Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Interview with Maureen Willett, Author of Near The Wild

What made you decide to be an author? I’ve been compelled to write fiction since I was in college, so in way I’ve had no choice. Writing has chosen me, more than the other way around.
What do you like best about being a writer? What do you like the least? The best part of writing is being the first to see your story unfold. It’s like being the very first reader of a novel, so you have no idea what will happen or where it will take you. My stories and characters surprise me every time I write.
I don’t like the revisions and detailed work it takes to get the story into shape. Once the story is told, I want to move on to the next one, but it usually takes me 6-12 months to do revisions and edits.
How do you think your life experiences have prepared you for writing? When I was in college I knew I wanted to be a writer, but I also knew I’d have to wait until I had enough life experiences to make me a good writer. Everything I experience becomes a mental note I may use in a novel.
Have you ever felt as if you were being dictated to while you wrote a book--as if the words came of their own accord? If yes, which book did that happen with? Yes, all three of my published novels, and the one I’m currently writing. I usually don’t know what I’m setting out to write until the first draft is finished.
You’ve written four novels and are working on a fifth novel. What’s your favorite time management tip? Get up an hour earlier than you want to every day, so you have that extra hour to write. I don’t always do that, but it is a good goal.
Are you a plotter or a pantser, i.e., do you outline your books ahead of time or are you an “organic” writer? Definitely organic. Never done an outline. I do, though, have the characters and an idea in my head before I started writing.
If you had one take away piece of advice for authors, what would it be? Take as many creative writing classes as you can when you you’re young and have the time. Then, write, write, write, and never stop believing in yourself.
Did music help you find your muse with this book? If yes, which song did you find yourself going back to over and over again as you wrote? No, music isn’t a factor for me.
Tell me more about Near The Wild.
Cowboys and leprechauns: Both occupy Maeve MacKeighry's world in 1870, and she must decide which will win her heart. Leprechauns are feared, even in Ireland, but that doesn't prevent Maeve from striking up a friendship with one who lives near her village. But once Maeve becomes a young woman, the local villagers start to gossip, especially since the MacKeighrys are known to practice magic in their home. It's just for entertainment, but the town folk don't see it that way. Rather than be outcasts, the MacKeighrys set off to America to homestead in Kansas, vowing to leave their magical ways and friends behind. Little do they know that Maeve's friend follows and protects them on their journey.
How about an excerpt from Near The Wild.

I didn’t notice much about his face at first.  It was his hair that caught my eye.  It hung just below his jawline and was beautifully cut, as was fitting for a man of his wealth.  The thick, raven-colored ringlets framed his angular face in an almost angelic fashion.  He gracefully moved his tall frame toward me on the narrow, wooden walk in front of the store.
Normally, this stretch of sidewalk in Colton was quite busy in mid-day.  I would nod and greet just about everyone, feeling obliged to make it apparent that my mother raised her children to have manners, but it just happened to be an odd day, so he and I were the only ones passing by each other.  Because the sidewalk was so narrow, he stopped, made a slight bow with his head, and let me pass, keeping his eyes downward in a polite manner.  The silver grey of his tailored suit and well-turned silk cravat glistened in the sunlight.  He carried a top hat in his gloved hands.  His fingers looked long and slender through the kid leather.
Grateful for his polite gesture and thinking his eyes were still averted, I glanced at his face to get a better look at this polished, dapper young man, only to be surprised by the flawless white complexion.  His high cheekbones, straight nose, and perfect, creamy skin must be the envy of every woman in Colton, especially those who had grown up plowing fields in the sunlight and now had faces resembling tough leather.
Believing I’d seen an angel come down from heaven, or at least one of those men who would never marry and spend his life seeking the company of other men, I looked into his eyes.  It was then I realized my mistake.  There, in the blue-green depths, was a lustful intent that unnerved me to my core.  I almost stepped back in surprise.  His dark, arched brows went up in mock politeness.
With a beautiful smile, he made his desire to see me without my petticoat quite clear.  I gulped and almost lost my footing as I walked away, quickening my step to hasten my retreat from the depths of his alluring blue-green eyes.  My heart pounded and my face heated as I ran toward the safety of my brothers, away from the unconventionally handsome Mr. Fuerst.
It was a common fact in Colton that he was the only heir of a royal fortune.  It seemed his father had been a prince in Germany but was banished to America for marrying a commoner.  Mr. Fuerst was here to build a mansion across from the new train station, because his father was one of the investors in the transcontinental railroad that would one day connect Kansas to California.  Apparently, he built the largest mansion in the area of Colton that was now burgeoning with homes for the emerging upper class, Bell Street.  Colton was the end of the railroad line on the western side—at least for now—and the young Mr. Fuerst would be our resident patriarch.  The next time I’d run into him would be under quite different circumstances.

Where can readers find more about your stories, books and you on the Internet?
Buy Links:
Maureen, thank you so much for being with us here today. I know my readers will enjoy your work and your interview.

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