I am so pleased to host Linda Bradley, debut author of Maggie’s Way, described by New York Times and USA Today best selling author Jane Porter as “a heart-warming story full of disarming honesty and beautiful drama.” In this post, Linda describes how writing Maggie’s Way gave her a fresh start after her battle with cancer.
And you thought you were busy?! Just read about all that was happening in Linda’s life when she was writing her debut!
When did you decide you wanted to write a book?
I always thought I’d publish children’s books, but when I started reading women’s fiction in healthy doses, I realized I wanted to write books for women about women. When Maggie and Chloe popped into my head, they stayed, and that’s when I found my voice. Maggie’s Way is my debut women’s fiction novel.
What inspired you to write this story?
I had been thinking about the story line, but it was filed in the back of my brain with a clutter of other ideas. After seven weeks of radiation treatment for breast cancer, I decided it was time to start fresh so with a new plan to keep myself organized, I connected with my characters, and started writing.
How long did it take you to complete?
I wrote Maggie’s Way in about three to four months. I had started it near the end of the summer then finished it with the NANO challenge.
Do you work on projects simultaneously?
This past year I did because I wanted to enter a short story contest and I had another idea for a women’s fiction book with magical elements, completely not related to the Montana Bound Series. That project gnawed at the edges of my mind until I just had to stop what I was doing and get it on paper.
What was the rest of your life like while you were writing the book?
Well, I was recuperating from cancer and I am happy to say, I have a clean bill of health. I was planning my wedding, teaching full time, working at a clothing store a few hours a week and raising two boys. My youngest was away at Michigan State and my oldest was at home working and going to school. It was crazy, but somehow the busy schedule forced me to buckle down and focus on getting the words on the page.
How do you fit writing in?
I plan ahead. I know what my schedule entails. I make a goal and try to stick to it. Let’s say, I don’t watch much television.
Who gave you feedback while writing this book?
No one, really. I just wrote it and then gave it to my mom, who reads everything I write. After that I gave it to my friend Pam, who is now my trusted beta reader. I will bounce ideas off people, anyone who will listen. If I jabber for a bit I can work out my roadblocks.
What kept you going?
I loved my characters. I also read the book, The 90 Day Novel. I knew it was my time and stayed focused.
How many submissions did you make?
That’s hard to say because I had queried agents and worked with editors on critiques for other projects. My Greater Detroit Chapter has a holiday dinner every year, and there are always prizes for published and unpublished authors. I pitched to Debby Gilbert from Soul Mate Publishing at one of our meetings and she requested the full manuscript. I can say that it took about ten years to be published.
What happened in between hearing yes and getting the book in print?
More writing. I drafted the second book, Maggie’s Fork in the Road, and the third book, Maggie’s Montana for the Montana Bound Series.
What would you change if you could?
I’m not sure I’d change anything because I’m one to believe that things happen for a reason. I kept on writing, doing research on marketing, and focused on edits to make my next piece even stronger.
“Sometimes you have to lose your way to find yourself.” –L. Bradley
Middle-aged Maggie Abernathy just wants to recuperate from cancer during the solitude of summer vacation after a tiresome year of teaching second grade. Maggie’s plans are foiled when precocious seven-year-old Chloe McIntyre moves in next door with her dad, John. Maggie’s life changes in a way she could never imagine when the pesky new neighbors steal her heart. With Maggie’s grown son away, her ex-husband in the shadows, her meddling mother’s unannounced visits, and Chloe McIntyre on her heels, somehow Maggie’s empty house becomes home again.
Linda Bradley’s inspiration comes from her favorite authors and life itself. Her women’s fiction highlights characters that peel away outer layers of life to discover the heart of their dreams with some unexpected twists and turns along the way. Her writing integrates humor found in everyday situations, as well as touching moments that make readers connect with her characters. Maggie’s Way is her debut novel, in her Montana Bound Series. She is currently working on Maggie’s Fork in the Road and Maggie’s Montana. Linda has an Associates Degree in Interior Design and a Master’s Degree in Reading and Language Arts with undergraduate work in Elementary Education and Fine Arts. She wrote and illustrated a children’s book titled The Hunter for her Master’s Degree. Linda is a member of RWA, as well as the Greater Detroit Chapter of RWA. You can follow her on Twitter @LBradleyAuthor, Facebook and LindaBradleyAuthor.com. Linda has two grown sons, lives with her husband, and rescue dog in Royal Oak, Michigan.