"It's is a story about a young woman Olivia/Viola; she helped put a cruel ex-lover in prison but now he’s out and she is trying to live a quiet life under an assumed name. A job brings her in touch with the handsome and charismatic Jed; after a huge reluctance on her part, they become friends but she is not certain she can absolutely trust him. As the pressure from the despicable Victor mounts and she sees she has no option but to trust Jed. Jed’s family, though, do not trust her and are drawn into Victor’s web of deceit. I really enjoyed writing this novel; I was in love with Jed the moment he came into my mind, but I had to make certain that Viola was not me!"
Margaret told me she wishes she could remember what inspired her to start writing as she could use some of that enthusiasm. She started to write at the age of seven.
"I lived in a big city, soulless streets with not a tree in sight, but I was always writing about girls with ponies," she explained. "The only ponies I saw were those that pulled an ice-cream cart or the rag and bone man’s cart. Much later I find I am descended from some really posh Scottish folk so maybe it was in my genes!"
She's been writing seriously since 1976, when her husband, John, encouraged her to take herself seriously.
"It has been a roller coaster ride since then," she said. "Everything I have I owe to John; without him I would still be dreaming of being a writer. I have written twenty nine books, including the two out this year."
In addition to The Longest Pleasure, she has another romance coming out later in the year, Tilly's Trials.
"Don’t you love that title?" she asked. "This is more or less a straight romance and is about Tilly and her ex-husband. They parted because Tilly caught him cheating on her but then with maturity she thinks she understands; after all, their marriage was never consummated. Tilly found it impossible to give herself wholly to Marsh. Now he is back in her life, interfering in the family business. Is his agenda revenge? I am currently working on two new books, a straight romance and a romantic suspense."
She has many different authors in different genres. She enjoys F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. Francoise Sagan was a favorite, along with Michael Connolly and John Lindermuth. Her favorite romance author is Anne Mather, who writes for Harlequin.
"There are many more writers that I like so it would be unfair to name an all time favourite," she told me. "If I am reading non-fiction, I love Charlie Connolly; he is always certain to make me laugh and make the gloomiest day seem like paradise."
"What comes first, the plot or characters?" I asked.
"A little of both. I think of a situation and then go straight to my characters. I have to get the name of my characters before I can write anything; names are so important to me. I rather like unusual names and good old-fashioned names for my men, which I think adds to their charisma. In my last romantic novel A Fatal Flaw, I gave my heroine a Cornish name. She was Cornish so it made sense but I did not want to use one of the more popular names and came up with Kerensa, which actually means love. Could you get a better name for a romantic heroine?"
Titles are also very important to Margaret. She has a lot of fun thinking about them and generally doesn't get the title until she's finished writing. Until then, she calls the book by the heroine's name.
"Sometimes it is really difficult and I pore over reference books and of course am attracted to Shakespeare. Fortune’s Folly came from "Romeo and Juliet". The Longest Pleasure comes from Lord Byron. Some titles are easier than others-- Spanish Lies and Beloved Deceiver just sang out to me, as did His Other Wife. If you look at my historical, they more or less tell you what the story is about. I find it far easier to find a title for an historical novel than for a romance or a romantic suspense. The period is a great help, like A Saxon Tapestry-- could it be about anything other than that period of English History when we were invaded by the Normans?"
Margaret's writing space is a small bedroom, though she said perhaps it would be better described as a box room. I asked her what a box room was.
"Well, in houses with two rather large bedrooms they would add another and call it a box room," she told me. "They might store trunks or portmanteaus in them; generally, they can be used as a child’s bedroom. This small room is very comfortable and warm. It faces south and down onto the front street. If I get stuck I can gaze out of the window. I do that quite a bit. I have all my books in here and my computer, printer, and a filing cabinet that one day needs severe editing and a lot of stuff chucked out. I would rather sit and gaze out of the window than ever tackle that."
When Margaret's not writing, she likes to visit with friends. She walks with two different groups of people and finds that a lot of fun.
"I am very lucky in that the glorious countryside is quite close to me," she said. "It is wonderful to be outside. I live by the sea, so walking along by the sea is fun too. I love eating out with friends and travelling. These days I go to Florida a lot where my son and his family live. I love Florida and have set two books there. It is such a joy for me to be with my family; we have lots of fun and many laughs. We go to lots of sporting events, like soccer and American football, volleyball and tennis as my grandkids are quite sporty, unlike Grandma."
About the Author:
Since that memorable date, Margaret has published twenty-seven novels of historical, contemporary and suspenseful romance. This year she will be publishing two new novels. “I just want to hit the thirty mark,” says Margaret, “and then I might retire.”
Margaret’s greatest trauma was losing her husband John in January 2010; she is still raw and hurting from the loss but gets by with great support. “My family and friends pull me through. I am more than fortunate in both.” Margaret has one son, a gorgeous daughter-in-law and three fantastic grandkids; they as well as dear friends are a gift that keeps on giving.
If anyone can guess what the title The Longest Passion means, they can win either an ebook or print book of any of Margaret's Whiskey Creek novels – get your thinking caps on now.
If you enjoyed this interview, please leave a comment for Margaret.
In this thrilling contemporary romantic suspense by author Margaret Blake, Viola is hiding her true identity but the man who hates her is on her trail. Strange things are happening. Her life is unraveling and there is little she can do about it. Viola has lived in fear and deceit but then Jed tries to make her see life doesn’t have to be like that. Can she believe him when his family is involved with the man determined to ruin her?