Saturday, May 1, 2010

In the Author Spotlight: Margaret Tanner

Cate: I’m so happy to have Margaret Tanner back in the Author Spotlight. Margaret, Please tell us something about you and your books.
Margaret: I am an author who loves delving into the pages of history as I carry out research for my historical romance novels. I take pride in being historically correct. No history book is too old or tattered for me to trawl through. I have tramped through cemeteries, spent hours in museums. I visited an old jail once and went into the little stone cell, and although it was a hot day, inside the cell it was bone chillingly cold. I wanted to know what it was like to be incarcerated in such a place, as the heroine in one of my novels, was thrown in jail for a crime she did not commit, and yet another heroine was sent to Australia as a convict.
I am a member of the Romance Writers of Australia, the Melbourne Romance Writers Group (MRWG) and EPIC.
I live in Australia and I am married and have three grown up sons and a gorgeous little grand-daughter.

Cate: Are there any new authors who have grasped your attention?
Margaret: I love reading Ginger Simpson's books, she is a great writer and multi-published now. I also read your novels, Cate, and they are incredibly exciting and well written.

Cate: Thanks so much for your kind words! It's an honor, coming from such a well-respected author as you.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Margaret: Yes. Follow your dream of publication and never give up and you will eventually succeed.

Cate: Wonderful advice. What’s your latest book about?
Margaret: My latest release from TWRP is called “Wild Oats” which is the prequel to The Trouble with Playboys.” Both published in the Vintage section of TWRP.

Cate: What a great idea, writing a prequel! I love that they're interconnected. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Margaret: Anywhere and everywhere. The Trouble With Playboys was inspired by my late father’s war time experiences in Malaya and Singapore. He was engaged to my mother at the time, and wrote many letters to her, and she kept all of these, so I had access to first-hand information so to speak. Shattered Dreams (TWRP), Wild Oats (TWRP) and Devil’s Ridge (WCP), which are set against a background of the 1st World War were also inspired by the deeds of my forebears. Hard to reconcile the frail old men, who told us kids stories of their time in France in 1916, to brave young soldiers who sailed halfway across the world to fight for England. I also had access to a diary written by one of them. I also used the local library extensively. Also, most importantly, I had the honour of visiting the battlefields in France and Belgium. A truly poignant experience. I couldn’t believe I was walking on the ground that these old men (old when I was a child, and long deceased by the time I made it to France), had fought over more than 90 years ago.

Cate: What promotional ideas can you give to other beginning authors?
Margaret: My flippant answer to this question, and I use it quite often is – I’d do anything, that isn’t criminal. I’d strip if I had to, (anyone who knows me, knows this is a barefaced lie). With a figure like mine, fat legs, big bum and hips and saggy boobs, I mean come on, I’d frightened any potential buyers away.
The real answer is – do whatever, and however much, you are comfortable with.

Cate: What advice would you give to somebody trying to get a literary agent?
Margaret: The same as with getting a publisher, check out their credentials, make sure they handle your type of writing, then send them your best manuscript, polished to within an inch of its life, and keep your fingers crossed.

Cate: Is there anything you would like to say to other aspiring writers?
Margaret: Yes, follow your dream. Work hard at it and never give up until you reach your goal.

Cate: Excellent advice! As a child what did you want to do when you grew up?
Margaret: An author.

Cate: As a reader, I’m so glad you followed your dream!
As a writer and published author how do you feel about e-publishing?
Margaret: Well, being an e-pub author, I really believe it is the way of the future. And I think it is going to grow. I do worry that the smaller publishers who started this phenomenon might get pushed aside, now that the big publishers, who ridiculed e-books in the beginning, are starting to jump on the bandwagon and have their books electronically published as well.

Cate: Please give us a list of all of your books currently available.
Devils Ridge – Whiskey Creek Press
Savage Utopia – Whiskey Creek Press
Stolen Birthright – Whiskey Creek Press
Cardinal Sin – The Wild Rose Press
Holly And The Millionaire – The Wild Rose Press
Shattered Dreams – The Wild Rose Press
The Trouble With Playboys – The Wild Rose Press
Wild Oats – The Wild Rose Press
Frontier Wife – July release from The Wild Rose Press
Reluctant Father – September release from The Wild Rose Press

Cate: Wow, what an incredible lineup. How long does it take you to do research on the books you write?
Margaret: A few weeks. Depends on which era I am writing about.

Cate: How do you give credit to any research you do?
Margaret: I don’t, because I only use the information as a general background and to check historical dates, so it isn’t necessary, my stories are all romances, which is the major part of the book, so the historical research I do is mainly for me to get a feel for the era.

Cate: What inspired you to become a writer?
Margaret: I read many stories as a child from two Australian authors, Ethel Turner and Mary Grant Bruce and I wanted to write the same kind of stories as they did. Their stories weren’t particularly romantic, but they were set in the Australian bush and they based their stories on things that had happened to them in the younger days – 1880’s onwards. I was hooked.

Cate: How did you go about getting published?
Margaret: Now that was hard. It took me many years, heaps of rejections and buckets of tears, I thought I wanted to write for Harlequin Mills & Boon, but after a time, I realized that they didn’t publish the kind of books I wrote. I tried some of the large publishers, who didn’t want me boo hoo, then I started researching the small press/e-pubs who published the kind of stories I wrote, and after that it didn’t take long for me to get an acceptance.

