Here is the next in my Author Profiling posts!
Please welcome Margaret Skea !
I hope you all enjoy this new/unknown author!
Title: Turn of the Tide
Author: Margaret Skea
Genre: Historical Fiction
Scotland 1586: Trapped in a 150 year-old feud, Munro, a follower of the Cunninghames, escapes the bloody aftermath of an ambush, but he cannot escape the disdain of the wife he sought to protect, or his own internal conflict. He battles with his conscience and with divided loyalties – to age-old obligations, to his wife and children, and, most dangerous of all, to a growing friendship with the rival clan.
Intervening to diffuse a quarrel, he succeeds only in antagonizing William, the arrogant and vicious Cunninghame heir. And antagonizing William is a dangerous game to play…
Release Date: 22nd November 2012
Where to buy: In UK bookshops and online stores http://www.amazon.co.uk/Turn-Tide-Margaret-Skea/dp/1909305065/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_1
- Jeffrey Archer – “…outstanding.”
- Anne O’Brien – “…incredibly evocative…”
- Cathy Kelly – “…strong authorial voice…wonderful…I loved it.”
- Penny Smith – “…very good dialogue…seamless…at the end before I noticed.”
Other Work: Short stories published in a range of magazines and anthologies in the UK and US. (I will hopefully have a collection of short stories coming out soon on Kindle.)
1. Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I did always want to write, and I’m not sure if this is a record or not, but I got my first rejection slip aged 8. – My father had just published a Geography school text book and I was devastated to be told that my 4-page, twelve- sentence story about a family of mice wasn’t of publishable standard! I never lost the desire to be published author and though I had some success with short stories, it has taken rather a long time to get to debut novel stage.
2. What drew you to writing Historical Fiction?
I have always loved to read historical fiction, as a child enjoying authors such as Rosemary Sutcliff and Leon Garfield, and as an adult that love continued with classic authors such as Daphne Du Maurier and more recently, Winston Graham and CJ Sansom. When I wanted to start writing a novel I didn’t decide specifically that it would be historical, but then I found the story I wanted to tell and it happened to be rooted in the 16th century. I very quickly found myself at home there.
3. Where does your inspiration for these stories come from?
For me there were two distinct strands. The advice often given to debut authors is to ‘write what you know.’ As a descendant of Scots who settled in Ulster during the Plantation period, the background to this series of books, of which Turn of the Tide is the first, is also my background and my history, and so endlessly fascinating to me.
Yet growing up in 1970s Ulster at the height of the ‘Troubles’ I also knew about living with an ever-present danger: what it means to go about your day to day life, not expecting to be killed, but knowing that it might happen at any time. Exactly the situation for most folk in 16th century Scotland. It therefore provided the perfect setting for me to examine the pressures and dilemmas that living within conflict places on families, on relationships and on personal integrity.
4. What was your favourite chapter to write and why?
Undoubtedly the last one (and not just because it meant I’d succeeded in writing an entire book!)
I had known almost from the first page where, when and how the book was going to end, though I had little idea of the journey my characters would undertake to get there. I could have written that chapter first, but to me that would have felt a little like cheating. Instead it became the ‘carrot’ that kept me moving forwards.
5. Do you have a certain routine for writing?
I do now, though it has evolved in the course of writing this first book. I try to get up around 6.00am and do an hour’s editing and looking things up on the computer before breakfast. After breakfast I have my (Bible) quiet time, do a few household chores and start writing around 9.00am. My modest target is to increase my word count by a minimum of 1000 words per day and I try not to stop until I’ve reached that. If things are going well I continue, if it’s been a struggle to get there I take a break. I try to programme anything else that needs to be fitted into my day for the afternoons, but of course it doesn’t always work out like that.
6. Can you describe the feeling you had when you saw your published book for the first time.
That was a little surreal for me, because the first copy I saw was a copy of my uncorrected and unedited manuscript fully bound in the proper cover and with all the extra information that would be in the final version. It had been produced in advance for use in a possible TV interview and having been told that I would receive a ‘mock-up’ of the book I expected to receive the cover with blank pages inside. Imagine my surprise and delight when I found instead a copy of my manuscript exactly as I submitted it to the publisher in book form. It felt special then, and still does.
7. What piece of advice would you give a new writer?
I’d like to pass on two pieces of advice (if that’s allowed) which were given to me, and which I’ve found extremely helpful.
Firstly, for those of you who may be writing short stories and feel that you could never manage a novel – my feeling for a long time – remember that a novel is only thirty short stories, without the need to create new characters and plot each time.
And secondly, if you stop writing in the middle of a sentence it makes it much easier to get back into the flow when you pick it up again.
Thank you for letting us get to know you and your books Turn of the Tide, out now, the sequel A House Divided expected late 2013 / early 2014. This book sounds rather exciting and thrilling I must say! Plus you do have a lot of short stories under your belt. 🙂
Everyone, please remember any questions or suggestions for Margaret Skea please write them in the comments section below.