Meet the Author Monday: Margaret Amatt

Margaret Amatt

It’s Meet the Author Monday! Each week we meet a new author and get to know a little about them, their writing process, publishing experience, and tips for other writers. Today we’re talking to Margaret Amatt, author of A Festive Surprise.

About Margaret Amatt:

Margaret is a Scottish author and chocolate lover who has been writing stories for over twenty years (possibly more if you count her primary school efforts). Her early works will never see the light of day and are locked in dusty vaults on some old floppy disks. But after all those years of practise, Margaret released her first novel A Winter Haven in 2021. This is the first of a ten-book series set on the gorgeous Scottish Isle of Mull. 

The stories are unashamedly romantic but with lots of drama and an eclectic mix of characters. Each book can be read as a standalone but followers of the series will enjoy catching up with previous characters.

About A Festive Surprise

She can’t abide Christmas. He’s not sure what it’s all about. Together they’re in for a festive surprise.

Ambitious software developer Holly may have a festive name but the connection ends there. She despises the holiday season and decides to flee to the remote island of Mull in a bid to escape from it.

Syrian refugee Farid has made a new home in Scotland but he’s lonely. Understanding Nessie and Irn Bru is one thing, but when glittery reindeer and tinsel hit the shelves, he’s completely bemused. Determined to understand a new culture, he asks his new neighbour to educate him on all things Christmas.

When Holly reluctantly agrees, he realises there’s more to her hatred of mince pies and mulled wine than meets the eye. Farid makes it his mission to inject some joy into Hollys’ life but falling for her is an unexpected gift that was never on his list.

As their attraction sparkles, can Christmas work its magic on Holly and Farid, or will their spark fizzle out with the end of December?

Author Interview with Margaret Amatt:

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  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing definitely energizes me! I love getting in the zone and writing for hours on end. I rarely feel tired after writing, in fact I would write 24/7 some days if I could! Obviously life gets in the way and makes sure I take sensible breaks but I do love writing.

  1. What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Not reading enough and not getting feedback. If you want to know what to how to write you need to study it like anything else and one of the easiest ways is reading books in your chosen genre and craft books. Feedback is a tough thing to take on board when you start out but you’ll never improve without it.

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

I did initially as I was a bit worried about what people would make of my books but my husband told me to own it and use my real name. I would still consider using a pen name if I changed genres, so I didn’t confuse people. I guess my readers expect contemporary romance books from me, so if I suddenly changed to fantasy, they might be a bit miffed and surprised. It might not be their cup of tea. So to keep them separate, I’d use a pen name.

  1. Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

Yes and no! It’s a double-edged sword. Readers like originality but they also love tried-and-tested storylines – often called tropes. I love thinking up original ways to put a spin on the kind of stories authors know readers enjoy.

  1. Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

As long as they were able to understand and capture emotions in characters, then yes. Emotional growth in characters is a key factor in stories so an understanding of human emotions is vital.

  1. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I have lots of other lovely author friends who critique my books and give me feedback. Some of them are great helping with promos, others are just there to be a sounding board if I need it. My author bestie is Evie Alexander author of the Kinloch series. I would also give a shout out to Lyndsey Gallagher, such an awesome cheerleader! K.T. Dady, Anita Faulkner, Abigail Yardimci, Suzanne Snow and Mandi Blake all of whom have helped me in different ways!

  1. Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

In my series, all the books work as a standalones but there are little Easter eggs throughout for people who have read them in order. And often in reviews, I get comments letting me know this is something readers enjoy. It doesn’t interfere with your enjoyment if you want to start anywhere or only read one or two but connections are there if you want to make them!

  1. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Just go for it! Stop procrastinating with the I’m going to write a novel one day mantra and just go and do it!!

  1. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Several from my early writings – ones that I may never open and look at again. But also five from a shiny new series coming next year! And these five are like precious gems still hidden under layers of rock that I’m going to draw out and polish before putting them out into the world.

  1. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

This always depends on the subject. I enjoy researching and often this will involve lots of Google searches or asking people in certain jobs etc. The one I found trickiest to research was A Striking Result (book 8), because I don’t really like football but I had to find out about it. Thankfully my husband is a fan so he was able to tell me loads!

  1. How many hours a day do you write?

I binge write or zone write so on the days I sit down and go for it, I do about 10 hours. This only happens once or twice a week as I also have a day job, but I find it the easiest way for me. Going in for short bursts here and there doesn’t work for me as I get too distracted and things become disjointed. I love a binge session when I can let the words flow.

To learn more about Margaret Amatt, here’s where you can find him:

Instagram: @margaret_amatt_author
Twitter: @amattauthor

Meet the Author Book Promotion

Published by Kelly Schuknecht

Kelly Schuknecht is a marketer with a background in the publishing industry. She is passionate about all things related to books and loves helping authors navigate the world of social media for book promotion. She recently launched the course Marketing Your Book on TikTok.

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