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Conversations with the Inspiring Margaret Ann Spence

Today we’d like to introduce you to Margaret Ann Spence.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
It’s so great VoyagePhoenix promotes the work of local artists, entrepreneurs, freelancers and writers like myself! I’m super-excited to be here.

I’m an author. I was trained as a journalist but only turned to write fiction in the past few years. Lipstick on the Strawberry is my first published novel. It’s about a caterer, Camilla, who goes home for her father’s funeral and uncovers family secrets. As a food stylist can hide a strawberry’s flaws with a swipe of lipstick, Camilla wonders what lies beneath the gloss of respectability.

A few years after, I moved to Phoenix. I joined the Tempe Writers’ Group. This fantastic group of writers meets every couple weeks to share work. It’s what kept me going in the long journey to publication.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Time, time, time! People sometimes say they’d write if they had time but the truth is no one has time. You just have to carve out the time to write. Every day. It’s really hard when you have another job and a family.

Then, it’s really difficult to find a publisher or an agent. And once you do, how do you get your book noticed amongst the million or so books published each year? I was lucky enough to have the support of my small press publisher. They provided editing, designed a fabulous cover and are constantly seeking new marketing opportunities.

That said, writing is something you can do anywhere at any time. It works well with family life in that you don’t have to commute to the office!

I strongly recommend joining a writers’ group. You’ll find support and invaluable critiques of your work.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Author of Lipstick on the Strawberry, published by The Wild Rose Press, 2017 story. Tell us more about the business.
I write women’s fiction. That is, I write about women who face a particular challenge and develop and grow through the experience. It’s not romance, but everyone needs love, so my stories are all about relationships.

One of the great things about being a writer is that life itself gives you your material. People always wonder if a novel is autobiographical. That’s usually not exactly true, but a writer will tease a story from threads of life experience, whether their own or that of others.

I am an immigrant. I’ve lived in several countries and on opposite coasts of this country, as well as in Phoenix. So, I sometimes write about dislocation. Moving forces you to face your inbuilt prejudices and to accept differences, so I think I bring that to the novel as well.

What do you feel are the biggest barriers today to female leadership, in your industry or generally?
It’s amazing to me we still have this conversation 50 years after the women’s movement first started. The most obvious barrier to women’s advancement is the lack of political will to force companies to provide paid maternity leave for at least several months and to provide more flexible family leave policies in general. Other countries do it and thrive. Why can’t the USA?


  • Lipstick on the Strawberry, paperback: $17.99, eBook, $5.99

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Margaret Spence

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