Interview with psychological suspense author Maggie James

Today’s
special guest is British author of psychological suspense novels, Maggie James.
We get to hear a bit about her newest book, Guilty Innocence, and other
fun things.
Bio:
Maggie James is a British author who lives in Bristol.
She writes psychological suspense novels.
The first draft of her first novel, entitled His Kidnapper’s Shoes, was written
whilst travelling in Bolivia. Maggie was inspired by an impending milestone
birthday along with a healthy dose of annoyance at having procrastinated for so
long in writing a novel. His Kidnapper’s
Shoes
was published in both paperback and e-book format in 2013, followed
by her second novel, entitled Sister,
Psychopath
. Her third novel, Guilty
Innocence
, has now been published, and like her first two, features her
home city of Bristol. She is currently working on her fourth novel.
Before turning her hand to writing, Maggie worked mainly
as an accountant, with a diversion into practising as a nutritional therapist.
Diet and health remain high on her list of interests, along with travel.
Accountancy does not, but then it never did. The urge to pack a bag and go off
travelling is always lurking in the background! When not writing, going to the
gym, practising yoga or travelling, Maggie can be found seeking new four-legged
friends to pet; animals are a lifelong love!
Welcome, Maggie. Please tell us about
your current release.

Guilty Innocence is a psychological suspense novel. It’s
a
gritty story examining child murder and dysfunctional families; the
novel tells of one man’s struggle to break free from his past.
What inspired you to write this book?
I was
intrigued by the idea of how it would feel to discover that someone you love has
a secret past, especially if it involved a horrific crime. The characters of
Natalie Richards and Mark Slater were thus born in my head and hassled me endlessly
until I wrote their story. Mark was once wrongly convicted of child murder, a
fact he conceals from everyone, including his girlfriend Natalie. The truth, of
course, will out, and it will devastate Natalie as Mark struggles to confront
his demons.
Excerpt:
From Chapter
1 – The Letter
Natalie Richards’s first
reaction to the letter in her hands is one of suspicion. A response fuelled by
her misgivings, the ones prompting her to search through her boyfriend’s
possessions, like an addict seeking a fix. Who the hell is Joshua Barker, and
why does Mark have a letter addressed to him?
She first discovers it at
the bottom of his bedside cabinet, when she
’s almost given up on
finding anything. From the outside, the letter holds no clue as to the
explosive nature of its contents. She almost misses it; it’s tucked away at the
very bottom of the last drawer, under a pile of bank statements. Natalie flips
through them quickly; what she’s seeking isn’t likely to be concealed amongst
cash withdrawals and direct debits. She goes to replace the bank statements and
close the drawer, when she notices the envelope. It’s lying face down, almost
as if it’s hiding. In the interests of being thorough in her search, she pulls
it out.
She reads the letter, the
name of Joshua Barker nagging at her as she does so, its vague familiarity
teasing her. As the contents sink into her mind, the realisation of who Joshua
Barker is claws its way to the surface in her brain, exploding through her
skull in a myriad of disbelief and denial.
Natalie hurls the letter
from her grasp as though the paper has burned her. Which, in a way, it has. It
lands near the door, the momentum causing it to slide partly underneath, as if
to crawl away from her. A low moan escapes her as she sinks to the floor, her
stomach clenching in rebuttal of what
’s hammering through her brain. She stares at
the cheap melamine bedside cabinet as though it has betrayed her by offering
sanctuary to Joshua Barker’s letter. Would to God she’d never decided to search
through Mark’s things. She’s been expecting to find shit, but not something
that stinks this bad. Nobody could have anticipated the contents of the letter
taunting her from the other side of the room.
You screwed up again, Natalie. Drawn to bad boys,
aren
’t you? Well, they don’t
come much worse than this one.
She huddles against Mark’s bed,
which is neatly made, of course. Everything with Mark is always tidy,
regimented, in its place. The almost antiseptic neatness of his cramped flat
reveals little about the man she’s been dating, on and off, for the last four
months. The on part is mostly down to her; she doesn’t let herself wonder if
