Maggie Shayne is best known as the New York Times bestselling author of more than 50 novels, nearly 30 novellas, a former soap writer, (The Guiding Light, As the World Turns,) a former advice columnist (Shayne on You,) and RITA Award winner. But what’s less known about her is that she’s been a practicing Witch for almost as long as she’s been a published author.
While The Portal series is entirely fictional, and necessarily brimming with special effects, any portions of the stories pertaining to the actual practices and teachings of witchcraft are entirely authentic. Due to the oathbound nature of some Wiccan rites several of the spells and other rituals, particularly rituals of Initiation and elevation, have been altered, abbreviated, or are deliberately vague. These rites are revealed only to Initiated Witches who reach the appropriate levels of study in traditional Wiccan Covens.
R: Meow! Hello, Maggie, and welcome!
M: Thank you Rocco!
R: Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in writing.
M: I’ve been writing stories since I learned to spell my first word. It’s just never not been what I did. Eventually I figured out people were getting paid for that sort of thing, and turned my attention to publishing. It’s been twenty years since I published my first book, and I’ll never want to stop.
R: Tell us about your Portal series! What inspired that?
M:I’ve been an Ancient Mesopotamia buff for almost as long as I’ve been an author, so setting a story in Ancient Babylon (partially, mostly they’re contemporary novels) was always a goal. The trilogy features three women who were sisters, slaves in the king’s harem, and secretly practicing witchcraft. They were found out and executed, and an innocent man was cursed to far worse. Now, they’ve reincarnated to break the curse, free the innocent, and reunited with the lovers torn from their hearts so long ago.
R: Rumor has it you were once a soap opera writer! How different is it to do that than write novels, and which do you prefer and why?
It’s extremely different. It’s writing by committee. I was writing for them for six months before someone finally asked how I was liking seeing my stories on TV. I said that I hadn’t seen any of them yet, and was told, but we’ve been using them all along. That’s how unrecognizable my own stories were to me. TV was definitely not where I belonged, and though I was offered a lucrative position as co-head writer, I knew I had to turn it down. My heart belongs to novels.
Do you think your soap opera experience factored into your novels?
M: I think it made me appreciate that what I do isn’t about the money or the success or the awards. The only reason to write any novel is that you feel in your heart it is a story worthy of being told. Because once it is told, it becomes a thread in the fabric of our very reality. Write a story because it’s worthy of that, a story that will add beauty and meaning and enlightenment and goodness to the Whole, and for no other reason.
R: You have been a practicing Witch for many years – how did this come about in your life ? Are there any books on this subject you can recommend for those interested in this?
M: Yes, I’ve been a Wiccan for a very long time, and am considered a High Priestess and Craft Elder. It’s the religion that spoke to me. I believe that all religions are equally valid. People choose the one that speaks to them. Spirituality is very different than religion, and is personal to each individual.
I’ve written a book that gives a primer on what Witchcraft is, how it’s practiced and how it works in relation to the Law of Attraction. It’s Called Magick and the Law of Attraction; A User’s Guide and I’ll give you the links.
Smashwords (all formats): https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/284529
R: Tell us about your next release coming this October!
M: Oh, I am SO excited about this. It’s a paranormal thriller my editor says could be my breakout novel. SLEEP WITH THE LIGHTS ON (mid-September.) In it, you’ll meet my new favorite character, Rachel de Luca, a blind self-help author who doesn’t believe in the message that’s making her reach. She’s cynical and sarcastic about life, in fact. She does get her vision back early in book one, but 20 years blind has left her with uncanny senses. She doesn’t miss much. She has a blind bulldog, Myrtle, a goth-chic assistant, and an attitude that can’t be beat. I adore this character. The sequel is WAKE TO DARKNESS and comes out Mid-November. We’ll have more on Rachel soon.
R: Which of (your character) adventures was the most fun for you to write? Were any of them the least amount of fun?
M: They should all be fun, but sometimes I forget that I’m getting paid to do something I would do for free, and let it become work. When that happens, nothing is fun. I’m getting better and better at remembering that I’m writing for the sake of the story and at making sure it’s a story worth the telling.
That said, the most fun was plotting Everything She Does is Magick with my critique group. I’d decided the hero had to be kept a virgin until her could get with the heroine. The heroine’s three aunts (witches) conspire to interrupt his every attempt at sex to fulfill this prophecy and provide the world with the couple’s ultra powerful and important offspring. The aunts’ schemes to interfere with his “dates” were just too much fun.
Everything She Does is Magick, Links.
R: Do you have an “how I got my agent” story you’d like to share? How did you feel when you got the call your first novel had sold?
M: No, I was long published when I landed my current agent and we’ll never part. Lucky me.
R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing? What aids the creative process?
M: Deadlines. :)
R: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?(other than the practicing witch thing)
M: Probably that I have 9 grandchildren.
R: What is the craziest thing you've ever done?
M: Everything I do makes perfect sense...to me.
R: What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?
M: Light. Joy. I want them to be touched. I want them to feel like they’re better in some way than they were before the reading. I want them to feel empowered in knowing that love is not only the most powerful thing there is, it’s ALL there is.
R: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
R: What do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies or party tricks? :)
M: I workout and I jog. I love kayaking in the summer. I try to hibernate in the winter. I have a salt water reef aquarium. My house, my car and my fishtank all have names. (Serenity, Vanessa, and Serenity Reef, accordingly.)
R: Where can we find out more about you and your work?
M: I SO LOVE FACEBOOK. I’m on it all the time. Like the page and come hang out. We have great discussions, and I give things away all the time. www.facebook.com/MaggieShayneAuthor
My website is www.maggieshayne.com
R: Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
M: This isn’t a career choice. It’s a sacred calling. The first author whose name appears on her work, was not only a woman, but a High Priestess of Inanna in the temple at Lagash in Ancient Sumer, where the first written language was invented. Her name was En-Headuanna. And she wrote a bestseller. Inanna and the Mountain. The story spread like wildfire and it changed the status of women in the culture of Sumer, and elevated Inanna to Queen of Heaven status.
Write stories that are worthy of the telling.
Just for Fun:
Night or Day?: Day.
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully) BOTH run us and our household.
Beach or Pool? Beach
Steak or salad? Steak!
Favorite Drink? Water
Favorite Book? The Mummy or Ramses the Damned, Anne Rice
Favorite TV Series? The Walking Dead!
Favorite Movie? The Princess Bride
Favorite Actor: Harrison Ford. Still.
Favorite Actress: Anne Hathaway at the moment.
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada?: Neither.
Hawaii or Alaska? Hawaii!
Finish this sentence: If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be _Stevie Nicks, and we’d sing in harmony together.__Soundtrack of my life.
If I had just one wish, it would be__for everyone to know that we all have infinite wishes, we just don’t know how to use them.___________
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be ____Absolutely no one. My life is my own creation, and is absolutely perfect for me in every way because it has unfolded from me and through me. I love my life. It ought to be illegal how blissfully happy I am.
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