Chatting with Maggie Robbins, author of Whilst the Music Lasts & more!
We talk about friends to lovers romance, coming out, and Gideon the labradoodle.
Andrew: Firstly, can you tell our readers a little about yourself?
Maggie: Well, I guess I'll start by stating the obvious. I am a lesbian romance author from Florida. I've been publishing for 4 years. I'm also a clinical audiologist, who diagnosis hearing losses and fits individuals for hearing aids. Both of which I'm very passionate about.
When I'm not working, I'm often hanging out with my partner Jennifer. We've been together a year this Sunday (June 13th). She's my favorite person.
Outside of writing, reading and ears, I am also a huge foodie and coffee snob. I enjoy a wide variety of books. I'm a huge gamer, both video and board games. My favorite is Dungeons and Dragons, which I play with Jennifer and her family frequently. I'm pretty adventurous with my time and am really up to trying anything once!
Andrew: Your most recent novel, Whilst the Music Lasts, part of the Concerto Amour series, came out on April 30th 2021. Could you tell us more about it?
Maggie: Absolutely! While the Music Lasts is a stand alone novel in the world of my bestselling novel Forbidden Melody. I was so attached to the characters and the classical music background of that book, I felt like I needed to write more. So, this book was born! It follows two musicians, Florence Bell, a cellist, and Bailey Scott, a guitarist. It's a second chance, friends to lovers romance (both tropes I love), with a little bit of a twist you'll have to read to find out about! But I promise, as with all my books, there's a happy ever after!
Andrew: What is your favourite scene in Whilst the Music Lasts, and why?
Maggie: Oh, this is an interesting question. I think my favorite scene is when Florence and Bailey play "their song" again together after the accident. That meant a lot to me. I also really enjoyed the scene where Florence got into the London Symphony Orchestra and she and Bailey break up. It was super dramatic and I was proud of how it turned out. I also love the scenes where Emerson and Florence play together. I was so happy to bring a Forbidden Melody character back as a more important role this time around. His and Florence's relationship was perfect to me. Can I just say I am proud of most of the scenes of this book?? Haha.
Andrew: For most writers, it would be a dream come true for their writing to make it to either the big or small screen. If Whilst the Music Lasts became a movie, who would you like to star in it?
Maggie: Wow! I've gotten this question for Forbidden Melody too, and it tripped me up. I actually am curious if your readers and my readers might have suggestions! I'm genuinely curious what other people think. It would be super cool if it got made into a movie!
Andrew: You’ve currently published ten titles with three upcoming books (please correct if that’s incorrect). If you can pick a favourite, which one is it and why?
Maggie: I love my books for various reasons. My favorite, without a shadow of a doubt and the one I'm most known for, is Forbidden Melody. That book was just a magical experience for me. I don't know what happened and how it came out of me, but it did. It will always be my baby.
Both While the Music Lasts and Homespun tie for second. Homespun was a really fun book for me to write because there was a lot of "me" in it. It also took place in my home state of Kentucky, which was fun.
I do have to say, I'm really excited about my next two releases -- The Space Between and Flygirl. One takes place in Utah, another state I am very fond of, and follows an jet fighter pilot. I used to work on an air force base and helped pilots, so I'm really excited about this book. And The Space Between takes place on the International Space Station. So... I mean, a lot to be excited about. I hope everyone will like the new releases!
Andrew: Have any of your own experiences helped to shape your writing?
Maggie: Oh yeah, for sure. I find there's little pieces of me in every book I write. For example, my novel Wildsky was based on some of my experiences having a mental breakdown in graduate school and dealing with a mental health diagnosis. It was so important for me to write about that part of my life, and I was so surprised the outpouring of people who wrote to me with their own stories that were similar to mine. But yes, I definitely base a lot of things from my stories on real life.
Andrew: What can people expect when picking up one of your books?
Maggie: A happy ever after, of course! My books are generally on the steamier side, but not to an excessive amount. I try to have an interesting plot along with diverse and unique characters and side characters. And above all, they can expect a story about two strong women falling in love and overcoming obstacles.
Andrew: What is the most positive experience you’ve had so far as an LGBTQ author?
Maggie: I figured out I was gay. Literally, hands down, the best positive thing to come out of my writing. I'd been struggling with it a long time but I finally was brave and came out back in 2018, after being married and in a heterosexual relationship for 16 years. I had a very amicable divorce (and we are still good friends), and found a wonderful human being who completes me.
The lesfic community also brought me a lot of great author and reader friends and a supportive group of individuals who I felt very included with.
Also, just growing as an author and continuing to try new things was also a great part of my author experience.
Andrew: What’s the best book you’ve ever read – LGBTQ or otherwise?
MaggieL Best lesfic book I've ever read is a tricky one! Some of my favorite lesfic authors are also friends of mine and there's literally too many of them to list.
The best fiction book I've ever read outside of lesfic is Brandon Sanderson and his Mistborn series. I love pretty much everything scifi and fantasy. Criers War is a lesfic YA I also love to pieces.
The best non-fiction book hands down is "Big Magic." If you are a creative person, it's such an amazing read.
Andrew: What’s the best piece of advice you could offer to other LGBTQ authors?
Maggie: Take care of your mental health. Have days you take off and take breaks. Do stuff just for you. Reward yourself for your efforts. It's okay if you need a mental health day. It doesn't make you a bad writer.
Also, keeping track of your word counts and sprints and writing activities every day (including brainstorming and outlining and other creative things you do with your book), is SO helpful. It keeps you accountable and motivated and shows when you do work, even if it's not "writing" you still achieved things. I highly recommend it.
Andrew: Tell us about your dogs, they look so sweet!
Maggie: Gideon is a rescued Labradoodle that I've had for almost two years. He's a little bit of a scardy cat, but he LOVES to snuggle and is the best snuggler. And if I'm crying he's the first to come comfort me.
Neelix is a collie, he's still a baby at this point but growing like a weed. Both of them know a variety of tricks (including waving bye when I leave) and they are BFFs.
Andrew: What are you currently reading?
Maggie: I am currently reading Catch and Cradle by Katia Rose. I believe it's a debut novel and it was recommended by Erica Lee on Twitter. It is super cute so far!
Andrew: What are you working on currently?
Maggie: I have three projects I'm working on presently. Flygirl and The Space Between are my Maggie books I'm working on, plus I have a full draft of my medical romance Pulse that's on the back burner for when I finish those two. The third project is a top secret project for a different pen name.
Andrew: What are your interests and hobbies besides reading and writing?
I think my most interesting hobby is that I love roasting my own coffee beans. As I mentioned, I'm a huge coffee snob. It's kind of a fun science experiment to test different types of beans and roasts and learn all the nuisances of coffee.
My other big hobbies are gaming, I play video and board games. My favorite is Dungeons and Dragons and I'm currently playing a campaign in the fey wild with Jennifer and her family, and I play a Paladin tank!
I also live in Florida and love the water, so the beach and pool are always favorite things to do.
Andrew: What have you missed the most during the pandemic, and were there any positive experiences for you?
Maggie: The most positive experience during the pandemic was that I met Jennifer last year. That was definitely the highlight in a very dark and uncertain time. As far as things I missed, I really loved going to coffee shops to write, so that was really hard. Jennifer is also a huge Disney World fan, so we are anxiously awaiting the day we can go to one of the parks together.
Thank you, Maggie, for joining us!
Find Maggie online here: www.maggierobbinsauthor.com