Please welcome author Maighread MacKay to the blog. Maighread and I met at a Book Trailer 101 class earlier this year and have been great friends ever since. Thoughtful and contemplative, Maighread is also an artist. Always reaching, her first adult-themed novel STONE COTTAGE is set to release soon through Solstice Publishing. Welcome, Maighread.
Maighread MacKay is an author and visual artist from the Greater Toronto Area in Ontario, Canada. She is a member of the Writer’s Community of Durham Region (WCDR), and the PRAC (Pine Ridge Arts Council).
Her publishing credits include three books for children: Bedtime Treasures, The Mysterious Door and the Crystal Grove written under the name of Margaret L. Hefferman. Her novel Stone Cottage is her first foray into adult literature. She has also published articles for a variety of magazines, including most recently, the Durham Region online magazine – More 2 Life 4 Women and the WCDR publication Word Weaver.
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
What inspired you to write your first book?
My Mother read to me every night at bedtime when I was small. I loved the stories and the love and comfort that I received from her. I had written a number of short stories over the years and when my Grandchildren came along, I wanted to leave them a legacy of those stories so that they and future descendants who will not know me personally, will have a glimpse into who I am. I compiled some of the old stories with new ones plus a poem and published it as Bedtime Treasures, hoping to recreate the special time my Mother and I had for other families.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
Absolutely. It was my favourite thing to do.
What were your favourite books as a child?
That’s a hard question as I had so many. My Mom would read to me from The Bumper Book and Maggie Muggins. One of my favourite books, which I still have, is entitled Artie and the Princess. The main character is Artemis Peter Edward Aldebert Jehosophat Dragon…Artie for short. He was the inspiration for my Peabody character in Bedtime Treasures. As I got older, I loved all the Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries. Mysteries have always had a draw for me and as an adult, I have read all of Agatha Christie’s books.
For what age group do you recommend your books?
Bedtime Treasures is to be read to the child by an adult, so it is suitable for any child that wants to share that experience with a special adult in their lives.
The Mysterious Door is a first chapter book, so is suitable for a child who likes to read by him/herself. It is not too long to be intimidating, but enough to be fun for them. Age wise, probably around the 10 -11 year old, maybe a little younger or older depending on the likes of the child.
The Crystal Grove is a sequel to The Mysterious Door and is a little longer and more involved. Again, it would be suitable for the same age range as The Mysterious Door.
Where did you get your inspiration for The Mysterious Door and The Crystal Grove?
A few years ago I was studying Celtic Shamanism and the first meditation that we did was to travel to the otherworld and meet our Guardian animals, who would be our guides and guardians whenever we travelled to the otherworld. I loved the exercise and felt it would make an excellent adventure story for children so I wrote The Mysterious Door. I also thought that it may be a useful for any parent that wanted to share the meditation experience with their children.
The Crystal Grove came about as I was listening to all of the news reports on bullying. I remembered being teased as a child for being smart, wearing glasses and having a physical deformity. The remarks and pranks were very hurtful and my self esteem was very low. I spent a great deal of time trying to make people like me and worrying about what other people thought. As I have aged and studied, I have learned that “I am not a human being having a spiritual experience, but a Spiritual Being having a human experience”. I wish I had known that when I was younger. I hope that any child who reads The Crystal Grove will learn who they are much earlier than I did.
From what you are saying, it appears that your books have hidden messages or morals. Do you agree? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of “The moral of this story is..”)
Yes and no. The books can be read just for the story, but there is an underlying message to them.
What life experiences influence your writing?
I have always been interested in mysteries…none more so than the mystery of life and why we are on this planet. I was raised as a fundamentalist Christian, but my curiosity has led me to study Eastern mysticism, Native theology and culture, Celtic Shamanism, Buddhism and a number of other modern theologians and spiritual writers. When I write, first and foremost I want to tell a good story that people can connect to, but I also hope to get them thinking about new paradigms of life on earth that they, perhaps, had never thought of before.
Would you say you’re a “happy ending” writer?
