Maggie Smith, Writer
I write stories about strong women
“I wrote the truth, every ugly bit of it. But it wasn’t an easy decision for me. Once this was published, a woman’s reputation would be shattered.”
That’s how my debut novel TRUTH & OTHER LIES (March 2021, FVP Press) begins. It’s the story of Megan Barnes, a young Chicago-based reporter, who is torn between two role models—her mother Helen with whom she has a contentious relationship, and Jocelyn Jones, a world-famous journalist, winner of the Pulitzer, who becomes her mentor.
I explore various issues through the narrative, including the proliferation of fake news, the intrusive reach of the internet into our personal lives, and the generational conflict between boomers and millenials. But at its heart, the novel revolves around how, at a formative age, young women often pattern themselves after someone older and seemingly wiser and how that choice can affect the trajectory of their lives.
And I’d be less than honest if I didn’t admit this theme resonated with me because of my own experiences.
I had a prickly relationship with my mother. We were strangers to each other, shouting across the great expanse of changing women’s roles. No way would I be like her, a housewife in middle America. As far as I could see, all my mother did was cook and clean the house. Which was not the life I had planned for myself. Which I made sure to tell her every chance I got. And she, a product of the Depression and a world war, thought my dreams of a career in journalism were cock-eyed and unattainable. In many ways the scenes between Megan and her mother were easy to write because I’d lived them.
I never had a role model like my famous journalist, Jocelyn Jones. And I never mended my relationship with my mother, who died a decade ago. So in some ways this novel is an attempt to come to terms with both those facts.
To write a story where my 25-year-old self is able to achieve what I could not. To give my story a satisfying ending.
I regularly blog about the challenges of being a writer. Here are a few of my recent posts (Note: these links will take you to other sites on the web where these were originally posted)
The email arrived at ten o’clock last night. It was from my best writing buddy with the subject line HELP! A week had gone by and she hadn’t produced any new work. Not a single chapter, not a single paragraph, not a single sentence.
The woman in your choir read your debut and identified with the main character’s challenges. Your child’s homeroom teacher raved about your ending, said it made her cry. Your aunt brags to all her friends about her talented niece, the novelist.
Okay, maybe Oprah won’t welcome you with open arms onto the pages of her magazine, but you’ll still want endorsements from influencers before your book hits the shelves. BookBub and others have shown…
Writing Conferences - Why Go?
My name is Maggie Smith and I have a confession: I’m a writing conference junkie. I love attending seminars, workshops, and gatherings with other writers and I’ve got the lanyards to prove it.
We writers, along with everyone else, are hunkered down at home with time on our hands and yet many of us are finding it difficult to put words to paper. Instead we’re hauling out puzzles, posting pet videos, and inventing recipes based on whatever we have in the fridge. Me? I’m shamelessly binge-watching shows that highlight creative types…