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Friday, December 23, 2016

A Suspenseful Christmas: Author Interview with Maggie K. Black

How did you come up with the idea of your Christmas themed book?
I write romantic suspense and I really liked the idea of a Christmas-themed stalker who used things like ribbons, presents and wrapping to scare the heroine. It was a fun and creepy idea.
Could you give me a short synopsis of the story for my readers?
Our heroine, journalist, Samantha Colt, is suddenly abducted right before Christmas. She wakes up to find herself tied up with Christmas ribbon and an explosive device on her boss’s front porch, with no memory how she got there. She’s saved by a soldier, Joshua Rhodes. They feel an immediate romantic attraction, which they both fight against. But their connection only grows stronger when Joshua agrees to be Samantha’s bodyguard, and she continues to be tormented by her deadly, Christmas-themed stalker.

What made you decide to do a Christmas themed book?
I always knew that this would be a winter book, with heavy snow, storms and the freezing cold. I’m not quite sure when I decided to set it over Christmas, but once I did, I think it really made the story come to life.

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?
That’s a tricky question because recently I’ve been focusing on making Christmas smaller and simpler. Right now, my daughters are twelve and eight. When they were younger, I found we had so many traditions the holiday was getting crowded, so we started scaling back.

We always decorate a tree together, and put up lights outside and hang our stockings. My daughters are always in the Christmas pageant at church, and last year, we started putting the Christmas village out again too.

My favorite tradition is that we always take a family trip between Christmas and New Years. Usually, we go to Niagara Falls to see the lights, but one year we went to Florida. The family trip really helps stretch out the Christmas holiday to a whole week of togetherness and fun. Christmas is more than just a one-day celebration for us. We try to make it last until school starts again. Sometimes I save certain presents until later in December or give them one or two early, so they have things to open on different days.

What’s next?
Kidnapped at Christmas is my first book in the True North Bodyguards series. Joshua’s best friend Alex, who’s a fellow bodyguard, is the hero of Rescue at Cedar Lake which comes out this Spring. I’m currently writing the third and final book in the series right now. It’s called Protective Measures and focuses on Zoe.

What’s the best writing tip you’ve learned or been given that you’d like to share?
I think there are a lot of different "right ways" to write a book, and no two writers approach a book the same manner. I think it’s important to just go for it, do your best and write the best book you can. Then when you’re done, get help from critique partners and editors. It’s very important to get help and advice from editors because they can make a book a lot stronger. My favorite quote is from Jodi Picoult who said, “You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can't edit a blank page.”

What do you know now about writing and publishing you wish you had learned sooner?
I wish I’d known that I would succeed in getting published because I wasted so much time agonizing over whether or not I should be a writer! But I also wished I learned sooner that there is a whole world of help available for new writers. There are writing groups, helpful agents, amazing editors, writing coaches, freelance editors and associations like the Romance Writers of America. There are even writers who support each other on Twitter with the hashtag #amwriting. I felt very alone when I started out. I wish I’d found help and support earlier, and spent less time feeling too afraid to start.

Any last words or tips?
I do think it’s important to get up and try to pursue your dreams instead of agonizing over whether or not you’ll fail if you do. The biggest problem a lot of writers face is self-doubt. Whatever dream or goal we’re pursuing in life, we need to find encouragement and support to believe we can do it. Especially at Christmas!

That's it for today's interview. To learn more about Maggie's writing, here are some links to get you started. 
Harlequin page:
My blog:

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