July 18, 2008

Author Margaret Tanner

Welcome Margaret Tanner as my guest blogger!

1. So, tell us a little about yourself? What is your typical day like?

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I am married with three grown up sons and a gorgeous little granddaughter. I usually start my day going through emails, then I head off to work. I am a medical audio typist (typing up Radiology reports) lots of mammograms and breast ultrasounds. Nothing I don’t know about “boobs.” After dinner in the evenings, check my emails again, then maybe do some writing. I have Thursdays off, so that is a big writing day for me, also the weekend.

2. When did you start to write and how long did it take you get published? How many stories did you finish before you were published?

I have been writing short stories for as long as I can remember. It has taken me 20 years to get published. I have been so close so many times, but something always seemed to happen to thwart me at the last minute. Publisher closing down, change of editorial staff, that kind of thing, then it was back to square one again, but I never gave up on my dream – to be a published author .

3. How did you break into publishing?

I just kept sending query letters to different publishers until I was finally picked up by Whiskeycreek Press.

4. What influenced you to write?

I can’t really say. When I was about eight years old I started writing poems, then short stories. I won a number of writing competitions over the years. After I was married and at home with my children (my husband worked night shift), I couldn’t sleep if I went to bed too early, so I started writing romance stories, I aimed for Harlequin Mills & Boon, but I soon realized, after a few rejection letters that I couldn’t write to their formula. Besides, I mainly wrote historical romance. History is another one of my loves.

5. What inspired you to write romance?

One of my neighbors was an ardent Harlequin M&B fan and she got me reading them and I thought, I can write better than this, but actually I couldn’t.

6. What genre or sub-genre do you write? Why did you choose this genre?

I write mainly Australian historical romance because as I said previously, I love history. To write good, believable stories you have to write about what you know and I have read a lot about, and traveled extensively in Australia, so I usually set at least part of my stories around Wangaratta, the place where I was born, and also a very picturesque, historical area. I know it so well. In most of my stories there is some overseas elements in it, mainly England, because I have visited there a couple of times.

7. What difficulties does writing this genre present?

None really, as I like history and am prepared to trawl through old books and papers, visit museums and I have spoken to elderly relatives to gain information.

8. What motivated you to write your current book?

I guess I would have to say my love of history and the bravery of my forebears, who came to a wild untamed land thousands of miles across the sea and made a life for themselves and their families against overwhelming odds.

9. How much time do you devote to writing each day?

Depends. Not enough really. An hour or two a day, except Thursdays and the weekends when, if I am lucky, I can get several hours of writing in.

10. Tell us about your other works, books, stories, etc.

I have three historical novels published at present and one contemporary novel but I have three more historical novels contracted and a couple more under consideration.

11. What are you working on now?

I am revising a book titled Storm Girl, which reached the semi-finals in the Amazon Break Through Novel Award.

12. How do you write? Are you a panster or a plotter? Is it your characters or your plot that influences you the most?

I think I would be called a panster. I normally have a vague idea of the plot then I let my characters take over and the words flow.
13. What was the most usual way you came up with a story idea? I mean, I’ve gotten a plot idea from a song I heard, from brainstorming with a classmate. What unusual thing caused you to think, ‘hey, I could make that into a story?’

Sometimes I might get an idea from a song. If I hear a sad song, it makes me feel melancholy, and strangely enough, that is when I write best. Sometimes the tears are rolling down my cheeks as I write, which is why I write in private, otherwise I might get locked up for being a nut case. I normally write in long hand, not worrying bout punctuation, spelling or anything else, I just let the words flow. Sometimes I can hardly write quickly enough. After the story is finished, I then type it on to the computer, then do the corrections and revisions.

