Now’s the time I want to devote to explaining to writers the nuts and bolts of writing fiction and memoirs. I’ve distilled the steps of creating characters, plots and other elements of writing to their basic core and enjoy passing on that knowledge through intense writing sessions. It’s a way to give back to those authors who taught me. I share my tips, failures, strategies and ideas with writers through workshops, speaking at writer groups, conducting home write-in parties and other events. During the sessions, writers discover their passion for creating worlds and events for others to experience through reading.
Coming soon will be CDs and DVDs to help those who cannot attend a conference.
This year, I’ll present a week long writing retreat at the prestigious John C. Campbell Folk School. I’ve presented more recently at the Chestnut Creek School of the Arts, Blue Ridge Bookfest, Blue Ridge Writers & Readers Conference, High Country Writers, Carolina Romance Writers, and Sylva Book Fair. As Training Manager at Milliken & Company and Danskin, I learned how to train both managers and factory workers by breaking down the job into small components.
Maggie was born in the little town of Union City, Pennsylvania (near Erie), but left before the year was out. Her father was in the Air Force and moved the family to San Antonio, Texas, where her brother count jumped to four from two. The family moved every few years throughout Maggie’s schooling time to England, Germany, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and then back to North Carolina.
Her parents instilled a love or reading, travel and cultural diversity in all their children. Maggie is game to sample foods from all regions of the world. She was honored in 2007 as one of “100 Incredible ECU Women” for literature and leadership. She put herself through East Carolina University in Greenville, NC, sometimes working for the swimming coach. “Coach Sharf had a glassed-in office, level with the high diving board. I’d sneak moments to admire the divers’ forms and the swimmers’ techniques, not to mention anatomies,” she admitted. Her electives were in dance, not literature. In those days, she focused on getting a business degree.
Years later while working in the corporate world which included being Production Manager, Distribution Manager and Training Manager at Milliken & Company and Danskin, she asked a secretary if she could borrow a book to read on vacation. That one contemporary romance paperback changed the course of her life. Maggie devoured four hundred books in one year. “My husband couldn’t understand the addiction. My nose was in a book all the time, even while in the car at stop lights. At home, Bob would have to call me several times to break my concentration and get my attention.”
One evening while driving home from work at Danskin in York, PA, she decided that she could write a romance. She’d been absorbing the rhythms of the stories, the variety in plot lines, the depth of characters. The decision to write was easy – the execution was the hard part. Maggie joined the Romance Writers of America and had a crash course in the craft of writing by attending their national conferences. In 1993, Maggie and Bob moved with their cat to the mountains of North Carolina. Her father had built a house into the side of a mountain, which Maggie and Bob bought, then kicked her parents upstairs where they lived above ground until 2010. “I went upstairs every morning for coffee and a visit with Mom and Dad. Other than that, we lived separate lives,” Maggie explained.
Writing is a solitary endeavor so she founded High Country Writers in 1995 and now has an extensive group of writer friends throughout the North Carolina-Tennessee section of the Appalachians. She spends her time when not teaching others how to write, writing her own fiction or attending book signings and other book related events, hiking, skiing, swimming and reading.