Thursday, 25 April 2013

Author to Author - Judith Arnopp chats with Maria Grace

Today we are joined  by Regency Romance Author, Maria Grace. Thank you for coming to talk to us today, Maria.

First, can you tell us what got you started as a writer? What did your early efforts look like? Are they still around to be used as bribes and blackmail material?
I think I was in the third grade when I started writing. The first effort was a stick-figure illustrated book of poetry that no one but me has seen in decades, and I think it is going to stay that way.  A couple years later, I pecked out my first short story anthology on a Smith-Corona manual typewriter.  That too is hidden away in a box, away from prying eyes and potential blackmailers.

If you were to write the 'origin's episode' of your writing what would be the most important scenes?

I can think of a couple important scenes in that script.  The first would be my third grade teacher patiently showing me how to format poetry and encouraging my first efforts, no matter how bad they were.  I had a similarly encouraging fourth grade teacher who recruited me to help write a grade level play on the history of our state that won district-wide attention, that would be another important scene.  The final one would be set in my High School years with my friends begging for the next installment of the six part fantasy series I was writing. Those were some very special times. 

Who are your partners in crime? What are their superpowers?

I have several partners, my family of course, first and foremost.  Their superpower is patience with me.  They listen to my wacky ideas and even come up with the plot twists that are staring me in the face, but I don’t recognize. I couldn’t do it without their unreserved support.
I have some wonderful writing buddies whose superpower is courage.  They aren’t afraid to tell me when something is just plain bad and in need of work.  It takes a true friend to tell you your main character is stupid and they don’t like her at all.
Finally, my proofreading partners whose superpower is super-vision to ferret out all those typos and other errors that are just invisible to me.  I can’t ever thank them enough.

Where is your secret lair and what does it look like?

My secret lair is the office I share with my engineer husband. The room is painted in his favorite color, royal purple—seriously. We have two desks, four book cases, a secretary armoire with pull out desk, two file cabinets and a love seat all crammed in that 11x12 foot room. It isn’t unusual to find both of us, our three teen-aged sons, five cats and the dog all packed in there watching TV in the evening, even though there is a perfectly serviceable living room just down the hall.

What are the biggest challenges faced with in your writing?

My biggest challenge is making sure I keep my focus on writing, not the thousand and one other things clambering for my attention all at once, not the least of which is the current desk cat, who trades duties with his brothers so there’s always a fresh cat in need of petting stationed between me and the keyboard.

What important lessons have you learned along the way?
Someone once told me, “Do it, afraid.” That really stuck with me. Writing is pretty easy all told, letting anyone else read it is an entirely different story. From the moment I first let someone read what I wrote, there hasn’t been a step in the process that hasn’t filled me with some level of panic. But I grit my teeth and just do it, afraid, and I’m glad I have.

What have been the best/most memorable experiences along the way?

When I put my first story out to be read and people actually liked it and encouraged me—that was a moment I won’t forget.

What is the best writing advice you have ever been given and why?

The best writing advice I have ever received is: You can fix anything but a blank page.  In other words, worry about getting it written before you start worrying about getting it perfect.  Editing can fix any mistakes you make, as long as you get something on paper.  That sustains me on the days I feel like I don’t think I can write a sentence that makes sense.

Tell us about you new book and why we need to drop everything and get it now.

I just published All the Appearance of Goodness, the third installment of the Given Good Principles series. Here’s a blurb.

What is a young woman to do? One handsome young man has all the goodness, while the other the appearance of it.  How is she to separate the gentleman from the cad?

When Darcy joins his friend, Bingley on a trip to Meryton, the last thing on his mind is finding a wife. Meeting Elizabeth Bennet changes all that, but a rival for his affections appears from a most unlikely quarter. He must overcome his naturally reticent disposition if he is to have a chance of winning her favor.

Elizabeth’s thoughts turn to love and marriage after her sister Mary’s engagement. In a few short weeks, she goes from knowing no eligible young men, to being courted by two. Both are handsome gentleman, but one conceals secrets and the other conceals his regard. Will she determine which is which before she commits to the wrong one?

You should drop everything and get it because it is a really fun story with some unexpected twists and turns along the way. It is a feel-good tale that is a great remedy against a grey and gloomy day.

It sounds lovely - the sort of book to read with a box of chocolates and a glass of wine. What’s in store for your writing in the future? Do you have any other big projects on the horizon?

I have tons of projects on the horizon.  I have a complete Regency Romance manuscript in the drawer, ready for editing. I’m working with an editor on a science fiction trilogy that I’d like to get out sometime next year. I have another Regency Romance 90% finished and it will soon be on the editing stack.  I have an historical fantasy novel planned out, begging to writing time and a Regency Romance Novella trying to elbow its way into the schedule as well. So I’ve got plenty of projects to keep me going for a while. 

Well,  you are certainly one busy lady. I am just off to follow the link below and buy one of your books. Thank you so much for brightening our day, and good luck with all those projects.  

 Thanks so much for having me, Judith! 

You can find Maria Grace online:
Visit her website Random Bits of Fascination
On Twitter @WriteMariaGrace
English Historical Fiction Authors
Austen Authors

Her books are available on and Barnes and Noble.


  1. Thanks so much for having me today, Judith!

  2. My pleasure Maria. I will keep sharing, I had to go out unexpectedly today and so wasn't able to be on top of things too much.