Maggie Shayne is the NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of more than 50 novels and more than 30 novellas for nearly every major publisher in the business. She’s won numerous awards including the RITA Award from the Romance Writers of America, (for which she’s been finalist 14 times!) 3 Career Achievement Awards from RT Book Review Magazine, and many other industry awards. She’s written for CBS Daytime Soaps Guiding Light and As the World Turns.
What inspires you to write?
I’ve always had stories in my head. As soon as I learned to spell I was creating “books” out of construction paper with Crayola illustrations and tables of contents. When our teacher asked for a paragraph on what we did over vacation, I returned with a chapter book. It’s just always been there.
I’m inspired by the oddest things, like most writers. News stories, overheard snips of conversation, songs, lots and lots of songs, even an outfit can inspire a character or story.
Tell us about your writing process.
Coffee, breakfast, walk dogs and workout. Then I handle email, FB and Twitter as quickly and efficiently as possible, and then I head upstairs to my office for two hours of nose to grindstone writing. I write whatever pops into my head, uncensored, straight through the first draft. The second draft is a lot of tweaking, polishing, adding, deleting, and fine tuning, and the third draft is a proof-read on crack. Then I’m done.
I’m totally a Pantser (seat of the pants writer.)
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
They talk through me. I’m like a channel, just writing down what they tell me and show me. I love this process.
Sometimes I talk outloud, or say their lines aloud as I’m writing. I cry when they cry, laugh outloud when they laugh. It’s a powerful process for me. Anyone passing by my office would think I had a crew in there with me.
What advice would you give other writers?
Write from the heart. Never give up. But most of all, believe. If you don’t see yourself as a writer, you’ll never be one. So erase the doubt, walk the walk, talk the talk, begin today BEING the thing you want to be. Just be it. Be it NOW. And it will become your new reality.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
When I began, self publishing wasn’t a real option. Self publishing meant paying a printing press to make hard copies of your books, which they would then ship to your door. Selling them was your problem. No one ever made any money (barring a few rare exceptions) self publishing back then. So I submitted to publishers and collected rejections for 6 years before I was offered a contract for RECKLESS ANGEL from Silhouette Intimate Moments (now called Harlequin Romantic Suspense.) Since then I’ve published with most of the major houses in the business, but when some of my backlist books went out of print and my daughter went into business formatting and doing cover art for authors, I got back some rights, and we went to work. The experience has been the most fun I’ve ever had in this business, and I’m not delving into doing some original titles independently, both in fiction and in the area of spiritual self-help books. My first one of those, Magick and the Law of Attraction, a User’s Guide, shocked me by hitting a couple of bestseller lists. I’m doing both, and doing both quite happily. New authors-do what feels best to you. This is true in every aspect of life, not just publishing. There’s a higher self that is guiding you and the signals it sends to you are your feelings. When something feels right, that’s your higher self telling you to go for it. If it’s difficult and miserable, it’s your higher self telling you to run the other way. Just listen, just feel, follow the bliss, and you’ll never go wrong.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
This new explosion of independent authors is going to mean a wider range of fiction at lower prices, so that readers can find exactly what they like. Authors will no longer have to sell tens of thousands of copies to make a living at 10% or 12%, and can instead make a very nice living selling a few thousand copies and pocketing 70%. This is good for everyone, in my opinion, and I have no doubt big publishing will find a way to thrive in this new world of publishing.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?
In 20 years, almost all of them. Romantic suspense, paranormal romance, thrillers, westerns, category romance, time travel, vampires, everything.
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print