Hello Margaret, welcome to Rukia Publishing. Thank you for taking part in an author interview with Sarah Jane. Readers, if you enjoy this interview be sure to comment on one of our Facebook pages or on Sarah Jane's blog where we will be posting the competition details for your chance to WIN one of 5 copies of Margarets new release audiobook !!!
Welcome Margaret and thanks for chatting with me today.
Let's get started by sharing your writers biography:
"Margaret Eleanor Leigh is a writer without roots. Born and raised in apartheid South Africa, she’s lived in Wales, New Zealand, England, Greece and Scotland. Now she’s back in Wales, the land of her fathers. Her working past is just as colourful: she’s been a journalist, a bureaucrat, a university tutor, a bookseller, and a proof-reader.
This unsettled and chaotic life has its drawbacks. The only place she can honestly call home is the seat in front of her computer. But it also has its advantages: giving her a rich seam of experiences to mine—an invaluable resource for any writer."
Margaret, if you could share one thing about yourself that you would like readers to know what would it be?
Hi Sarah Jane, thanks so much for having me! To answer the question, writing has been my life’s calling since the age of six. There’s a quote from Isaac Asimov on my Twitter profile that says it all: “If I didn’t write, I would die.” It sounds a bit dramatic, but it’s true.
What genre of books do you enjoy reading and what are you currently reading?
I love a good travel memoir, preferably one that’s generously laced with humour. Currently, I’m reading Narrow Dog to Carcassonne by Terry Darlington – the story of a narrowboat journey through France complete with a narrow dog (a whippet).
Why did you choose it or what was the hook that attracted you to it?
It’s very funny and beautifully written. The author had me on page one.
Now let's talk about your books and your writing. How long have you been a writer/author?
Since I was six…
Do you have any formal writing training?
I trained as a journalist back in the mists of time, and at various points in my life I’ve made a living from writing – not books, but articles, abstracts, and newsletters, that sort of thing.
What genre(s) do you write?
Here’s where I’m a little different. Recently someone called me a “writerly heptathlete” because I’m so prolific and write in so many different genres. Since that’s the only kind of athlete I’m ever likely to be I’m embracing the tag. To date I’ve written crime fiction, a travel memoir, children’s books and most recently, a romance. And I’m not done yet – there’s plenty more variety to come.
Is there an author that you would love to be compared to?
For my crime fiction and romance I’d love to be compared to the wonderful Mary Stewart and for my travel writing, I can think of no higher compliment than being compared to someone like Tim Moore.
What is the biggest source of inspiration in your writing life?
Writing pours from me and it seems I don’t lack inspiration. Perhaps it’s my colourful and varied past that inspires me. Or perhaps it is something more spiritual than that –perhaps I am inspired simply because I am doing what I am supposed to be doing.
Is there one book or an author that has inspired you more than any other?
That would have to be my mother. She was an author too, and she encouraged me always to write. Shortly after she died she even appeared to me in a dream saying: “You must never stop writing!” It was very strange.
What would your ideal writing environment look like or consist of?
I’d love to move to France for a while, and garner the fresh experiences I need for a second travel memoir. Otherwise my writing needs are simple: a table, a computer, a stack of paper, a pen, some ink…
Do you have a review from any of your books that you would like to share. Please give the reason for choosing it.
My favourite review is for my travelogue The Wrong Shade of Yellow. I love this review.
"I want to escape, I need to escape, but it is always easy to defer the actual moment – there’s a drainpipe to fix, and the kids still need a bit of watching. And so we read-escape. I started reading Margaret Leigh’s THE WRONG SHADE OF YELLOW on a grey Monday morning in November. I had the makings of a cold at the time. Not ideal. I knew nothing of the author and nothing about the story, other than I liked the title and rather liked the splash of yellow on the cover. And I like bikes. And there’s a bike on the cover.
Here’s to serendipity, I thought. Here’s to escaping the known knowns in my life.
THE WRONG SHADE OF YELLOW is delightful reading journey about an actual journey at a mid-point in the author’s life journey. It’s the sort of journey many of us would love to make if only we.. The drainpipe, right? We are too busy, too settled, to dull to get off our comfy backsides to do it. The fact is probably a little less palatable to us, actually. We are probably too fearful to do it. We have too many possessions, too much to do, too much to lose. Too, too, too, too. Not Margaret Leigh. To be fair though, she has the right background for a cycle ride from London to Greece in search of a personal utopia. She’d already moved around a bit in her life – from three continents – and avoided the usual middle-class career rut, basically by not having a career. A doctorate in church doctrine tells us she was never cut out to skyrocket through the glass ceiling to prominence in some serious busy-ness. She is the sort of person who prefers to plough their own furrow, or, more aptly, peddle their own bike. We need such people. Their vague impracticability is a sort of repository of useful genes, in a world where the quest for efficiency kills individuality. Our hopes for a better future are kept alive by such people because they are not afraid to take a risk, to get out there on a totally silly jaunt and just do it – damn it!" To read the remainder of this review visit http://ow.ly/G25Jk
How important are reviews to you as an author?
Reviews are very important, but unfortunately I don’t have many as yet. This is in part because I foolishly published my many books over a very short space of time, and did not take the time to market each one individually. It is my hope that the earlier, overlooked works will start attracting attention (and reviews) in light of later ones.
Do you have a current work in progress, and if so can you tell us a little about it and when it is likely to be released?
I have several works in progress, as you might expect from the multi-genre writerly heptathlete! There’s a sequel to The Wrong Shade of Yellow in the melting pot, which I’m going to call The Wrong Shade of Green. It’s a humorous look at life in the South Wales valleys, where I now reluctantly find myself. I’m hoping to finish it by the spring. I also have an incomplete draft of a non-fiction work of art history/theology, but that one is a long way off yet. More immediately, I have a romance due for release on the 1st of February, for which I’ve created a tongue-in-cheek video trailer (link below.)
What are your thoughts on authors’ marketing methods and what do you find to be the most successful form of book promotion and marketing?
I find marketing a great trial and a great difficulty, and this is one of the reasons it is so good to become a Rukia author and a member of The Booktrap. I need all the help I can get, basically, because to be honest I’m rubbish at marketing. So thanks again, Sarah!
Do you have a blog? Where can we read it?
I have not one blog, but two. One I write in conjunction with D B Stephens and that is published on the website of The Booktrap. The other is my own, and that one I publish on Wordpress. (Links below).
Thank you Margaret for taking part :)
Thank you Sarah, for having me!
Author and book links:
Link to the new audiobook version of Frog Dog Summer on Amazon: http://ow.ly/G1AOh (Available also on ITunes.)
Link to The Wrong Shade of Yellow: http://ow.ly/FVTdf
Twitter handle: @MargaretLeigh8
See the new video trailer for my forthcoming romance, Dancing in Darkness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPBE6hvqPXU