Margaret was our guest back in 2012…
I was writing for twelve years before – apart from short stories – my first novel was published. Before then I was warned to conceal my age as apparently editors weren’t interested in any new writer of romantic fiction unless she was under the age of 35. The rumour was that it also helped if one had long blonde hair and legs that went on forever. However, since then I’ve discovered that editors’ criteria is the quality of the writing rather than the age of the writer. My first novel, Ring of Clay failed to find an agent but then Poolbeg, the top Irish publishers read it and offered me a 4-book contract, and it went on to win not only the RNA New Writers’ Award, but also the Society of Authors’ Sagittarius Prize for the best first novel for an author aged 60 and over. Which proves that a rejection doesn’t always mean that there is something wrong with the novel. It’s also true that success breeds success, and I’ve now not only been published with Hodder & Stoughton, but have just begun my ninth novel.
My first seven novels have all been regional sagas, set in the Potteries, where I grew up, an area rich in industrial history. Romantic yes, but they also deal with serious issues, such as rape, adoption, snobbery, and relationship issues within families.
My latest, Song for a Butterfly, is currently available on Kindle, Apple, Sony, and Nook, and will be published in November by Magna in Large Print and Audio.
Feeling the need for a fresh approach, I am now writing with a completely different background, historical novels set in the Edwardian era, and really enjoying the research.
I still go to every week to the writers’ workshop where members’ constructive criticism helped me on the rocky road to publication. Not only have the friends I made there become a part of my life, I continue to value their feedback. Writing can be a lonely occupation if done in isolation, which is why joining the Romantic Novelists’ Association was one of the best decisions I ever made.
My top tip for wannabe writers? To read your work aloud, edit it, let it rest for at least a week, then read it aloud once more.
For more details, do visit margaretkaine.com.