I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Mrs. Margaret Locke, author of the Matters of Love series. After reading and reviewing both A Man of Character and A Matter of Time, I was delighted when she agreed to take the hot seat for a few questions about her genre and writing.
By the way, Mrs. Locke is a not a coffee (or tea) drinker, so serve her up a water on the rocks if you ever have a chance to take a coffee (or tea) break with her. Now that you’re here, wrap your fingers tight around your favorite brew (or cold beverage) and enjoy!
I’d like to cast a wide net and draw in some non-romance readers here. In four sentences or less, why should a lifelong non-romance reader try a romance novel?
Every kind of story, whether thriller, mystery, literary fiction, horror, or something else, is an attempt to communicate feelings, to express the highs and lows of the human experience.
Romance speaks to one of the most basic human desires – to be loved and accepted for who we are, flaws and all.
The journey to love, to true intimacy with another person, exposes the most raw and vulnerable of our emotions.
When we see characters overcoming challenges and finding love and acceptance when they thought they never would, could, or wanted to, we experience their triumphs (and pain), and our own need for love and acceptance is reaffirmed.
I might have started out with a tough question. And I might be following up with another toughie. My goal with the book review is to promote books that I believe are worth the time of a busy mom. If a potential reader (and busy mom) said to you “I’m not sure I have time,” how do you respond?
There’s nothing wrong with shutting yourself in the bathroom for 5 or 10 minutes and reading. This busy mom speaks from experience. I’ve read entire books (and saved my sanity) that way, a few minutes at a time.
All of us have unbelievable stressors and demands on our time. Yet it makes me sad to hear people say, “I never read.” If we have enough time to watch YouTube videos, or surf Facebook, or catch the latest Game of Thrones episode, we have time to read. In fact, reading can be done in as little or as much time as one chooses – which makes it the ideal activity for anywhere!
Now, having said that, I fully admit I don’t read as much as I used to, nor as much as I want to, but I do still read for at least five minutes every day. And, uh, well, if social media weren’t so darn alluring (not to mention those Supernatural and Vampire Diaries guys), I’d be much farther into my TBR pile. So I know the pain and the struggle.
But reading gives us a chance to truly escape, to fall into someone else’s life, and to experience that life in a way more personal than any other medium allows, since reading thrusts us right into a character’s emotions and thought processes. It’s one of the most intimate acts, actually.
Here’s an easy one. What kind of dinosaur would you want be?
This one is easy? I can think of tons of cool answers, but I’m going with pterodactyl, because flying would be cool. (Someone told me recently a pterodactyl isn’t really a dinosaur, but I’m ignoring that.)
Back to writing questions! What is the best piece of advice you have gotten as a writer? The worst?
Best piece of advice, hands down, came from Sabrina Jeffries: Don’t write in a vacuum. You need to find like-minded people: fellow writers, beta readers, a critique group, a formal organization like RWA, something. I would absolutely not have written as much as I have and likely wouldn’t have published my books without the support of my local, completely awesome, writer peeps.
Worst piece of advice? Hrm. I don’t know. I’ve mostly taken what I liked and forgotten the rest. Maybe the worst piece of advice would be that there’s only one way to do things: one way to write, one way to edit, one way to publish, one way to market. Because obviously there isn’t.
I do tend to gravitate toward people who speak with authority – you know, the blog posts that promise “7 Easy Ways to Write a Bestseller,” or, “The 1 Thing You Need to Do as an Indie Author.” But what I’ve learned over the past year is I have to do what works for me. That doesn’t mean I won’t try some of the ideas I read – heck, yeah, I will! But I wouldn’t want anyone to read something I say, or that anyone else says, and think, “I don’t do that. Obviously I’m doing everything wrong.” Because that’s not true.
Two-parter here: From your other interviews, the planned follow up to of A Matter of Time was The Demon Duke. I understand this has been delayed until after the July 2016 release of A Scandalous Matter. What stories can readers anticipate are to come from Locked on Love Publishing in 2016-2017? And where will Margaret Locke be in five years (think in terms of what stories will she have told?)
The Demon Duke was supposed to be book 3 – until I finished book 2 and thought, “No, Damon’s story isn’t the logical next step here; Amara’s is.” Thus I decided A Scandalous Matter had to come next in the series.
The Demon Duke is going to launch a new series centered around dukes (which may or may not feature characters from the Mattersley family). Unlike my first three books, this will be a pure Regency series, with no paranormal or magical elements.
I’d like to publish The Demon Duke in the fall, but am not committing to that, as life has a habit of getting in the way, and I need to be more realistic about my and my family’s needs.
After that, I’ve been invited to contribute a book to a series featuring numerous authors writing Regency-set books around a certain theme. I don’t know if I can publicly say more yet, but I’m SOOO excited and flattered to have been asked. The book will debut in 2018.
Oh, wait. There’s time between this fall/winter and 2018. Well, I’m not 100% sure what I’m planning (this summer’s goal, uh, is to get more organized and figure that out). I know I’ll eventually write a story for each of the Mattersley siblings, and also for A Matter of Time’s hero Deveric Mattersley’s two close sidekicks, Morgan Collinswood and James Bradley. I’ve also had requests to write stories for some of the people in A Man of Character, and have a story in mind for a character who popped up rather unexpectedly in A Scandalous Matter. Frankly, I have enough kernels of story ideas, I could be busy for a very long time.
As to where I’ll be in five years? Hopefully still writing and loving it. Though I’d like to a) get better at the initial drafts so that editing is not so painful, and b) learn how to edit without also eating massive amounts of chocolate, as that’s proving deleterious to the size of my tush.
I’d also like to attend some of the big conferences in my genre – Romantic Times and Romance Writers of America.
Bonus question: What character have you most enjoyed writing (and why)?
Good question! In all honesty, probably James Bradley and Morgan Collinswood, but that’s because I amused myself with all my own inside references to the BBC show Merlin (starring, er, one Colin Morgan and Bradley James).
However, Eliza James is a close second – in part because people responded so well to her in A Man of Character, and in part because a lot of her is, well, me. I’ve admitted to friends that Catherine Schreiber and Eliza James are like the two halves of me – one anxious, a little more pessimistic, the other bouncy and happy and totally aware she’s not a size 2.
Plus, Eliza got a lot of the best lines.
Thanks so much for hosting me, Sara! I’m so happy to be here – and grateful that you gave your very valuable time to read my books.