I wanted to share this recent review of Split Seconds and interview I did over on Pulp Den with Tom Johnson. It was a fun interview with some intriguing questions. I definitely had to stop and think about some of them.
“A Suspenseful Rush!”
Tijan grew up feeling someone was missing from her life. A sister, but was she a figment of her imagination? Her mother says her sister died when she was a child, but there is that feeling, and then she sees a picture in the newspaper of a wedding, and a hand is in view; that hand shows a birthmark, a matching birthmark that is also on Tijan. Is her sister, Tarin, still alive? She decides to go to Toronto and find out, but things happen too quickly and she’s thrown into several dangerous situations. She is kidnapped a couple of times, and people she meets think she’s her twin sister. Then a secret trip to the Caspian winery and she sees Tarin, but is too shocked to speak, and runs off instead. Now she discovers her father, whom she’d always suspected was dead, running a giant hotel chain, and working with a Mafia gangster to obtain Caspian winery. Gangsters and Canadian government officials want Tarin, and mistake Tijan for her twin, and things get even more complicated.
My apologies to the author, it’s been three years since I read the previous book in this fascinating series, and unfortunately my memory isn’t too good any more. I had trouble remembering the characters and what happened in the first two stories, so it took me a bit longer to get back into the swing of the series. However, the new characters not only grabbed my interest but it brought me quickly into the current plot, and names and incidents began coming back. Once I was pulled into the story, I was there for keeps, and I wasn’t disappointed. “Split Seconds” continues the series in a highly suspenseful rush of adrenalin. And did I mention the romantic angle? I hope the next book isn’t long in coming. For lovers of suspense thrillers don’t miss this latest light romantic mystery involving danger and intrigue.
Author of THE MAN IN THE BLACK FEDORA
Originally posted – Pulp Den
Tom: Maggie, thank you for sitting down with me for this interview on PULP DEN. First, how about telling your fans a little about yourself, your family, and where you live?
Maggie: Hi Tom. Thank you for this interview, I have truly enjoyed ‘meeting’ you and feel honored to do this interview. I’m married, a mom of just out of their teen twins and I live on beautiful Vancouver Island, Canada.
Tom: From reading your five novels it is easy to tell you are an intelligent writer, and interested in the thriller suspense genre. This current novel, Split Seconds, is your third novel in the Caspian Wine book series, and your fifth novel in the thriller suspense genre. What made you decide to create The Caspian Wine series in the first place, and what was the particular influence for these stories, if any?
Maggie: Well, I actually hadn’t planned on writing a series. I had told myself they were too much work.
Captured Lies came about from a simple incident – a plane flew over us and was really low. I thought it will never make it to the airport, what if it crashed. Then my mind went wild. What if there was a baby on board that survived? What if that baby had been kidnapped in the first place but was then kidnapped after the plane crash, how could she ever unravel her past. That was the end of that story … or so I thought.
Then after a fan had read Captured Lies, she emailed me and asked when book 2 was coming out. I said that I wasn’t writing a series. Almost as soon as I sent that reply the ideas started coming to me.
So, then I wrote Deceitful Truths and again said that was it. But… another fan emailed me and asked when book 3 was coming out. Eek. This time I just said I’m not sure. The ideas started coming and book 3, Split Seconds was born.
Captured Lies (Book 1) is about Bailey.
Kidnapped not once but twice and now someone wants her dead. Her life was a lie!
Deceitful Truths (Book 2) is about Tarin.
Someone has stolen a week of her life and now wants to steal the secret she is now hiding.
Split Seconds (Book 3) is about Tijan.
Twins torn apart as toddlers… reunited as adults… and now switching places to take on organized crime…
Tom: Along the same line above, what other writers influenced you, if any, and whom would you say your writing style most resembles? And are your stories more plot driven or character driven, do you think? For me it was hard to choose between the two, for both plot and characters are strong.
Maggie: There are many authors that I have read and love their work but two really stand out for me – Robert Ludlum and Sandra Brown. Each taught me something different.
Robert Ludlum taught me how to tell a story from different points of view and not lose the reader.
Sandra Brown taught me how to add in the twists and turns that keep the reader guessing. I’m not sure who my writing most resembles although I have been told authors like – Amanda Quick/ Jayne-Anne Krentz, John Grisham…
Thank you Tom. I think I do a mix of both character and plot driven stories. I like creating strong, believable characters and someone that the reader will feel a connection to.
Maggie: Tijan knew that she had a twin but had been told that she’d died when they were two. Through a fluke discovery, Tijan is sure that her twin is alive.
She is determined to find out. What she discovers is that she also has a father that she never knew about and one who is not at all what she imagined a father should be like. He’s a cold and deceitful man, one who will step on anyone to get what he needs. And he’s involved with organized crime.
When Tijan finally meets her twin, she’s not sure what to expect. Excited to be reunited, they soon discover that not everyone is happy there are two of them.
To save her sister and ultimately a father who got them into the mess they find themselves in, Tijan switches places with her sister. She takes over her father’s multi-million-dollar hotel business, something she knows nothing about. All in an attempt to save her sister, their father and his business from organized crime.
