Thursday, September 27, 2007

Author Interview with Maggie Toussaint

The Blog Studio band has the audience on their feet, clapping to the beat of a lively show tune, "76 Trombones". From the wings the famous OSU Marching Band, emerges joining with the Blog Studio Band. The audience goes wild as the band forms the famous script "Ohio", and from behind the curtains Carol Ann comes out and dots the "i".

After the band marches back off stage, and the audience is seated, Carol Ann yells "GO BUCKS!"

**Applause and hoots follow**

Carol Ann takes a seat in the middle of the set and the audience hushes.

CAROL ANN: This is an exciting day for me. It is the last of my author interviews for 2007. And, I couldn't think of a better way to end the series than to invite a very dear friend of mine to come and share her warm personality and wisdom. Her upcoming book is called NO SECOND CHANCE and the cover is absolutely stunning. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome, author MAGGIE TOUSSAINT!!

**Camera pans to the book in Carol Ann's hand**



**As the audience applauds, a slim beautiful shining auburn hair strolls out, waving at the crowd**

CAROL ANN: Maggie, thank you for coming all the way the Blog Studio today.

MAGGIE: Thank you for inviting me.

**Carol Ann looks at the book and once again holds it toward the audience**

CAROL ANN: This bookcover is absolutely stunning. I'd love to hear more about the story.

MAGGIE: I’m very excited about my upcoming release from The Wild Rose Press, No Second Chance. They say you can’t judge a book by the cover, but I sure hope the cover from my romantic mystery gets people to sit up and take notice. The cover artist captured the heart of the book, from the tender love story, to the evil villain, to the rescued horses.

People often talk about writing the book of their heart. That’s No Second Chance for me. I’ve been working on it on and off for years because the story of these rescued horses wouldn’t leave me alone.

The idea of the book grew out of personal experience. My oldest daughter rode horses throughout her youth. We spent our weekends doing horse stuff, spending time with horsey people. Eventually my husband and I served on the board of directors for a nonprofit that accepted horses for therapy for chronically ill children. It was so rewarding to help others, to see the improvement in the children each time they visited the farm.

I always said when I got this book published I’d use the proceeds to help horses. I’ve designated Day’s End Farm Horse Rescue in Lisbon, Maryland as a beneficiary of a portion of the proceeds from No Second Chance. This farm rescues horses all over the United States. Check out their website at www.defhr.org

The release date for No Second Chance has yet to be determined, but it’s looking like November 2007 for the e-book and April 2008 for the print release.

Check my websiteand The Wild Rose Press for the announcement in the coming weeks. And be sure to view my fantastic book trailer for No Second Chance. I uploaded it to My Spaceand it should be up on my website soon.

I have two other books coming out soon. Read more about Seeing Red and In For a Penny on my website.

CAROL ANN: Tell me a bit about your journey to becoming an author.

MAGGIE: How long do you have??? ((hearty laughter)) Stories have always captivated me. I listen to them or read them and I’m transported to another time and place. That love of stories and the fact that I used to write five page letters to my friends all the time fused as I matured into a burning desire to write. While my girls were little and I was stuck at cheerleading practice or the barn or wherever, I’d scribble in a notebook. I kept at it, whenever I could, on desperate little scraps of paper. Finally I had a book.

I darted into the world of editors and agents like an Olympic sprinter, madly waving my completed story at any and everyone. It stunk. I didn’t learn that until much later, not until I joined the local Romance Writers of America chapter.

I networked, took writing classes, and improved my craft, all the while raising my family and working as a scientist. Years passed. Rejections lined my file folders. I switched to writing mysteries. I landed an agent. More years passed. New York didn’t come calling. I decided to try small presses. My agent and I parted ways. Then within six months, I landed 3 book contracts, my first being House of Lies with The Wild Rose Press.

Unsolicited of advice for newbies out there: don’t do it the hard way, like I did. Write what you like and stick with it. Don’t keep chasing your tail or you’ll end up running in circles.

CAROL ANN: What do you find is the hardest thing about being an author?

MAGGIE: If you’d asked me before I sold, I would have said selling your book. If you’d asked me in the first quarter this year, I would’ve said learning the promotion ropes. Here in the third quarter of the year after House of Lies released, the hardest thing for me is finding balance in my life. Promoting my current book, editing my contracted books, gearing up for the next wave of published books, and writing a new book – all those things get squished into my writing time. Which means I have to be wickedly efficient at time management. I set goals each week and report them to my writing coach, another newly published writer. We keep each other moving forward, cheering each other’s successes, commiserating when we stumble.

CAROL ANN: It certainly sounds as if you have found that balance. You know, a friend of mine, Paige Cuccaro, has a site called The Cave. On it you can see what many author's offices look like. Would you mind describing your office space to the audience?

