Okay, well first off I have to be honest, I had never planned on writing a series. In fact, I had sworn to myself that I would never write a sequel. Now that I’m in the process of publishing book 3, Split Seconds, of the Caspian Wine Series, I guess I have to say that was an empty promise.
I love reading series and I have read many of them but one of the first things that came to me was they were a lot of work. Not only did you have to keep track of all the characters, action, situations and setting in one novel but now you have to do it across several.
So how did my series come about?
I actually wrote Captured Lies, book one, in the series many years ago and I had originally written it as a romance. For some reason, I thought to be an author that’s where you had to start. I really liked the story but I didn’t want it to be just a romance. I really wanted it to be a suspense/thriller with a hint of romance. So I tore it apart and started over. I love where it finally went but I won’t kid you, it was a lot of work.
Captured Lies is about Bailey.
Kidnapped not once but twice and now someone wants her dead. Her life was a lie!
After I published Captured Lies in 2012, it was a reader who said to me, ‘Geoff (the antagonist) is stuff that nightmares are made of. When are you writing book 2?’ She had loved the story and the characters and wanted to know more about what happened to them all. I politely told her I had no plans to write a sequel.
Words that I would again have to eat. Ideas started coming to me as to where I could take book 2. Since I felt I had wrapped up the story for those characters in book 1, I didn’t want it to be about them but to still have them part of the story. That’s when Deceitful Truths, book 2, was created.
Deceitful Truths is about Tarin.
Someone has stolen a week of her life and now wants to steal the secret she is now hiding.
The struggle I had with writing book 2 was that originally I had handwritten Captured Lies and then typed it up. So all of my notes, characters, setting, etc. were on pieces of paper. I then had to dig them all out only to find that my notes weren’t all that great and I had written some of them in the margins of the pages.
Eek, it was a mess. So I had to reread Captured Lies and pull all my notes and start a new file. It turned out to be way more work than I had thought to write a series. Mainly because I hadn’t planned for it. I always thought that people who wrote series planned them all out ahead of time and in many cases that is true but it wasn’t for me.
Now that I had done the sequel, Deceitful Truths, I again told myself, that was a cool experience but I’m not doing it again.
Well, I seem to like to eat my words. Another reader said to me, ‘Loved Deceitful Truths, but would love to know more about who Tarin’s mom was.’.
This time I just replied, ‘thank you I’ll let you know’. Immediately ideas came to me for where to go with book 3, even the title, Split Seconds.
So now I’m off writing book 3, only to realize that again I have not kept notes that I need for a series. For example, I hadn’t put exactly where the winery was located, I hadn’t made detailed notes about Tarin’s mom because she had only a short mention in Deceitful Truths. Because of where I was going with book 3 there were details that I had to go back through and read in Deceitful Truths to get.
Split Seconds is about Tijan.
Twins torn apart as toddlers… reunited as adults… and now switching places to take on organized crime…
So Book 3, Split Seconds, is now completed. The series I had never planned is written and I have no idea if there is book 4, but already a reader–who read my ARC (advanced review copy) said–I love reading about your characters. I can’t wait to read more about this family.
To write a series or not to write a series, is that even the right question?
Split Seconds is now available for pre-order: Pre-Order Split Seconds
Twins… separated as toddlers, reunited as adults… and now they’re switching places in a dangerous game to take on organized crime.
Her sister is alive! Excited to discover her twin didn’t die as a toddler, Tijan can’t wait to meet her other half. But why hasn’t her only sibling reached out in almost thirty years?
Although the reunion is joyous, not everyone is excited to discover there are two of them. Using it to her advantage, Tijan is determined to take down the one man responsible for it all… her father. The secrets and lies that have kept the two apart, soon unravel but with deadly consequences.
An Interview with Author Maggie Thom
- Welcome, Maggie! Tell us a little about yourself; a quick, mini bio, if you will.
I love to read, to write, to hike in nature, find waterfalls, and go kayaking. I’m also a wife, and mom to twins.
- When did the proverbial writing bug first bite you? Also, give us a brief summary of your writing journey.
