Interview with Margaret Dallas

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I devoured Enid Blyton books as a child. I loved the adventure in The Famous Five series and other adventure stories. Probably why I taught abroad for many years as was looking for adventure.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I was in primary school at the time. My friend showed it to my teacher who encouraged me to write. I guess that is what started me on the road to writing.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Northern Ireland. I went to boarding school and a teacher there encouraged me to write. I loved reading and have always been surrounded by books.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I tutor children and young teenagers in English and Maths.I enjoy walking the coastal paths where I live. I also do a lot of crafts and am a volunteer helper with Riding for the Disabled.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
My five favourite books, that's quite difficult, maybe easier to name my five favourite authors - Dan Brown, Bill Bryson, Michael Palin, - travel, Caitlyn Duffy and from my childhood - Enid Blyton and Ruby Ferguson.
What do you read for pleasure?
I now read numerous books from indie authors. Also read a lot of YA fiction to keep up to date with their reading trends.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My Kindle. When I first bought it, I thought I might not use it that much maybe just on holiday. I use it all the time now as it is so easy to download books and they are instantly on your device.
Describe your desk
My PC is the most important thing on my desk. Spare notebook and pens are close at hand. My desk is situated beside the window so I can gain inspiration from outside.
When did you first start writing?
While teaching I often wrote the school Nativity play for the young children but since I started tutoring and seen the need for 'short reads', I began to write seriously.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My life feels so full at the moment, tutoring, crafts, walking, volunteer work with Riding for the Disabled and of course writing. Everything I love I am doing now so what better inspiration is there?
What is your writing process?
Oh gosh! When I first get an idea I write it down quickly in a notebook. I then make a rough outline of the plot and how story will. develop. Then it's to the PC and I start writing, writing and more writing. I always keep my notebook beside me as often the story develops into something else or takes me to some other place. I try to write every day but that is not always possible. I tend to keep most of my editing to the end as I do not like to interrupt the flow of my writing. Proofreading is often the difficult part, I usually get someone else to do it as it is hard to spot your own mistakes.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book is not quite ready for publication but hope to publish in April/May 2014. It is called 'Beyond The Tower'. I accepted the NaNoWriMo challenge and wrote 50,000 words in November 2013. I did it. A number of people sponsored me and the money raised went to Fostering Network UK.
The book is aimed at young teens. Sophie loves Lucas, Sophie has an accident but not saying any more than that. You'll have to read it.
Published 2014-01-18.
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