About Maggie Le Page:
Maggie lives in Christchurch, New Zealand with her partner and two children. Her career has (so far) morphed from finance to education to small business and, truthfully, writing fiction is about the last thing her training prepared her for. But Maggie’s never been one to let a little thing like you’re-not-trained-for-this stop her, and when motherhood came along she took the opportunity to spend more time writing.
Kids and part-time admin work are still her ‘day jobs’, but after dark it’s all about the keyboard. She is ably assisted by her ultra-fluffy, ultra-talkative cat who is quick to ‘assume the position’ (on Maggie’s lap, tail draped over keys).
Maggie’s favourite hangout is her local café where she people-watches, catching snippets of conversation and extrapolating wildly to invent new characters. She loves travel, reading, and lazy hazy beach days, preferably presented to her as a tropical island holiday combo. (Maggie lives in hope.)
What inspires you to write?
To be honest, I’m not sure why I feel compelled to write (and it’s not like I really have time for it!) – but I do. Almost anything can – and does – inspire me. Random comments, actions, views . . . before I realise I’ve even realised I noticed them I’m writing a story in my head. People watching is so much fun! And who ever thought I’d be able to day dream for a living?
Tell us about your writing process.
I started off as a pantser because I didn’t know what I was doing as a writer. I just figured if you sat down and wrote, the book would emerge. I was right insofar as a book – a very BAD book – emerged, but I hadn’t factored in the revisions and edits and thinking and layering and refining that needed to go into the process.
I then tried outlining the whole novel ahead of time. It kind-of worked – but only to the extent that it gave me a full picture before I started. It didn’t help with layering, though. For me, that deeper knowledge of characters and story and what the book needs if it’s going to grab the reader by the throat doesn’t emerge until far later in the process. Which means my process still requires me to do a lot of editing. (Dammit!)
I now write using a mish-mash of techniques. Some plotting, some pantsing, and lots of editing. I’m not a fast writer by any means, but I hope that will change with practice (and as the kids get older!).
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I hear my characters. I also see them. It’s like I’m watching a movie in my head. I would LOVE to be able to talk to them in an adult-to-adult kind of way – y’know, like, “Hey Jock, what are you going to do now? I mean, she’s just publicly humiliated you? Are you going to let her get away with that?” And then just be the scribe rather than the creator. 🙂
What advice would you give other writers?
1 Perseverance is key.
2 Don’t compare yourself to any other writer; we all have our own journeys to travel and this week’s rejection may be the one that spurs the rewrite needed to make your book a raging success.
3 Network with other writers, locally as well as online. You’ll learn so much about everything writing-oriented if you’re connecting with other writers.
4 Be warned: to succeed as a writer you need to learn to be a marketer. Either that or employ someone to do it for you. Marketing is far more important in this bizo than I ever realised.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
When I first started writing I was determined to be traditionally published. Self-published books were inferior. Getting traditionally published was the only way forward.
I was wrong.
After 70-odd rejections I finally got sick of waiting and self-published my first novel. To be honest I felt a bit ashamed of myself – and my book – when I hit ‘publish’.
It took almost a year before it gained any traction, but now, almost two years later, I am so grateful for all those rejections I had. I am selling my books every day. I have loyal readers. I am earning something off my books – and it’s far more lucrative as a self-publisher (per sale) than it would ever has been as a novice starting out with a big publishing house. (Well. For starters I’d still be earning zero because I wouldn’t have a contract!)
Through self-publishing I have also learned a huge amount about marketing (I’m still rubbish at it), and the publication process. But most of all, I’ve had validation that my books are worth of an audience. They may not be written to quite the same formula those big publishers think readers are after, but they still have an audience. That is so, so affirming.
There are a variety of publishing routes open to authors these days and, really, it’s up to the individual to decide what works best for them. Self-publishing is hard work. Traditional publishing is also hard work. Digital-only publication, being a hybrid author . . . all the options are valid.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think these are exciting times in book publishing. I have no idea what the industry will look like in ten years! But I do know I’ll be writing, and publishing, so watch this space. 🙂
What do you use?: Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: chick lit, women’s fiction, suspense, contemporary romance
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print