I had the chance to interview Maggie Fechner, author of the novel Growing Up Gracie.
Kaylee: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Maggie: Here's me in a salted nut shell (salted because I'm dieting right now, and this is my daily protein snack of choice).
I'm a wife of 9 years to my best friend. I am a mother of 7 years to four kiddos who stress me to the tips of my toes and bring me joy to the depths of my heart. I am a portrait photographer. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I am a writer. And now, since November, I get to say I'm an author. Yay!
How long have you been writing?
I was just thinking, is it too cliche to answer, since I was a child? It's true. I've been writing since a very young age. However, that's what every author says, so I think it might be kind of neat to answer something like "I've never written a sentence in my life. Page one of my NYT Bestseller were the first words I've ever written." Yeah, right.
Seriously though, I've been doing it forever. Editor of the newspaper. BA in journalism. Worked as a reporter. Blah, blah, cliche, cliche. :)
Can you tell us a little about your writing process?
I'm not a huge outliner. I just write fast with no looking back and then have major revisions when I finally look over the jumbled mess.
I know you have four little kids, and I'm sure you have other obligations as well. When do you find time to write?
I write from 5-6:30 in the morning on Monday through Friday. Then if I can throughout the day I try to steal little snatches of time here and there for marketing and blog hopping and things like that. When a book is out with my first readers I take a break from writing and don't hop straight into the next project. Yes, it might be lazy, but let me tell you, sleeping in until 7 feels like heaven!
Tell us a little bit about your road to publication.
I wrote Growing Up Gracie fairly quickly when I was a new mother and had an infant who was a great sleeper. I remember my parents and husband taking me out to dinner one night to celebrate that I had finished writing my book. I then proceeded to put the manuscript away and not touch it for about five years. When I dragged it out again I read it and was appalled at the horrible writing I had once celebrated! I began editing and editing and editing and editing. I probably did three complete rewrites before giving the book to my first readers. Then I edited some more and more and more. Finally I submitted it and was informed on my 30th birthday that Cedar Fort wanted to offer me a contract.
What is your favorite book? Favorite genre?
I just read The Secret Garden for the first time and absolutely loved it. I also love Alicia: My Story. My favorite genre is not paranormal YA. Can you believe it? Is anyone's favorite genre not YA these days? No, seriously, my favorite books are set in America before 1960. If that genre has a name, I don't know it. I was informed to be a truly "historical" piece, it must be set before the 1900s, and so I guess it's not that... Hmmm. Let's just say this. I love olden-times books, but not super olden-times books. And I definitely don't need a happy ending to be satisfied with a book.
Do you have any advice for those trying to get published?
I don't quite feel "old" enough in this business to offer advice. But if there was anything I wish I'd known before I delved in, it would be this: your first, or second, or even third novel doesn't have to be the first one you have published. It's okay to write just for the sake of improving your craft.
I'm so grateful Growing Up Gracie is out there and is being received so well. This journey has been so full of excitement and amazing support. I feel that my knowledge has grown in leaps and bounds, and I've still only scratched the surface. I hope that my debut is a great jumping-off point to a long and rewarding life as a writer.
Thanks, Maggie. It was great getting to know more about you.
Go here to read my review of Growing Up Gracie.