Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Writers' Wednesday: An Interview with Margay Leah Justice

Welcome to a wintry Writers' Wednesday! (well, here in NY, anyway). Today I'm welcoming author Margay Leah Justice...enjoy!

Hi, Margay! Can you tell us a little about your background?

I am a single mother of two, balancing life with Multiple Sclerosis and caring for a child with Bipolar Disorder and Asperger's Syndrome along with the everyday life of being a mother and a writer.

I can't begin to imagine how busy your days must be! When did you first begin writing? Was there an event or moment in your life that triggered your desire to write?

I think I first began to write the day I learned how to hold up a pencil. I can't remember a time when I didn't write; it has always been an integral part of my life.

Tell us about your latest writing project or published title.

Here's a blurb for Nora's Soul:

When angels of light and dark collide on earth…Once he held a favored position in the heavens. But one moment of weakness casts Dante out and now he is cursed to walk the earth, collecting the souls of vulnerable women to buy his way into hell.All hell breaks loose…But standing in his way is Peter, an angel of light. Peter is everything Dante is not. Pure, above reproach. And determined to prevent Dante from achieving his goals. Peter will stop at nothing to protect the souls in his charge, even if it means achieving the impossible – leading Dante back onto the right path.And no one is safe from the fall-out.

Nora Kendall believed in angels. Once. But then she lost her brother to cancer despite all of her prayers – and she lost her faith in all things angelic. Now, she is a lost soul who wanders through life like a sleepwalker, playing it safe and leaving the risk-taking to others.Kyle Cameron is one of those risks. Burned by a bad marriage, his only concern now is providing a stable life for his children, who are left motherless by the unexpected death of his wife. This means working overtime to grow his architectural firm into a viable business – and leaving the care of his children to the care of someone he trusts. Despite his past connection with Nora, Kyle isn't certain that she's the right person for the job. He also doesn't want to reconnect with her and repeat history.But fate – and the machinations of two angels – has other ideas.

Sounds terrific! Now, how do you go about developing your characters?

I usually do some sort of a character profile/questionnaire to get them firmly fixed in my mind. I also usually have the face of an actor in mind when I write, too. That really helps to get their images down on paper.

What advice would you give to new writers just starting out?

Learn your craft, hone your craft and never stop learning. The day you stop learning is the day your creativity dies. Always work on perfecting your craft, but do it for yourself first. If you don't enjoy writing for yourself, you shouldn't try doing it for others. You really have to love doing it or else you will be easily discouraged when the fame and fortune doesn't come to you overnight. It's a rare thing for that to happen, so expect to put in some time with it before you achieve publishing success.

What kinds of books do you like to read? Who is your favorite author?

I love Regencies and Julia Quinn is one of my favorites in that genre. But I tend to read whatever moves me, not just one genre. In fact, I just started reading in the YA genre which is a fabulous arena for truly wonderful stories that have helped me to connect with my daughters on a new level. My favorite author in that genre is Stephenie Meyer, but I also like Mari Mancusi and Melissa Marr.

A Twilight fan, hmm? Well, I won't hold that against you! What do you find most difficult about writing? What do you find most exciting or rewarding?

For me, it's balancing the details such as setting and background info with the dialogue. Either I put in too much detail or not enough, so I'm always working to make sure the balance is just right. Dialogue, on the other hand, comes easier and I have a lot of fun doing it, especially when it's between the hero and heroine - I love the snappy dialogue from movies of the 30s and 40s and, more recently, Gilmore Girls, so when I can achieve something that comes close, I find that especially rewarding.

How do you balance writing with the rest of your life?

I try to do everything writing related when my daughters are at school or otherwise occupied. I tend to fit my writing around all other responsibilities, carving out whatever time I can in my schedule without neglecting my other responsibilities. Somehow, it works.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I love to knit, crochet, and do crafts. So I'm always creating things! I also love to read and watch movies with my daughters, and spend time with my mother, who passed down all of these creative genes on me.

Anything else you'd like to mention?

For more information on Nora's Soul - and perhaps an advance peek at what I'm working on next - you can check out my website at You can also find me on Twitter, Myspace and Facebook.

Thanks for being here today, Margay!


Margay said...

Thank you so much for having me, Allie! I really enjoyed being here.

Amber said...

Nice cover for the book, Margay!

Margay said...

Thank you, Amber! Yes, I love it!

Christine Husom said...

Wonderful and informative interview! Thanks for sharing so much about your life, your craft and your passion.

Margay said...

Thank you, Christine! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Lea said...

Your book sounds absolutely inviting. Marked it down as a must buy.

Margay said...

Lea, thank you so much! I hope you enjoy it.

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