Author Interview : Margaret James

Welcome back to A Page of Love! Thank you all so much for the love, support and comments from my blogiversary celebrations.
Today we have the talented Margaret James who is the author of Magic Sometimes Happens, and she has kindly stopped by for a cuppa and a chat. So grab yourself a warm drink, maybe a cosy blanket (cookies are optional), and let's find out if Magic Sometimes Happens....


Hello Dawn
 Thank you so much for inviting me to be a guest on your lovely blog. I see I’ll be in great company there. You’ve interviewed so many of my favourite authors!

 Margaret, I loved reading Magic Sometimes Happens! Congratulations on a wonderful book. For anyone who hasn’t heard of you, would you mind introducing yourself?

I’m so pleased to hear you loved the book, Dawn. I had great fun writing it. I even enjoyed writing the sad parts because this meant I could put everything right for my hero and heroine at the end of the story.
I’m a British writer of contemporary and historical fiction. I started writing short stories when my children were toddlers and I sold a lot of stories to British magazines. This was back in the days when everything was done by post. My children soon learned that small white envelopes meant good news and treats for us all, whereas large brown envelopes meant bad news and Mummy would appreciate a cuddle.
My first published novel was a historical, and this was followed by a dozen more historicals, including my own favourite The Silver Locket. But a couple of years ago my wonderful publisher Choc Lit took a chance on a contemporary rom com, The Wedding Diary, which was very well reviewed. I found I couldn’t quite let the characters in The Wedding Diary go, so Rosie Denham (who has a minor part to play in The Wedding Diary) ended up getting a story of her own.


I find storylines fascinating, and the way it unfolded in Magic Sometimes Happens was no exception. Where did you get your inspiration from for the lead characters?
Rosie was already in my head because she featured in The Wedding Diary, but I didn’t know much about Rosie until I started planning her story. She’s very like her great-grandmother Rose, who is the heroine of The Silver Locket. They’re both courageous, clever, determined but very vulnerable, which I think is a great combination of qualities for a heroine. They are sometimes afraid to take risks, but they take these risks anyway. They both make lots of mistakes and have to live with what they’ve done. They’re both tall and slender and they both have wild, black, curling hair. They both hate their hair. But I’d love to have hair like that!
Patrick, my hero, is also vulnerable – much more so than Rosie – but he’s also willing to take risks and prepared to take the consequences if things don’t work out. At one point in the novel he makes a potentially catastrophic mistake and he has to do a massive climb-down/grovel, which must have cost him. But he does it anyway. Patrick is a composite of the qualities I admire most in men – he’s clever, imaginative, funny, kind and good-looking, but I hope in a believable way.

There were a few moments in there where I thought it was all over for them, especially when other characters put their foot in. How important do you think a "edge of seat" moment is in a novel?

I think tension is hugely important in feel-good romantic fiction. Yes, we’re all aware the hero and heroine will end up together – but how will this happen? We want to know, and this is what keeps us reading. I try to make sure I have plenty of OMG moments in all my fiction, hopefully prompting the reader to ask: how will you get out of that then, X?

In all seriousness, there was a real concern in the book where you brought in the fact that one of the characters makes a big error of judgement. It is admirable that you felt able to bring such a serious life event and health condition that so many people face each and every day into one of your novels. Can you tell us a little about that?

I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say that I know the health condition I mention in Magic Sometimes Happens is an everyday worry for many people and also for those who love them. Most of us hate to be different, especially when we are children, teenagers and young adults, and this hatred of being different means we can end up being very careless about our own well-being.

I know what it’s like to live with that constant feeling you are teetering on a precipice, not on your own account but on behalf of someone else. The character in my novel with the health problem does not get asthma, but when one of my own children was younger she was a chronic asthmatic. She knew she had to take care of herself, but she still seemed to rely on her father and me to make sure there were inhalers in strategic places all over the house! We never went anywhere without at least two of them, and I would be the one who panicked most if my daughter ever started wheezing or gasping for breath.

I love the moment when as a reader you come across the book title in the text. In fact in this case I smiled the biggest smile ever, I can’t explain why it always makes my moment in a book, it's like finding the Holy Grail. Haha, did you always plan on calling the book Magic Sometimes Happens, or were you inspired by what you wrote?

I was inspired by what my hero says when he finds something Rosie thought she had lost for good. I hadn’t thought of it – Patrick just said it, and suddenly I knew I had the title for the book. Its working title was The Road to Recovery, but I like the one with magic in it much better. What can be more magical than falling in love, not necessary with a wonderful man or a fantastic woman, but with a newborn baby, a new pet, or even a new vocation? It’s the best feeling in the world. You know you’ve come home.

I have to ask, do you believe that Magic Sometimes Happens? :)

Goodness, yes! It happens all the time. Quite often, it’s waiting to happen and all we have to do is arrange for the right set of circumstances to be in place.
A few years ago, my mother lost her engagement ring. She was so upset. My sister and I searched for it everywhere but failed to find it. But then a caller scratched the front door of Mum’s flat and I said I’d tidy it up, no problem. I got out the cardboard box of paint tins which Mum kept in the garden shed. There, at the bottom of the box, was – you’ve guessed it. But Mum couldn’t remember even being in the garden shed, let alone rummaging in the box of paint tins. Magic was waiting to happen.

It’s been great to talk to you, Dawn. Merry Christmas and all best wishes for everything in 2015.

Author Links:



Book blurb:
Passport to love

 London-based PR and promotions consultant Rosie Denham has just spent a year in Paris where she’s tried but failed to fall in love. She’s also made a big mistake and can’t forgive herself.

American IT professor Patrick Riley’s wife has left him for a Mr Wonderful with a cute British accent and a house with a real yard. So Patrick’s not exactly thrilled to meet another Brit who’s visiting Minnesota, even if she’s hot.

Pat and Rosie couldn’t be more different. She’s had a privileged English upbringing. He was raised in poverty in Missouri. Pat has two kids, a job that means the world to him and a wife who might decide she wants her husband back.

So when Pat and Rosie fall in love, the prospects don’t seem bright for them.
But magic sometimes happens – right?

1 comment

  1. Thank you for inviting me to be a guest in your blog, Dawn. May magic happen for you throughout 2015!