For those of you who may not be familiar with her or her work let me tell you a little about what she writes.
She writes some of the best Historical Romance books out there and I am not talking about cheesy romance novels with very little historical anything about them. These are amazing books with tons of real life facts and places and action. You completely feel like you have been transported back in time to a whole new (or rather old!) world.
She even has a few novellas as well that are outstanding.
Her latest one, Sweet Savage Charity is awesome! Just the right length for a quick trip into another time and place with a little bit of romance to boot.
I was lucky enough to be able to interview Ms. Lake and here are her responses.
Me: "What made you first decide to become a writer?"
Margaret: "It wasn’t really a decision. My son-in-law had just bought me a new computer and it had a really neat golf game on it which I played day and night. One night he said if he’d known all I was going to do was play games, he’d have bought me an Aari.
It was that night I woke up at about 3am with the idea in my head for Ariana’s Pride, my first novel. I immediately booted up the computer and started writing. It was all there; the title, the setting, the time period, even the characters."
Me: "How many books have you written and how many of them have you self published?"
Margaret: "Everything I’ve written is self-published. I’ve written and published three full-length novels and three novelettes which are also part of an anthology; A Walk In The Woods. Besides the three novelettes, there are short stories and a novella for seven stories in all."
Me: "I know you are going to hate this questions but, which one is your favorite?"
Margaret: "You know that’s like asking which of my children is my favorite. All I can say is that my favorite is always the one I’m currently working on. Then I start something new and that one becomes my favorite."
Me: "Who is your favorite character and are they based on anyone you know?"
Margaret: "I’ve only based one character on someone I know and that is my late husband. And I’ll never tell which one that is.
I actually have three favorite characters and those are the little girls in Listen to Your Heart. I love the interaction between them."
Me: "I am always curious who authors favorite authors are, you know what they like to read. Who is your favorite author and why?"
Margaret: "Susan Howatch is my favorite author. I started reading her excellent historical fiction but then she branched out into a series about the Church of England which is absolutely compelling. I love her stories and her characters, but most of all, I love the way she uses words."
Me: "What are you currently working on?"
Margaret: "I’m working on a series of novelettes about a female private investigator set in 1942."
Me: "I know you spend a lot of time doing research for your books. How many hours do you spend researching information for your books?"
Margaret: "That’s hard to quantify. I already had most of the information for the two novels set during the Wars of the Roses; Ariana’s Pride and Catherine and the Captain. That has long been a favorite era for me.
It was mostly a matter of double checking my facts for Ariana’s Pride since it only covers a period of two weeks. I had to create a timeline for Catherine and the Captain because it spans the entire reign of Richard III. I’m terrible with dates. I think the only date I actually remember is the Battle of Hastings (1066) when William, Duke of Normandy, conquered England.
Once I start on the actual writing, I research as I go. I used to write term papers the same way in college. I never read the books ahead of time. I just spread the books around me and wrote as I read."
Me: "And what made you choose the time periods that you have for your books?"
Margaret: "Reading historical fiction always sets me on the road to researching the background of what I’m reading. I did that long before computers and the Internet. My encyclopedias got a good workout.
One of my favorite historical fiction books is Katherine by Anya Seton; the story of John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynnford, his mistress. John of Gaunt founded the Lancastrian line and his older brother founded the Yorkist line; the two antagonists in the Wars of the Roses.
Ariana’s Pride came out of that and that led me to the story I’ve long wanted to write. I read The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey about a detective who investigates the death of the Young Princes in the Tower while recuperating from a broken leg. Of course I had to research Richard III after that which led me to the Ricardian Society. That book is Catherine and the Captain.
There will be one more book in this series, but in the meantime, I wanted to try a different time period. I have a family saga in mind starting before WW I, but I’m not quite ready for that yet. That led me to write Listen to Your Heart set just after WWI. Ricky Sides asked me if I would write something about Pilgrims and Indians. It was an interesting challenge and I came up with Sweet Savage Charity."
I am so excited to read more of your work Margaret and thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions!! I really appreciate it!!