Carina Author Week: Interview with Maxine Morrey
Welcome to Carina Author week a week full of Reviews, Guest Posts, Author Interviews and Giveaways, all about published authors by Carina UK. I’m delighted to welcome last guest, Maxine, Morrey, author of Winter’s Fairytale and The Christmas Project.
It’s a pleasure to be here, Isabell. Thanks so much for having me!
Hi Maxi, a warm welcome to Dreaming with Open Eyes! Thank you for participating in this interview, would you like to start by introducing yourself…?
Of course! I’m Maxi, I live on the south coast of England and when I’m not writing and/or doing something connected with writing, you can find me reading, walking, listening to podcasts and desperately trying to catch up with the housework.
How was your publishing route with Carina?
I got my initial contract with Carina (soon to be HQ Stories) when I won their 2015 ‘Write Christmas’ competition. I only found out about the competition quite late and sent in the submission with literally just a few minutes to spare before the midnight deadline. When my (now) editor called me to tell me I’d won, I couldn’t stop smiling. I was actually in hospital for the day and I was so excited that my blood pressure shot up! The nurses got worried and so I had to tell them what was going on so that they would actually let me home!
The Christmas Project is the second book you publish with Carina. What can you tell us about it?
This book, like ‘Winter’s Fairytale’ is also set in London. The heroine, Kate Stone, has a successful career as a Professional Organiser. With just weeks to go before Christmas, she takes on her best friend’s brother as a – very reluctant – client. Kate prefers everything – including her life – to be tidy. But the gorgeous Michael O’ Farrell isn’t like any man she’s ever met before, and it’s not long before things start to get messy…
How long did it take to write?
The main bulk was probably about two months if you put it together solidly, with quite long days, but I’d been working on the plan of it for a little while before that.
If you could write yourself into a romance book, what would be the title? Where’s it taking place and who’s your love interest?
Hmm, that’s a good one! Although I love my heels and dresses, I’m quite a tomboy when it comes to interests so I think it would have to be a bit of an adventure romance, something in the style of Indiana Jones. I also love that period too so that would suit me! I’m not too great with titles, I have to admit. I usually leave that to the publisher – but perhaps something life ‘A Love of Adventure’ (told you I wasn’t good at titles!). As to where it’s taking place? Somewhere exotic, obviously. I’ve a passion for India so perhaps somewhere like that, up in the hills of the Himalayas maybe. As for the adventurer hero – tall, broad, gorgeous in a masculine way – more Hugh Jackman than Eddie Redmayne. And, finally, he’d have a great sense of humour – that’s non negotiable!
What book character do you love so much, you wish you had written him or her yourself?
I’m a big fan of Janet Evanovich’s ‘Stephanie Plum’ series and have a bit of a crush on Stephanie’s long suffering, on again/off again cop boyfriend, Joe Morelli. I love the way she writes him so I’d probably have to say him. I do have a soft spot for Jane Eyre too – I love that she was considered a nobody but wouldn’t let anyone treat her as such, no matter their station in life. Writing a female character that strong, in that period, was incredibly unusual, and really quite brave. It remains one of my favourite books.
Did you always want to be a writer?
Yes. I’ve been scribbling away since I was little, but I never really believed in myself enough to keep going all the time, as I should have done. Being ‘a writer’ wasn’t something I saw ordinary people like me doing. I wish now that I had had that belief – but you can’t change the past so I just try and make sure I keep hold of it now – which isn’t always easy! But you do have to try.
What has been the most surprising thing you’ve learned during your publishing process?
I think one of the most pleasant surprises has been just how much support there is out there from other writers. I’d been part of Twitter for a while, and enjoying it, but with the competition win, there came a whole new level of contact and interaction. Writing can be quite solitary, especially if you don’t really know anyone in the ‘real world’ that does it, so finding others who understand exactly what you do, what your highs and lows are, and supporting each other through all of those has been amazing.
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
When I won the competition, I’d actually only written the first three chapters of the novel. The publishers wanted the whole thing ready in a month’s time. I was determined not to miss that deadline. It was, admittedly, a pretty crazy month with not a whole lot of housework being done but I’m proud that I got there, and didn’t let the publisher, or myself, down.
Lastly, what is next for you? Are you writing on something at the moment? Can we expect another book that you will publish with Carina?
I think, like most writers, I’m always working on ‘something’ – whether it’s on paper or just ideas rattling about in one’s brain. But to be honest, it’s been a year that’s held some challenges, so for the moment, I’m just concentrating on the final processes for ‘The Christmas Project’ and taking each day as it comes.
As years went by, she continued to write, but ‘normal’ work often got in the way. She had written articles on a variety of subjects, aswell as a book on Brighton for a Local History publisher. However, novels are what she loves writing the most. After self publishing her first novel when a contract fell through, thanks to the recession, she continued to look for opportunities.
In August 2015, she won Harper Collins/Carina UK’s ‘Write Christmas’ competition with her romantic comedy, ‘Winter’s Fairytale’. Maxine lives on the south coast of England, and when not wrangling with words, can be found tackling her To Be Read pile, sewing, listening to podcasts, and walking.