As part of her Deceitful Truths Blog Tour, I have the opportunity to interview Maggie Thom. I don’t know if it’s a secret or not, but I love her. I have been a fan of Maggie’s from almost the beginning of her published career. She’s a really sweet lady and her books are suspenseful with small elements of romance. I hope you enjoy the interview.
It's been a little over a year since you've became a published author. In that time, you have written and released three books. What is something you wished you would have known a year ago?
Tough question. Like anything you do, you wish you had known the whole process that you now know from the beginning. It would have saved a lot of time. (Smiles) I think that what surprised me was in writing Deceitful Truths, sequel to Captured Lies, how different it was to write than any other book I had written. It was a lot more work and there was a lot more to keep track of, so if I'd known that a year ago I might have gone about it a bit differently. Having said that, I'd never ever thought of writing a series but I am thrilled with where the book went.
Captured Lies and Deceitful Truths are connected. How so?
Deceitful Truths is the sequel to Captured Lies. I am calling it the Caspian Wine Series. This is a whole new story though. It's Tarin's journey to discovering who has stolen a week of her life and who just might want to steal her son. It is really a stand-alone story but there is definitely a strong connection to Captured Lies. There are a number of characters that carry over from Captured Lies into Deceitful Truths. I can tell you that you will discover some new things about each of the characters and see where their journey has taken them.
When did you know that you wanted to turn Captured Lies into a series?
It was after my beta team read Captured Lies that they said they loved the characters and wanted them to continue on, could I please write another story. So, I changed up the ending a bit so that it would lead nicely into a sequel. I made sure that just about all of the loose ends were tied up with just one that left you wondering. It lead nicely into setting up the scene for book two and will definitely keep you guessing until the end, who the bad guy really is. I can't share any specifics as it would give too much away.
Deceitful Truths is full of tangled webs. At one point I almost started writing on a whiteboard to keep track of things. How do you come up with your plotting? Do you have a whiteboard with flowcharts on it?
I think if you saw my notes for Deceitful Truths, you might wonder how I made any sense of it. (smiles) I do have a lot of notes, some are on my computer and some are on sheets of paper. I have biographies on each of the characters - what they look like, where they live, what kind of person they are, what their home life is like, what their childhood was like, who their family is, what work they do, why they're at where they're at in life, etc. I try to be pretty thorough so I have a really clear idea who my characters are and what makes them tick. As for the plotting for Deceitful Truths, I got an idea for a scene, so I jotted that down and wrote as much as I could around it. Since it is the sequel to Captured Lies, I had to pull out my notes from Captured Lies so that I could ensure that the characters and setting that carried over, were consistent. I think some of the plotting came once I got a good idea who the main character was. Once I knew Tarin, her story just started to unfold. With the plot I try to pull something that is relevant in the news and is a social concern. Rohypnol is a big problem in today's society. Tarin has lost a week of her life but she doesn't know who's behind it or why.
When you're writing, do you generally have an idea of where you want the story to go or do you just fly by the seat of your pants?
Plotting, for me, really has several layers to it. The truth is that it really varies and there is truly a mix of both of these - plotting and flying by the seat of my pants - at least in the initial writing phase. I usually get the idea for a book through an idea for a scene, which I write down and then I will continue to write on that until nothing else comes to me. Sometimes it will be more that goes with that scene and other times I'll get more ideas for the story. I'll then step back from what I've written and I'll take some time away from it. I play a lot with ideas in my head to see where it needs to go. As scenes or ideas come to me I write them down. Then when I think I have it clear where I want to go with it, I'll write out the plot points and as much as I can around that.
For me plotting is a combination of having some ideas, doing some writing around those ideas to see where it goes and then doing some more plotting. With Deceitful Truths, once I was finished the story, then I went back and really looked at it - what did I like, what was too much, what was missing, etc. I then rewrote the plot and then rewrote some of the story. Each book has a little bit different process but it definitely involves a combination of plotting and writing. With every book I write though I always go through several times to ensure the plot is where it needs to be and that all loose ends are tied up. Plotting is something that I constantly do throughout writing the story, when editing the story and when I have the draft done - whether the first one or the tenth one.
Were you surprised by where the story went?
Don't tell anyone but yes. I had never written a sequel before so this was a whole new venture for me and one that I have a whole new respect for those who do it. There is a lot to keep track of and a lot to keep in mind when writing because you have characters and scenes that carry over from the previous book(s). I had to keep reminding myself that Deceitful Truths was Tarin's story and keep bringing it back to that. The characters I brought over from Captured Lies, were really taking over the story. I had to rein them in. I cut a lot from the story and did a lot of rewrites so that this was standalone, was about Tarin but had enough carry over from Captured Lies so that you'd know what happened to some of the characters. I am really happy with where this story ended up - Tarin goes through quite a lot to find the truth but I think it's an interesting and compelling journey.
Are you always thinking of book ideas/scenes or do you give yourself a break and just relax a little?
I do take breaks but often I can be on one of my 'breaks' and sometimes that's when the best ideas come to me. I often play around with scenes just to see if they'll go anywhere. I do make sure I have a fair amount of down time and when I have a book or two that I'm writing I try to put a lid on new ideas not related to the plots I'm currently writing or it gets too distracting and does wonders for the procrastination bug. (smiles)
If you could have lunch or dinner with one of your characters who would it be and why?
