Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Writers Wednesday with Margaret McDonagh

This Wednesday we bring you Margaret McDonagh’s story of her road to publication as a brand new Medicals author...

I am so honoured to have been asked to contribute a guest blog for the fabulous Pink Heart Society! Many thanks to Trish, Nic, Ally, and Natasha for all their hard work and for doing such a fantastic job. It's been a wonderful first month and a half since the re-launch with some fabulous posts ... and men!!

I cannot remember a time when my nose wasn't buried in a book. My parents fostered my love of reading from an early age and I devoured everything I could get my hands on. I adored classics like the Anne of Green Gables series and The Secret Garden. I loved the Famous Five and Secret Seven, the adventure books by Willard Price, and the Sue Barton nurse books by Helen Dore-Boylston. Most of all I loved the wonderful pony books that kept me entertained for hours on end ... authors like Mary O'Hara, Ruby Ferguson and the Pullein-Thompson sisters inspiring my dreams and my imagination. I wanted to write, too.

The last months have sped by in a whirl, ever since I received the phone call telling me that Harlequin Mills & Boon® were to buy my manuscript for their Medical Romance™ line! It was a dream come true and one, after twenty years of writing story collection, serials and magazine short stories, I believed would never happen. I was stunned, tearful, in shock ... and so excited! It took me a while to prize myself off the ceiling! Now, ten months on, my first Medical is on the shelves!!! THE ITALIAN DOCTOR'S BRIDE is in the shops now and available online at www.millsandboon.co.uk and www.amazon.co.uk). I still cannot believe it is actually happening, that I won't wake up any time soon and find it is all a dream. And I have been so lucky and grateful to receive some lovely feedback about the book plus a delightful 4½ star review on Cataromance. All I can hope is that people will enjoy reading my stories as much as I enjoy writing them. I've chosen rural Scotland as my settings because I love the feel of close-knit communities and medical professionals for whom caring is more than a job. As well as the natural beauty of the area, the people are wonderful, and I've loved the place since my very first family holiday there as a youngster!

It's a hard life having to sit and stare at a picture of a yummy man all day long and write romantic and sexy things about him! I have a great “rogues gallery” of photos to call on - (maybe I can share some of them with you one day in a Male on Monday slot!) - and on which I base a look or a mood or a trait for my characters. For delicious Italian, Nic di Angelis in THE ITALIAN DOCTOR'S BRIDE, I used a photo of Spanish national football goalkeeper Iker Casillas. My sadness at having to file his picture away when the manuscript was done was only eased by throwing myself into the next set of characters and getting out a new hero photo to begin work on!

I always fall in love with my heroes and hate to say goodbye to characters who have become like friends by the time their story has been written. Consequently, my second and third Medicals are loosely linked to the first, and I hope readers will enjoy returning to beautiful Scotland, meeting up with familiar characters again as well as getting to know new ones. A DOCTOR WORTH WAITING FOR is out in paperback in March 2007 while HIS VERY SPECIAL NURSE is out in paperback in June 2007.

How can I be sharing shelf space with some of my very favourite category romance authors whose books I have read and enjoyed and found an inspiration for so long? I feel very unworthy – like the gauche new girl in big school for the first time! - terrified but ecstatic at one and the same time. I'm so grateful to my wonderful editors for making this happen and to all the writing friends I have met and who have been so generous with their advice and so unstinting in their support. Romance writers are a terrific bunch of people.

So many people turn their noses up at the mention of romance novels ... usually the ones who have never read them. They smirk and snigger, they think that the books are either written to a set formula – just insert different character names and locations – or that they are so easy to write they can be bashed off in the lunch hour while busy doing more important things. Nothing could be further from the truth. The genre has developed immensely over time; fresh voices emerge, life changes and the books reflect that. The critics do a disservice not only to those who write romantic novels but to those who read them. Romances are not about feeble-minded women bullied by some over-bearing man. Far from it. Our women are strong, feisty, independent creatures with minds of their own, successful in their walk of life, able to take care of themselves, often having overcome unhappy pasts or difficult circumstances. They don't need a man but when the right one comes along, watch out! The man has to be a match for them, partner and equal, friend as well as lover, and getting together makes each of them stronger rather than weaker.

Romances don't lead the readers to yearn for the impossible dream and an unrealistic man. No, romantic novels are fun and escapist, they open new worlds, often give readers a break from real-life problems and issues that might otherwise offer little relief, they entertain, absorb, make a reader laugh, cry and involve themselves in a heart-warming, moving story. And just because a book might be easy to read does not mean it was easy to write! Quite the opposite. As writers we never stop learning, never stop trying to improve, never take our characters or our readers for granted. Writing is hard, often lonely but it is also a privilege and a real joy.

