In On the Piazza, Maggie is a young woman recently relocated to Milan for work. Feeling out-of-place and a little lonely in the foreign country, she finds enjoyment sitting on her favorite bench in a nearby Piazza. One day, a handsome stranger named Alessandro joins her on the bench, and a friendship blossoms. Soon, however, the budding friendship is threatened by a jealous acquaintance from Alessandro’s past, leaving Maggie to wonder if the friendship could ever possibly be something more…Megs has always loved to write in a variety of genre, but discovering romance writing really sparked her interest to get out there and pursue writing with dedication. She wrote for some local papers during her grad school years, as well as doing PR writing for some of the local companies and fashion folks in Denver.
However, she never thought her first book would be a romance. In fact, she'd never even imagined reading or writing romance at all. Luckily, she stumbled on a great blog that inspired her to look into the world of romance books, and after a co-worker lent her some, Megs decided this was a romance she could really write in. She did some research into romance structure and character types, then learned about the romance publishing world some.
Then, for her first published novel, Megs literally dreamed up the plot and characters.
"I had been watching the World Cup games, and one night dreamed of sitting on a plaza with the Argentinean soccer coach. When I woke up, I knew I had an idea for a story, and got to writing it almost immediately on lunch at work that day! My brain must like to think while it’s sleeping- I have the hardest time thinking of characters and plots while I’m awake, but I seem to get the best ideas for them in my dreams!"
The actual writing of the story was the easy part. Megs was able to get the story on paper in a remarkably short time. However, as a first time author, she then had the difficulty of figuring out what to do with it.
"I was pretty nervous about that part!" she confessed. "I did a lot of research on romance publishers, and tried to find the best fit for my book. Thankfully, I found Uncial Press, and they’ve been a dream to work with!"
"What is your work schedule like when you are writing?" I asked her.
"Sometimes, I feel like my days fly by, so finding time to sit down and focus on writing can be a challenge. I tend to wait until I have an inspiration, then do a little outline (if it’s a longer piece) and fire away on it whenever I have a free moment. I like to write when I’m sitting in Fashion Denver (a boutique I work at on the weekends) since it provides a stylish, pretty atmosphere full of amazing clothes I can describe in my writing. A portable laptop or ipad is so handy for such things!"
"What do you like to do when you’re not writing?" I asked.
"I have some sort of twitchy nervousness that makes me want to keep busy all the time. If I’m not writing, I’m usually going to a fashion show or running the showroom shop at Fashion Denver (a local fashion collective), or performing in the band Itchy-O (we’re an electronic marching band- I am the back end of the dancing lion costume!) ,hosting bar bingo, playing kickball, or racing around. My boyfriend calls me a party animal- I prefer 'Social Gad-about.'"
She's also not very good at sitting at home and writing, because she tends to turn on the TV or play with the cat if she's sitting still. Having a laptop allows her to pick up and move around a lot. She's done a lot of writing in coffee shops—although she admits to sometimes overdoing it on the coffee.
On a personal note, I asked her if she wanted a dog.
"I’m a cat person myself- We never had dogs growing up, and I’ve worked with and lived with cats pretty much all my life. However, my boyfriend is pretty intent on getting a dog when we move to an actual house or bigger place, and I’m more than happy to learn how to love a dog!"
Megs also said she doesn't like how she looks in pictures, but there may be a reason most of us hate how we look.
"I once read that people tend to dislike the way they look in pictures because we’re so used to seeing ourselves in the mirror, and all the things we’re used to are flipped and reversed, leaving us with a sense of disassociation," she explained. "I get that when I look at pictures of me- it looks familiar, it just seems slightly 'off' from what I see in the mirror. The human brain is funny like that!"
"What stereotype would you label yourself as?" I wondered.
"I guess, in some ways, you could call me a hipster- but maybe hipsters would disagree with that. I drink a lot of PBR, have an angled haircut, wear vintage stuff from thrift stores and local designers, play kickball, listen to indie bands, enjoy irony, hang out at divey bars, and attend a bunch of indie art shows. Yeah, I’m pretty much your hipster stereotype. Oh man. I’m not quite sure how to feel about that. "
She's also recently started writing her name all lower-case.
"You can see it on my book cover and author’s page! I started doing it for fun after reading bell hooks, but now I really like the look of it," she told me.
Megs is very much a night person and getting up in the morning is the toughest thing in the world for her. She'll usually let the snooze alarm go off at least three times and even then, she's usually running late to work.
"There’s so much more to do at night, and I love the nightlife!" she explained.
Finally, I asked, "What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?"
"Since I’m a fairly new writer just on my first book, I understand the feelings writers can go through when sending out their work for the first time! My advice would be to research your market and find some great publishers willing to work with first time authors. Don’t be afraid of rejection- just because your work didn’t fit one place doesn’t mean it won’t work for another publisher! I’m still learning myself, so I’m sure I’ll have more advice when I hopefully get more works out there!"
About the Author: On the Piazza is Denver-based writer megs burd’s first romance published with Uncial Press.
With green and purple hair, megs is a recognizable sight in the Denver scene. megs can often be found out and about, be it hosting Bingo at a local bar, performing with the experimental marching band Itchy-O, attending a fashion market at Fashion Denver, or playing kickball.
megs discovered romance novels not long ago, and is thrilled to read and write in the genre. Recently, megs started living her own romance story as a handsome gentleman moved into the apartment downstairs and she fell head-over-heels for her very own romantic hero.