Maureen was born in Michigan, USA. She earned an English Major with Creative Writing Emphasis and teacher certification from Western Michigan University. She has taught creative writing to both children and adults in the U.S and Australia, as well as online at Writers Online Workshops. In 2001, she was recognized by WMU as one of eleven notable Alumni for achievements in creative writing with publications and teaching.
Interested in her mothers country of birth, Maureen traveled to Australia in 1981 where she now resides with her husband and several labradors and cats. She has two grown children.
Maureen has freelanced for various magazines and was staff writer for Australian Runner Magazine for many years.
Maureens website, Moonspinners Writers Page, was voted one of the 101 Best Sites, 2006 by Writers Digest Magazine for its Ask the Experts facility. Some of her published works are: Shadows in the Mist, soon to be re-released Haunting Desires, Enchanted Holidays, One Touch Beyond and A Nightingale in the Sycamore. She writes erotic historical romances under the pseudonym, Ainsley Abbott.
Besides writing, Maureen enjoys swimming, the sea, rip roarin thunderstorms, challenging video games and a good read.
Moonspinners Writers Page: www.maureenmcmahon.com
An Exclusive Interview with Maureen McMahon
Where do you live?
Victoria, Australia -- originally from Michigan.
Where can fans write to you?
What inspired you to write your book?
The stories in "A Nightingale In The Sycamore" were inspired by many things. Some were based on actual incidents that happened to myself or others; some were purely products of a vivid imagination. Many of the stories were triggered by "What ifs?". I'd consider a habit or situation that in itself was quite mundane and uneventful, then I'd think: "What if thus and so happened...?" This produced some very interesting scenarios!
What's an average day like for a writer?
Since publication, it's imperative that I first spend a number of hours each day replying to correspondence as well as working on promotion. After that, I try to write a minimum of an hour creatively. Sometimes that writing seems totally uninteresting, but the habit of writing, I believe, is important, whether it be work on a novel, short story, letter, or interview questions. Ideally, I like to do more, but any type of creative writing keeps the creative energies alive and fresh.
Tell us about your family.
I have a wonderfully helpful husband who, on his days off, looks after the house and chores allowing me more time to write. My children, a son eighteen and daughter sixteen, are a joy and very supportive, and have become my closest friends. I don't think I could have accomplished what I have without them.
My mother and brothers and sister live in the U.S. and add their support from a distance. My father, who died not too long ago, encouraged me immensely and I often still feel him near, egging me on.
Family and friends are very important to a writer for keeping that vital self-confidance alive and well.
Do you have any pets?
I have had cats all my life. When I moved to Australia, I had to leave Willy, a white cat -- my first -- behind with my U.S. family. He and I were very close but he was too old to suffer the quarantine and subsequent flight to Australia.
About four years ago, I was surprised to have a sulphur crested cockatoo fly down and alight on my shoulder. His mannerisms and possessiveness have convinced me that he is Willy, my cat, come back in another form. He was dubbed Willy, too, and continues to demonstrate many of Willy the cat's idiosyncrasies. I suppose it's Divine Justice considering the birds he terrorized as a feline!
Besides Willy the cockie, we have two labradors, two cats and a dozen "chooks".
What are your hobbies?
I enjoy doing artwork, song-writing, playing the piano and guitar and dog breeding, when I'm not writing.
What do you enjoy doing for leisure?
My husband and I love to fish when we get the time. We are also trying to establish a protea plantation on our small acreage. This along with my work with EPPRO, reading, walking and preventing my children from winning too regularly at Nintendo games, keeps me happy and on my toes.
Who's your favorite author?
My favorite author is Mary Stewart. When I first decided that I wanted to become a published author, I had a lot of doubts about my ability to set my novels in interesting locales. Mary Stewart inspired me with her exotic settings and knowledge of all the essential details, right down to the flora indigenous to every place she chose.
I sent her a letter asking how she was able to research such settings. I never really expected a personal reply, and was shocked when the two page, hand-written letter arrived. She was very supportive of my ambitions and gave me a piece of advice that, despite its simplicity, I have found to be invaluable. She said,Write what you know. She had, she said, traveled to each and every one of those exotic locales, and she knew all about the flora because she had once worked in a nursery.
Second to Mary Stewart as my favorite author is Barbara Michaels.
What's your favorite book?
I'm afraid I don't have a favorite book. I tend to go through "phases" -- liking a particular style or genre and devouring everything of that ilk, then moving on to something different.
Past favorites have been:
Bambi, Felix Salten
Gone With The Wind, Margaret Mitchell
The Moonspinners, Mary Stewart
Search The Shadows, Barbara Michaels
Spider Cup, Marion Halligan
The Haj, Leon Uris
There are, of course, many, many more -- too many to list here, and each in its time was my favorite.
What's your favorite kind of music?
Crowded House and Cat Stevens
What's your favorite place to visit?
Apollo Bay, Victoria, Australia. It is the setting for my next novel, Apollo Moon, and is one of the most beautiful places on earth.
What place, that you haven't visited yet, would you like to visit?
Again, there is not one place...I would like to visit Greece, Ireland and many parts of the U.S. and Australia that I have not yet been able to see.
Anything else you'd like to tell us?
Without readers, novels, stories or poetry cannot live. I want to thank everyone who has ever found pleasure in the written word for bringing light, life and validation to another human being.
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