The Pink Heart Society is a real boost for readers and writers of romance! It is a lot of fun and I, for one, am honoured and grateful to be included and to share in it with so many wonderful, like-minded people.

Happy reading!

Best wishes,

Margaret

Margaret’s first book, THE ITALIAN DOCTOR'S BRIDE is in the shops now and available online at www.millsandboon.co.uk and www.amazon.co.uk!

Thanks Margaret and good luck with your writing future!!!

Margaret's Website


32 comments:

  1. Dear Margaret, Apart from the horse books, Snap!!! Did you read The Story Girl too??? I just checked and I can buy your book in Australia online in a week!! How exciting, and even more exciting that there will be 2 linked books. I swoon at the very thought of linked books!!! Congratulations!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mags. I think that is the most beautiful post about why we're ALL here. Well done you!

    Can I borrow your Spanish keeper? I have a med hero possibly in my future...and he looks amazing.

    Congratulations on all your successes!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well done Mags! Your mention of the Sue Barton books brought me back, I used to love them!
    x Daisy/Abby Green

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a great post Mags - and I get another chance to say Congratulations on your success. I'm so thrilled and happy for you. Your own happiness shines through in your post.I'm not surprised that your Italian Doctor succeeded with inspiration like that!

    Wishing you every success - and I'll know just when to look out for your next two books as we'll be sharing shelf space!

    Kate

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Mags, this is such a lovely post!

    Anne of Green Gables and Enid Blyton!!! (Same here). And I must say that your inspiration for Nic wasn't far off how I imagined him to be.

    MEGA congratulations on your successes; you've worked so hard for it and you deserve every minute of it.

    Those people who turn their noses up at category romance truly don't know what they're missing!

    Love,
    Sue :-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi 2paw,

    I don't remember Story Girl, must have missed that one.

    Thank you so much for your kind comments. I had no idea my book was going to be out in Australia! How very exciting! I really hope that you enjoy it and want to come back to read the other linked stories.

    I can let you in on the news! I've just heard that my fourth Med has been accepted!!! I'm amazed and thrilled. And, it starts another series, hopefully, of linked stories - and with a few sneaky mentions of past characters from the first three, too!

    Love,
    Mags

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Donna,

    Thanks so much. Yes, of course you can borrow Iker! He is rather yummy, isn't he?! And "the look" just fit what I wanted for Nic.

    Can't wait for your own first book, congrats to you, too, and good luck with the next one.

    Love,
    Mags

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Nicolette and Daisy/Abbey,

    Many thanks for your messages and kind thoughts.

    It's so lovely to find someone else who remembers the Sue Barton books, they were great.

    Love,
    Mags

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Kate,

    Thank you so much. There was some inspiration, wasn't there, for Nic?! Decidedly lovely! And masses and masses of inspiration, too, in your wonderful 12 Point Guide which should be everyone's writing bible.

    I still feel I want to hide in a cupboard at the thought of writers I so admire reading anything I have written, let alone sharing shelf space! I am very honoured.

    Love,
    Mags

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Sue,

    Thanks so much for all the support and encouragement, you are lovely.

    Glad you liked the model for Nic and it was kind of how you imagined him! As delighted as I am to have my 4th Med accepted, I'm heartbroken at having to put "Cameron's" picture away now and move on. But I do have the delicious "Frazer" awaiting me, so there is some compensation!!

    Good luck with your own writing.

    Love,
    Mags

    ReplyDelete
  11. Mags congrats on your fourth book sale!!! What wonderful timing!!!

    And what a lovely story. Beautifully put. You summed up the PHS to a T. thanks for letting us in on your take on why we love category romance.

    Ally

    ReplyDelete
  12. Congratulations on your fourth book sale!! No stopping you now. Well done you.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Margaret,

    Thanks for a thoroughly enjoyable blog and congratulations!

    I have to say I loved the photo of your Spanish goalkeeper. No wonder you were inspired!

    Annie

    ReplyDelete
  14. Mags,
    Thanks for sharing your story! And your Spanish goalkeeper. Phew, I don't know that I could have filed him away. Does he have any brothers at home?

    Looking forward to more stories from Scotland. Loving the first one which Kate sent me and which arrived on Monday -- just in time to jump to the top of the TBR pile now that revisions are GONE!

    cheers,

    Anne

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi Ally,

    Thanks so much - and especially for all your help getting the post up at all!

    Love,
    Mags

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Nicolette & Annie,

    Many thanks for your lovely comments! I really appreciate it. And I still cannot believe all this isn't a dream! I'm certainly not taking anything for granted, though, and feel very blessed to be here at all.

