Today I’m visiting with fellow Boroughs author Maggie Mooha. She writes charming stories about Mr. Darcy and his beloved Lizzie, re-imagining them in other eras. I’ve had a ton of fun reading her books, and so will you!
Here in her own words is Maggie.
1. What made you sit down and write your first novel? My first novel was a Star Trek
novel called A Free Radical. It was based on the characters from Star Trek: The Next
Generation. I wrote it because the teleplays I had been working on with a mentor were
just too short to tell the story. I got an agent for that novel, but the Star Trek people
wouldn’t look at it because I wasn’t already writing for them. Weird.
2. Have you always been a writer? I’ve always been a storyteller. I used to entertain my
sister when we shared a room as kids. I’d make up stories about Superman or some
other character on TV and tell it in installments over a few nights.
3. Why do you write romance novels? I’ve only written four so far and really like the genre
of historical romance. I love doing research, believe it or not – especially when the
research involves travel. Do you read them as well as write them? I must admit that I
don’t read romance novel in general. I like cozy mysteries, occasional best sellers, and
4. Many of your novels are clever retellings of the Jane Austen classic ‘Pride and
Prejudice’ set in various time periods. What made you decide to use the Elizabeth-
Darcy story in your books? I’d read a few P&P variations and like everyone else, was
hopelessly in love with Mr. Darcy. I got a couple ideas for an adventure-based retelling,
and here we are. Are you planning to write any more set in yet other eras? I just set my
last one, Mr. Darcy and the Suffragette, in the Edwardian era. Elizabeth really gets to
spread her wings in the fight to get women the vote. Do you plan to use any other
famous books and characters in future work? I thought about writing the story of Lady
Barbara from the Hornblower books by C. S. Forester. While Hornblower is away fighting
Napoleon, what was she doing anyway?
5. Your novels bring to life the era in which you are telling your story. Mr. Darcy and the
Suffragette paints a true to life portrait of 1912 as do the rest of your novels. How do
you research the era about which you are writing? I have lots of sources for my
research – books, websites, even travel. For example, I traveled to the island of Grenada
after I’d done my book research for Elizabeth in the New World, just see make sure that
I had the facts straight. An amazing thing happened when I was there. In the small,
Grenada museum, I found the only picture of one of the main character, Fedon, in a
small exhibit. Also, the only picture of the governor’s house that I could then describe in
the book. Best of all was the original letter from the president of Grenada refusing
Fedon’s ultimatum. That refusal led to the death of the governor and most of the
English prisoners held by Fedon. I couldn’t believe I was standing there reading the
6. What is your writing process? Are you a ‘plotter’ or a ‘pantser’? I usually get only a
couple of ideas for a book, usually the climax of the plot and perhaps the beginning of
the book. When I first started, I followed the advice I heard in a writer’s workshop to use
notecards and write one sentence for every scene until I finished the novel. I taped
them to the back of the double doors of my office and once they are all done, I began
the book. I don’t have to be that detailed anymore, but still use notecards.
7. What are you working on right now? I’ve started researching for the backstory of Lady
Catherine (from Pride and Prejudice) for my next book. I’m hoping to humanize her a
8. What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have any other passions besides
storytelling? I have so much to do when I’m not writing. I’ve gone back half time to
teaching, am really active in a group called Citizens Climate Lobby where we lobby our
federal representatives to pass legislation that will mitigate climate change. As for other
passions, music is one. I majored in it in college and play the piano every day. I also love
9. Do you do any other kind of writing besides romance? I’m making notes for a play – a
comedy. I also think I’ll do another screenplay, this time about adoption. I won a couple
of writing contests with screenplays and teleplays in the past. That’s really where I
10. If you could give one piece of advice to a beginning writer, what would it be? Join a
writers’ group and get some honest feedback. Get Beta readers who aren’t your friends
to give you advice. Get a good editor. Most of all, take a marketing course. It’s all about
marketing if you want your books out there. Also, write if you like it, if it fulfills a need,
but not if you think you’re going to make a lot of money doing it. There’s a lot of
competition for readers out there and now we have machines entering the fray. Yikes!
The best advice I ever got (besides the notecard thing) is to just sit down and write the
whole thing and then go back and edit and rewrite. Otherwise, you’ll spend your entire
life rewriting the first three chapters!