Tell us a little about yourself, perhaps something not many people know.
While I come across as assertive (some would say aggressive at times), I am in reality very introverted and shy. I’m always nervous I am going to the say the wrong thing to someone unintentionally, or hurt someone’s feelings unknowingly. Because of this I have a huge personal space bubble around me and I don’t let very many people passt it.
What is your book about?
Passion’s Palette is the 5th book in my MacQuire Women series and tells the love story of artist Serena MacQuire and veterinarian Seamus Cleary. This is actually the second prequel I’ve written in the series. The first book to be published was the story of Serena’s niece Tiffany (SKATER’S WALTZ) then the next two were about Serena’s twins Moira (THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME) and Padric ( FIRST IMPRESSIONS.) After those three were written, I really wanted to explore the two mothers of all these people. I wrote Carly, Serena’s older sisters’ story, first ( THE VOICES OF ANGELS) and then I knew Serena needed to share her own love story with the romance reading world.
What inspired you to write this book?
Part of that question I’ve just answered, but the rest of the reason is that I wanted to show how losing people you love – and not only people! – doesn’t have to close off your heart to ever finding love again. My grandmother was only 33 when she lost my grandfather. She had three little girls to raise and was left penniless. This was in the 1930’s before welfare and government assistance for children and mothers. My grandmother never married again, and never engaged in any kind of romantic relationship, even when her daughters where grown and out on their own. She simply closed her heart to ever finding love again, and that just made me so sad for her. So I wrote a tragic past for Serena along the same vein, and had her closing her heart to ever being able to love a man again without being fearful she’d lose him. Seamus Cleary is the man to break that wall down and claim her heart, thereby freeing her from a lifetime of loneliness.
What is your writing style?
Before I tell you I have to tell you that, as a nurse, I have a scientific background and I use that knowledge base to guide me through life, decisions and problems. What that means is that I look at a problem from every angle, figure out where I want to go in solving that problem, and then think of events that would deviate me from solving it. So, that’s a longwinded way of saying I am a plotter first, last, always. Before I ever type Chapter One on my laptop, I know every single facet of my H/H’s lives. I do a full story bible, write my GMC ( Goal, motivation, Conflict) out on a dry erase board for clarity, and then troll the internet and magazines for images of what I think my H/H look like. I make Pinterest boards for my books in progress, and I do vision boards for each story so I can visually refer to them during the day when I write. All this planning takes anywhere from 2-3 weeks, so when I actually start to write, I know where I am going, and when and how I am going to get to the end. I have a minimum daily ( 5 days a week) writing goal of 2500 words, but most days I exceed that, which is why I can churn out an 80,000 word first draft in about 6-8 weeks.
What advice would you give a writer just starting out? Share 3 pearls of wisdom.
A. First and foremost, write the story of your heart-do not write for what’s trending at the moment. Fads change. Today’s vampire love story will morph into something new in a heartbeat. If you’ve got a story about a newly divorced 45 year old with three kids and she needs to move to Antarctica to survive – then write that story and make it the best story you can. B. Try to write every day. I heard Nora Roberts once say writing is like exercising a muscle. If you don’t use the muscle, it weakens and atrophies. I think this is the same for writing. Even if you don’t work on your current story every day, post something you’ve written on your website, or a diary, or write a piece for another writers’ blog. Just utilize those writing muscles so they keep strong and toned. C. Go to a romance writing conference like RWA or RT, or any of the dozens of writing chapters around the country and soak up as much knowledge as you can. While there do not be afraid to ask questions of other writers – even the really famous ones! Believe me, they are willing to talk to you. They remember what it was like to be a fledgling, unpublished writer and I’m sure they wished they had asked questions of their idols that they didn’t take the opportunity to.
Talented and witty portrait artist Serena MacQuire is successful in everything but love. Her gift for capturing people on canvas is rivaled only by her fiery and legendary temper. A tragedy from the past keeps her heart securely locked away, preventing any man from getting close enough to claim it.
But Seamus Cleary isn’t just any man. After he left his professional football career to become a veterinarian, his bitter wife ended their marriage. Now, as he starts his life over in a new town, love is the last thing he’s looking for. The more he tends to Serena’s horses, though, the more he realizes her own heart needs tender care and healing as well.
Will he be the man who finally unlocks and claims her heart?
With a hip resting against the tabletop, he browsed through her paints and brushes, lifting one color pot, then another. “So. You’re an artist.”
“What do you paint?”
As he opened and closed the pots, Serena observed his hands, silently assessing the length and width of his fingers. Her mind registered the dexterous movements of each action, the deliberate, studied way his hands performed each task.
His eyebrows rose. “This is pretty big equipment for a portrait. Where do your pictures hang? In castles?”
“Three do,” she told him, charmed when his neck reddened. “But this stuff will be for a mural I’ve been commissioned to do for a hospital.”
His eyebrows lifted. “Impressive. You must be good.”
Allowing a smidgeon of playfulness to creep into her voice, Serena gave him a shrug that rivaled his own. “Better than some. Not as good as others.”
He returned her smile with one of his own.
Serena’s heart giddyapped.
Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, Peggy brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she has created the families she wanted as that lonely child.
Tying into her love of families, her children’s book, THE KINDNESS TALES, was illustrated by her artist mother-in-law.
Peggy holds a master’s degree in Nursing Administration and first found publication with several articles she authored on Alzheimer’s Disease during her time running an Alzheimer’s in-patient care unit during the 1990s.
In 2013, she placed first in two categories in the Dixie Kane Memorial Contest: Single Title Contemporary Romance and Short/Long Contemporary Romance.
In 2017 she came in 3rd in the New England Reader’s Choice contest for A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS and is a finalist in the 2017 STILETTO contest for the same title.
A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.
Thanks so much to Peggy for sharing her new release and letting us get to know her better!