I wrote my first novel at 9. I dabbled off and on for a few years but really didn’t get encouraged so didn’t do much with it. In eighties, I wrote mostly poetry. Then in the nineties I got serious about my writing. I joined a writing group and a critique group and took some writing lessons. Best decision I ever made. It really grew me as a writer. I wrote many novels but didn’t do much with them. It wasn’t until 2011 that I sent my book, Captured Lies off to a traditional publisher. In 2012 I pulled Captured Lies from that traditional publisher and decided to Indie Publish. Why? The publisher said it would take another two years to see my book in print, that was too long, I was ready now.
- What books and authors were most influential in stirring your desire to become a writer?
There are so many who inspired me. The first author who really drew me into his writing and got me hooked was fantasy author Stephen R. Donaldson – Thomas Covenant the White Gold Wielder Series. He really sparked my curiosity with writing. He wrote such amazing fantasy stories. Then Sandra Brown and Robert Ludlum were other authors that I loved to read and learned a lot from, in how to write a good novel that draws the reader in.
- I understand that Maggie Thom is a nom de plume. Why did you choose to write under a pen name?
I chose to write under a penname because I was doing other things under my own name so didn’t want to confuse readers. I know as a reader when I find an author I like, I like to know that their books are all going to be in the same genre.
- You wrote two standalone suspense/thrillers before you decided to change course and launch the Caspian Wine Series: Captured Lies, Deceitful Truths, and the soon-to-be-released Split Seconds. Will you share with us why you chose to begin a series of suspense/thrillers, and what the inspiration was behind your decision?
It was the readers. I truly had no plans to write a series. In fact I swore I’d never write a series, I knew they were a lot of work. Captured Lies was actually a story I wrote about fifteen or so years ago. I then tore it apart and rewrote it about seven years ago. I published it in 2012 and to me that was the end of it. Then a reader asked me some questions about Captured Lies and wanted to know when I was doing book 2. I told her I wasn’t but then the ideas started coming. So I wrote book 2, Deceitful Truths. Again, for me that was it. Then… a reader asked when I was writing book 3. I just said thank you, thinking ‘well, I’m not’ but away my mind went with ideas. So I wrote book 3, Split Seconds, fully with the intent that this was it. But… I’ve already heard from a couple of my ARC readers and reviewers wanting to know where I’m going with the next book in the series. So never say never.
- For those who haven’t yet tasted the Caspian Wine books, can you share a brief premise of the series, the returning characters, and your protagonist? Without giving anything away, or course.
The series is loosely based around the Caspian Winery. It is a seventy-year-old winery run by Dorothea Lindell, an elderly very wealthy woman, who has a few enemies. At the center of it all is Knight’s Associates, a Private Investigative company, who specializes in cybercrimes. The stories are really about families–the good, the bad and the ugly.
Captured Lies – Bailey was kidnapped not once but twice, her life was a lie.
Bailey – after her mom dies, she discovers that all she grew up with might not be true. She definitely didn’t live the life she was intended.
Guy – is the owner and private investigator from Knights Associates, who is sent to find Bailey.
Graham – Guy’s partner.
Dorothea – Bailey’s grandmother and is Guy’s stepgrandmother.
Geoff – Dorothea’s brother
Deceitful Truths – Tarin has lost a week of her life and now someone wants to steal the secret she is now hiding.
Tarin – gets a job at Knights Associates to use them to find who is trying to steal her son
Graham – wonders if the person who might be stealing their secrets, isn’t Tarin
Guy – helps with figuring out who is trying to hack them and who Tarin really is
Dorothea – needs Knights Associates to help her fend off who is trying to take down her winery
Bailey – tries to get close to Tarin to figure out her real story
Geoff – Dorothea’s brother
Split Seconds – Tijan – Twins torn apart as toddlers, reunited as adults and now switching places to take on organized crime.
Tijan – sets out to find her twin but also meets her father who doesn’t seem to know she exists, which is good because she didn’t know he was alive. She soon learns that although he seems to run a legitimate hotel chain, not is all that it appears.
Tarin – Tijan’s twin, who didn’t know about her sister
Graham and Guy – help with protecting Tarin and Tijan and taking down organized crime
Dorothea – protecting her winery that someone wants to buy
August – who is searching for his father, finds himself hired by Caspian Winery and then asked to go undercover in Tijan and Tarin’s father’s hotel.
