I have the lovely Maggie Cammiss with me today for a pre-Christmas cuppa.
What inspired you to write your book?
It’s a bit of a cliché these days, but the old advice to write about what you know certainly worked for me. Most of my working life has been spent in a TV news environment; I have enough material for several books and it would be a pity to waste it.
Do you model any of your characters after people you know? If so, do these people see themselves in your characters?
I’ve changed all the names to protect the guilty! Seriously, I try really hard not to characterize specific people, but inevitably, I think, aspects of personalities creep in. The trick is to disguise them by changing their age and/or sex so they don’t recognise themselves.
What type of research did you have to do for your book?
For No News is Good News, my working life was enough. For the next one, there are some psychological and social issues to research.
Which Point of View do you prefer to write in and why?
I write a lot of short stories in the first person, but 3rd person limited, where all the action is seen from the heroine’s point of view, seems to work best for my novels.
Do you prefer to plot your story or just go with the flow?
When I first started writing I didn’t believe people when they told me that my characters would have their own opinions about what was going to happen. They are my creations, I thought; they will do as I say! Wrong. So, I like to start with some idea of where I’m going, but inevitably the characters take over and I end up in some pretty interesting situations that I didn’t plan. And for that, I thank them.
What is your writing regime?
I don’t stick to a rigid timetable. I work for The History of Advertising Trust two days a week, where I am their Project Developer, and we also have my mum in law living in the annex. She suffers from Alzheimer’s, so interruptions are a part of daily life. I make an awful lot of notes in the dead of night – I’ve even got a pen with a light on the end.
What excites you the most about your book?
That it’s finished and published! I can’t tell you how satisfying that feels. And I think it’s a good read that hopefully lots of people will enjoy. Joining the online community has also been a huge revelation – there are so many genuinely supportive and encouraging people out there.
If you were stranded on a desert island with three other people, fictional or real, who would they be and why?
I’d love to spend time with Stephen King, an absolute master story-teller – hopefully some of his skill would rub off on me as I scribbled away. I’d also include Annie Lennox, to teach me how to sing and Rory McIlroy, who could help with my golf!
Anything else you’d like to share with us?
To anyone contemplating writing a novel and beset with doubts, I’d say – get on with it! Otherwise, how will you know?
I am constantly inspired by the written word. Always an avid reader, the first years of my working life were spent in public libraries. Later, I moved into film archives, and in 1989 joined Sky News when the channel first launched. At the end of 2005, after over ten years as Head of the News Library, I left London with my partner to see what life outside the M25 had to offer. We settled in Norfolk, I joined a local writing group and started to write seriously.
I came away from the hectic environment of a 24-hour rolling news channel with a gift: masses of background material for a novel. Having almost completed No News is Good News, I succeeded in the NaNoWriMo challenge 2012 with the first 50,000 words of the second in the series. I also write short stories, some of which I read on local radio, and our writing group has just self-published an anthology of our work.
I work part time for the History of Advertising Trust, the archive to the UK advertising industry, where I write news items for our website and the Trust’s regular e-newsletter, occasional articles for the press, book reviews and promotions, and develop new revenue streams to help keep the charity afloat.
Nick and I are finally getting married next year, so there’s a wedding to arrange in 2015, as well as novel No2 to finish. Happy days!
If you’d like to find out more about Maggie and her writing you can find her via these links-
Many thanks for stopping by today Maggie- and huge congratulations on your forthcoming wedding.