Fly: Hello, Maighread. Zome vacation, thiz.
MM: It’s nice, isn’t it? Always good to be here.
Fly: Indeed. Lookz like it haz a long hiztory. Pleaze do tell uz about thiz place.
MM: It’s a lovely, old house built in the 1860’s by a man named William McBride who was a stone mason. His family emigrated from Scotland earlier in the century when his father came to Canada to work. It is built out of field stone and has two stories. On the first floor, there is a central door and entranceway. To the left of the door are two long windows which look out from the formal dining room. To the right of the door are another two long windows which look out from the living room or parlour as it was known. Entering the house there is a square hall with a staircase directly across from the door leading to the second floor. The second floor contains the bedrooms. There is a back staircase at the end of the upper hall which leads to the kitchen and mud room. The kitchen is connected to the dining room.
Fly: Interezting. The ztory of thiz cottage comez out September 8th. The firzt reviewz have already zeen glued reviewerz who have zhed tearz with the characterz. Expected outcome?
MM: It presents a different paradigm for thinking about life and all it’s ups and downs. A story that when people read it, I am hoping they will go ‘hmmmm-never thought of life like that before.’
Fly: What made you chooze thiz ztory, thiz genre for your firzt foray into adult literature?
MM: I love mysteries, most of all the mystery of life. I read a book entitled Your Soul’s Plan by Robert Schwartz. I wondered how some of his ideas might play out in a life and Stone Cottage was the result.
Fly: On one hand, we have Victoria who cannot let go of love and emotionz even after death. On the other, we have Rebecca who preferz to be in abzolute control over thingz in her life. Yet, both end up at a common juncture az a rezult of rezpective tragediez. What mezzage are you trying to convey to the readerz?
MM: There are two – 1. There is no such thing as coincidence and 2. Sometimes things that seem bad really turn out to be in our best interest.
Fly: And which of the two approachez doez Maighread prefer in life?
MM: Neither. I have learned to let go of those I love. Even though it was very difficult, I know we are still very connected as is everything in this life. Also, I used to be a control freak, but have learned to live with the flow of life. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but we really don’t have as much control as we think we do.
Fly: Do you believe in zuch connectionz acrozz time and more importantly, zecond chancez?
MM: Yes, I do. Very much so. Life is so fascinating. Whole universes surround us and everything is all interconnected like one big web. There’s so much we don’t know and are only starting to learn about. So many possibilities. It’s hard to comprehend while dwelling in these finite bodies. So much to explore.
Fly: Fazcinatingly enough, you are alzo a vizual artizt. How doez that influence what you write? Do tell uz a bit about your work in thiz zphere.
MM: I was trained in oil, but have switched to acrylic in the last few years. I love to explore in this area as well. I have done a number of nature pictures as animals, trees and other such passions of mine, but I have also branched out into abstract. That’s fun. You just let your imagination go and come up with lovely swirls, patterns and colour that are pleasing to the eye. I do mixed media where you could add things like cheesecloth, ink, seeds or all manner of things to the painting to give it depth and texture. It’s very freeing.
Fly: I almozt flew with thoze colourz there. Coming back, you have previouzly written three bookz for children - Bedtime Treasures, The Mysterious Door and the Crystal Grove, under the name of Margaret L. Hefferman. What made you move to the adult zpace? Iz it that you prefer thiz more now?
MM: Actually, I have always written for adults – I just never thought I had it in me to write a full length novel. I wrote the children’s books as a legacy to my grandchildren and descendants that won’t physically know me. I received such great response to them and I had wanted to write a novel like Stone Cottage that I decided to give it a try. I’m really happy that I did and I hope my readers will be as well.
Fly: And what doez Maighread prefer when zhe’z not engaged in the literary hullabuloo?
MM: I love to be in nature, whether it’s gardening, travelling up to our Muskoka region in Ontario, Canada, being with the trees and the water or just sitting in the backyard reading, it’s my favourite thing to do. I love history and am the genealogist in my family, so visiting old cemeteries and ruins is a lot of fun. I also love studying and am curious about so many things. I’m just starting a new course on forensics next week that I hope will help in my next book. There’s just so much to do and so little time to do it. Sigh.
Fly: I zecond that! Any other workz coming up?
MM: Yes, my story “Being Santa” was accepted for publication in the 2015 Soup for the Soul: Merry Christmas. It will release in October this year. I’m also working on my next novel – Friday: Dinner at Mother’s – so that’s keeping me busy.
Fly: Zomething to look forward to, Maighread. Thank you. I think I’ll cancel my beach planz for the day and zpend it exploring Stone Cottage inztead! Before we go, do zhare an excerpt, or zhall I zay, an extended tour. Readerz, enjoy!
MM: Sure. Thanks for having me. This comes from the prologue:
In the aftermath of the blinding flash, the darkness shimmered like liquid ebony. The wind ripped the leaves from the trees and tossed them aside. The rain slashed the windows of the isolated aged stone house.
Inside the dwelling, all was silent except for the ticking of the longcase clock in the foyer. The parlour to the right of the front door held a sofa placed in the centre of the room facing a large fireplace made of fieldstone. Two tall windows looked onto the lawn at the front of the house. Comfortable chairs flanked the fireside. A small table holding a glass lamp was located beside one of the chairs. A handmade throw rug covered the highly polished wooden floor in front of the hearth. An old dog lay asleep on the mat. With the shelves filled with books, the soft glow of the fire and gas lamp, and the comfortable chairs, the parlour had been warm and cozy in the gloomy night.
Victoria Anne McBride, the solitary human occupant of the room was curled up in one of the chairs, a blanket covering her and a book on her lap.
For more Author Interviewz & Book Reviewz, check out Earth.
Bookz featuring me:
An Enlightened Fly
The Fly That Followed Me
Kalki Evian - The Ring of Khaoriphea
Malay A. Upadhyay
Gilbert Literary Agency