Meet the Members: Margaret James

What do you write? 

Novels, short stories, articles for magazines - I am a regular contributor to Writing Magazine - and non-fiction guides for writers.

When and where do you write? 

All the time - at home, on the bus, on trains, early in the morning, late at night, on paper, on screen and in my head.

Best writerly moment?  

Having my first (and quite possibly my last) Amazon Kindle Top 10 bestseller with my novel The Silver Locket.

Not a lot of people know this ... 

but I was born in a workhouse, just like Oliver Twist. By the time I was born, though, the workhouse had become a hospital, but telling you this rather spoils the story. 

Was there any particular author or book that made you want to be a writer? 

When I was a teenager I was profoundly moved by Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, and I thought how wonderful it must be to take your reader to a completely different world. I wanted to see if I could do it, too. 

What do you wish you’d known about being an author before you were published? 

What a long, hard struggle it was going to be to get published! Or maybe not – perhaps, if I’d known, I’d have given up and become a librarian instead. Maybe it’s best not to know about all the hard work that lies ahead after you’ve signed your first contract. 

What’s the best writing advice you've ever been given? 

Choose your rut carefully, because you’ll be in it for a long time. My first novel was a historical romance, and this turned out to be a good rut for me.