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05.05.2013

Interview with English Writer Maggie Cobbett

I'm proud to introduce a "blog-hop" with the English writer Maggie Cobbett. I met Maggie a few years ago, like so many writing friends, at the Swanwick Writers' SummerSchool. She has recently published a collection of her crime stories "Anyone for Murder?" as an e-book. An entertaining collection that shows the range of the genre and the versatility of the writer.

You can find out more about Maggie on her website www.maggiecobbett.co.uk along with the answers to the questions she's asked me.
We're anxious to learn more about your motivations, Maggie. Why did you begin to write? Was there a specific event that spurred you on?

I’ve written for as long as I can remember. However, making the decision to leave teaching and work instead as a television ‘extra’ has given me a great deal more time for it.

What genre do you write?

I find it impossible to settle down to one genre, which may be a blessing or a curse. My short stories range from murder

mysteries – some of which can be found in my eBook "Anyone For Murder? And other Crime Stories" – to tales of romance, but I also write articles, reviews and the occasional poem and have a novel approaching completion.

Which do you find more challenging, the process of thinking up a story or the editing?

Thinking up a story is the hardest part. Once I settle down at my computer, the words flow very quickly and, as a former language teacher, I have a good eye for spelling, grammar and syntax. Compressing my ideas into the required number of words can be hard, though. Like most writers, I hate ‘murdering my darlings’.

Do you have a favourite among your stories and why?

My favourite story was written for a competition in "Writers’ News". The main character was to be a girl called Mary who hated washing up. I’d been very moved by news stories about African children trafficked into the UK and condemned to a life of drudgery, so my Mary finds herself working at the sink of a London brothel. It can be read as part of one of my eBook collections, "Had We But World Enough". 
How do you fit writing into your daily life?

I give it as much priority as I can, often to the detriment of household chores. Outside the home, I always have a notebook to hand and take every opportunity to scribble down ideas. The long periods waiting for ‘my’ scenes in the television studios or out on location are ideal for this.

Which of your senses is most likely to be involved when there’s a first spark of an idea?

Probably my ears, which act as my antennae. They switch to high alert at the sound of an interesting anecdote. 

Are there any writing related events that you go to?

Since 2006, when a sonnet on the subject of friendship won a free place for me at The Writers’ Summer School, Swanwick, I have attended every year. I have also been to literature festivals in Bath, Malton and Scarborough and the Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate.

Do you belong to any writing related organisations?

I am currently Chair of Ripon Writers’ Group, which is affiliated to NAWG, and contribute to several online writers’ forums.

How important is reader feedback to you?

Very important and I have been delighted with the positive response to my eBooks.

How can readers contact you?

Through my website www.maggiecobbett.co.uk

What’s your favourite book of all times?

That’s a very difficult question and, to be perfectly honest, my answer might change from day to day. However, a strong contender would certainly be "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott. The character of Jo March has inspired generations of girls to pick up their pens.

Thank you for giving us an insight into your writing life, Maggie. We'll keep a look-out for your newest releases and I'm looking forward to "a chat on the lawn" with you again in August.

 

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