    Love,
    Mags

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi Anne,

    I am definitely back in that cupboard!!!! I do hope you enjoy the book, thank you so much for bothering to read it.

    I know, it is very difficult filing heroes away! That's why I love loosely-linked stories so I can pop back in on their lives from time to time! But I do have a wonderful rogues gallery of heroes to drool over - Nic may not have a brother but plenty of seriously delicious friends!!!!!

    Love,
    Mags

    ReplyDelete
  18. Congratulations on your fourth sale and for a wonderfully inspiring post.
    Love Nell Dixon xxxx

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi Mags! What a lovely post. Congratulations on getting your first book out and now you're on to your fourth!!! Im a Chelsea girl but that doesn't stop me from appreciating that Iker pic. Gorgeous :) Will have to hunt down your book now...

    ReplyDelete
  20. Margaret, congratulations on your fourth sale. Your story is so inspiring. Thanks for sharing the great hero pic.

    All the best,
    Carol

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hi Mags - brilliant post and wonderful news on your fourth sale - but of course I always knew you'd do it because you're a superb writer!!! Also many, many thanks for another glimpse of the gorgeous Iker who is now of course sharing the Barcelona turf with my *Derry* (aka Eidur Gudjohnsen - ex-Chelsea which should please jopee!). Thanks for everything - but especially for creating Nic - can't wait to meet the others now...
    loads of love
    Chris

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi Nell, Jopee and Carol,

    Thanks very much for your lovely comments, I'm very grateful.

    Jopee, you have a fellow Chelsea fan, I see, in Chris who has posted! You have to read her Love Potions as her hero was modelled on Eidur, as she's mentioned. Dare I say I'm a Juventus fan? I'm saving up some yummy Italians for possible future stories!

    Nell, good luck with your writing, I hope you have some good news soon.

    Love,
    Mags

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hi Chris,

    Thanks so much for stopping by, it's great to see you here, and thanks, too, for being such a mega brilliant friend. I'd not be here were it not for you. And I'm a piddly writer in comparison. I wish I could write like you! I'm sure we all do!

    I'm so pleased you enjoyed Nic and hope the others will live up to expectations.

    Love,
    Mags

    ReplyDelete
  24. Mags - finally Blogger lets me get in! Just wanted to say congrats on your fourth acceptance (and also I told you so *g*) - I loved your first and I'm so pleased you're keeping such a gorgeous setting, as well as having linked books!

    Oh, and btw - you ARE worthy. You've earned your place on the shelves.

    love Kate H x

    ReplyDelete
  25. *Big wave to a fellow Blue* Hi Chris! Met Eidur at the Bridge with his family and he truly was lovely. Shame he had to leave but it was nice seeing him again at the Barcelona game and the Chelsea fans gave him a warm welcome.

    Mags, I know he's not with Juve anymore but I wouldn't mind a hero based on Fabio Cannavaro. Just let me know if you need help with research :p

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hi Kate,

    Bless you, and thank you so much for all your generosity and kindness and unstinting support and encouragement, I really appreciate it.

    Even if you did steal one of my heroes AND get him written first!!!!!!! (OK serves me right for sending you his picture!!)

    Love,
    Mags

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hi Jopee,

    Oh, you have no worries there!!!! I have some stunning Fabio pictures (hope you are sitting ... come unclothed!!!) in my file and he is already lined up for an Italian doc hero in what I hope will be a forthcoming Italian double of books - the divine Alex del Piero being the other one!! Makes me go all week at the knees just thinking about them!

    I've had a great time here today. Thanks so much to everyone for all the lovely comments and the support, I'm really grateful.

    Love,
    Mags

    ReplyDelete
  28. LOL! I think I know the one you mean... is it the one with the ball? Drool :p And I have a lot of time for Alessandro del Peiro. Especially with gorgeous, wavy hair :)

    Great talking to you, Mags!

    ReplyDelete
  29. I'm really looking forward to reading your books, Mags!

    And that's some hero... :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Thanks, Jopee, you too. And if you mean the cover of the Italian Cosmo, yes, that is the picture I mean!!!!!!!!!! I'd have all the time in the world for Alex, too, given half a chance!

    Love,
    Mags

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hi Nic,

    I'm never going to peep back out of the cupboard if I think of any more of my favourite writers reading something I have written! Too scary! But thank you so much. I hope you will enjoy it.

    Glad you liked Iker, he is yummy! Wait until you see some of the other hero material I'm hoarding!

    Love,
    Mags

    ReplyDelete