Maggie takes on the threats of a grouchy old Cap’n Hatch on Nantucket with the magical help of her Grammy Apple and her little dog, Blissful.
Hi, I’m Maggie and I have to whisper something to you.
There are witchy doings on the island of Nantucket where I live. Seriously.
Can you believe sandpipers doing cartwheels on the beach and dune grasses doing backbends?
My father thinks I’m making it up to be dramatic or to find awesome things to draw for the art fair. But my dog, Blissful, knows it’s magic—my witchy Grammy Apple’s magic.
Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
I’m from Massachusetts and love all things New England, which is why I placed my children’s book on the island of Nantucket off the coast of Massachusetts.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
I was walking on the wharf in Nantucket and a fishing boat caught my eye. An old fisherman was hauling fish off his boat, scowling, and there he was, my character Cap’n Hatch. I tried to talk to him but he was grouchy. My character’s personality was set! The other characters sprang up from my imagination. The main character, Maggie, is a tiny bit me, a tiny bit my daughter, and a lot of herself.
How do you create your characters?
I eavesdrop on a lot of conversations and jot things down in my little notebook that I have with me at all times.
What inspires and what got your started in writing?
I started as a journalist and wrote feature stories for The New York Times for many years. I loved being a journalist and writing about interesting people, but I followed my dream and started writing for children where I can make things up and create magical worlds. I particularly like writing for middle grade readers, ages 8 to ll. They are so open to new adventures and imaginary happenings. They have deep feelings, sometimes new and sometimes confusing. I try to address these feelings in a story they can relate to.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
I jot things down anywhere in my little notebook, but I write in a small cottage behind our house. What I need to write is quiet. And our little dog, Rodney, who is the inspiration for Blissful, the magical dog in my book, “Witchy Magic and Me, Maggie.”
How do you get your ideas for writing?
From dreams, from overheard conversations, and from my imagination.
What do you like to read?
I love to read and books are my friends, my joy and my travel companions into unknown worlds. I am never without a book to read. I read lots of middle grade books, classics and contemporary. When I am tired I reread my original Nancy Drew books. I love them. I read mostly literary fiction, classics and contemporary. I read the old masters for their brilliance—Dickens, Jane Austen and I learn what good writing is all about.
What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?
Just sit down, open your computer or take out your legal pad and just write—without correcting yourself. No correcting! This is your first draft and you will feel wonderful when you have finished. Take some breaths, days, and then go back and edit your work.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Yes, to all of you who may have the writing bug—you have something to say, every one of you. To be creative is to be your truest self and that’s a gift.