Interview with Maggi Andersen

Published 2014-07-21.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Even though my first book, a contemporary murder mystery titled Murder in Devon, reached semi-finalist in the Penguin/Amazon Breakthrough novel contest, I still found it hard in Australia at the time to get a publisher. I was published with an Indie publishing house in the US, and have been Indie published since. I'm happy to work with a good publisher, while self publishing the stories not suitable for my publisher's list. The creative freedom of self-publishing really appeals. And the fact that I can get the books out to readers really fast. It's a new venture for me, we'll see how it goes.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Certainly, with a few of my previous novels! I'm looking forward to working more closely with Smashwords.
What do your fans mean to you?
They mean a great deal. It's why we writers sit tapping away at our computers for hours every day. Or at least this writer.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The Duke's Mysterious Lady was inspired by a dream. In my dream a woman was found lying unconscious on the road by a duke, near his estate. I find when I'm just on the verge of waking is the perfect time for getting great ideas for a story. Because the woman has lost her memory, Hugh, Duke of Vale names her Viola. He places with his nanny in a cottage on his estate.
It's a romance as the two grow closer, their situation becomes more and more difficult.
It's a mystery - how did Viola come to be on that road dressed in a man servant's clothes? What was she running from? What is her real name? The only clue is the locket she was wearing. Hugh has the Bow Street Runners searching for her family.
Hugh is destined to marry Lady Felicity Beresford from a neighboring estate. The marriage was arranged when they were children, but Hugh wants to marry for love.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
To tell my story and have my readers entertained. I had a nice email from a reader this morning. Starts the day on a lovely, bright note!
What are you working on next?
I'm writing a series of Regency novellas about five sisters. I have a 1920s romance in mind for a novel, loosely based on the life of a real person. It will have a kind of Upstairs Downstairs/Downton Abbey flavor. I love writing about the inhabitants of big houses. The Folly at Falconbridge Hall is set close to the turn of the twentieth century.
Who are your favorite authors?
Georgette Heyer, Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt from the past. I have many modern writers I greatly admire: Courtney Milan, Amanda Quick, Eloisa James, Anna Campbell, Julia Quinn, Victoria Vane, C.S. Harris, Anne Perry, Mary Jo Putney, Annemarie Brear, and many contemporary writers too, Nicci French and Robert Galbraith to name but a few.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Feeding the local wild life and going for long misty walks. We are blessed to live in a beautiful little town. Tourists pour in during springtime to visit the gardens and see the display of tulips.The movies when there's something good on. I like old black & white movies, especially Film Noir. Our movie house shows an old movie once a month and a local band playing the old favorites. I saw The Quiet Man with John Wayne on the big screen for the first time. Everyone clapped at the end. It's a nice way to spend an afternoon.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I do. I was seven or eight. It was a story about witches and gobblins. I took my characters on a dangerous journey. My teacher said I had a talent for story-telling, if only my writing was legible.I still tend to scrawl while my fingers try to catch up with my brain. Thank heavens for computers!
What is your writing process?
I have an idea for a story before I start, but once I begin to write I'm basically a panster. I like the story to surprise me and never know what my characters might choose to do. It's a mysterious process. Panstering allows me to deviate and introduce all sorts of interesting sub-plots and secondary characters. That can be a good thing, and sometimes not.
I use a small word processor which takes me away from the internet for a while. Talking to friends on Facebook, while enjoyable can be time consuming. :) I then upload what I've written to Scrivener. I edit what I've written the previous day before I continue writing and end up with a fairly clean first draft, although there's still plenty to be done. I usually do at least 3 drafts before I send it off to be edited.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
It was Enid Blyton. It might have been Noddy, but I remember The Famous Five quite well. Like many others I was mesmerized by her books as a child.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Kindle. It's great, and mine has a heap of books waiting to be read. I still like to read a real book occasionally. Nothing like the rustle of paper. It's easier to look back for something overlooked in the story and re-read the back page blurb, etc.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Reviews are important. Also Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, Google plus etc. Some limited paid advertising in magazines such as the International Thriller Writers - for my Regency spy series, and InD'tale Magazine. I make guest appearances on romance writer's blogs and do virtual book tours with a new releases. I have a news only newsletter. (Find it on my website at I do some kind of promo most days.
Describe your desk
I have a snug writing nook off the kitchen. Because I write historical romance, I'm surrounded by historical reference books. I love to collect them. I'm interested in art history, English historical houses, gardens, interiors, fashion and books on the Georgian, Regency and Victorian eras. Our lovely cat used to squeeze in with me, but we lost her last year. I plan to get another pet soon.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up by the Pacific Ocean near Sydney Australia. Spent a lot of time at the beach and in the small bookshop and the library. I was brown as a berry every summer - my poor skin! I could swim when I was three. I expect it was the library books which influenced my writing as well as those I found at home. My mother's family came to Australia from England, and my father's from Denmark. They were both keen readers (Mum read historical romance. Dad liked thrillers), the wonderful worlds within those books made me want to create similar stories with my own characters.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Writing! My family don't live close so I don't see them often. I have never tired of writing and intend to continue as long as I can. I believe being a writer means improving your skills during your lifetime. I'm always working at that.
How do you approach cover design?
I have a good idea what cover would suit my story, but I let the experts do it for me. There's some great cover artists out there. Some are quite reasonable too.
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