Saturday 6 February 2016

Q&A with Maxine Morrey, author of Winter's Fairytale

Hi, Maxine! Last year you became a Carina author. How does that feel?

Amazing! I’m totally thrilled! Being a writer is the only thing I’ve ever really wanted to do so being signed by Carina was incredible and unbelievably exciting.

Winter’s Fairytale won Carina’s #WriteChristmas competition. When did you find out and what was your reaction when you discovered you’d won?

Shock! I may even have asked Victoria (my now Editor) if she was sure! I was actually in hospital for the day of the decision and ended up speaking to her whilst on a good dose of pain medication so it was all just a bit surreal. I was really just hoping that I hadn’t hallucinated the whole thing!

Winning the competition was fantastic, and I’m so grateful to all of the editors at Carina for choosing ‘Winter’s Fairytale’ as the winner. I was just so, so happy, and incredibly excited! Unfortunately, this sent my blood pressure rocketing and causing alarm to the nursing staff - I ended up having to tell them the reason so that they’d agree to let me home!. I literally couldn’t stop smiling, and didn’t sleep a wink that night!

Do you think you’ll ever revisit the characters of Izzy and Rob in a future book?

I don’t think so, to be honest. I think their story is told. I did take a shine to one of the subsidiary characters though, so I’m keeping him tucked away as a possibility.

How did your readers’ response to Winter’s Fairytale compare to your expectations? 

Honestly. I didn’t really have any expectations. I had no real frame of reference. Although I’d had a self published book out previously, I’d never done much in the way of promotion – mostly because I didn’t understand how a lot of it all worked. But I have to say, I’ve been thrilled with how kind people have been about ‘Winter’s Fairytale’. Hearing someone say it had kept them up reading all night, or that someone was reading it for the second time already – it’s beyond anything I could have imagined and it makes my heart so happy to hear those sort of comments. It’s also very humbling. There have definitely been some happy dance moments! I really am incredibly grateful to everyone that has read and enjoyed the book.

Your second book with Carina is due to be published in the summer. Can you tell us anything about it?

I’m still working on it as we speak, so it’s all kind of under wraps at the moment. Sorry!

I loved all of the snowy festivities in Winter’s Fairytale but do you have a preference over writing books set in winter or summer?

No, not really. Conjuring up the snowy scenes is definitely fun and bit magical but hearing the wash of a warm sea in my head as I write the summer one isn’t so bad either.

Has your writing process changed a lot since you were signed by Carina?

A little. In 2015, I’d made a decision to make sure I wrote even more often than I had been doing. There were various competitions running which I wanted to enter so I was writing quite a lot during that year. However, since signing with Carina, I have more of a routine in that I try to make sure I write every day, apart from our weekend (which is usually in the week, due to my husband’s work). I try not to work on those days unless I have to, although I’ll read stuff for research and things, but generally it’s nice to keep those days separate. The process in itself hasn’t changed too much. It’s still a case of head down, scribble on.

How much reading do you get done personally? Who are some of your favourite authors?

I try and make sure I still get a decent amount of reading done. I think you have to as a writer. There’s a famous quote by Stephen King that says much the same thing, and I totally agree. It’s a fantastic way to learn too, apart from the escape it offers. I love a variety of different genres, as well as non fiction. My reading is very eclectic! I am a huge, huge fan of Jane Austen and re-read her books every so often. I have a lovely Everyman Library set of them which are just a joy to hold and read. I’m a big fan of Harlan Coben’s thrillers, and have been to a couple of talks by him so he’s on the list. I also love Janet Evanovich’s novels. They’re fun and sassy and you don’t have to concentrate too much on them, which sometimes is just what you want in a book.

If you were to co-write a book with another author, who would you love to write it with?

Oh wow! This is a hard one. I’m veering back to Harlan Coben because I think I’d just learn so much from the experience and because it seems he is quite like his character, Myron Bolitar, when it comes to humour – kind of sarky. I loved that in the books, so I think it would be educational, rewarding and a blast!

Could you name the most memorable novel you’ve read – the one that has stuck with you for the longest time – and why was that book so difficult to forget?

I’d probably have to say ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen. I first read this when I was about nine years old. I can still remember being curled up reading it now after my Mum gave me the copy. I think she wanted to get me something I wouldn’t be able to finish in five minutes flat – I had a habit of devouring books! I’m sure I didn’t understand all the nuances on that first read, but I loved Austen’s wit and humour and the vivid pictures of Regency life she created. I still have that copy, along with several others. It was the first ‘Classic’ I ever read and it began a love of Jane Austen, an enduring interest in the Regency and Georgian period, aswell as a love and appreciation for other classics, like Dickens and the Brontes. It was like a stepping stone in my reading development.

And lastly – if you could live the life of a book character for the day, who would you choose to be?

Another tricky one! I can’t decide! I’m still crushing a little bit on Rob, from ‘Winter’s Fairytale’ and Izzy does get to make beautiful dresses and wear incredible shoes so that’s a possibility! However, I do love a bit of adventure, and you can’t beat ‘lashings of ginger beer’, so perhaps one of the Famous Five is another option!


Winter's Fairytale is out now.

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