Yes, or if not, I try to give the reader hope that things will get better. That is one of my main goals…to write an encouraging book that will leave the reader feeling good about themselves and life in general. We are fed a plethora of frightening propaganda and news through today’s technology and I like my writing to counteract that fear and provide some balance.
Who is your publisher? Or do you self-publish?
I published the children’s books under Soul Asylum Publishing, which is a self publishing company located here in Canada.
Do you write other genres?
Yes, I have just completed an adult novel Stone Cottage, which has been picked up by Summer Solstice Publishing, out of Farmington, Missouri. They are a traditional publishing company, so I am very excited to move on to the next level.
Did you change your Author name for this book?
Yes. For my adult books, I will publish them under the Pen Name of Maighread MacKay.
What genre would you place Stone Cottage into?
It is paranormal fiction and deals with life, death, reincarnation, past life regression and second chances. Here is a short synopsis:
Victoria Anne McBride is dead, mourned and buried. Unfortunately, she doesn’t see it that way and refuses to move on. There’s something she needs to tell her husband, Will. Until she does, she will wait for his return to their home, Stone Cottage. For as long as it takes, she will wait…wait…wait.
Rebecca Wainwright is a 21st century woman. Determined, her world is perfect and in control. Just the way she likes it. Tragedy strikes and she descends into chaos. Trying to heal, she searches for a sanctuary…a place of her own, away from the burdensome concern of her family and best friend. A place where she can lick her wounds without anyone watching. She stumbles across a lovely stone home located off the beaten path and feels completely at home, as if she’d been there before. Why is she so drawn to this place? How can it help her to heal?
Perhaps, Victoria Anne can help.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
Stone Cottage will have taken me three years by the time it comes out later this year.
If this book is part of a series…what is the next book? Any details you can share?
I am currently working on another novel entitled (so far) Friday: Dinner at Mother’s. I haven’t decided for sure if it will be a sequel to Stone Cottage, but at the moment, I am working on that premise. It is a murder mystery with a feisty ghost and some interesting characters. Hopefully, it won’t take me three years to finish it, but at the moment I am in the middle of research and interviews to get the scenes correctly.
Who do you feel supports you aside from family members?
My friends at the WCDR (Writer’s Community of Durham Region). They are a group of writers, artists, editors, publishers, etc. who are very supportive and helpful to anyone who would like to write. The workshops, classes and retreats that I have attended have been enlightening and have helped me up my game. I have learned so much through them and highly recommend the group to anyone wishing to learn and grow as a writer.
What are your views on editing?
Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Get others to review your work. If you are self publishing your work it should be reviewed and critiqued by colleagues and/or a professional editor. You get so close to your characters and know them so well that you often forget the reader doesn’t know them at all. An editor will pick up any gaps in the story, inconsistencies, scenes that don’t fit, structure that needs to be modified…any number of things that will enhance your writing. Even if you are going to send your work to a traditional publisher, make sure that it is the best that it can be before sending it off. Their editors will also look at it and recommend changes, but make it absolutely the best it can be before shopping it around.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
I love the feel of holding a paper book in my hands. That said, I have read a number of books in eBook format and thoroughly enjoyed them…but there is something about holding a solid copy of a book in your hands that is quite delightful. I prefer the new Trade Paperback size. It’s soft cover but larger than the traditional paperback (and the print is bigger so I can see it! Lol)
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favorite/worst book to movie transfer?
I think it’s hard to transfer a book to a movie because in the book you can get the nuances of character that are sometimes lacking in film. Also, depending on the length of the novel, scenes that you felt are vital to the plot of the story are left out. You can lose yourself in a book in a way that is not always possible in the movie. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed all of the Harry Potter films even though they couldn’t do the books justice.
I’ve been told by many people that they think Stone Cottage would make a good movie. Wouldn’t that be fun?
Now let’s learn a little more about you. What’s your favourite colour?
Blue/green with purple a close second.
Your favorite food is?
