Get to know author Margarita Felices
Margarita Felices lives in Cardiff with her partner and three little mad dogs and she works for a well-known TV broadcasting company. She loves living in Cardiff because, for all its modernisation, there are still remnants of an old Victorian city. She loves writing and bases her stories in Cardiff because it has such character.
When she can, she goes out to the coast to take photographs. She’s lucky because right in the heart of her city they have a lovely castle full of Norman towers and Gothic architecture. Just on the outskirts there is a beautiful fairytale one, so when she feels she can’t write anything, she takes a ramble to those locations and it clears her head.
She supposes it was inevitable that someday she would begin to write novels. Her teachers at school used to limit her to no more than ten pages, because she used to write so much and in great detail. When she left school, she wrote short stories for magazines, and it paid her way through college. She is Gothic, she loves the fashion, the architecture and the music. The club in her novel, Judgement of Souls 3: Kiss at Dawn is real. When she was writing that story, she got all her club material and clientele from there, she wouldn’t have finished that section without it.
Ramona: Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?
Margarita: No I’m not sure any writer really does – at least the ones that I have an association with don’t. Being an author is about taking that journey that only you can see in your head and letting others in on the secret. It’s more of an escape than to provide anyone with anything spiritual. The essence of writing is to provide a story that you would enjoy reading yourself, and you can only hope that others take the same enjoyment from it.
Ramona: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Margarita: It depends on the research I feel that I may need to do for it. I also have a job so there are days when I don’t get any writing done and then days when I can sit and do pages and pages. You can’t really judge when the story or character ideas will come to you. I’m not one of those authors who do nothing else but write. Yes there are those who may have written over a hundred stories in a year, but I take my time. I think about my characters and where they’d like to be. I think about the reader and hope that they are still with me. So I tend to not rush things. My first novel took a number of years before I had it at a level where I wanted to get it published. But once I did and I started the second it took a lot less time, two years to be exact. My JOS trilogy started in 2011 and ended in 2017. My last book was published in 2018 and I’m not sure if my latest work in progress will even be ready this year. But I’m OK with that. The last thing I want is to rush a story and miss several areas that it could have gone to. This newest novel is going to be my most challenging – and also the longest one I’ve written.
Ramona: How many books have you written so far?
Margarita: I’ve written ten books up to now and have two that I am working on. A sequel to The Decoys and another full length novel called Rhiannon about a Welsh witch. Rhiannon is going to be incredibly demanding. It is a story split in two, one half is from the 16th century and the other in modern day. It involves very old Welsh language together with potion making that includes plants from that time and only available in the area that it’s set and incantations.
Ramona: What is your latest book called and what’s it all about?
Margarita: The last book that was published is called The Decoys (published in 2018) and was a collaboration between myself and my best friend. It’s about two Welsh girls who are made redundant from their jobs and decide to fulfil one of their fantasies by going to the South of France in the hopes of reliving some of the situations that they have seen from their favourite films of the 1950s that were based in Monte Carlo. Unfortunately, these two girls meet two Ukrainian jewel thieves and without them even knowing, become the guy’s decoys in getting the stolen goods out of the country. It’s an erotic comedy with a twist at the end. It was so much fun to write that we have decided to write a sequel.
Ramona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Margarita: Motivation. I do get lazy and leave the writing for days, sometimes weeks. I feel extremely guilty after doing that. I also have great ideas and dialogue ideas during the day and always believe that I will remember them once I get to my laptop – I fail miserably. There are certain kinds of research that take too long to get right. Sometimes it’s overwhelming.
Time. There never seems to be enough of it once you get started. Being an author mean those voices are forever in your head until you write them down. It is constant and you can hardly concentrate on anything else some days.
Ramona: What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?
Margarita: Vanity Publishing dupes so many writers wishing to get published. It’s the hundreds that advertise themselves as being able to get your book published and then ask you for money. Those people who believe they can edit your book and charge half of what a good editor will cost and only end up ruining your manuscript. I remember getting so many rejections from established publishers until I found one with a good reputation who saw potential in what I was offering. Established and well known publishers aim too high. They should relax their requirements because they really are missing out on some excellent novels.
Ramona: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Margarita: It depends on the book of course. For Judgement of Souls 1: Origin, I had to research the Crusades, the battles, the countries, the aggressors, the uniforms. For JOS2 I had to research 300 years of mortal history which included the French revolution. You have to have the correct names and dates or your reader won’t associate with the story. The research is the most important part of writing, each date and detail has to be correct. Each costume or battle, down to what they eat has to be exact and authentic. I spent a year researching vampire myths and traditions while writing the trilogy. I spoke to groups that were heavily involved in that lifestyle and roleplay. I even visited some of the locations that I was writing about. Book 2 of the trilogy is based in Malta, Rome, London and Cardiff and I visited each one in turn to get the feel and ambience of the settings. It’s crucial to get every little detail correct.
Ramona: In what ways do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Margarita: I have always wanted to write a story that was different to anything I’d ever read. You always read or see in movies that the female is always helpless. In my books, I always have a strong female. I write books that I would enjoy reading so I feel that it projects that positivity to the reader. My vampire trilogy has been written to be as different a story as it can be. It’s not about the cliché blood lusts that run through other vampire stories. It’s about a family – even if they are vampires. This is a vampire daughter trying to save her vampire family. These stories shows her weaknesses as well as her triumphs.
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