14. If you could spend an hour talking to anyone from any time in history, who would it be? And Why?

I would like to talk to a World War 1 Australian army nurse. I have a great interest in the 1st World War. A sad and tragic period of history, but it fascinates me. One of my published books, Devil’s Ridge, from Whiskeycreek Press is set against a background of World War 1. My contracted book at The Wild Rose Press, which is titled Shattered Dreams will be released in September 2008. It is also set against a World War 1 background. And I have another book set in that time, which is about an army nurse meeting and falling in love with an English Captain, I am still debating about which of my publishers I will send it to.

15. Tell us some of the things interviewers are saying about your story or stories.

I have had several 5 star reviews. My contemporary romance, Holly and the Millionaire, from The Wild Rose Press, received a couple of great reviews.

“I really enjoyed this book and the story of Justin and Holly. It was beautifully written and easy to read. I literally read through the night because I did not want to put it down. I wholeheartedly recommend both this book and this author. Brenda Talley, The Romance Studio.
Another reviewer at Romance Junkies said the book was “sigh-worthy.”

My story The English Rose, which is set in frontier Australia and published by Enspiren Press, received great reviews also.

From Coffee Time Romance. “The tension and fire between the hero and heroine is electrifying. Ms Tanner’s descriptions of the beauty of Australian nature are so detailed that the reader can easily picture it.”
From multipublished author Anne Whitfield: “Readers will enjoy the wonderful characters of The English Rose and will not want the book to end.”

16. What is your all time favorite book?

I don’t have an all time favorite. There are several books that stick out in my memory. Gone with the Wind, To Kill a Mocking Bird and Thorn Birds.

17. How do you do research for your books? What’s the most interesting bit of research you’ve come across?

Like I said before, libraries, museums, talking to old people. My most interesting bit of research, was the opportunity to visit the World War 1 battlefields and cemeteries in France and Belgium. It was so poignant, I really don’t think I will ever be quite the same again after that. The sheer magnitude of the carnage had to be seen to be believed. I visited dozens of beautifully kept cemeteries, with neatly trimmed green grass, and pretty flowers growing between the white headstones, but it couldn’t hide the fact, that these young soldiers, my fellow countrymen, were buried 12,000 miles from home.

18. What advice would you give aspiring writers today?

To keep on trying, never give up on your dream, and write about a topic you are familiar with. Nothing spoils a story like inaccuracies.

19. How do you like your fans to contact you?

They can email me, details are on my website. http://www.margarettanner.com/
My email is: mjljtanner@hotmail.com

~ Margaret Tanner


blessedheart said...

Thanks for the interesting interview. I always appreciate hearing about authors who are new to me.

God Bless,
Rhonda :0)

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Rhonda,
Thanks, nice of you to drop by.

Cherie J said...

Wonerful interview! I enjoy learning about new authors.

Penelope West said...

Hi, Margaret!
Lovely interview. One point I'd like to comment on specifically. You write a WHOLE lot better than Harlequin! I used to read those books, and got so disgusted I quit reading for a while. When I went back to it, if it said Harlequin, it went right back on the shelf. I have since discovered some fabulous books printed by anybody but Harlequin. I've read two of your books, and they are WAY better than anything I ever read by Harlequin!
I read Savage Utopia, and loved it. I have always been fascinated by Australia, her history, her countryside. This book was full of both. Congratulations yet again on a fabulous book.
I have read The English Rose, and really enjoyed it. Wonderful bunch of Australian history and countryside in that book, too.
As I have time, I'll get to your other books. It is well worth the time to read them.
Take care and have a wonderful day.
Penny (your Yank friend!)

kimmyl said...

A great interview.

john.lindermuth said...

Nice interview, Margaret. It shows, tenacity pays off.

Barbara Edwards said...

Hi Margaret,
Nice interview. I love to learn more about authors I want to read.
Barbara Edwards

Virginia said...

Great interview, I enjoy reading about authors that I have never read before. It tells me a little bit about them.

Cheri2628 said...

You mentioned that you are revising Storm Girl. What is it about?

CrystalGB said...

Great interview. I enjoyed reading Margaret's answers.

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

Late to the party, but enjoyed the interview Margaret. :)