MAGGIE: I have the best room in our house. I have a sliver of a waterfront view over the top of a butterfly garden. My computer is positioned between two windows, letting in lots of sunlight, which I absolutely require. I have two six foot tall bookshelves crammed full of books and family pictures. There are stacks of papers for various projects. I work my day job as a reporter from my home office too, so there are lots of stacks. I have a loveseat sofa for lounging and the usual assortment of staplers, desk lights, paper punches, etc. My miniature bean bag frogs rest on my monitor stand and help me think when the writing is slow. I have a wind chime on the pull of my ceiling fan. I love hearing soothing sounds from chimes. My guitar leans up against my file cabinet, my yoga mats are propped behind the loveseat.

CAROL ANN: Now that sounds like the perfect all around office to me. I'm envious. My office, unfortunately, seems to be the room everything that doesn't have a place winds up to rest. I have soooo many books that they overflow the shelves in my office. Thank goodness I don't have any large collections or they'd land there as well. How about you, Maggie? Do you collect anything?

MAGGIE: Seashells. I have boxes and boxes of seashells. I was a dreamy kid who listened to the wind whistling through a conch shell and imagined I was one of Blackbeard’s pirates. I’d use flat scallop shells as play money, and I’d use thick clam shells as dishes when I played house with my dolls. I have those glass lamps that you fill with shells – two of them – and they don’t begin to hold all my seashells. I love the different textures of seashells and I love the smell of the sea.

CAROL ANN: It's easy to see why your books are so successful. You have a talent for "showing" by making great use of the senses. Let's pretend that you can go back in time and visit any period, any place. What would you choose?

MAGGIE: Are you nuts? I need flush toilets, antibiotics, shopping malls, dentists, hair color, and cell phones. Why the heck would I leave all that behind? I’d much rather read about history and imagine how it would be. I would have died in the first ten minutes on the Oregon Trail.

**audience roars with laughter**

CAROL ANN: I guess I deserved that! Okay, here's an easier question. What does the word romance mean to you?

MAGGIE: It’s the greatest adventure of all. It’s two people who act on their mutual attraction. It’s sixth grade clumsiness and eyes meeting across the room. It’s tingling skin and butterfly bellies. It’s push and pull until you are both truly caught in a web of passion. It’s the best magic of all.

CAROL ANN: Ah, magic. I love it. While we're talking about romantic things, who is the one person you can always depend on to make you smile?

MAGGIE: My husband of thirty years makes me smile. My best-ever cheerleader to follow my writing dream, my Mom, makes me smile. My kids, my sisters, my two best friends since childhood. My writing buds. I need all of them for smiles.

CAROL ANN: You are such a delight, Maggie. You seem to be handling "authordom" with great finesse. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

MAGGIE: Don’t assume that you know anything. Keep taking writing courses and learning how to do it better. If you let pride stand in your way, you’ll be stuck at the bottom of the heap forever. You can learn to write. It isn’t an inherited trait. But it takes practice and discipline to ride out the good times along with the bad. Build a strong support network. You’ll need help and advice along the way. And the best advice of all – treat others the way you’d like to be treated.

**The band plays a quick drum roll, signifying time is running out.**

CAROL ANN: Well, this interview has certainly gone fast. It seem like the OSU Marching Band just left the stage, and now it's time for us to do the same. Real quick, before we leave, do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword?

MAGGIE: The pen (actually the computer) gets my vote, and it has a worldwide reach. With words, people are entertained, enlightened, and enriched. That’s my goal, to entertain, to lighten someone’s day, to create a world where everything turns out happily-ever-after. Did I mention that I’m an optimist?

And then there’s the flip side to pens and swords, as my husband reminded me: “If a person’s in the pen, he isn’t allowed to have a sword.” See? He does make me smile!

**Audience applauds and laughs**

CAROL ANN: And he made the audience smile, too. Maggie, thank you again for spending this time with me.

MAGGIE: Thank you for having me stop in, Carol Ann. I’ve greatly enjoyed sharing my thoughts and experiences with you. Thank you for being my friend this year, and for sharing your time with so many fabulous authors through your blog interviews. I’m so glad to know you for the loving, giving person you are. I wish you well with your books, hoping that all of your dreams come true.

**Carol Ann and Maggie hug. They wave to the audience and walk off stage while the band plays the Blog Studio theme song (reminiscent of the theme for Cheers)

**the camera rolls to the credits**

CREDITS:

Maggie's Website: www.maggietoussaint.com

Maggie's My Space: http://www.myspace.com/maggietoussaint

The Wild Rose Press: www.thewildrosepress.com

4 comments:

Maggie Toussaint said...

This is the best interview ever!!!!!

Thanks Carol Ann!

Love Ya, Maggie

Michelle Monkou said...

Maggie

Great interview. Wishing you lots of luck and looking forward to buying my copy.

Michelle Monkou

Sheryl said...

Wooo-hooo! Great interview, Carol ann, Maggie. Maggie, could pause in your busy agenda to compose a Writers' Agenda we could all use :)
GOOD LUCK with No Second Chance!

Donna Michaels said...

Another super interview, Carol Ann!

Great job, Maggie! I have boxes, bags and bowls of seashells, too!