Maggie Smith joins The Spotlight this week to discuss her debut, Truth and Other Lies

Author Name: Maggie Smith

Book Title: Truth and Other Lies

Book Genre: Contemporary women’s fiction

Release Date: March 8, 2022

Publisher: Ten16 Press

Welcome, Maggie! Congratulations on the release of your debut! Please tell us about Truth and Other Lies.

When she uncovers a decades-old lie, a novice reporter realizes if she writes the story, what should have been the scoop of her career could destroy her mentor or her mother or possibly both.

What sparked the idea for the book?

I went to a week-long writing retreat in northern Wisconsin four years ago and on the first day the instructor challenged us with this prompt: “I could never write a book about —–”. I wrote down “mothers and daughters” because I chose not to have biological children and also because I had a strained relationship with my own mother. The next fifteen minutes we spent sketching out that story we couldn’t imagine writing and the triumvirate of a mother, her daughter, and her daughter’s mentor came to me in a flash. There have been many changes in the narrative since that day, but the initial impetus was that single prompt.

What’s your favorite part about writing/being an author and what do you find challenging?

Hands down, the best thing about being an author are the wonderful, supportive, creative fellow writers you meet. Each of them is writing a totally different book than yours but it’s so much fun to discuss the various stories, help each other with promotional ideas, support each other through social media posts, and sometimes just share our mutual triumphs and frustrations. I’ve had the great privilege to host a weekly podcast called Hear Us Roar for the Women’s Fiction Writer’s Association for 3 ½ years and believe me, interviewing over a hundred debut authors has provided me a master class in both how to write a novel and how to get it published.

As for the most challenging, that has to be sticking to a writing routine. I am a huge procrastinator and without a deadline, I can find a lot of things that need my attention other than making progress on my next novel.

Speaking of your next project, what are you working on?

It’s more of a psychological suspense than my first novel. The tag line is “An ambitious district attorney searches for the person stalking her and her teenage daughter, only to wind up arrested for his murder when he turns up dead.” My working title is Blindspot.

Any words of wisdom you’d give to your younger self about writing?

I would tell my younger self (and I picture myself at 25, the age my protagonist Megan is in my debut) that it will take time to learn the craft and what you write initially won’t be any good and that will be hard for you because you like being good at stuff. But do it anyway. Take classes. Become friends with other writers. Read craft books. Read good fiction writers in the genre that appeals to you. Go to workshops and conferences. Take jobs where you can leave the work behind when it’s quitting time and spent your off-hours on your writing. Travel. Listen to conversations. Observe others and take notes. When someone breaks your heart, feel it all but after a bit, write those feelings in a journal so you remember. Above all, start. That’s the only way you’ll learn. And gradually, you’ll get better. Believe me, you will.

Does your book carry a message? If so, what would you say it is?

I hope the reader finds herself thinking about how quickly we often stereotype others without truly understanding what has led to their behavior and second, how we often hide the truth to protect the people we love, only to wind up hurting them in the end. And finally, how time and age change us and shift our perspective and values. 

Where can readers find you? I hang out mainly on Instagram where I post about books (and life) as @maggiesmithwrites but I’m also on Facebook in a lot of reader’s groups. My blog posts, book recommendations, links to buy my debut, and my events calendar with my speaking appearances and podcasts are all in one place on my website, https://maggiesmithwriter.com.

Thank you, Maggie! Truth and Other Lies is OUT TODAY.

From debut author Maggie Smith comes a multi-layered tale of three generations of women: A world-famous journalist at the end of her career who stands to lose everything because of a vicious online troll; a novice politician knee-deep in a run for Congress who longs to reconnect with her estranged daughter, and the young reporter with ties to each, who must choose between them when she uncovers a decades-old lie.

Bio:

In a career that’s included work as a journalist, a psychologist, and the founder of a national art consulting company, Maggie Smith now adds novelist to her resume with the publication of her debut, Truth and Other Lies. In addition to her writing, Maggie hosts the weekly podcast Hear Us Roar, where she interviews debut authors about their novel and their path to publication and blogs monthly for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. A board member of the Chicago Writer’s Association, she’s Managing Editor of their Write City Magazine, and coordinator of Book Nook, which highlights Chicago-area independent bookstores.