Gone South with Meg Moseley (And a Giveaway!)

One of the things I love about being a writer is meeting other writers! I’m always surprised by how much I have in common with them, but honestly, Meg Moseley probably wins the prize.

Meg and I have been on several writers’ retreats together and she always drives—and we always get lost (we both have a terrible sense of direction). We both wrote opinions for the Gwinnett/Atlanta Journal Constitution (at different times, but still. We probably read each other’s columns!) And on this last jaunt, we realized that we share the same anniversary date, year included—and we got married at the same time.

Gone South (683x1024)So you can see why she wins the prize. But she could just as easily win a prize for her novels (and perhaps she has—I forgot to ask that question!) And so (while she was stuck in a car for much longer than she planned) I talked her into stopping by here to share a little about her writing and her latest book, GONE SOUTH. (And not just because I wanted a copy of GONE SOUTH.)

First, a little bit about GONE SOUTH: The sweet tea has gone bitter in Noble, Alabama where newcomer Tish McComb settles to reconnect with her family roots. Problem is the name McComb isn’t welcome in town, and when Tish aligns herself with the local prodigal daughter things only get worse. Can Tish find any mercy for sinners in Noble?

(P.S. The protagonist in my novel is named…Tish. Hey, I couldn’t make this stuff up. Well, okay, I made up the story, but both of us choosing the same unusual name for a protagonist? Freaky.)

I zipped through GONE SOUTH, thoroughly enjoying the read. It’s a well-crafted story that appeals to the heart, but the mind as well. So, naturally, I picked Meg’s brain for tips.

 I always like to ask about a writer’s journey to publication. When did you start writing? Did you always want to write novels? And what did you do to hone your craft? Because you’ve had several novels published, so clearly you know what you’re doing!

Well, let’s clear up that little misunderstanding: I really don’t know what I’m doing. 🙂 I’m learning as I go. I always knew I wanted to write, although I focused more on poetry and short stories when I was younger. Then, when I was on bedrest for months, awaiting the birth of my third and last baby (who is now 22), I read a zillion novels to combat the boredom. Every time I finished one, I had this crazy idea that I could write one too. It was still years before I started writing my first novel—which will never be published because it’s so awful. I learned (and am still learning) the basics of writing fiction from a lot of different sources that include writers’ conferences, critique groups, input from editors, and a ton of reading.

  It won’t surprise y’all to know that MY BABY IS 22, TOO (and a third born).  So…moving on. But unfortunately, we can’t always move on with our stories. What do you do, when writer’s block strikes?

When I get writer’s block, I think it’s my subconscious telling me there’s a horrible problem somewhere in the story and I have to fix it before I can go on. So I start by asking myself where it was that I stopped enjoying the story. Sometimes I can track it down to something simple, like a scene that I wrote in Character A’s POV when it would have been better in Character B’s POV. Other times it’s a fatal flaw in the foundation of the plot, and I have to rethink my entire premise. (That’s painful.)

 That’s for sure. So what’s the hardest part for you in the process–from coming up with the idea to getting the story published and in your hot little hands? And what’s the easiest?

For me, plotting a story is the hardest part. I always rebel against using charts and formulas and outlines, but I crash when I fly by the seat of my pants. I’m still trying to find the right balance between a structured approach and an “organic” one. The easiest part? For me, it’s doing the revisions after I’ve figured out the plot. I love to go back over a manuscript to explore the themes in more depth, flesh out my characters’ personalities, add more sensory details or emotions, and so on.

Ah, plot. Yep, I struggle with plotting, too. So let’s talk writing advice. What’s the best advice you were ever given? Or what’s the one thing you wished you’d known about writing, way back when?

I have so much writing advice sloshing around in my head that I don’t know if I could pinpoint the best—or the worst. But one thing I wish I’d known, way back when, is that you shouldn’t waste your time writing anything you don’t love. If you don’t love what you’re working on, it will drain your creativity and make a hack of you. Of course, there are times when we just have to be hacks to pay the bills, but in a perfect world…well, we wouldn’t even have bills.

Stillness of Chimes final cover (683x1024) Oh, I love that, Meg, and agree wholeheartedly. And now I have to ask one last question, because I know you’re always busy writing!  What’s in the future for Meg Moseley, novelist? (New books coming out? New genres to try?)

