Tonight the spotlight is shining brightly on Maggie Thom. She took the challenge and leapt off, leaving a fulltime, twenty year career in management, to write full time. After her initial panic that she might need a straight jacket, she published her first book Captured Lies, October 2012. And now is excited to release her second novel, Tainted Waters, April, 2013. Her third book, Deceitful Truths (sequel to Captured Lies), available fall of 2013. An avid reader and writer her whole life, she decided to break the monotony of wishing to be an author by making it happen. Married toher 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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Book Titles include: Captured Lies, Tainted Waters, and Deceitful Truths (to be published December 2013)
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There were three more distinct gun shots. Someone was now shooting at the exit door. She punched the switch to open the garage door as she raced up the ramp. Racing out the back, she didn’t even stop to see if there was anyone around, running across the back alley and diving through the hole in the fence. Once through, she took only long enough to gulp in some much needed air. She pushed herself upright and ran for all she was worth, wishing more than once that she had her brother’s long legs and running ability. At the fourth house, she zipped alongside it, groaning as she saw their eight foot high fence. Not knowing if she was being followed, she knew she didn’t have time to waste. Running hard and fast, she leapt as she approached it, grabbing hold of the top edge. She scrabbled her way up, finally able to throw her leg over and pulled herself up. She jumped down.
Her head was so full of the sounds of her harsh breathing, the pounding of blood through her arteries and the muscles that were protesting their workout, that it took her a minute to recognize the new noise.
The hair on the back of her neck rose as she turned to stare in horror at the big German Shepherd across the backyard from her, his teeth flashing clearly in the waning light. He didn’t seem very happy to see her either. Not sure what to do as her and dogs had never really had a good relationship, she tentatively stepped sideways, keeping her back near the side fence, just in case.
Don’t look him in the eye. Don’t look him in the eye. He won’t engage with you then. He won’t see you as a threat.
Where that information came from she didn’t know but she kept repeating it over and over.
“It’s okay. I’m a friend. I’m a friend,” she said softly as she did a side step, slowly lifting her right foot and crossing it over her left and then sliding her left foot out to the side. The dog continued to growl eyeing her carefully almost as if waiting for a signal. Keeping the dog in her sights out of the corner of her eye, she glanced at her next hurdle. The next fence was just as high if not higher. She realized she’d need a good run at it and a whole lot of luck not only to get over it but to do so without being eaten alive.
“Now or never.” Spying an old bone, she ran to it, snatched it up as the solid mass of muscle started bounding across the lawn towards her. In a panic she tossed the dog treat hoping it would sail over its head, enticing him to chase it. It banged against the house and landed on the deck. He turned for barely a second before continuing to come at her full force with teeth bared, growling low in his throat.
Sprinting for all she was worth, she thrust upward off her left leg, grabbed the top of the fence just as her friend arrived. His hot breath scorched her ankle a second before his teeth sunk into the heel of her left runner. Besides the fact he was jerking hard, the weight of him was hauling her down. Pulling her down. Kicking madly, she twisted her body trying to pull herself up at the same time but she found she couldn’t dislodge him. He wouldn’t let go. Her fingers curled over the top of the board, the wood biting into her tender flesh. Her shoulders ached, feeling like the tendons were being ripped from the bone. She had to do something and fast. With her right foot she pushed back hard while swinging upward with her left. Her muscles screamed in pain as she was not only lifting herself but also the dog. It was too much. Her arms shook. Her body vibrated with adrenaline, fear and agony.
Tainted Waters, a suspense novel, was published in April 2013. My next book, Deceitful Truths, a suspense novel, will be published in early December 2013. When I asked her what drew her to the genre, she told me this: “I love to read fast paced, intriguing, suspenseful plots that have twists I don’t see coming, I am also interested in family dynamics, the lies, the secrets that they keep from each other. So that is what I write about. My stories explore what happens when secrets, lies and deceit are part of a family’s dynamics and what happens when they are discovered/exposed. And of course there is murder, mystery, suspense and romance.”
I asked her, “How do you get from start to finish?” She said, “Carefully. I am at the point where I get an idea, or a full-fledged scene and I just start writing. I try not to edit as I go as I’ve discovered that slows down the writing and stops the ideas from flowing. I do stop along the way and do some plotting, where does the story need to go, who are the characters, etc. But I’ve learned that no matter how much I try to plot out my story there are always situations and characters that show up that I hadn’t planned for but they really add to the suspense. Once I am done writing the first draft, I walk away for a while and then I come back and edit and rewrite, usually about 4 or 5 or more (just depends on the story) times before I send it to my beta team for feedback.”
