Margaret Blake was born in Manchester.
A love of history drew her to historical romance and she published seven of these with Robert Hale Limited. Turning to contemporary romantic fiction she published five novels under her Grandmother’s name Ellen Noone. Details of these can be found at www.margaretblake.co.uk Recently she published three novels of romantic suspense with Hale.
She has published nine novels with Whiskey Creek Press of historical, contemporary and romantic suspense. www.whiskeycreekpress.com
With two new novels out next year, Margaret will have published twenty-six novels. She would love to hit thirty but better wait and see!
Margaret is a widow and has one son, a lovely daughter in law and three gorgeous grandchildren.
HH: Margaret, thank you for talking with us at TRS. Your featured book The Longest Pleasure. First, where did you get the idea for this thrilling story?
MB: I was reading a newspaper article on stalking and this gave me the idea. Although Viola is not a stalking victim as such, she is being tormented by a previous lover but he is seeking revenge on her. He is not perusing her because she ended a relationship so it is a little different. He wants Viola’s home and will do anything to get it, and probably already has!
HH: What do you like best about Viola and why will readers identify with her?
MB:Although she is a victim and does get frightened, Viola struggles against the things that Victor does to her. She does not accept them; she tries to go on the attack when she can. I think the reader will identify with her because she is an ordinary nice girl from a loving family, who finds herself in a dreadful situation. She also has a good sense of humour; she has a warm and loving nature.
HH: What can you tell us about the man who hates her and the impact he has on her life?
MB: Victor is a shadowy figure in the book. He does not look like the kind of man who would be downright wicked. He is handsome and can bring on real charm when he wants. He seduced Viola when she was young and naïve and then started to control her. Her parents could see what he was but being loving parents they did not want to alienate their daughter. When he finally tires of Viola, she realizes what he is. She warned another young girl he was involved with, he is accused of her murder and Viola is a witness for the prosecution. Found guilty of manslaughter, he is eventually let out of prison. He wants revenge on Viola for her attempt to ruin him. He also is working underhanded to steal her property. Something he has desired for a very long time. Victor is not predominant in the novel, that role is down to the good guy Jed. Victor is a malign presence in her life but from a distance. Her relationship with Victor happened in the past and the story begins just when he has been released from prison.
HH: How did you go about creating the world their story takes place in?
MB: I used a small town that I lived in, and then also move the story to Cornwall, where my late husband and I lived at one time. I love Cornwall, it is a very dramatic county (as the cover of the book shows) so I was writing about two places that I knew very well. Viola has done lots of different jobs to earn a living and currently works as a Legal Secretary, which I did for a time. Jed, the man who comes into her life, is a private detective. He knows more about the murkier depths of crime than she does and also how to handle it. Viola is an ordinary woman caught up in a web woven by an extraordinarily cruel guy. The world of Jed and Viola is quite normal, or would be but for Victor. Jed has a warm relationship with his family but they too are “too ordinary” to realize what kind of man Victor is.
HH: What else do you have in store for lucky readers?
MB: I have just edited a contemporary romance called Tilly’s Trials this is a story that is quite unique, I think the readers will enjoy it as it is very different in some respects. However, I am not going to tell you how it is different otherwise there is no use anyone reading it! I really enjoyed writing Tilly’s Trials and when the time came to do the edits, I had forgotten bits which came as a surprise to me. I am currently working on a romantic suspense and a contemporary romance. The latter seems to be gaining momentum and I am enjoying writing again. There was a time when I did think I would never write again but I think I am over that now.
HH: How has the romance genre changed since you began writing?
MB: I think women are more able to stand on their own two feet and have a more equal relationship with the hero. Also they are sexier than when I started. I quite enjoy that but I never put four letter words in my novels. I know that some people do but really that is not for me. However, some of my books are quite spicy. When I do talks quite often they are in Churches and I always warn potential readers about that. However, when people have bought and read my books they seem quite pleased with the spicy bits, which is a tad surprising!
HH: What's your writing schedule like?
MB: I like to get all my jobs done in the morning. I go to the gym, wash dishes, or clothes. Tidy the house and then after an early lunch I can settle to write. The house is quiet and peaceful and because I have done all those jobs that need to be done nothing is nagging at the back of my mind. However, I can easily procrastinate and decide I have something that must be done instead of writing. Fortunately, that is less so these days.
HH: What sources of inspiration do you draw from for ideas?
MB: Really who said writing is part inspiration and part perspiration? I can’t afford to sit around and wait for inspiration to strike. I try to work every day. However, characters and their stories do pop into my head while I am walking by the shore. I then start thinking about telling their story, so I guess there is a little gene inside me who nudges me to write. Perhaps that is inspiration.
HH: What's your favorite book so far in 2012?
MB: I do like to read a lot, I think my favourite is any book that I am reading, otherwise I would not be reading it!
HH: What are you most looking forward to in 2012?
MB: I have two books I am working on so I am looking forward to working and finishing those. Most exciting is my trip to Florida in May. My granddaughter is graduating from High School and will be going to college. That is a very exciting occasion that I am looking forward to. Also my family are coming to England for the Olympic games and we are going to three of the games, so that is quite exciting. I also have tickets for us all to go and see Alfie Boe (local boy who has made it really big) in an open-air concert at Lytham a few miles from my home, I do hope it doesn’t rain. It usually does rain or blows cold when the gang come from Florida. Hope this year it doesn’t. Finger’s crossed eh?
HH: Thank you!