Jenny Kane & Jennifer Ash

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Tag: Maggie Cammis

The Story So Far: Maggie Cammiss

I’m delighted to welcome fellow author, Maggie Cammiss to my site today! Why not grab a glass of something and a slab of cake, and settle down for a read.

Over to you Maggie…

Hi Jenny,

Thank you for having me on your blog again – the first time was just after my debut novel was published in 2014. A lot has happened since then, but my writing story began a long time ago.

It sounds like a cliché these days, but the old advice to write about what you know certainly worked for me. I was lucky in my working life; first in public libraries, which I absolutely loved, then into film archives. I spent seventeen years with Sky News, managing a team responsible for accumulating, cataloguing and maintaining a news footage archive. I’m not a journalist, and my background in libraries and archives presented an unconventional route into television.

It was a great job, really interesting. Working in rolling news was like being in a revolving door – there was always something going on, day and night – and it provided me with all the inspiration I needed for my first two novels, No News is Good News and Breaking News. There’s a romance at the heart of both novels, with the overheated environment of a television newsroom providing the setting. These novels aren’t specifically autobiographical but they probably reflect aspects of my younger self. The characters and storylines are entirely fictitious but that doesn’t stop old colleagues asking if they feature in them – I tell them I’ve changed the names to protect the guilty!

No News is Good News was released in 2014 but the publisher had closed its list by the time Breaking News was ready. I tried assisted publishing, but this was a very disheartening experience, so eventually I decided to go it alone. I recently relaunched both titles independently, with brand new covers, and they are available on Amazon. I think they look fabulous and I’m very proud of my efforts.

After writing two novels set in a working environment and featuring younger women, I needed a change of scenery and I also wanted to write about the experiences of women my own age. The current novel, working title, Serendipity, explores the relationships between four women, the secrets they keep from each other and the consequences of their silence. My new characters are older and hopefully wiser, and have their individual ways of dealing with some universal problems. There’s conflict and drama, a hint of romance and some wry comedy in the mix.

I write a lot of short stories, too, mostly as homework for my writing group, and I’m often asked where I get my ideas from. I have to admit to being an inveterate people-watcher and eavesdropper – I suspect many writers are. I tell everyone who comes to my house to be careful what they say – it might end up in a novel. Snippets of conversation I’ve accidently overheard are like gold dust. One of my best ones was in a shop. Two people came round the shelves towards me, one of them saying to the other, ‘Oh no, it’s not for me, it’s for the private detective.’ I couldn’t wait to get out of the shop and write it down.

As far as the writing itself goes, I’m more of a planner than a pantser – I like to know where I’m going. But when I have the basic outline I give my characters their head and follow where they lead. I’ve written myself into plenty of dead ends! The characters always know their own minds and often create problems I haven’t envisaged, but I’ve learned to wait; the solution will reveal itself in its own time – usually in the dead of night. Which is why I keep a notebook by the bed: to jot down those elusive thoughts that would otherwise vanish with the dawn. It helps me believe that I’m in control.

I love making stuff up – constructing scenarios, fitting imaginary characters into them and engineering all their relationships. It’s like playing God. I don’t always like the isolation, or the detrimental effect that writing has on my bottom, but overall, it’s my dream job.

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Here’s the blurb for BREAKING NEWS:

Television producer Sara Cassidy has her life all mapped out. She loves her job making weekly feature programmes for TV news channel UK24, and is looking forward to furthering her ambitions in the media. She is devastated when her fiancé makes a shattering confession but she hardly has time to come to terms with the betrayal when her closest friend is involved in a freak accident and Sara’s world is turned upside down once again.

As Sara struggles to maintain a professional perspective she finds solace in a new interest and a blossoming romance. But she has to be careful who she trusts in the cut-throat world of television news. Just as she is finding her feet again the career that means so much reveals its murkier side.

When she suddenly finds herself at the other end of the camera lens, Sara discovers that in the struggle for ratings, loyalty is in short supply.

Blog:  https://maggiecammiss.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/maggiecammisswriter/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/maggiecammiss

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Breaking-News-Maggie-Cammiss-ebook/dp/B071KY3BXG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1493908719&sr=8-1&keywords=news+maggie+cammiss

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Thanks Maggie!

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny xx

 

My First Time: Maggie Cammis

It’s time for another instalment of my blog series, ‘My First Time’. Today I’m delighted to welcome Mggie Cammis to my site. Over to you Maggie…

First Time

Can you remember writing the first story you actually wanted to write, rather than those you were forced to write at school? What was it about?

I have vague recollections of a torrid story concerning a stolen horse and a damsel in distress but to be honest, I can’t remember writing many stories except for homework. I was far too busy reading. When the writing bug finally bit, I jumped straight in with a novel, which had an incestuous relationship at its heart. (I have no idea where that idea sprang from, but the characters just took up the story and ran with it.) Perhaps a little ambitious for a first attempt. It languished at the bottom of a drawer for years, too embarrassed to show its face.

What was your first official publication?

About ten years ago I entered a Writer’s News competition for a personal memoir. Mine was about my experiences working as a teenager in a liquorice factory in the late 1960s. I was thrilled when it won! The article was later published in a local magazine and it’s now available to read on my blog: The liquorice fields of Pontefract                                                                                                                       

My first published fiction was my novel ‘No News is Good News’, published by Accent Press. It’s set in the exciting world of 24-hour rolling news, and concerns a young editor whose career is compromised by an intriguing storyline.

No News Is Good News(1)

Eleanor was gearing up for marriage when her boyfriend Daniel rejected her without explanation and disappeared. Four years later, she has thrown herself into her hectic career as a TV news editor. She is happy and successful and has definitely moved on.

That is, until Daniel returns with a brand-new fiancée on his arm and Eleanor’s golden chance turns to be not as shiny as she had first anticipated.

What affect did that have on your life?                

The competition win confirmed my suspicions – maybe I could write after all. The publication of the novel endorsed them.

Does your first published story reflect your current writing style?                                                                  

No. That first novel attempt was littered with purple prose! I’ve learned a lot in the intervening years and it’s taken a lot of practice to find my own style.

What are you working on at the moment?

As well as the final edit of novel number 2 – working title ‘Background Feature’ – I’m well into the third, which is a complete departure, covering very different subject matter. It deals with some of the issues surrounding women of a certain age. My age. With added humour, of course.

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Buy links to your first published story (if still available) and links to your latest book. http://maggiecammiss.com/non-fiction/the-licquorice-fields-of-pontefract/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/No-News-Good-Maggie-Cammiss/dp/1783757035/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1452605212&sr=1-1&keywords=no+news+is+good+news

https://www.accentpress.co.uk/maggie-cammiss

 Maggie Cammiss1

Author Bio and links

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 more than ten years as Head of the News Library, I left London with my partner – now my husband – to see what life outside the M25 had to offer. We settled in Norfolk, I joined the Cutting Edge Writers 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. No News is Good News was published by Accent Press in December 2014. In 2012 I entered the NaNoWriMo challenge to write a novel in a month and succeeded with the first 50,000 words of a second novel, with a similar setting, which is now in its final edit. A third novel, with a different theme, is in progress. I also write short stories, some of which I read on local radio, and our writing group has just published an anthology of our work.

https://www.facebook.com/maggiecammisswriter/

http://maggiecammiss.com/

https://twitter.com/maggiecammiss

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Great interview! Thanks Maggie.

Happy reading,

Jenny x

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