Monday, March 15, 2010

Maggie Brendan is a member of the American Christian Writers (ACW) and the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). She was a recipient of the 2004 ACW Persistence Award for Atlanta.

Maggie has experience in media and print production and has a particular interest and affinity with Christian radio. She can be found on her blog, and is a resident blogger on

Her first book, No Place For a Lady, the first book in the Heart of the West series, was released in January 2009 and received a 4.5 star review from Romantic Times. The Jewel of His Heart, book 2, was released in October of 2009. A Love of Her Own will be released in June and received a 4 star review from Romantic Times. Her most recent project is another historical series entitled The Blue Willow Brides.

Maggie was also quoted in, Word Weavers, The Successful Writer’s Critique Groups, that was released in June 2008. She has led a writer’s critique group for the last six years. A screenplay of her first novel is at Hallmark for possible TV movie production. She recently spoke at a Regional Church Bookstores and Libraries conference in Marietta about The Value of Christian Fiction. She participated in LifeWay Christian Store’s Annual Fiction Event Day at the Mall of Georgia and this past October. She will be doing the LifeWay’s Fiction Event Day again May 15th in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Maggie is married with two grown children and four grandchildren. When she is not writing, she enjoys reading, singing, painting, scrapbooking and being with her family. She lives in Marietta, GA.

When did you decide to be a writer?

Like most people I started when I was in grammar school. I wrote 2 small books. My first one, I still have. So the desire to write was there from a young age. Reading books made me want to write.

How long did you write before you sold your first book?

I wrote off and on while my children were growing up, but I seriously started back to completing a book after my children were grown because my brother kept encouraging me to do so. He thought it was a good story and it wound up being my first sale with Revell. So 5 years ago I started taking my writing seriously.

Everyone’s journey to publication is different. Now that you’ve walked that road, what tips can you give to authors still hoping for that first contract?

Don’t ever give up. I once left my book with a publisher for a year before finding out the editor who requested it was no longer with that house. Learn all you can and read all you can. There are many resources for writers—conferences, how to books and critique groups.

Joining a critique group is an excellent way to learn the craft of writing, get encouragement and get your work critiqued.

Was there something about the experience of getting published that was a surprise to you?

I think the thing that may have been a bit of a surprise was that you have to be your own advocate to get your work looked at. If it sits on your desks and you just dream about it happening, you can forget it. You have to do your homework, just like any other profession and learn to do it well. In the CBA industry, I was surprised that at the center of that world are people with a heart for God.

Are you a disciplined writer or do you just write when you feel like it?

I try to write 4 or 5 days a week. When my deadline gets closer, I work on Saturday too. I try to leave Sunday free.

What kind of activities to you like to do that help you relax and step away from your deadlines for a bit?

I love to sing and being in a large sanctuary choir is like breathing in fresh air and recharges my batteries. I always have a good book to lose myself in and take time to walk outdoors, weather permitting. Brainstorming with my best friend refreshes my mind and spirit.

What is your favorite novel (not written by you) and what made it special?

Gone With the Wind was my favorite, I guess. I loved the history, the rich detail and the feisty heroine and of course the love story. It’s an awesome book and me being a Southerner made it even better.

How do you think reading the work of others helps you as a writer?

First of all, you may learn something that you didn’t already know and words you aren’t familiar with. Reading other writers will expand your own vision and might generate new ideas about other places or history. You also learn different styles of writing by reading other novels.

Tell us a little about your latest release:

Set in 1890s Montana, The Jewel of His Heart finds Juliana drawn to a handsome, gentle sheepherder--but sparks fly when he considers mining, the occupation that lured her father away from his family. Both Josh and Juliana must make a choice--the world's riches and promises, or the eternal value of love.

Where did you get your inspiration for The Jewel of His Heart?

The idea for this story came about after my brother, Jess McCreede (Jerry O’Neal) died, suddenly. He was a western writer and was Deputy Superintendent of Glacier National Park. About six months after he died, I attended the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Denver conference and then traveled on to Montana to see his writing cabin. After exploring the historic nearby towns, I kept seeing Yogo sapphires in many of the shops windows. My husband bought me a pretty Yogo ring. Later, I saw the book about the history of the Yogo and thought it’d be fun to create a story around the time of their discovery.

Which character is most like you?

I’m more like Juliana Brady, the heroine in the story. I didn’t realize that Juliana’s life of growing up without her father may have mirrored mine until my best friend pointed that out. However, Juliana is a lot more cautious than I am. I tend to be too trusting in most cases.

Who is your favorite character and why?

That would be Josh McBride. He’s a kind, considerate and a gentle person with a lot of faith. Josh’s sense of adventure would be one thing that I have in common with. I enjoy travelling to other places and learning new things, which is what my hero does. But Josh tends to think he knows what others are thinking about him, and I try to be just the opposite.

Did you know how The Jewel of His Heart would turn out? Were you surprised by any of the plot twists or characters?

Somewhat surprised. The characters tend to take over when I’m writing and I have to laugh. I’m a SOTP writer, but that makes the writing fun.

What is the main thing you hope readers remember from this story?

I’d like readers to consider choosing between the jewels of this world or the more eternal value of a woman’s love to be vitally important. We are a jewel in God’s eyes.

What kinds of things have you done to market this book? Have you found anything that works particularly well?

I’ve done a lot of interviews and giveaways on my blog, facebook and other writer’s blogs. I mailed out post cards with the books cover. I’ve done book signings at Borders, LifeWay, Sweet Spirit Parable store and my church’s bookstore, The Bookmark.

Tell us what new projects you’re working on.

I’m working on The Blue Willow Brides series. The first book, Deeply Devoted, is about three sisters from Holland who come to American seeking a fresh start. The first book takes place in Wyoming and this past September, I traveled to Cheyenne and surrounding area to get a feel for my setting.

Do you have any parting words of advice?

Keep working at your craft to make each book better than the last one. Don’t be afraid to put your manuscript out there. We’ve all been there, but don’t let fear hold you back. You have nothing to lose. It’s vital to connect with other writers—they’ll understand you. Join a critique group and attend a writing conference. It’ll change your life! If writing is the passion of your heart, then it will happen. Write a great story then work as hard as you can to market your book and fans will come along.

Maggie is giving away a copy of her book, The Jewel of His Heart. Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on Friday for your chance to win!


  1. I have yet to read Maggie's work, but I have heard wonderful things about it. I hope I win on Friday! :) Great interview BTW.

  2. Hi, Casey. Glad you stopped by!

    Maggie's books are wonderful, and I'm especially excited to read this one.

    Good luck on Friday!

  3. I just finished The Jewel of his Heart this week. Loved the book! I marked my calendar to look for her new book in June.

  4. Thanks Jackie! I'm glad you enjoyed the story. It was fun to write and I think you're going to love the next one-A Love Of Her Own. It's really fast paced. :)

  5. I really enjoyed the interview. Writing and reading are my favorite past times. I haven't read any of your books yet, but they all look really great. I will have to start on them soon. Please enter me for a chance to win. Thanks for the opportunity :)

  6. Oh, this book looks so good. Thanks

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

  7. Hi, cas! Thanks for stopping by The Borrowed Book.

  8. Abi! I recognize your profile picture from Spyglass Lane. Glad you found The Borrowed Book.


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