Good question. I love to eat and it depends on day. I also like to try new things. One thing I’m not fond of is Brussel Sprouts. Yuck. An Sushi…not a big fan of Sushi. I do love fruit and at this time of year, I love salads made from Spring mix with fruit, nuts, goat cheese and chicken. Mmmmmm.
Your favourite genre of music?
Again, depending on my mood I like an eclectic mix of music. Some days I like the New Age/meditation music. Other days I want to dance around the house to Bluegrass or Country. I also like Scottish and Irish ballads with such groups as Celtic Thunder (of course they’re not hard to look at either). Of course, there’s always the Golden Oldies with Elvis, Roy Orbison, the Everley Brothers, the Righteous Brothers etc. Now that’s fun music.
What books/authors have influenced your life?
Again, there are so many it’s hard to pick. Neale Donald Walsh and his Conversations with God series is good. Robert Schwartz with Your Soul’s Plan. Excellent book to expand your thinking. Wayne Dyer, Ted Andrews…books about angels, past lives, quantum physics, …the list goes on.
For light reading, I really enjoy J.K. Rowling, Norah Roberts, Mary Balogh, Amanda Quick, Jayne Anne Krentz and numerous others. Sigh. It’s so hard to pick just one!
What interesting fact do you think your readers might enjoy knowing about you?
Well, one thing I did quite a few years back, I attended clown school with my husband. I had a mime clown character named Sunshine and he was Jellybean. We used to do shows at various churches around the province. We even got a call to perform in Arlington, Texas! It was a lot of fun and we really enjoyed performing for the children.
How can your reader’s reach you?
They can contact me through my website at www.mhefferman.ca. They can also view my book trailers on You Tube at Margaret Hefferman Stone Cottage.
Thank you Margaret, and best of luck with the new release.
- Tag along with Myrtle as she deals with a bully and discovers what friendship really means
- Read how The Beautiful Peach Tree learns about jealousy and being the best she can be
- Listen as David begins to understand what beauty and harmony are all about
- Read the old legend of the Spring Goddess Ostara and her companion, the rabbit
- Join Mandy as she travels on her great adventure and finds that she just has to be herself to have friends
- Follow Peabody the Dragon and read why he is so sad and then watch as he and his friends face their fears in the Fearsome Phantom of Pirate’s Cove
- Stand with Elliott, the Christmas Star, as he finally accepts himself for who he truly is
The poem, Grandmother Moon, will soothe your child to sleep with sweet dreams and happy smiles.
I hope that you and your little ones will enjoy reading these stories together, as much as I enjoyed writing them.
Margaret L. Hefferman
The Mysterious Door
While practicing in Emma’s backyard for the school baseball team, Charlie hits a ball into the woods. When Emma searches for it, she finds an old oak tree that is very unusual. Calling Charlie, she asks if he notices anything different about the tree. “Oh, my gosh,” he says. “Do you mean the door?” “Okay, so you do see it. I thought I was seeing things,” replies Emma.
From that moment on their lives change as they approach the door, open it and enter a totally new world. They meet talking flowers, Pip, a Leprechaun, the Hunter and many animals, including their Animal Guides as they journey through a small portion of the Otherworld and run into a tricky problem on their way back home.
The book also leaves us with a few questions. Will the door be there the next time they wish it to be? Who is the caretaker of the tree? Where will their next visit take them? Why don’t some of the animals like them?
The Crystal Grove
After being betrayed by a friend, Emma is having a hard time believing in herself or feeling she is worthy of being liked. Charlie suggests they go back to the Otherworld to find Mystique, Shadow and Ramses to see if they can help her. Discovering they have dangerous enemy in Anu, the yellow tiger, this journey will be more perilous than the last. As they make their way to The Crystal Grove, they will need all of their strength and courage to outwit the new threat. Their own friendship is tried as they learn things about each other they didn’t know. New friends are introduced who help them reach their destination despite the challenges they face. When they arrive at the grove, the Goddess Quan Yin helps them remember Who They Really Are and how to deal with Emma’s problem