The Formal Me
Maggie Lynch is the author of 20+ published books, as well as numerous short stories and non-fiction articles. Her fiction tells stories of men and women making heroic choices one messy moment at a time. Maggie is also the founder of Windtree Press, an independent publishing cooperative with over 200 titles among 20 authors.
Her love of lifelong-learning has garnered degrees in psychology, counseling, computer science, and education; and led to opportunities to consult in Europe, Australia, and the Middle East. Since 2013, Maggie and her musician husband have settled in the beautiful Pacific Northwest where she now enjoys the luxury of writing full-time. Her fiction spans romance, suspense, science fiction and fantasy titles. Her current non-fiction titles are focused on helping career authors succeed in the business side of writing and publishing.
Maggie is also a sought-after speaker and workshop presenter. She has presented workshops for authors all around the country and is currently creating a video series on indie publishing, distribution, and marketing in partnership with AWW On The Go. Learn more on the Speaker / Workshop page.
The Informal Me
Since somewhere around age 10 I began telling stories, writing plays, and even creating lyrics and music. I had an amazing upbringing in a very loving family. We didn’t grow up watching TV all the time. In fact, it was more of a once a week special event. Consequently, I had a lot of time to play outside and make things up.
Writing – I began writing SF short stories in the late 1970’s. In fact, my first publication was a children’s SF story I wrote as part of a research project for helping increase reading skills in fourth graders who were more than two years behind their grade. After that I published short stories in Science Fiction and Fantasy magazines and anthologies in the 1980’s and early 1990’s. During that same period, I also had a couple of short memoir (slice of life) stories published in Catholic Digest and Reader’s Digest. My literary short stories appeared in a variety of small press magazines including Back Porch, Glimmer Train, and Zoetrope.
In the mid 1990’s I returned to college to pursue a doctorate degree. I always loved teaching and made the decision that in order to teach at the university level I needed to go beyond my Master’s Degree. During my academic career, I stopped writing fiction and concentrated on nonfiction textbooks in my field of expertise–online learning. I was fortunate to publishing four textbooks during that time, three with Taylor and Francis / Routledge and one with Pearson that had two editions over three years.
When I turned 50 years old, in 2004, I made the decision that I needed to start writing novels if I was going to have a writing career into retirement. Since graduating high school, I always saw myself as a fiction writer, but doubted my ability to make a living at it. So, I put it in my goals that it would be my retirement career. Turning 50 was a kind of wake-up call to let me know I hadn’t done anything to create that career for a long time. It was quite the learning curve to move from short stories to novels. I also had to unlearn all the structures of writing nonfiction for academics that I’d done for a decade.
During the next five years I wrote five novels. Two were what I call my practice novels. In other words, they will never see the light of day, but they helped me to hone my craft and understand the story structure in a longer form. The other three novels started going out to editors and publishers. I received my first contract from a publisher in 2010 and published my first book in 2011. At the same time, Indie publishing was becoming the preferred option for many authors. Bestselling authors began leaving their publishers and taking the Indie route and I was hearing from my author friends how satisfying it was to write the stories they wanted and be paid more than they could make in traditional publishing. So, in 2011, I published a second novel on my own (remember I had three making the rounds). I quickly learned how much I enjoyed the control I had over my publication process and not having to try to make my novels fit within a narrow definition of genre. Since then I have been an Indie author with all of my new titles.
Music – I love music! My mother taught me to play piano and I kept at it until high school. I also took up the violin in fourth grade, thanks to a program of providing free instruments to children who wished to learn to play. I kept playing until my junior year of college. Though I loved playing music, there were many other things I loved as well, and I made the choice to spend time elsewhere. I’ve kept music alive by singing in church and community choirs most of my life.
I smartly married a marvelous musician who plays guitar in a variety of styles. Guitars are much more portable than pianos, anyway. I enjoy going to his gigs. I’m a pretty good roadie and a consistent fan of his music. We occasionally collaborate on new original songs. I frequently offer lyrics and the occasional musical suggestion. However, he creates the final tunes and there are always changes to the lyrics I provide to match the meters of the tune. On rare occasions I will join him on stage and actually sing.
My Sweetwater Canyon series of books has generated plenty of original music. My husband has written at least one new tune for each book based on lyrics or poetry I include in the books. When his album is out with these tunes I’ll certainly let everyone know.
Reading – Reading sustained me through many difficult times growing up. I’m the oldest of nine children. That means I always have an army ready to support me. It also means that a lot can happen–both amazing and sad. I’ve always been a good reader and devoured books. As I child I read a lot of fantasy. As a teenager I mostly read science fiction and the occasional Harlequin romance. As an adult I read much more widely–science fiction, fantasy, romance, women’s fiction, suspense, thrillers. It’s no wonder I love writing in numerous genres as well.
Exploring and Travel – I love walking and exploring. In my 40’s and 50’s I had many opportunities to travel on business in Europe, the Middle East, Australia, and all over the United States. My husband and I were married in Scotland and honeymooned there and in Ireland. Both places have ancestral ties to us. Our bucket list still contains new travel destinations, ranging from New Zealand to Iceland. However, our monthly travel tends to be places close to home (within two or three hours). There is certainly plenty to explore right here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.