- Describe a typical day in the writing life of Maggie Thom.
When I’m in writing mode, I usually get up at 5:00 and start writing and write for a couple of hours. I’ll do this daily but usually take a few days off, every 4 or 5 days. The wildest thing I did was last November I wrote 55,000 words in 21 days, without stopping. That is the longest stretch and most words I had ever written in that short of a time.
- Do you work from an outline, or do you tackle your stories from the seat of your pants?
I tend to tackle from the seat of my pants at least to start. I get an idea and I start writing. Then I do a mix of seat of my pants and plotting. When I do the rewrites, that’s when I go through though and make sure that the plot done well and that all loose ends are tied up.
- Is the dreaded “WRITER’S BLOCK” ever a problem for Maggie Thom? If so, how do you approach it? Is there some “magical cure” you’ve found? If so, may I buy a bottle of it?
I don’t have writer’s block… anymore. In the past, I used to struggle with it but I learned that if I just wrote and didn’t edit, it made it so much easier to stay out of that critical viewpoint of ‘it sucks’. Which is what I attributed my writer’s block to. I also found that if I played with my story while I was away from computer or pen to paper, that I was able to let me imagination go wild and that has really helped me to keep the writer’s block at bay.
- Okay, down to the nitty-gritty. It’s a distasteful subject almost all authors must contend with, whether traditionally or independently published. Would you mind addressing and sharing your thoughts and approach to marketing and promotion? What have you found works for you, and what hasn’t?
Marketing used to be such a foreign concept for me. I think I was a late bloomer when it came to marketing. I’ve done so many things some worked some didn’t. Virtual Book tours are a good idea but do not have the impact they used to. They are still a good way to help get your name out there. Just make sure you’re using a good company. Do guest blog posts, create a Beta team (they are the first readers of the finished draft, usually before editing), create an ARC team (they read after editing and are willing to leave a review), do interviews (online and with your local newspaper and radio), do youtube readings of your book, find ways that work for you to share about your book.
This time with the launch of Split Seconds I’m doing some new things. I am doing cross promoting with other authors. Having an email list has been the most beneficial and smartest thing I have done. I give away a copy of my suspense/thriller Captured Lies to those who sign up. I work at making good connections with other authors. I do many things to help them other authors because then I know when I need help I have someone to reach out to. Like you Michael, who I love what and how you write and how you help authors, I am honored to have ‘met’ you.
- What’s up next for Maggie Thom? Is there another Caspian Wine thriller in the pipeline, another standalone, or . . . ?
As I mentioned earlier, no there are no plans for another book in the Caspian Wine Series but… some readers are already asking, so I don’t know. I am currently taking a story I wrote many years ago, but did nothing with, and I am rewriting it. I always liked the story but felt something was missing. Now I think I know what that is and am excited to see where it will go.
- Is there anything else at all that you’d like to touch on? Feel free to fire away with both barrels!
Michael, thank you for hosting me and helping me to get the word out about my new release, Split Seconds. It is now available for pre-order and for those who pre-order I have some cool bonuses.
And a special “thank you” to all those who love to read, you truly make this journey worth it.
Maggie, thanks so much for being with us and sharing the ins, outs, and struggles of being a writer and author in today’s hectic world of letters. It’s been a pleasure!
Maggie Thom’s Bio
Want to take an adventure beyond your fingertips?
Award winning author, Maggie Thom loves the challenge of creating a web of secrets, lies and deceit. She doesn’t want you to figure it out until the end. Author of The Caspian Wine Suspense/Thriller/Mystery Series – Captured Lies (Award Winning) and Deceitful Truths with Split Seconds about to be published – and her other individual novels Tainted Waters (2013 Suspense/Thriller Book of the Year through Turning the Pages Magazine) and Deadly Ties. Take the roller coaster ride. It’s worth it. Get your free copy of Captured Lies, Book One in the series.
Her motto: “Read to escape… Escape to read…”
“Maggie Thom… proves her strength as a master of words, plots and finely chiseled characters… she weaves a brilliant cloth of the many colors of deceit.”
Dianne Bylo — TomeTender Reviews