I think I'd like to take the women (I know you asked for one but I'm only suggesting one from each book (smiles)) - Bailey (Captured Lies), Sam (Tainted Waters) and Tarin (Deceitful Truths) - and sit down for dinner with them. It would be interesting to see how they interact, how they'd get along. They are all head-strong, independent women but very different in personality. I'd also like to know how well I do know them.
Are you currently working on a book at the moment? If so, can you give me a little taste of it?
I actually have two books on the go - Deadly Ties and Split Seconds. I will give you a taste of Deadly Ties.
Excerpt from Deadly Ties:
“Mom?” She stepped through the door, slowly moving forward. She looked to her left and gasped. The living room was an absolute mess. The coffee table was overturned, the couch stabbed and ripped apart so that little bits of foam covered the room like confetti. Springs stuck out of the floral design sofa that had been so popular in the ‘70’s. There was so much chaos she wasn’t even sure what else had been done but it did make her wary. What really concerned her was where was her mom?
Did she do this? Is this her payback? Kyara didn’t want to believe her mom would do something like this but she knew she couldn’t rule it out. The reason she’d really come home could be the same reason her mom felt the need to act out. After all, today was a big day. The woman, who had so changed their lives, was now out and odds were she’d show up sooner or later. Not wanting to think about that or her just yet, Kyara forced herself to focus and to find her mother. Chances were that she was somewhere around since she rarely left the house.
Kyara turned her back to the living room and walked across the short hall into the kitchen. There was a faint sound but she wasn’t sure if it was the floor creaking under her feet or something else. The long narrow stretch that was the kitchen didn’t look like it had been touched by anyone in a long time. It was filthy but it wasn’t because someone had done any damage to it like the living room, it probably would have looked better if they had. It made her wonder what had happened to Daisy, the woman who cleaned the house and had worked for her mom for years. Obviously, she hadn’t been around in a while.
Some odd sounds filtered through her thoughts. She stopped to listen. A loud annoying buzz caught her attention. Her head immediately snapped around to look at the sink. Flies were like a thick, black, moving coat that blanketed the dirty dishes that covered the sink and counter. She took one more step and that’s when the awful smell hit her. She clapped her hand over her nose and mouth, to block out the stench of old, rotting food, while wondering why she hadn’t noticed it sooner.
“Mom?” She yelled. There was no answer. Not sure what to do or whether to make a big deal about it, she first swatted away some flies and opened the window over the sink. She then reached in the cupboard to look for some air-freshener. A can of lemon scent was tucked way in the back, she was sure it was old as her mother. Not caring, she quickly sprayed a thick coat of it, which was soon choking her and made her cough. It had a very strong lemon scent and seemed to be loaded with something toxic as several flies dropped dead immediately.
Disgusted and ready to puke, she had known coming home would be an issue but she hadn’t expected this. She set the can down and walked through the kitchen to where the dining room table was. She turned left and stopped for a split second before rushing forward. A woman was lying on the floor, half in the storage room.
“Mom? Mom?” She dropped to her knees.
She groaned and rolled over onto her back.
“Mom don’t move.”
The slurring of her words concerned her. “What happened?”
“Someone hit me. Not sure… had to be him. She’s coming.”
Kyara shook her head, she knew all about who was coming, that’s why she’d finally gone home. “What? Him who?”
Her mom’s eyelids fluttered and then closed.
“Mom? Mom?” This time there was no response. She pulled out her cell phone and called 911. They told her an ambulance and a policeman would be there within minutes. While she waited she checked her mom over. Her chest was still moving slightly so she wasn’t too worried about breathing but she wasn’t sure what her injuries were either. She said she’d been hit. Touching her tentatively, Kyara felt all around her head, there was no visible signs on her face and there was no blood but as she kept searching she found a fist-size lump just above her right ear. Someone had hit her with quite a whack. Starting with her mom’s shoulders, she methodically and carefully felt for further damage as she moved down her body. Her left wrist was swollen and might even be broken. Kyara assumed it might have happened if she’d put her hand to protect herself from a fall. Without her mom awake to tell her though, she had no idea who had done it nor why.
Thanks for checking out the interview. As I mentioned earlier, this interview is part of Maggie’s Deceitful Truths Blog Tour. There’s a chance to win a $15 Amazon/BN gift card and an ecopy of Captured Lies (Caspian Wine Series Book One). To enter the giveaway, simply head over to Deceitful Truths Spotlight and leave a comment. Comments on the interview post do NOT count as comments towards the giveaway.
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Captured Lies Review
Deceitful Truths Review
Award winning author, Maggie Thom, took the challenge and leapt off, leaving a full time, twenty year career in management, to write full time. After publishing her first suspense/thriller book Captured Lies, October 2012, she published her second novel, Tainted Waters, April, 2013. Tainted Waters went on to win 2013 Suspense and Thriller Book of the Year through Turning the Pages Magazine. She is excited to publish her third novel, Deceitful Truths, March 2014. An avid reader and writer her whole life, she decided to break the monotony of wishing to be an author by making it happen. She is an avid nature lover and likes nothing better than to take a book, hike to a remote spot by a river or waterfalls and read. Married to her best friend, she is learning that humor, love and patience help her navigate her way through her twins’ teen years. Her motto: Escape to read and Read to escape. "Maggie Thom writes a fast paced thriller laced with romance that keeps the reader interested and on edge!" InDtale Magazine
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