Cate: What stories do you like to write about?
Margaret: All my novels, except for Holly And The Millionaire, are historical. The main part of my stories are always set in Australia. We have a dark and bloody history, having been founded as a penal colony for English convicts. We overcame the convict stain when free settlers started to pour in, and these people tamed the savage wilderness, gold was discovered and the country prospered. This is what I like to write about, ordinary people, doing extra-ordinary things and in the process finding their soul-mate.

Cate: Where can readers find you on the web?
Margaret: My website:
The Wild Rose Press –
Whiskey Creek Press –

Cate: Thanks again for being my guest, Margaret! Best of luck with Wild Oats.


Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Cate,
Thanks for inviting me to your blog. It was a pleasure visiting you.

Cate Masters said...

Hello Margaret! Hope all's well with you in the land of Oz. :) I love reading about Australia and its history, and you make it come alive!

Linda Swift said...

Good morning, Margaret and Cate. What a wonderful interview. And you are an inspiration to all writers with your success story, Margaret. You make it clear that being published requires hard work as well as talent and and desire to see your stories in print. I wish you continued success with your books which are a joy to read. Linda

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Linda,
Thank you so much for dropping by, praise from a writer of your calibre is praise indeed.

Cheryl Wright said...

Great interview, Margaret!

I have read most of Margaret's books, and have Wild Oats sitting on the cupboard next to my bed in my TBR pile.

As a fellow Melbourne Romance Writers Guild (MRWG) member, I know how pedantic Margaret is about research and authenticity.

Anyone who loves historical romance is sure to enjoy Margaret's books.

Victoria Roder said...

Hi Margaret,
Your history and research sounds fascinating. Congratulations on all you have accomplished.

Kathleen said...

Great interview Margaret and Cate! I'm in awe of all the research you do, Margaret. Can imagine that cold jail cell. I once sat in the oldest jail in St. Augustine, Florida and experienced that same chill. Congratulations on your new novel. I love the vintage line.

P.L. Parker said...

Good morning. Really enjoyed the blog. Have a definite interest in Australian history, one of my favorite unknown movies was about the convicts sent to Australia and their trials and tribulations. Interesting stuff and good insight.

Debra St. John said...

Hi Margaret and Cate,

Great interview, ladies. It's always nice to know what the super-talented Margaret Tanner is up to these days!

Stephanie Burkhart said...

Cate and Margaret, what a great interview! Margaret, I love early 20th history. I think it's great you were able to base a book off your father's war experiences. And I LOVE the cover for The Trouble with Playboys. It really captures a fantastic mood.

Good luck with sales!

Susan Macatee said...

Great interview, Margaret and Cate!
Best of luck with all your books, Margaret!

I have to agree with your about e-publishing. It's only because The Wild Rose Press accepted such diverse genres that I was able to be published at all. I hope those big NY publishers, who are now jumping on the e-book bandwagon, don't push publishers like TWRP out.

Maeve Greyson said...

Wonderful interview! Best of luck to you, Margaret. :)

Gail Symmonds said...

Lovely interview, Margaret & Cate. Congrats again on all those books, Margaret.

Gail :)

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Cheryl and Gail,
Thank you both for dropping by and for your lovely comments, I appreciate it.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Victoria,
Thank you for dropping by I appreciate it.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Steph,
Thank you for dropping by, I appreciate you taking the time.


Margaret Tanner said...

Kathleen, Patsy, Debra and Susan.
Thank you lovely ladies for dropping by. The support that you TWRP ladies always give your fellow authors is wonderful.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Maeve,
Thank you for dropping by I appreciate it.
Best wishes

Unknown said...

I follow Cate's blog because she always has interesting guests, and today she had one of my favorite authors. I think Margaret and I are in a mutual admiration society, but I can't express how wonderful it is to read that someone you admire so much enjoys my work. Thank you Margaret for making my day. It's rainy and dreary out here in TN, but you brought out the sunshine. :)

Interesting interview. Cate did a great job of providing stimulating questions, didn't she?

Hugz to you both.

Ebony McKenna. said...

Hi Margaret,
I'm a huge fan of following dreams and not giving up too.

Great interview, thanks Margaret and Cate.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Ginger,

Thank you for dropping by, I really appreciate it. You always say the nicest things Ginger, I am proud to have a talented writer like you for a friend.



Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Ebony,
Thank you for dropping by and leaving a message, I really appreciate it.


K.M. Daughters said...

Hi Margaret and Cate. So enjoyed your interview. Much success and blessings.

Kristabel Reed said...

I love reading historicals, they are so rich in setting. You always know what era you're reading because of the research the author does. Margaret, your stories sound wonderfully detailed. I'll have to check them out.

Margaret Tanner said...

K.M. Daughters,
Thank you so much for dropping by, I really appreciate it.


Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Kristabel
Thank you for dropping by. I always find history inspirational, I guess that is why I like reading and writing about it.


Cheryl Pierson said...

Hi Margaret,

I'm popping in late to say congratulations on your marvelous success--wow, two releases this year with TWRP!!! That's AWESOME, girl! I haven't had my internet for the last 5 days, or I'd have been here sooner--hope you get this. Your books are wonderful, and I can't wait to get these next 2. I'm writing a prequel too--for another ms. that is still unpubbed right now. That's kind of fun, isn't it?

Loved the interview--Cate asks some great questions, doesn't she? It was good to get to know more about your writing. You sound like me with the research.LOL


Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Cheryl,
Thanks for dropping by and for your nice comments. I appreciate it.