Interview with Neo-Gothic Romance Writer Maggie Tideswell

Dark, haunted castles, dungeons, stormy weather, terror, ghosts, a damsel in distress and romance. If you like all of those, you will love Maggie Tideswell’s novels…

1) Maggie, tell us about your genre?

I write romance first and foremost. When I start a new story, the plotline of the developing romance is in place before the other elements can follow. I love the idea of ‘that which cannot be seen’ and ‘nothing is as it seems’. Life is all about perception anyway. The way I see life is what makes it real. Paranormal features very strongly in my work and it has been classified as neo-gothic by a certain reviewer – which pleased me very much. I love the atmospherics of the gothic romance, you know, the thunder and lightning, the gloomy interiors with shadows cast by the candles, fireplaces the only elimination. It makes the skin tingle in anticipation. Oh yes, let’s not forget the damsel in distress.

2) Are you a pantser? (You write by the seat of your pants and the story is all there in your head.) 

Very much so. I normally know how the story is going to end before anything else has taken form. When you know how the story is going to play out, it is a simple thing to work towards that end. I don’t pre-plan other than that. I find the story tells itself as long as you know where it is going to end.

3) Do you think it’s important to write a detailed list of your character’s habits, likes, dislikes and family members? Why?

No absolutely not. When I start a story, my characters develop along with the various plot lines. It is very much a work in progress. One has a clear idea of who each character is and their place in the narrative and one writes them as such. If I had to refer to notes and lists all the time, I would find that a major distraction. These people – the character you are telling – live in your head. You don’t need a list to remind you that Donna has the habit of wiping her nose on her sleeve when she gets agitated. The characters speak for themselves.

4) What do you think today’s readers want and how does it differ from readers of the past?

Today’s reader wants action if books are going to compete with TV and the movies. We live in a very fast-paced world, where communication is instant, air travel is accessible to all and the world has become a tiny place. We as writers must not bore our readers.

5) What book do you want to feature in this post?

My new one. It’s titled Moragh, Holly’s Ghost and it will be released as soon as the editing process it over.

6) Tell us a little about it.

It could only be paranormal romance! Moragh, Holly’s Ghost is set in modern day Cape Town, South Africa. Holly is a divorcee with two children. Her well-meaning friends decided that she should get married again. They place a tiny advertisement in the newspaper to find her a husband. With friends like those, who needs enemies, right? Wrong. That little advert triggers a chain of events that changes Holly’s life forever.

) Can you tell me about your ideal reader – who do you think will enjoy your books?

My ideal reader has an open mind. Life is not necessarily as one sees it on TV news. It sometimes ripples, sometimes parts are hidden. An open mind can make sense of the quirks of life and enjoy the joy ride. I don’t necessarily write for women. Many men enjoy a good romance as much as any girl, and everybody is intrigued by the paranormal.

8) Romance readers want steamy love scenes. Do you agree? Do you think your book will meet their expectations?

They might, but it isn’t necessary to describe it in detail. If you want to capture somebody’s attention, whisper. Love scenes don’t have to be in your face to be effective and satisfying. I don’t write erotica and I am not a lover of nudity and exhibitionism, but my reader would be in no doubt when love is in the air.

9) Did you self-publish or query and hope a publisher would accept your work and how did that work out for you?

Yes, I queried many publishers before All Things That Matter Press, a small press in Maine, USA, showed an interest in my first book, Dark Moon, which they published in 2011. They will also publish Moragh, Holly’s Ghost soon. Let’s face it, rejection is part of an author’s job description. The trick is not to give up. If you have a story to tell, you only need one person to say yes.

10) What advice do you have for your fellow writers/authors?

Never give up, believe in yourself and your work and ‘see’ your success. Daydream about it. If you can dream it, you can become a published author. It’s hard work to get publish, and writing the book is the easy part. Above all, enjoy what you do and be true to the genre you choose.

11) Tell us about your next project.

My next book is called Roxanne’s Ghost. Again set in the Cape region in South Africa, it is another paranormal romance leaning strongly towards the gothic. Lots of atmospherics! It is a strange story and will be a bit confusing in the beginning, and it is a bit sad. This one might have a sequel.

12) Why should we buy your book?

My work is true escapism. I write stories for people to enjoy reading. I would like people to connect with the characters, to laugh with them and to cry with them and to love with them. The characters are ordinary people like you and me. It is what happened to them and around them that is a bit strange.

Please tell us a little about yourself:

My kids are grown up and have their own lives, yet I haven’t had time to suffer from the empty nest syndrome. I have too many characters I have running conversations with. That sounds a bit crazy I know, and I do believe writers have to be a bit of that.

I love cooking and feeding people. I love reading and I don’t think I would ever get to sleep if I didn’t read a few pages of somebody else’s excellent work. My biggest fear is that I will run out of time before I’ve had the time to read all the books I still want to.

I will never run out of stories to tell. I was very young when I told my mother that I was going to be a writer one day. She didn’t believe me, of course, and it took a long time, but I am finally living my dream. Being a writer is something like a compulsion, something I have to do.

Where can we find out more about you and your work?







8 thoughts on “Interview with Neo-Gothic Romance Writer Maggie Tideswell

  1. It's been great to get to know about you and your thoughts on writing, Maggie. Your “being a writer is a compulsion” is practically a paraphrase of the first lines on my homepage. I wish you great success with “Moragh, Holly's Ghost”!
    Trish, thank you for yet another intelligent, comprehensive interview!

  2. Excellent interview and nice to meet you Maggie your books sound wonderful, if I were a romance buff. Not to say that I might not try one day:)

  3. Maggie, thanks for letting us get to know you a little better. I'm glad you write with the end first too–I thought I was the only nut that did that. Then I write the beginning and fill in the middle. Like you I fear not living long enough to read all the books I want–it's impossible. I love to read a good romance for relaxation and some paranormal just makes it all the better. I hope to get to your book soon.

  4. I love your story!!! And I can relate! Empty Nest Syndrome is real and if you are nto careful, you will be affected by it. I too have found other things to do with my time. God Bless You and I apprecaite your's adn Trish's great work!!! And I love her theme – Saddle Up for a Wild Ride!!!!
    Al lthe Best,


  5. I love your interview. Maggie, your quote “Never give up” sums up the mantra that all writers should adopt. I can relate to the Empty Nest. I filled my with writing and poodles. Thank you for sharing a look into your novel, Moragh, Holly's Ghost, as well as you as an author.

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