Mark ever contemplates pressing the off button.
Natalie’s come
here today because she suspects her boyfriend may be seeing another woman.
Given her track record with men, it’s the obvious conclusion when Mark seems
distant, evasive, oblivious to her hints about taking their relationship
further. Getting their own place. Perhaps a baby in due course. So far Natalie
has only given the vaguest of suggestions on the baby issue; Mark’s abrupt
withdrawal when she does so silences her immediately.
Finding a man who wants
what she does – commitment, togetherness, stability – doesn
’t come
easily to Natalie. She knows men like that exist. Take her cousin Janine, for
instance. Married for five years now, with a two-year-old daughter and another
baby on the way, her husband Gavin the archetypal faithful adoring partner.
Janine, though, has the shining example of her parents, happily married for
thirty years. Not so with Natalie. Before the divorce, her father seems
determined to bed every available woman in Bristol. Eventually he walks out on
his wife and eleven-year-old daughter and doesn’t come back. His contact with
Natalie is reduced to sporadic Christmas and birthday cards that eventually peter
out. Callie Richards, angry and embittered, is left to bring up her daughter
alone.
No wonder Natalie has a
track record of always going for the bad boys. A psychologist might say she
’s on a
mission to find and reform her errant father. The finding’s not been a problem;
it’s the reforming that’s proved a fruitless quest so far with the men she
dates.
What exciting story are you working on
next?
I’ve
written my fourth novel, provisionally entitled The Second Captive and am
currently engaged in revising and editing it, ready for publication in October
2014. I seem to be unusual amongst writers in that I really enjoy the editing
process. The novel examines the fascinating psychological condition known as
Stockholm syndrome, in which victims become emotionally attached to their
abusers. I’m drawn to dark themes and unusual psychological issues for my
novels.
When did you first consider yourself a
writer?
Before I
wrote my first novel, His Kidnapper’s
Shoes
, I wrote some short stories, which I published online and which
received very favourable feedback and reviews. I guess I started to believe I
was a writer back then. Writing is something I’ve always wanted to do, but I
went for decades without doing anything about it. Believe me, I’m making up for
lost time now!
What’s your work day like?
In the
mornings, I work on all matters writing-related, whether it’s writing,
revision, editing or getting my work formatted for publication. Although I’m
more of a night owl, I find I’m better at creative pursuits first thing in the
day. Can’t explain why, but that’s the way it is, so I don’t fight it! After
lunch, I tackle marketing-related projects, such as scheduling promotions,
writing blog posts, having fun on social media or sundry stuff such as updating
my website. I don’t normally work evenings or weekends, although when life gets
hectic around publication time that can change.
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
Hmm, I’m
not sure I have any quirks as such! Or maybe I can’t spot them? I do like to be
very organised about writing – I’m a planner rather than a pantser – and that
seems unusual amongst writers, as is the fact I tend to write linearly rather
than skipping around in the plot when writing. For real quirks, ask me again in
ten years – I’m sure I’ll have acquired a few by then!
As a child, what did you want to be
when you grew up?
I always
wanted to be a novelist. Nothing else, just that. So when I found myself
approaching a milestone birthday and I still hadn’t written anything, it was
time for drastic action. I quit my job and went off travelling for a year, with
a secret agenda I didn’t reveal to anyone. That was to come back with a novel completed
to first draft stage – and that’s exactly what I did. I spent two months in the
beautiful city of Sucre, in Bolivia, writing His Kidnapper’s Shoes. The sense
of achievement I experienced after I typed the final words will stay with me
forever.
Anything
additional you want to share with the readers?
I blog regularly about all things fiction-related on my website, so come along and
say hello! I really enjoy blogging, and I welcome guest posts; I have
guidelines for bloggers available on my website. I also love interacting with
my readers, so do connect with me via any of my social media links.
Other ways to
find out more:

Buy links for novels: 

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