his gigs and enjoy the music and watch him and the audience having great fun. The other thing we like to do is explore the natural beauty around us with day hikes, picnics, or the occasional weekend camping.
What would you most like to accomplish this year?Now that I am writing full time, I hope to be able to set my schedule to get out at least three books a year, instead of the one per year I’d been averaging the last eight years. I already mentioned the completion of the Sweetwater Canyon series for 2013. I also have a YA novel, Chameleon, out to publishers right now that I hope to be picked up in 2103. If so, it probably won’t release until 2014. It is being marketed under my Maggie Faire penname. I would also like to return to both my Expendable characters and my Eternity world and develop further books with them.
What was your favourite book as a child/teen/adult? Are you currently reading anything?My favourite book as a child was Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgrin. I started reading them when I was nine, the same age as Pippi in the books. Pippi reflected both the person I perceived myself to be and the person I wished to become. I identified with her being friendly kind girl, but also someone who didn’t really know proper manners and didn’t have the best understanding of behavioral expectations. What she did that represented who I wished to become was to display amazing confidence, assertiveness and sense of who she is. As an adult, I still admire her as a free spirit. She says what she thinks without much editing, does whatever comes into her mind, no matter how ridiculous it is, she can laugh at herself, and she enjoys life to the fullest.
Any exciting plans for the near future?For me every day is filled with promise. Right now I’m excited that I’m able to write full time, and I’m looking forward to discovering exactly what that means for me. More time with my husband, more time to spend with friends, and more time to write seems like absolutely heaven to me.
Now A Taste of Maggie
As she reached for the handle, the door opened and a little girl rushed out, maybe six or seven years old, with beautiful long blond hair caught up in a blue denim bow. She ran to a light blue sedan next to Rachel’s and giggled as she skipped through puddles circling the car. Rachel couldn’t help but smile at the child’s carefree innocence.
After three circles, the girl stopped at the back end of the car, cocked her head and waved two fingers at her. “Hi.”
“Um, hi.” Rachel raised her hand and waved back. “Did you forget somebody? Your mommy maybe?”
“Claire, I told you to stay close.”
At the sound of the tenor voice beside her, Rachel started. A man three to four inches taller than her had stepped out. In one hand he held several colorful ribbons attached to a bright pink, heart-shaped helium balloon that read Happy Birthday. He looked toward the car where the child was still giggling.
The little girl raced back. Skidding to a stop in front of Rachel, they bumped and Rachel teetered slightly toward the wall.
“Careful there.” A weathered hand reached toward her and wrapped around her elbow. His touch was softer than she expected, but her knees still locked, ready to spring if she needed to move fast. He held her up with one hand. Deep brown eyes, emphasized by his full head of short, wavy blonde hair, looked at her then turned toward the girl.”
“Apologize, Claire. You almost knocked her over.”
“I’m sorry.” A small hand lifted to touch her other arm.
“That’s okay. Really. I should have been paying more attention.” Rachel smiled and pointed to the balloon. “Latha breith.”
“Oh, I…” She had lapsed into Gaelic. Something she hadn’t done in public since Kavan left her almost three years ago. “I said ‘Happy Birthday.’”
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Maggie will award one autographed cover flat to a randomly drawn commenter at each blog stop. In addition, she will award a $25 gift card to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner's choice) as a grand prize to one randomly selected commenter on this tour, and a $25 gift certificate to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner's choice) to a randomly drawn host.
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Pleasure to meet you, Maggie!