About Margaret Walker:
I'm a Special Education teacher. I have a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Sydney, and diplomas in Education and Professional Communication. My short stories have been published in Australia and England.
I am a keen historian. I love research, and credit my lifelong fascination with the Balkans to my adoption and my birth mother from the former Yugoslavia. 'Through Forests and Mountains' is my second novel. My first novel, His Most Italian City, was published by Penmore Press in 2019.
What inspires you to write?
I was inspired to write the book following the story my mother told me about the women who fought alongside the men in World War 2 Yugoslavia. Jelena Batinić published Women and Yugoslav Partisans in 2015 (Cambridge Uni Press). It was a fabulous read and her stories of how men reacted to fighting with women got to work on my imagination. I needed a male lead who had trouble with women in his civilian life. How would he cope, I wondered, working with women as fighters? Naturally I decided that he had to fall in love with one.
Tell us about your writing process.
I confess to 'Pantsing'. The best books come from the heart and sometimes you've just got to get it on paper, as the mood takes you. After that comes the hard work, editing the creative outburst so that readers will understand it. It takes me a year to write a book, then a second year to read it once a month and continue this editing.
Learning to cut is the most valuable lesson. Does one paragraph flow logically on from the previous? Have you repeated your subject, just in different words? Do the words have their own rhythm? If you read it out loud, does it make sense?
How do you develop your characters?
My characters commence as models of a person, or people, I know. In the course of writing the book, they take on their own personalities and, after that, they tell me what to do and how to write. Certainly they talk to me. I hear them in my head all day long.
My male protagonist had to be a man who is more comfortable in the company of men than women. I knew a lot of older men like that when I was young. He needs the type of woman who is his intellectual equal, he just doesn't know it. Consequently, he goes through life picking the wrong sort of girl until here he is at 32, his past littered with ex-girlfriends, and still lonely.
The female lead had to compliment him and ultimately to benefit from the stability he gives her. I developed her as I wrote but she also has attributes of some of my relatives.
What authors inspire you?
I read Dickens to help my style, but his female romantic leads are soppy. Jane Austen and the Bronte's stir my heart. So here's a question for you: if men write the best love songs, why is it that women write better romance? Look at MC Beaton. Now there's a clever woman. All her heroines are strong women with faults but she she gets her readers to love them anyway. I've read a variety of contemporary romance authors but Zoe Ferraris's romantic crime trilogy set in Saudi Arabia wins my vote for a sympathetic make protagonist and for leading me happily through a romance spread over three books.
How do you keep going in the midst of distractions?
Explain to my husband that I am writing, and firmly close the door.
What are your hobbies when you need a break from writing?
Walking the dog and Masters Athletics.
I play in a military band and love to play the piano as well.
What romance genres do you write?: Historical Romance
Do you write in genres that are not romance related?
Yes, I love crime and mystery. My first published story was in Crime Wave, UK, next to Ian Rankin.
What formats are your books in?: eBook, Print
Where to find out more about the author
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.