My third novel, A STILLNESS OF CHIMES, is coming out from Multnomah on February 18. I’ll also have a romantic novella, A MAY BRIDE, coming out from Zondervan in the spring. Meanwhile, I’m editing a completed novel and playing with ideas for a new one. The new projects are screwball romantic comedies, which will be quite a switch after the serious topics of STILLNESS.


See? I told you she’s always busy writing! And because I love sneak peeks, here’s one about STILLNESS: When Laura Gantt returns to Georgia to handle her late mother’s estate, she hears a startling rumor—that her father staged his drowning years ago and has recently been spotted roaming the mountains. With the help of her former high school sweetheart, Laura searches for the truth. But will what they find destroy their rekindled feelings?

A big thank you to Meg for sharing her expertise with us—and her book, GONE SOUTH. Leave a comment and you can win her book; I’ll draw a name this time next week. (By which point, I will have found ten more things that Meg and I have in common.)




25 thoughts on “Gone South with Meg Moseley (And a Giveaway!)

  1. loved this interview. Cannot believe all the things you have in common.

    I have Gone South already so don’t enter me in the drawing, I just wanted to drop by to thank you both for the interview and to tell you that Meg is one of my favorite writers. Her writing always evokes a mood in me–I always feel like I’m in the world she’s writing about and as if the characters are real people.

  2. But of course we would have third-borns who are the same age, Cathy! Next thing we know, we’ll find out that we have identical pictures hanging in our living rooms or something.

    Sally, thanks for your kind words. I love your writing retreats! And your writing. 🙂

  3. But of course we have third-borns who are the same age, Cathy! Next thing we know, we’ll find out we have identical pictures hanging in our living rooms or something.

    Sally, thanks for your kind words! I love your writing too, and your writing retreats.

  4. What a delightful interview. I love Meg’s characters. They could be living in your own home or next door. She sets them in scenes with descriptions giving a sense you are right there feeling the weather, smelling the air and viewing the skies.

    Meg, you did a great job depicting the south. Your readers have a treat in store.
    I have read both her books and look forward to the new one.

  5. I remember Meg from the time I attended ACFW meetings. She’s such a lovely person…yet another thing she has in common with you, Cathy! I’ve been wanting to read one of her books for a while now. I’ll have to get one even if I don’t win it. Thanks to both of you for a great interview! Oh, and I love the covers of her books. They’re so beautiful.

  6. Cathy and Meg, thank you for sharing. I can so relate. I too, learn as I go and feel as if I don’t really know what I am doing. It’s good to hear a pro say that. Incidentally, my main ficition characters are always Meg and Trish. You know, great minds and all…

    • Hi, Linda. For what it’s worth, I think the “not knowing” is actually part of the creative process. Saying that makes me feel better about not knowing, anyway. 🙂 Do you have a Trish or a Tish? Mine is Tish, short for Letitia (just like Cathy’s character, of course!) but the nickname gets mis-heard as Trish early in the story. I love playing with my characters’ names.

  7. Great interview. I love the book cover! And Meg sounds like your long lost sister. 🙂 Y’all really do have a lot in common. It’s a relief to hear a successful published author say that she’s still involved in the learning process of writing. Sure makes me feel better about all the stuff I know I don’t know. This sounds like a great book. It just went on my list. 🙂

  8. Cathy–Now, if you find out there is a “Meg on a Stick,” that would be mind-blowingly unbelievable…

    I mostly write memoir, but when I DO write fiction, I like the idea of the story unfolding as it keeps me in the dark…(I love both covers, but especially “The Stillness of Chimes,” which is an intriguing title…)

    • Sioux, don’t give me any ideas about that “Meg on a Stick!” 🙂

      I can thank my editor for the title, “A Stillness of Chimes.” We bounced around a lot of ideas before she came up with that one.

  9. Pingback: Friday’s Fun Find: On To The Home Stretch with I Am the Very Model of a Wrimo Individual | Cathy C. Hall

  10. I also have a weakness for Southern fiction, so I will need to be buying Meg’s books whether I win one or not. After reading the comments, am feeling like the only writer in the State of Georgia who has not met Meg. (That’s what I get for being a hermit crab up in Dahlonega.) However, this interview gave me a lovely sneak peek into her personality. Thanks!

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