Knight of the Jaded Heart is out tomorrow! Margaux was kind enough to answer some questions for us.
You can get your copy of this delightful historical romance HERE!
Did you always know you wanted to be an author?
I think like most writers, I have always had a dream of becoming an author. However, growing up in the Midwest, raised by good Midwesterners, becoming a writer was a little too exotic and not nearly practical enough so I veered towards journalism instead. Being a reporter was a lovely experience, and I truly enjoyed interviewing people, but I quickly realized that I preferred creating stories rather than chasing them. Having said that, the lessons I learned in journalism school have been indispensable to my creative writing career. Knowing how to write quickly, on a deadline, is incredibly helpful. Also, being able to edit myself and (hopefully) get a point across concisely without too many unnecessary words is the gift that keeps on giving. I don’t always succeed, but I try!
For me, research is key when it comes to historical romance. Maybe it’s because of my journalism background, but I find it incredibly difficult to write anything without knowing as much about it as possible. Luckily, history is one of my great loves and I enjoy the fact-finding process. Before I start any project, I try to read a few different sources on the time period and events that I am highlighting. Of course, there comes a time when you have to let yourself break away from the constraints of history and have some fun with the story process. Anyone who reads my work knows I take liberties, and I hope they don’t get too hung up on it. At the end of the day, I’m writing fiction and my goal is for it to be fun and entertaining. I want my readers to laugh and smile, roll their eyes at a little silliness, and step outside their own lives for a few brief moments.
What drew you to the era you write in? Is there something about the time period you think most people don’t know about?
The Knight of the Jaded Heart is my first book set in the Victorian era. Up until this point, I had been focusing on the medieval period. At first, I thought it would be easier to write about since there is much more information available on the period than the medieval; however, I found that wasn’t the case. The fact that there was so much information on the Victorian era made it harder for me because you want to get it right. There’s some latitude in the medieval years. You can play around a little, use your imagination more. If the devil is in the details, the Victorian era can be a little bit hellish! But it’s worth it. All of that nuance and ruffle, flounces and unyielding etiquette creates much-needed layers in a story.
What surprised me the most about the time period—what surprises me the most about any time period regardless of how long ago—was that people are people. One might think that just because the rules or behaviors were different that people would be as well. But at the end of the day, humans are always dealing with the same questions: How can I make my life better? How can I find love? Where do I fit in this world? I suppose that’s why I love history so much and why it’s so appealing. Human stories are universal. The world is a big place and we’ve been around a long time and yet our problems/issues are always so relatable regardless of decade or century.
Naturally, there’s a yearning to go back in time and experience what it might be like. I would love to wear the clothing, regardless of the stiff corsets. Even though I’m a jeans and t-shirt girl I would relish the chance to put on all those gorgeous fabrics! But I think the experience would get old quickly, haha.
Do you know where the story is going before you begin, or does it come to you as you write? Do scenes come to you fully formed or are you as surprised as the reader?
My writing process is pretty boring, and most people think I’m crazy. I like to wake up early. I am an early bird at heart. There’s just something about the mornings that make me so happy and full of optimism. Maybe it’s the freshness of a new day, but I always feel like anything can happen in the morning and it’s when I am most creative. So, I try to wake up around 3 a.m. That way I can get a solid two hours of work done before my kids wake up. As any mother of young kids will tell you, once the kids wake up there’s little time for yourself! After my boys get out of bed, I have to get them ready for school, finish up their homework and perform the other mom duties before I drive them to school. Then I try to work a couple more hours before I have to pick them up. That’s about it. I know myself well enough to know that if I don’t work first thing, then I will talk myself out of doing it later. Something always comes up! Best to get it out of the way early. Then I will usually take my Saint Bernard on a hike in the afternoon and let my thoughts ramble as I plan my writing for the next morning.
Every time I start a new story, I tell myself to block it out—make a list of chapters and a roadmap from start to finish, but it never quite works out that way. Ideas always come up! Better plots always appear to me too late, and I rewrite a lot through the process. I usually get about halfway done before I truly see everything come together. It’s almost like the characters have to come to life in front of me while I’m working. Believe me, I wish this wasn’t the case! I wish it was more organized! But I kind of like the fact that the characters and stories present themselves to me in this way; it almost makes me a reader as well as a writer.
Do you have a specific trope that you’re drawn too?
My favorite trope is enemies to lovers. My readers probably already know that since I tend to write it a lot. I don’t care; I LOVE it. There’s just something so sexy about the thin line between love and hate. Snide comments, nasty glares, rude asides, clever put-downs… so much sexual tension! Doesn’t everyone love a bad boy with a secret heart of gold?
What do you like to read when you’re not reading in your genre?
Oddly enough, I don’t read much romance anymore … maybe one book every other month? I think it’s because I’m so worried about unconsciously being too inspired by other ideas. I miss reading it though! There are so many great authors in the genre. I tend to read general fiction and try to finish two books a week, though that has been difficult lately! I consider reading a major part of my job as a writer. I’m constantly reading all types so I can learn from all the amazing talent out there. I’ve got a long way to go but I’m loving every minute of the journey!