Split Seconds is book 3 in The Caspian Wine Suspense/Thriller/Mystery Series.
Tom: Besides Thriller Suspense, have you considered writing other genres down the road, and if so, what would they be?
Maggie: Actually I have written a few other genres – romance and young adult – but I’ve never done anything with them. Someday I think I’d like to venture into the genre of fantasy. I love to read it, so we’ll see.
Tom: In your novel, Split Seconds, we actually follow Tijan, who has found her missing twin sister, Tarin, believed to have died as a child. Trailing her from a mere photograph and birthmark, she quickly becomes enmeshed in a suspenseful fight between a Mafia mob boss and her father for control of the Caspian Wine Empire. This is where her twin sister comes into the picture. Tarin refuses to help her father obtain that control.
This may be an off the wall question, but do you have further plans for the Caspian Wine series, or do you think the series may have run its course after three novels?
Maggie: Great question. I thought it was done after book 1. And then after book 2. So now that I’m publishing book 3, I really don’t know. We’ll see what happens moving forward. There are always more stories to tell but at some point it’s about whether it’s too much or not. Right now, I truly don’t know.
Tom: Tell us about your two stand-alone novels, Tainted Waters and Deadly Ties. Although I love the Caspian Wine series, I think I favor these two novels slightly more.
Maggie: Each of these novels were interesting to create and both mean a lot to me but for different reasons. I like to write about people and situations that I feel are important.
Tainted Waters: Sam is a woman who has struggled to find herself, she has flipped from job to job and just can’t seem to settle down. The suicide of her father when she was seven has left her scarred and lost. He’d been her world. After being fired from her latest job she moves to the family cabin which she hasn’t been in over twenty years, since her father’s suicide. A series of events happen that soon pull her into a web of mystery, where she soon discovers that not only might her father have been murdered but so might a few of the other owners around the lake.
Deadly Ties: Kyara has always been embarrassed about her home life. Her grandmother went to jail for murdering her husband and her mom is hopeless and helpless. After her mom is attacked Kyara realizes that what she knows is not the truth. Going on a quest, she discovers many secrets that others will go to any lengths to keep hidden. A golf course was built but not because the sport was gaining in popularity but to hide a deadly secret. It pulls Kyara into 30 years of lies that she must untangle before a whole town ultimately pays the price.
Tom: What do you find to be the most exciting part of the creating process?
Maggie: Letting the ideas fly. I used to worry that my story sucked when I was finished writing it. It wasn’t until I realized that rewrites weren’t a form of punishment that I really realized that is where the magic happens. I love rewrites because that is where I get to really make the story the one that I want. The one that has twists and turns and is full of lies, deceit and secrets.
Tom: Along the same subject as above, what do you find to be the most difficult area in the creating process?
Maggie: I think I’m at the point that I don’t really find any of it super difficult. To me it’s all about focus and time. I used to think the rewrites were impossible but that was because I saw it to mean I wasn’t a very good writer. In truth, all it means is that I get to create the story I want. Each part of writing has its own challenges but I just remind myself I could be working my 60 hour a week director position again. Writing is so much easier and more enjoyable.
Tom: There was a three-year gap between Book 2, Deceitful Truths and Book 3. Split Seconds. Are you working on a sequel or anything else right now? And if there is a sequel in the works, when do you expect it to be out?
Maggie: There is not a sequel in the works right now. Actually, I’m working on a fiction story that I wrote years ago. I really like the story but it needs a lot of work. I had originally written it as a romance but want to change it to a suspense/thriller. Which is what happened with Captured Lies. I am also working on two nonfiction books.
Tom: Besides family and writing, tell us about any hobbies or community service you may be involved in, and any other activity you would like to mention.
Maggie: I love going out in nature – hiking, kayaking, just walking, sitting and enjoying. I love to read – fiction and nonfiction – but don’t read as much as I used to. I also build websites and love to create images with quotes for social media. I am currently a member and on the board for a Women’s Business Networking Group. We do everything from fundraising, to networking, to training, to community events. I belong to a few author groups online, where we work together to help each other with everything from writing to marketing. I’ve also started a women’s writing group online, to help women find their voice through writing. I also teach writing workshops – on and offline. And I teach how to write compelling fiction book blurbs.
Tom: What advice would you give other aspiring authors hoping to break into the writing field today?
Maggie: Go for it. Writing is such a gift but there are many fears and issues that might get in your way. Connect to other writers and authors, ask for help, join groups, take writing classes… know that you are on the right path. Keep writing and know that your first draft is meant to suck. It’s just about getting the ideas down. It’s in the rewrites that you get to create the story that you want.
Tom: And now another question from left field. If you could, would you choose to live in a parallel universe as one of the people in the worlds you create?
Maggie: Interesting question. Hmmm… I think to some degree I do. Although, I don’t live with or see a lot of what I write about, truly most of what I write does happen in our world.
Tom: Maggie, thank you very much for sitting down with me for this interview.