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Interview with Maggie Brendan

In addition to writing CBA best-sellers, Maggie has spoken on the value of Christian fiction. Let’s talk with Maggie about Perfectly Matched and the genre near and dear to her heart.

You are a self-confessed Georgia resident and Southern belle. So, instead of the old South, why do you write novels set in the Old West?
Growing up, I loved to read. I fell in love with Zane Grey novels and his descriptions of the West, never knowing that someday I would live in Colorado when my children were growing up. I was fascinated with the old towns we would visit in the mountains where I discovered stories of western life and heroes. Add the incredible Rocky Mountain vista to inspire me to begin writing, but I was never in a writing group until I moved to Georgia.

Would you briefly introduce us to Anna Olsen and Edward Parker?
Anna is a bit impulsive, disheveled at times, light-hearted and creative, but has very little culinary talent or is desirous of sticking to the “rules” that Edward lays out for her.

Edward is obsessive-compulsive, although genuine and a hard worker, who focuses on life as a task to be completed with no time for frivolity. But while accepting some of his peculiar ways, Anna shows him there is a better way to live.

Your Blue Willow Brides series features mail-order brides. If you were a single woman during that time in history, would you have considered such an adventure?
I’d love to think that I would be adventurous enough to become a mail-order bride as so many apparently did back then. I think given the time and circumstance, it would have been a much easier thing to do then than now because we have so many ways to connect and discover people with our technology. But surely it was a little daunting to not know exactly what your groom was really like without social interaction that life affords us today.

As a historical novelist, what would you say is different about doing research for your story vs. a writer of contemporary novels?
Writing a historical can sometimes take a lot of digging for accurate facts about certain information as part of your story. I believe it’s much easier to write a contemporary since the time is current and facts are much easier to acquire. I think contemporary novels take less time since so there’s not as much research involved. It makes me wonder sometimes why I choose historical, but I really do enjoy the research.

Your fans praise your writing with words like “glued to the pages, delightful characters, and heartwarming.” However, an occasional criticism rears its ugliness. How do you react to negative or critical reviews, seldom though they may be?
I kick my office trash can! Seriously, I cannot please everyone, so I don’t try to. I write under the guidance of the Lord.

It’s hard not to comment back to a reviewer when you receive a negative review. The hardest thing for me is when the reviewer says I have written inaccurate historical facts. I pride myself on checking my research and my copy editor does as well. Believe me, they don’t want to publish wrong information in my novels. I can learn from reviews what readers are interested in and what they enjoy reading, so they can be beneficial at times. Overall, I just keep writing and realize that reviews are subjective just like movie reviews.

Any words of wisdom for wannabe historical fiction writers?
Do your homework—read other historical novels and familiarize yourself with the genre. Commit to research because it will take longer to write an historical. Try to develop your own voice and not copy another writer’s style.

In your spare time, you enjoy family, singing and scrapbooking. Do any fragments of these real life activities inspire you for your novels?
I’d probably have to say that some of my inspiration has come from family travel we’ve done throughout Colorado and Montana. How could I not be inspired by the majesty of the area?

Thank you so much for sharing with us!

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