Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Getting to know author Margaret Daley

Margaret Daley is an award winning, multi-published author in the romance genre. One of her romantic suspense books, Hearts on the Line, won the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Book of the Year Contest. Recently she has won the Golden Quill Contest, FHL’s Inspirational Readers’ Choice Contest, Winter Rose Contest, and the Barclay Gold Contest. She wrote for various secular publishers before the Lord led her to the Christian romance market. She currently writes inspirational romance and romantic suspense books for the Steeple Hill Love Inspired lines. She has sold sixty books to date.

What would you do with your free time if you weren’t writing?
Travel and read for pure enjoyment—I don’t get to do that a lot.

Do you put yourself into your books/characters?
There are always bits and pieces of me and my experiences in each book.

What message do you hope readers gain from your novel?
That there is hope through our faith in the Lord.

What adds spice to your life?
My deep friendship with my husband, my (our) love of traveling and my love of good books have added to my marriage. I have been to a lot of places in the world and have loved each one. I have learned so much about people and history firsthand. My husband and I have had quite a few adventures from scuba diving to trudging to a rain forest in 100% humidity to climbing to the top of a Mayan temple and looking out at the turquoise sea.

What brings you inspiration?
Mostly the Lord and my husband bring inspiration to me, but also a good story, a certain song, a beautiful sunset, and an intriguing picture—all may bring inspiration.

Have you actually done all these adventurous things your characters do in the Heart of Amazon series: Heart of the Amazon, Buried Secrets and Forsaken Canyon?
I wouldn’t be alive if I had, but I have been in several jungles, caves and the barren, harsh terrain of the Southwest. I’ve hiked in canyons and the mountains. I’m trudged through a hot, humid rain forest. But best of all I have a vivid imagination! I live through my characters.

What was your most daring vacation/recreation?
Rio de Janeiro where I couldn’t speak the language, nearly drowned in the Atlantic Ocean and swam in shark infested waters (I wondered why the man was in the crow’s nest with a rifle pointed at the ocean—didn’t ask about it until I’d swam back from the island).
Then there was the time I came up out of the tube in London into the middle of a riot that was about to explode into violence. Now that was scary.

How are you able to integrate the suspense element into your inspirational stories?
It’s a natural. I love to read romantic suspense and adventures. I love a good puzzle. What better place to have faith than in a story where you’re running for your life (or something similar). We tend to turn to our faith when our life gets tough.

Why do you write for Steeple Hill?
What I like about Steeple Hill is that I have been able to write inspirational romances and romantic suspense novels. I like changing back and forth between the two types of books. Yes, I have written longer books. I try never to say never. We don’t know what the future holds.

Why do you write in different genres?
I love to read a variety of different types of books hence the interest in writing different types. I’m really enjoying writing both the inspirational romance and romantic suspense. Suspense is my favorite genre to read, but I don’t want to write suspense books only. They can be very intense.

So, tell us a little about your latest release.
What Sarah Saw is my Love Inspired Suspense for January 2009.
A mother is missing…The only witness when a single mother mysteriously vanishes is her three-year-old daughter. FBI agent Sam Pierce needs to question little Sarah. Yet child psychologist Jocelyn Gold will barely let him near the girl. Or herself. The tragic conclusion to a kidnapping case broke Sam and Jocelyn apart the year before, and their hearts still haven’t healed. But for the child’s sake—and the mother’s—they must join forces to uncover just what Sarah saw.

How did you come up with this story?
This is the first in a Love Inspired Suspense continuity series called Without a Trace. Robin Caroll, Shirlee McCoy, Patricia Davids, Roxanne Rustand and Terri Reed are the other authors. We were given a loose overall picture of our books, and we had to fill in the meat of the story and develop our characters. Each book has a suspense thread that is solved within the book, but there is an overall suspense thread that runs through all six books. My characters will appear in the other books and the other hero and heroines appeared in What Sarah Saw.

Tell us a little about your main character and how you developed him/her.
Since it is a continuity, I had to fit her character within the framework of the whole continuity series.

Jocelyn Gold has a doctorate in psychology and specialized in treating children. Besides having been a consultant for the police and FBI in New Orleans, she had a successful practice, but nine months before the book opens, she decided to leave the city and move to a small town that has a quieter life and open her practice up to all ages, instead of just counseling children.

The incident that led to this decision was a kidnapping gone wrong. Jocelyn was involved in the case from almost the beginning. Several children were witnesses to the kidnapping, and she was instrumental in coming up with some evidences to help the FBI with the case. But it wasn’t enough. The child was found dead. Jocelyn can’t seem to get the child’s face out of her thoughts. She lived with the photo and case for weeks before he was found in the swamp near New Orleans.

She had a prior relationship with the hero. They worked together on a few cases that came up in Louisiana where children went missing. Eventually they started dating and did for four months. Jocelyn knew it probably wasn’t wise to go out with someone she worked with, but she couldn’t resist Sam. His charm and integrity drew her to him.

But both were too focused on their careers to make the relationship work. Then the little boy’s kidnapping happened and instead of bringing them closer, it drove a wedge between them. Sam blamed himself for not being able to find the boy while Jocelyn kept going over what she could have done more to bring the child home. They had both been involved with kidnappings that had gone bad, but this five-year-old child touched them more than the others (for Sam, the boy looked like his younger brother; for Jocelyn, it was the timing in her life).

If people want to read a prequel to What Sarah Saw, they can go here to download the novella I wrote for Steeple Hill called When Night Falls. It will give you insight into Sam and Jocelyn and a mystery to solve.