Interview with Margaret Daley!
Today, I’m thrilled to introduce to you Margaret Daley who writes for Love Inspired Suspense. Vanished was recently released in May. Welcome, Margaret! Can you tell us your initial reaction in finding out you sold your first book? In other words, tell us about. . .THE CALL
MARGARET: I can remember that I was stunned and excited but the details are fuzzy because it was twenty-six years ago. Silhouette only had the book three weeks when they bought it. I certainly wasn’t expecting that fast a turnaround.
LISA: Wow, I bet that was quite exciting. Tell us some of the background behind the idea Vanished and about the story itself.
MARGARET: Vanished is about a parent’s worst nightmare—the kidnapping of your child. I wanted to explore what a law officer would experience being both the professional and parent in the situation. It was a very emotional book for me. The reader doesn’t know who the kidnapper is until the end when J.T. figures it out. J.T. is the sheriff of a small town near Chicago. He is featured also in my Love Inspired Suspense, So Dark the Night (March 2007).
LISA: That is a frightening scenario. I find in my own writing that I often grow alongside my characters, especially spiritually. Is there a character who you relate to and who made an input on your life?
MARGARET: I think when I write my characters there is a little of me in every one of them. I love getting so immersed into my characters that they take over and guide what I write. That doesn’t always happen, but when it does, the words just flow from my brain to the paper almost effortlessly.
In J.T. Logan’s faith journey in Vanished, he has to wrestle with why the Lord would test him like He does. He has to draw deeply on his faith to hold himself together in order to find his daughter and the kidnapper as well as hold his family together during the ordeal. I often explore the question why do bad things happen to a good person because I think it is a question a lot of people ask.
Another theme in my stories is forgiveness. I am in awe of the Lord’s forgiveness and struggle to mirror it where I can.
LISA: Very true observations, Margaret. Tell me the number one thing you’ve learned from your writing journey?
MARGARET: I’ve learned not to give up. I sold almost twenty books, then went through an eight-year dry spell before selling again. If I had walked away (which I was tempted to several times) I would never have discovered the inspirational market and been blessed to sell more stories.
LISA: Any future plans for your writing you’d like to share? Any specific dreams you’d like to accomplish in the area of writing?
MARGARET: I would like to continue to write romantic suspense as well as contemporary romances. I like to alternate between them to keep my writing fresh. It would be nice to have one of my books made into a movie.
LISA: Because I know there are many aspiring writers out there, can you share any tidbits of wisdom on getting published?
MARGARET: As I said before, never give up. Also networking is very important in this business. Talent is valuable but so is timing and perseverance.
LISA: Any writer’s resources you could recommend?
MARGARET: Debra Dixon’s Goals, Motivation and Conflict as well as the Writer Digest books concerning suspense (example Howdunit, Murder One)
LISA: In looking at the writing process, what method do you use for your mysteries?
MARGARET: I get to know my characters first and foremost. I map out the framework of my suspense/mystery elements then start writing. A couple of times I didn’t know who I wanted to be the villain until the end. That forced me to set several people up as if they were. I actually like this because I don’t subconsciously lean toward one character as the villain while I’m writing.
LISA: What is your system to keep the story/clues organized?
MARGARET: I have a chart I have used which maps the major elements of the story. I also keep lots of notes.
LISA: Tell us a bit about the research you had to do for this story?
MARGARET: I had to research how the FBI handled kidnappings. I had to research about Search and Rescue dogs. Then of course there would be little things that would pop up as I’m writing the story. Sometimes those items would be a few words in my story, but I still had to research what was correct.
LISA: Margaret, thank you so much for dropping by our Keep Me In Suspense site. For more information on Margaret’s books, be sure and stop by her website. Margaret is also giving away a free copy of Vanished on our contest page, so be sure and sign up for that as well. The drawing will be held on August 6th.