About Maggie Pill:
Maggie Pill, cozy mystery writer, is also Peg Herring, mystery writer, only Maggie is younger and much, much cooler. She is surrounded by dogs and cats and loves to travel to places she’s never seen before, where she hikes/walks everywhere.
Maggie’s view is that books should be fun, even when murder is involved.
What inspires you to write?
Mystery has always been my genre, probably because my mother loved them so much. I’ve always been a storyteller, and I like following the clues to the end of a mystery and getting to know some likeable characters along the way. I’d probably write even if no one read it but me. Luckily, people do, and they want to hear more about the Sleuth Sisters, which inspires me to write more.
See? It’s not my fault I’m obsessed. It’s yours.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m definitely a pantser, starting a book with the mindset “Let’s see where this idea goes!” Sometimes I have to stop and outline what I’ve already written to get the timeline straight. With three sisters telling the story, it’s important to know who learns what when, and how they convey that information to the other two. Mostly the story evolves as I write. I have an idea of whodunit when I start, because in a mystery, the whole story is focused on that end point. I know the characters and their strengths and weaknesses. The rest of it is having fun along the way.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Actually, I’m always alone when I write, but if I weren’t I could still listen to the characters telling me what they need to do. I carry a small tape recorder in my car so I can capture ideas that come while I’m driving. (Again, I only do that when I’m alone. It would be too weird for those who are riding along.) My sisters often help me bounce ideas around, and seeing things from their perspective helps with the three viewpoints in the books. I guess I talk to my characters that way, learning how different people in the same family see events the same or not the same.
What advice would you give other writers?
The publishing world is changing, but the one thing that remains constant is the need for good writing, well-edited and well-presented. Traditional publishers take responsibility for some of that, which is great, but there are losses too. They set the parameters, they control the timeline, and they keep a great deal of the money.
Self-pubbed authors, and even many small-press authors, have to surround themselves with good help, which they almost always have to pay for, so you’re investing up front, hoping you can recoup your investment over time. It has to be done that way, IMHO. Your mom can’t edit for you, even if she is an English teacher. Your cover, your formatting, and your manuscript all need to go through the hands of people who know the business. I’ve talked to too many people who’ve rushed their books into production and regretted it later.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Continued from above! 🙂
Peg is traditionally published, and she learned a lot in the process. Maggie decided to try self-publishing, and while it’s been a ton of work and a financial investment, it’s paying off. I publish both with Amazon and Ingramspark, so the books are available to bookstores as well as online. I pay a cover artist, a formatter, an editor, and a copy editor. I spend HOURS making each book right, checking margins, page numbers, front & back matter, etc. If you aren’t willing to take the time with a self-published book, you’ll end up with a shoddy product. And who’ll buy the next book if they were disappointed in the last one?
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think print and e-books will continue to co-exist. For everyone who insists on “a book in my hand” there’s someone who’s quickly gotten used to reading on the tiny screen of their phone. Since we can do both those things, why wouldn’t they both stick around?
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: mystery
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print, Audiobook
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.