Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Friends with Margaret Blake

Our Friday Friend today is Margaret Blake from North West England.

Welcome back to Heroines with Hearts, Margaret – and welcome home from your recent visit to your family in Florida!
HWH: Your latest novel, A Saxon Tapestry, has just been published. Please tell us more about it!
MARGARET: A Saxon Tapestry is set just as William the Conqueror is "stealing" England. It concentrates on an off-shoot of the Godwine clan (King Harold was a Godwine) and Alfled Godwine's will to survive. In order to fool the Normans she pretends she is her dead twin - Alfred - but this leads her into many dangerous situations, especially when the Norman Seigneur, Rolf Le Blond, comes to take over her house and land.

HWH: Where did your idea for this novel come from?
MARGARET: I have always been fascinated by the Anglo Saxons and while reading about the loss of the great King Harold, I was inspired to tell the story of Anglo- Saxon life and culture, which was not at all as barbaric as the Normans would have had us believe! Seeing the Bayeux tapestry also inspired the title of the novel, as it really tells the story of the Anglo Saxons!

HWH: What attracts you to this period of history?
MARGARET: My admiration for King Harold and his prowess!

HWH: How much research did you have to do?
MARGARET: I did loads, really went to town on this, reading the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles and lots of other sources. I also read the stories that the Anglo-Saxons told one another, these are sadly neglected! Also seeing the jewellery of the period and how the craftsmen were so gifted. Of course not everything was perfect, there was slavery and this is something of which I could not approve, but often - and I hate saying this - the slaves were better off than being lowly peasants eking out a meager living. In fact some people would sell themselves into slavery to gain a better standard of living. How about that? Shocking really.

HWH: Your last two novels have been historical romances. Why do you like writing this kind of book?
MARGARET: I enjoy writing about a period without modern communications, you can really spin out the suspense because of this. There is also great distance too, so that someone can be up to something bad and it would take the protagonist a long time to find out what is happening. Also I find it so romantic, I know the reality would have been far from that, but my imagination conjures up real romance!

HWH: What other genres have you written – and what kind of story would you not consider writing?
MARGARET: I could not write science fiction, or paranormal novels, just not into that genre even though they are very popular. I write contemporary romance and also romantic suspense. I love all three genres and I do not really have a favourite.

HWH: You’ve been writing novels since the 1980’s. What are the differences between writing for British publishers in the 80’s and writing for American publishers now?
MARGARET Communication and proofs by computer is the main difference, and also the availability of e-books. Dealing with publishers is not that different. Both Robert Hale and Whiskey Creek Press let you know quickly whether they want to publish your book. I know some other publishers take ages to decide, but my experience in this respect has always been very good. I have written for Hale recently and things have not changed at all. The advantage with the hardback novel is that they can go into the library and of course you do get PLR, (Public Lending Rights) which is a nice little earner!

HWH: Last week on HWH we were discussing where our story ideas come from. Where do yours come from?
MARGARET: I wish I knew, all these people pop into and out of my head, and then I just have to start writing. It has always been like that for me, the ideas just come but I cannot seriously get down to work until I have the name of my hero and heroine.

HWH: I know that, for personal reasons, you recently stopped writing for a while. How did you get back into it again?
MARGARET: I think it was coming to stay with my son and his family, it really helped me reassess my life. I kept trying to write and couldn't, and then before I left for the States, I managed to write three hundred words. I really thanked God for it coming back. Writing is such an important part of my life, not writing is really like losing a part of my self.

HWH: What are you working on now?
MARGARET: I am currently writing a romance and have a romantic suspense half done, these are the novels I had not been able to work on because of the difficulties in my life, so it's all points go.

HWH: We wish you every success with ‘A Saxon Tapestry’ and hope that your muse has well and truly returned now!
MARGARET: Thanks, Pauline, and thank you for inviting me to contribute to Heroines with Hearts.
A great review of ‘A Saxon Tapestry’ can be seen at

‘A Saxon Tapestry’ is available from,, Not yet available in print, just e-book and kindle but will be available in print very shortly.


  1. Welcome back to the world of writing, Margaret. Glad to hear things are going better for you.

    Question.. What is your opinion on using contractions in narrative writing?

    Recently, it has come to my attention that contractions should only be used in dialogue. Which, makes sense if you think about it. He'd could mean he had or he could or he would.

    Would it be a matter of "voice" for each writier?


  2. Good to "see" you again, Margaret! Congratulations on your new release. I love historical romances, both for the history and for the love of escaping completely into a different era.

  3. Yes,Toni, I think it is a matter of "voice" for a writer. If we all wrote in the same way wouldn't it be pretty boring?

    Thanks, Ana.

    I did forget to say that I will be giving away an e-book copy of A Saxon Tapestry. I would like to leave the winner until Tuesday if that's ok.

  4. I'm excited to say I have A Saxon Tapestry already and look forward to reading it by the pool in Orlando next week.

    You are such a gifted writer and a delightful person!


  5. How kind of you, Jen, to say that, thank you so much. Hope you enjoy your Orlando visit - it was very hot in Florida when I was there.
    A pool is a necessity!

    Kind regards, Margaret.

  6. Congratulations, Margaret on another fantastic historical. I so love to leave the problems of the present and get caught up in that time.

  7. Yes, Kathleen, it is the leaving the hub of twenty first century life that makes it such an exciting thing to do. Although, I would not like to have lived during the take over by William. He was such a monster!

  8. I am pleased to announce that Ana' name came out of the draw - so Ana if you would send me your e mail address, I will send you an e book copy of A Saxon Tapestry.

    It has been lovely to have been visiting with you.

    Ciao, Margaret.