Thom said that for her latest novel, Deceitful Truths, she had to do some research on Ontario, Canada, more specifically the Toronto area. She said, “I’ve been there but don’t know it well enough for what I needed. I also needed to learn about wineries, how they are run, the grapes used, etc. And I learned about computers, hacking, backtracking. Lots of fun stuff.”
When I inquired about a character from one of her books she said, “Deceitful Truths (being published in December, Tarin is the main character. She grew up in a rich house with a single father, who was very controlling. He trained her to be the perfect hostess, the perfect Barbie doll. She never knew who her mom was as she died shortly after she was born or at least that’s what she’s been told. Since she wasn’t a son, her father won’t help her up the ranks in his own business, she has had to do that herself. And she has worked hard to reach the Manager of PR in one of his hotels, when her life changes dramatically. She has lost a week of her life. She knows she was drugged but that’s all. She has some ideas as to what happened during that time but nothing concrete. When she returns to work, her boss, who has never liked having the boss’s daughter working for him, suspends her. Angry, she quits, only to discover that the results of that lost week are much more traumatic then she realized. She is now on her own trying to figure out how her life became such a mess and she is having to lean on strangers but will they help her or use her?”
Thom also explained that she feels that she balances her time well. She said, “I do all the marketing, social media, emails, etc. in the morning for a few hours and then it’s time to write. Evenings and weekends are family time.” She explained that she is inspired by several authors, namely Robert Ludlum, Sandra Brown, Stephen R. Donaldson, Virginia McKevitt, P.M. Terrell, David M. Brown, Dianne Gallagher and many more.
As a self published author, she explained her experienced with becoming published. Thom said, “The experience has been eye-opening, amazing and crazy but I wouldn’t change it. I love all that I’m learning and of course wished I’d known it all when I started out. I have met some amazing people who have helped me along the way and I strive to do the same with other writers and authors.”
Regarding other works, Thom focused on Deceitful Truths. She said this: “He created a legacy that no one could imagine…
Tarin has lost a week of her life. She doesn’t know what happened but not long after she returns to work she is suspended from her job. Mad, she quits. Confused and pregnant, she marries Stephen, only to be thrown into another whole nightmare. Desperate, she grabs her son and moves far, to get away from her abusive husband. Finding a job with Knight’s Associates as their assistant, half way across the country, helps her to feel safer and more secure. Thrilled at getting the job, not only because she will be able to help them solve cyber crimes but because she can use their resources to find her own answers, specifically, who tried to destroy her life.
Graham, who owns Knight’s Associates along with Guy, finds himself swamped. Guy is getting married so is a bit distracted, so Graham is left with training a new employee, figuring out who hacked their site as they are flooded with requests, discover who is sabotaging Guy’s step grandmother’s one hundred year old winery and figure out who is trying to stop Guy and Bailey’s wedding. Has Geoff returned from beyond the grave to finish what he’d started over thirty years before?
Tarin and Graham discover that although they don’t trust each other, they are forced to work together to solve several seemingly unrelated crimes that may lead to one disastrous conclusion. Can they figure it all out before Bailey’s nightmare plays out or an eighty year old woman pays with her life? Or before Tarin learns a truth that may seal her fate and be the one secret that will keep her and Graham apart as neither she nor Graham may be able to forgive or forget…”
Marketing strategies for Thom include newspaper interviews, radio interviews, virtual book tours, reviews from book blogs. She added, “I blog and host other authors on my website. I am on social media as well. I think all of them have helped, as to which is the most successful that is hard to say as I tend to do several at the same time.”
Thom said she has been writing most of her life, “since I was young, nine or so. I’ve always wanted to be a writer but it always felt beyond what I was capable of, I never be good enough… so I worked hard at it, took courses, joined a writer’s group, got over my fear and voila, I’m published.”
When asked about her one wish, she said, “I think that the marketing wouldn’t be so time consuming. I am thrilled with the responses I’ve been getting towards my books and I look forward to that continuing.” Charities that Thom supports include The Terry Fox Foundation, Heart and Stroke, The Red Cross, as well as local charities.
The hardest thing about being an author: “Writing the next novel. Well actually I should say the editing. It is stressful, messy, time consuming but definitely a thrill when done.” The best thing about being an author: “Writing the next novel. Getting to create new people, situations, to allow my mind to go where ever it would like to. To know that others are reading my novels and love what they are reading.” The most important thing she wants folks to know: “That I love what I do, I love writing and crafting stories that will take you on a journey that you don’t quite know where it’s going to take you.”
Thank you so much everyone for joining us and thank you Maggie for taking the time to answer a few questions.