THE OFFICIAL BIO
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 the United States, 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. To learn more about the topics she regularly presents, go to the Workshop page.
THE INFORMAL ME
The tagline version of my life is: A repressed gypsy, creative by nature, who has tried to become a renaissance woman, yet maintain a home in life within the expectations of modern living. The shortened version is: Adulting is a life-long learning endeavor.
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 were not at all wealthy, but I didn’t know that until I was in college. Consequently, I didn’t grow up watching TV all the time. In fact, it was more of a once a week special event. I had a lot of time to play outside and let my imagination run wild.
WRITING – I began writing SF short stories in the late 1970’s. In fact, my first publication was a children’s SF story in 1979. I wrote A Trip to the Moon as part of a research project for helping to increase reading skills in fourth graders who were more than two years behind their grade. I used both “real” words and made up words in the story to ensure they could sound out a new word and get context for its meaning. A wonderful illustrator did all the illustrations in the book.
After that first publication I regularly submitted short stories to Science Fiction and Fantasy magazines and anthologies beginning in throughout the 1980’s. About one in six submissions were eventually published. During the 1980’s, 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 in the 1980’s and early 1990’s including Back Porch, Glimmer Train, and Zoetrope. I still occasionally publish a short story in anthologies today. However, most of my fiction writing is now concentrated in novels.
In the mid 1990’s I returned to college to pursue a doctorate degree. I had careers that had vacillated between the cold logic of software design and the extremely intimate human connections of counseling. Teaching was the tie between the two. So, I made the decision that in order to teach at the university level I needed to return to college for a doctorate degree. During the first decade of my academic career, I stopped writing fiction and concentrated on writing and publishing nonfiction textbooks in my field of expertise–instructional design and online learning. I was fortunate to publishing four textbooks during that time. Three were with Taylor and Francis / Routledge and one was with Pearson.
When I turned 50 years old, I made the decision that I needed to start writing novels if I was going to have a writing career into retirement. Since early in high school, I always saw myself as a creative person and writing fit my personality for spending hours and hours alone with my thoughts and stories. However, I 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 except for publishing short stories every now and then. It was quite the learning curve to move from short stories to novels. I also had to unlearn all the structures of writing academic nonfiction that I’d done for more than 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. In 2011, I also signed a two book deal with a major publisher. However, before the first book was due to the editor she left and went to another publisher. The new editor wasn’t interested in my books and the rights came back to me.
Fortunately, in 2011 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. Next, I published the two novels that were abandoned by my contracted publisher. Since then I have been an Indie author with all of my new titles.
THEATER – As I mentioned above, as a child I conscripted family members and friends into recreating movies and plays I enjoyed. I continued to be involved in theater in high school, acting in numerous plays and after college I did get roles in summer stock which finally earned me my Equity card. In my late twenties, I was also cast in small roles in a couple of films which got me my SAG card. Once I hit thirty years old, I put away the gypsy life and decided that the actors life was not sustainable and the variety of jobs I did (waitress, secretary, temp service) were not a great long term career for me. I needed to use my college education and get serious. 🙂
I haven’t acted in anything now for more than thirty years, but I still love going to stage plays and watching movies. Acting was a great experience for me. An introvert by nature, it taught me how to embody a character that used my personal experience for emotional connection while not having to be fully me. Good training for story, emotional writing craft, and public speaking. I’m still an introvert but I can do lots of public things by embodying a character that is a more confident and fun-loving person than I perceive myself to be.
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 my time and money elsewhere. (The story of my life is always wanting to learn more and something new) I’ve kept music alive by singing in church and community choirs most of my life. I also have an electronic keyboard at home that I use when I want/need to create music.
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. I’ve also mentioned song titles that my Sweetwater Canyon gals include in their set list. These are usually from some of my favorite Pacific Northwest Musicians. Eventually my husband will put out an album that includes all the songs mentioned in my books. When that happens, 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 read primarily 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 or mashing genres together in one story.
EXPLORING AND TRAVEL – I love walking and exploring. In my 40’s and 50’s I was fortunate to have many opportunities to travel on business in Europe, the Middle East, Australia, and all over the United States. In 2000, my husband and I were married in Scotland and honeymooned there and in Ireland. Both countries have ancestral ties for us. Our current 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.
I may not be quite the renaissance woman I pictured early in life, but I’m continuing to try to learn and become the best version of myself possible.