Thursday, September 20, 2012

Interview with Maggie Lyons

Joining us today is Maggie Lyons, author of Vin and the Dorky Duet, a middle-grade adventure story.

Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?

World traveler, spy, concert pianist—just kidding! Actually I do love traveling and once got as far as the beautiful and fascinating land of Ethiopia. A very long time ago I enjoyed an extremely brief career as a very unofficial spy for the British government and, in my student days, I managed to quell my stage fright enough to give a handful of public performances as a classical pianist. That was in the United Kingdom where I was born.

After my curiosity was piqued by the streets paved with gold in the United States—well, that’s what they tell foreigners they’ll find over here—I gravitated to Virginia where I threw myself—not literally of course—into editing and writing nonfiction, mostly for adults.

I discovered the magic of writing for children a few years ago. I’m having so much fun with it, I can’t imagine why I didn’t start doing it long before. When my son was small, I enjoyed reading him stories at bedtime as much as I had enjoyed listening to my parents reading stories to me in my childhood.

It’s no secret that children who read and listen to stories develop a strong foundation for their emotional well-being as well as for the intellectual and social skills they’ll need as they grow up.

Did I say “grow up”? I’m not sure I ever did grow up because I still find the world of children’s stories absolutely fascinating. Writing them gives me all I need as an excuse to raid the stacks at my local children’s library.

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

I wonder if the writing bug is a cousin of the bookworm? It’s probably a speed writer because it writes with six hands. Hmm …

I loved words as a child—reading them and speaking them. I didn’t write them with any sort of relish until I got my first real job as program annotator with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, DC, which allowed me to peruse the music stacks at the Library of Congress and—privilege of privileges—bring the books home. I luxuriated in the pleasures of researching and writing about European and American composers, a favorite subject of mine.

Why did you decide to write stories/nonfiction books for the children’s market?

Children’s literature has always fascinated me. My parents read bedtime stories to me when I was a child and I read stories to my son when he was small. All I needed was an excuse to borrow books from the children’s library, and declaring myself to be a children’s writer did the trick. Studying the work of great children’s writers gives me the chance to indulge my love of that enchanting mix of innocence, escapism, imagination, and humor that bubbles out of children’s literature.

What is your favorite part of writing for this group? What is the greatest challenge?

I love playing with words but writing something somebody enjoys reading is a challenge.

Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?

It’s about a seventh-grader who reluctantly goes on a mission to introduce his sister, Meg, to a boy she has a crush on. Since Vin doesn’t actually know this boy, he has to dream up a game plan to meet him and introduce him to Meg. That’s when the mishaps pile up and things don’t turn out quite as Vin expects.

What inspired you to write it?

My love of music—Vin plays the trumpet—and challenges, or perhaps I should say the idea of challenges.

Has getting published changed how your family/friends treat you?

Not yet.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

The e-book is available at:
MuseItYoung section of MuseItUp Publishing’s bookstore:

The paperback is available at:
Halo Publishing International at:

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

My Facebook author page is:

The e-book of Vin and the Dorky Duet is available at the MuseItYoung section of MuseItUp Publishing’s bookstore; Amazon and other outlets listed on MuseItUp Publishing’s home page. The Vin and the Dorky Duet book page at Amazon is at:

The paperback is available at Halo Publishing International:

What is up next for you?

Launching Dewi and the Seeds of Doom this coming October.

I’ll announce the release dates of the e-book and paperback versions on my website and Facebook author page.

Do you have anything else to add?

Check my Facebook page and website for the latest news.

Thank you for spending time with us today, Maggie. We wish you much success.

Thank you for inviting me. I don’t know about your readers, but I’ve had a lot of fun.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Growing up is overrated! Good interview, ladies.

Deb Hockenberry said...

Great interview Susanne & Maggie. I agree that growing up is overrated but Vin is handling is great with all the gracefulness of a twelve - year - old boy!

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

I enjoyed learning more about you, Maggie. Your books sounds like a fun read for kids. Best of luck to you.

Laura Marcella said...

Growing up is a myth, I think! :) Wonderful interview. Wishing Maggie the best of luck with her writing and congrats on her book!

Have a great weekend, Susanne!

Jennifer Shirk said...

Oh, that premise sounds really cute!

Janet Johnson said...

Sounds like a very fun book! I love writing for children, too. Such a sense of wonder and imagination!

Susanne Drazic said...

Hello! Vin and the Dorky Duet was a fun book to read. I enjoyed getting to know Maggie through her interview.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Susanne - what an interesting guest and obviously so musically talented. Maggie - having a first real job as a program annotator with the NSO - amazing opportunity .. that must have been so interesting .. and one you obviously grabbed voraciously ..

Love the idea of Trumpet Vin ..

Congratulations on having your ebook up and out there .. good luck with the future ..

Cheers Hilary

Bish Denham said...

Ahh yes, writing does seem to begin with reading and acquiring the love of words. Nice interview!

Susanne Drazic said...

Hi, Hilary! Glad you enjoyed learning about Maggie and her book, VIN AND THE DORKY DUET.

Hi, Bish! Glad you enjoyed the interview. Thanks for stopping by.

Lynda R Young said...

Yes! I think putting off growing up is the besst way to stay young, which in turn is perfect for children's writers.


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