Today we offer a big Lit Ladies welcome to Maggie Adams. Maggie’s debut novel Whistlin’ Dixie (a Tempered Steel novel) released November 30th and is available on Amazon.com.
Maggie will be giving away an eBook copy of Whistlin’ Dixie. Tell us in the comments below what prompts you to buy a book. Is it the cover? Title? Back cover copy? The first page? Word of mouth? We’ll draw a winner on December 18th from our commenters.
LL: Maggie, thanks for joining me today.
MA: Hello, and thanks again for asking me. This is exciting!
LL: So, this is a debut novel?
MA: Yes, Whistlin’ Dixie is my first book in The Tempered Steel series.
LL: How does that make you feel that Whistlin’ Dixie is published?
MA: Honestly, I cried when I saw it on Amazon for the first time. It still seems surreal to me. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it. I mean my work is out there for the world to see and comment on. That’s a scary thought; but when the readers post a positive review, it’s so rewarding.
LL: Tell us a bit about how you conceived Whistlin’ Dixie and the Tempered Steel series.
MA: Conception was the easy part. My family is from the Grafton, IL area and my husband and I actually lived in Grafton for awhile. Our daughter went to kindergarten at the Grafton School and our son was baptized at St. Patrick’s Church. We moved out of the area in March of 1993, and Grafton began flooding in April of ’93. Watching the devastation on TV and hearing about it from my family was something I will never forget. I got facts and video from the news and the feelings and frustrations of the residents from my family members still there. It just coalesced into Whistlin’ Dixie, but it had to be a romance because I firmly believe in happily ever after. As for the series, well, I just couldn’t tell it all in one book. The characters made me do it!
LL: The characters made me do it. HA! Isn’t that the truth? I understand Whistlin’ Dixie lingered on the shelf a while before you took a chance and published it yourself. Can you give us some insight into the process that took you from wanna-be published to published?
MA: Well, I obviously got a lot of rejections! Some publishers didn’t like the humor; but life is funny! Some didn’t care for an unknown author with a series; others just weren’t interested. So I contented myself with the fact that even though I couldn’t get published, at least I had written it. It sat on my closet shelf for years. I would occasionally get it down and read it all – remind myself that I did this. I raised my kids and when they were standing on their own, they encouraged me as I had encouraged them; to follow the dream. So, I dusted it off and wrote it again, literally. I had a hard copy and floppy disks. I had to rewrite it onto an up to date computer! So I made the changes. My daughter looked into self-publishing and my son took care of all the tech savvy computer stuff that needed to be done. My husband, God love him, did everything from the dishes to acting out scenes with me so I could get the male emotions right. Then, I went through the whole editing and cover design process. I was extremely lucky with that as a friend of a friend knew Kim Killion of HotDamn Designs. They walked me through all of it. Then I figured out how to use Kindle Digital Publishing and voila! I’m a published author! Then there’s marketing and that’s a whole other issue.
LL: Without giving away too much, how does the cover relate to the story of Whistlin’ Dixie?
MA: It’s actually my daughter and son-in-law’s engagement pic. So yep, that’s them. He’s tall, dark and handsome. She’s short, sassy and sweet. Just like Mac and Dixie. The symbolism was perfect – the box she stands on represents the ways to overcome their issues. The old barn in the background, weathered but still standing. The “00” represents a tie, or stalemate, where no one wins. And the entire cover like a yellowed photo – Tempered in loss, sorrow and pain yet still precious, cherished, timeless.
LL: That’s so cool that the cover is actually a photo of a real-life love story and one so close to your heart. Can you give us the down low on your lead male Mackenzie (Mac) Coalson. What are his strengths and better yet, what is his weakness?
MA: His physical strength was honed from years of hard work, not a gym membership. Emotionally, he feels a deep responsibility to his family and to his community. He will do everything in his power to keep his loved ones safe and his town thriving. His weaknesses are a match with Dixie – he’s stubborn and hot tempered. He loves deeply and faithfully, but also is a bit of a control freak.
LL: And Dixie Harris? She’s not all sweet tea and flowers. What’s the scoop on her?
MA: Well, you might think she’s as sweet as southern tea when you look at her, but she’s got a temper to rival Mac’s. And she’s no pushover; she helped her elderly grandfather raise her younger brother, breezed through college in under four years and knows exactly how to bring a man to his knees, if he gets overly friendly on a short acquaintance. But she’s also lived a very sheltered life so she’s not sure what to make of Mac’s attempts at seduction.
LL: Sounds like you’ve developed some strong characters. I can’t wait to hear more about your series. What’s next? And how far ahead have you thought the series out?
MA: Well, I had a rough draft of the entire series finished several years ago. Since technology’s come a long way, I revamped it and decided to add on the younger brothers as well. Each book has its own story, but they are woven together through the suspenseful plot. The characters evolve and change, some for the better, some not so much. The novels will still have humor, but life’s going to get a lot hotter for the characters before the end. It’s a contemporary romance series that rides the line between HEA and erotic suspense. And who knows? Maybe it won’t be limited to the Coalson family. Perhaps some of the minor characters will get their turn in the spotlight. It depends on reader feedback and my own ideas, I guess.
LL: Here’s my two cents. I love Dixie and Mac and hope to see them in future books, but I’m looking forward to reading about the other brothers. Especially Sam. Before we wrap up, tell us about your writing habits? Are you a plotter or pantser? Do you keep to a writing schedule? What’s your writing space like?
MA: I turn on music – classical, jazz, pop, or country, and I start thinking about the scene I want to write. I don’t have a set time or a particular schedule, so I guess I’m a pantser. I don’t count words, I just write. As far as the writing space, I have a small secretary desk that I use and a rather uncomfortable old upholstered chair. I keep the chair because the discomfort reminds me to get up and walk around or I’d be glued to the desk all day. It sits near a big window in my living room so I can see the activity of my neighborhood. And squirrels. We have lots of squirrels!
LL: Maggie thanks so much for joining us today.
MA: Thanks again Tricia and The Lit Ladies for taking an interest in me and my work. I’d love to meet all of you sometime!
Hi! I’m Maggie Adams. I live near St. Louis, MO with my high school sweetheart, Ned, and my wonderful kids, Katie (Kyle) and Ross (Valerie). My life is like a walking, talking sitcom from I Love Lucy, but I love it, although people do tend to keep their distance from me! Writing has always been my dream, with reading my favorite hobby. I try to include a little bit of my life in everything I write, so when you read my books, keep your eyes wide open – I’m in there somewhere! Happy reading! You can reach me at http://www.maggieadamsbooks.com or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Maggie-Adams/713601315374402
Whistlin’ Dixie Blurb
A man on a mission….
Mackenzie Coalson was determined to rebuild his hometown after a devastating flood left it in ruins. He has no time for a relationship and all the romantic junk that goes with it. He has a vandal to catch and no sweet smelling bundle of femininity is going to sway him.
A woman protecting her family…..
Dixie Harris charged into the county sheriff’s office with a sassy sway and a smart mouth, eager to give the sheriff, and anyone else, a piece of her mind. When she locks horns with the devil himself, in the form of Mac Coalson, she quickly learns he has a temper to rival hers, even if he’s the living epitome of her sexual fantasies.
When the two unite to catch a potential murderer, it’s in everyone’s best interest to keep it, “business only”. But that’s hard to do when their combined attraction is volatile enough to burn down the town.
Tell us in the comments below what prompts you to buy a book. Is it the cover? Title? Back cover copy? The first page? Word of mouth? We’ll draw a winner for an eBook copy of Whistlin’ Dixie on December 18th from our commenters.