An Interview With
Kristie Leigh Maguire
How did you get started?
I have always loved to read. I was one of those kids with the flashlight under the covers reading after my parents made me turn off the lights at night. I think that I read every book in the library while I was in school. I have always admired the authors being able to spin those intriguing stories and wished that I could do that. I never attempted to write though because I was too caught up in day-to-day life to find the time to try it. However all this changed when my husband got an assignment for us to go live in Japan. My reading suddenly came to a halt because I could not find books written in English. This was intolerable to me. I had to read. It was like breathing to me. I had to have something to read and the cereal boxes in Japanese just did not cut it for me. What else could I do but start trying to write a book myself so that I could have something to read? Thus began my writing career. Of course since romance novels were my favorite to read, that is what I began writing.
What type of writer are you? Do you plan ahead/plot or do you simply fly by the seat of your pants?
I am more of the fly-by-the-seat-of-my pants writer. I have the idea for the story; I create the characters and start writing the manuscript. If the story is good, the characters begin to take over and start telling their own story for me. Im just along for the ride, more or less, until they tell me that its finished. Sometimes I get really upset at my characters because they just won't play along with how I intended for their story to be told. I try to tell them not to go that route but they tell me that it is their story and they know how it should go. I usually end up just smiling and agreeing with them. I just tell them to let me know when they are through and I will edit the story.
Do you write best at a certain time of the day?
My best time for writing is either early in the morning or late at night.
What type of writing schedule do you have?
I try to stick with a schedule but the schedule doesn't always stick with me.
How do you handle life interruptions?
Life happens. I live with it. I write around it.
Do you get blocked? Any hints how to stave it off?
Of course I get blocked. I have heard some authors say they don't but I certainly do. I don't have any hints on how to stave it off. I wish some of those authors who say they dont get blocked would give me some of their hints on how they avoid writers block.
What authors do you look to as a role model and inspiration?
There are too many to name. I guess if pressed to have to name one particular author, I would have to say Danielle Steel. Not that I care overly much for her style of writing but she has certainly put the books out there. That has got to be a lady who keeps to a schedule and doesn't get writers block. I admire that and wished I knew her secret.
What's the best advice you ever received?
Thats an easy one for me to answer. The best advice that I was ever given came from a dear friend of mine, Sharon. She told me to just write to please myself and not to worry about how the story would be perceived by the public. She said that odds were if it pleased me, it would please the reader too.
What sparks a story?
Life and the people who live it. There are stories everywhere. All you have to do is pay attention and you will see the stories all around you. For instance take that old couple sitting in the booth next to you in a restaurant. Was she a war bride? Were they separated while he went off to fight for his country? You get the picture.
What was it about your genre that interested you enough to choose to write in it and not in another genre?
I write what I want to read. I love reading romance; therefore, I chose to write romance.
Have you seen an evolution in your writing? What steps did it take?
Yes, I have seen an evolution in my writing since I first began. The steps? Practice and just doing it.
What have you always dreamed of writing, but haven't yet?
I haven't always dreamed of doing this but there is one thing that I would really like to write and haven't yet. It is the story of my mother-in-law's life. She recently passed away and my husband inherited her diaries. She had faithfully kept diaries since she was a young girl in the early 1900s. I have become fascinated with reading them. There is definitely a story to be told there!
What one thing do you like most about writing? Least?
The one thing that I like most about writing? Let me see. I think it would be taking an idea from my mind, fleshing it out with people, creating a world revolving around them and then loosing myself in that fantasy world until it becomes more real to me than the actual world around me. What I like least? I must say it is the promotion involved with writing that I never anticipated when I started out with my writing career. The promotion takes up time that I would rather spend writing and I was never one to feel very comfortable tooting my own horn. However, promotion is the key to success. I want to be successful; therefore, I promote.
What advice would you pass along at this point in your career?
Just do it. Quit thinking about writing that great American novel and sit your butt down in that chair in front of that computer and start writing. All those thoughts rattling around in your head will get you nowhere until they start flowing out of your fingertips and onto that computer screen. Lots of people say they can write a novel. Lots of difference between saying and doing. You cant finish something you never really start.
Kristie Leigh Maguire: My husband and I have lived in all over the United States and many foreign countries while following his career. While we were living in Japan, I found it very difficult to find books to read that were written in English. This situation was intolerable as I was an avid reader and have been known to resort to reading cereal boxes if nothing else was available. Have you ever tried to read a cereal box written in Japanese? It is not a pretty picture. In desperation I began writing my own books just to have something to read. I discovered a new passion in writing; thus my career as a romance novelist was born.
I am originally from the South and still remain Southern at heart. However, my husband and I now reside in a small town in Nevada in between foreign assignments.