Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Debut Spotlight: Maxine Morrey

Today it's my pleasure to welcome Maxine Morrey into the spotlight here on the blog to find out what happened next after winning the Carina UK #WriteChristmas competition with Winter's Fairytale which saw her winning a publishing deal to publish her first novel with them. 

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…

A few weeks before Christmas and a sudden blanketing of snow has closed the roads and brought public transport grinding to a halt, stranding Izzy miles from home and in desperate need of rescuing.

That doesn’t mean she’s looking to bump into Rob and spend a cosy weekend holed up in his swanky flat watching London become a winter wonderland! Because Izzy and Rob have history…

Six months ago, they were standing in the vestry of a beautiful country church, while best man Rob delivered the news that every bride dreads on their big day.

But at the time of year when anything is possible, can Rob and Izzy let go of the past and let Christmas work its magic? Or will this be one holiday wish that Izzy lets walk right out of her life…

Maxine Morrey has wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember and wrote her first (very short) book for school when she was ten. Coming in first she won a handful of book tokens – perfect for a young bookworm!

As years went by, she continued to write, but ‘normal’ work often got in the way. Finally, she really decided to go for it, and wrote. Really wrote. And after a while she had a bunch of articles, and a non fiction book to her name. But her real love is writing novels and the magical escapism it affords – for both writer and reader. After self publishing her first novel when a contract fell through as the publishers succumbed to the recession, she continued to look for opportunities.

In August 2015, she won Carina UK’s #WriteChristmas competition. Her first romantic comedy, Winter’s Fairytale, was published on the 10th of November. 

Maxine lives in Sussex, England with her husband and when not wrangling with words, can be found adding to her To Be Read pile, sewing, walking and wondering when they are going to invent a robot for ironing.

Her website is:
You can also find her on Twitter @Scribbler_Maxi
On Facebook
On Instagram @Scribbler_Maxi
On Pinterest @ScribblerMaxi

When I got The Call, I distinctly remember the lovely Victoria Oundjian at Carina telling me that the deadline for the book was just under a month away. I also distinctly remember me saying the words ‘I can do that’ without any real thought as to whether I could or not! But I’d been waiting a long time for this, so I knew I was going to make it happen somehow. You see, my teensy tiny issue was that I’d actually only written the first three chapters of the novel and I had to find about another sixty to seventy thousand words in the next four weeks!

I’d had the idea for this book for some time, although originally it wasn’t set at Christmas. When I found out about the #WriteChristmas competition, everything sort of fell into place with it – the winter element was what had been missing. I loved writing the chapters and tweaking them ready to send off, which by the time I finished said tweaks, was about ten minutes before the deadline! Ideally I’d have carried on writing the book from there, just because I was already falling in love with Izzy and Rob (especially Rob!) and really enjoying telling their story. As it was, I’d planned to take part in SYTYCW15 so I had to put aside this one to start working on that. But two weeks later, when I was told I’d won, my priorities changed rather! 

I’m lucky in that I do actually write quite fast – so long as the words are flowing of course! And, having written articles for magazines in the past, I’ve had experience of working to deadlines. I’m not going to lie though – it was quite an intense month of serious scribbling! I did take a few days off here and there, just to let my brain cool off! But for the most part, it was a case of nose to the keyboard and just write. Most days I was getting several thousand words out but I did have a few stellar days which resulted in five or six thousand which felt pretty good! I have to say, I was not at my most articulate on those evenings though – I think I had used up all the words in my head during the day! Those were probably the days when dinner ended up being a ‘bung-in-the-oven’ pizza or similar too!

As crazy as it was at times, I really enjoyed the opportunity to dive right into Izzy’s world and create this story – helped along the way by watching ‘Love Actually’ at lunchtimes and listening to Michael BublĂ©’s Christmas album whilst I did the housework! I absolutely loved writing ‘Winter’s Fairytale’ and can’t thank Victoria, and the whole team at Carina, for giving me the opportunity, and a reason, to complete it!

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