Today, I’m hosting my friend and fellow eXtasy Books author, Maggie Blackbird. Maggie is of the Ojibway Nation, from northern Ontario. Her first book, “Blessed” has made an impact across the romance genre, as well as Canadian books in general.
I am honored to be doing the cover reveal for her second book, “Redeemed”, which is Book 2 of the Matawapit family series. The heroine, Bridget is the older sister of one of the heroes of “Blessed”, Emery, and “Redeemed” chronicles her journey with her former lover, Adam.
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VJ: Welcome Maggie. Thanks for being here.
“Blessed” is an amazing story, and quite ambitious for a first novel because although it deals with issues like sexuality and the church, it shows them in a whole new light.
Do you think “Redeemed” will have the same punch as its predecessor?
Maggie: I hope so. Redeemed addresses Indigenous children in foster care, aboriginal street gangs, and The Indian Residential Schools. The residential schools, of course, carry throughout the series.
VJ: What were some of the difficulties you faced while writing the Matawapit Family series?
Maggie: I can’t think of any difficulties I faced, other than Emery’s character in Blessed, which I’ll address in the next question.
VJ: Which of the three installments was the most difficult to write?
Maggie: Blessed. Emery was a difficult character, and I mean this in a good way. He’s a very private man, so getting him to share his thoughts, beliefs, and sexuality on paper wasn’t easy. His character is bashful and quite modest. If he had his way, he would’ve continued to live in my head, and not out in the publishing world. I even called on the help of a developmental editor because he was being that difficult. He’s not a difficult character as an individual, but difficult because he doesn’t want readers invading his privacy. And if I address what else his problem was, I’ll be spoiling the plot for those who haven’t read the book. This “problem” was why I had to contact a developmental editor for advice.
VJ: Which of the three stories was the easiest to do?
Maggie: Sanctified. Jude and Raven are go-getters and very assertive. They each know what they want. Neither is shy about starring in a romance novel. I’ll admit finishing the last 15% of the novel has been rough, and it’s not Raven and Jude’s fault. It’s my fault because I’m tired LOL. I started Sanctified for my NaNo project. I wrote 60K in November. I had to take a break through December and January to edit Redeemed. So I had to tweak quite a few drafted chapters for Sanctified at the beginning of February because of Jude. Now I’m back on track, determined to finish this draft.
VJ: What’s in store for Bridget and Adam on their journey?
Maggie: The blurb doesn’t mention Mrs. Dale, a social worker for the fictional Children and Family Services. Her role isn’t big, but it’s big enough to impact Bridget and Adam’s budding relationship, and why if Bridget follows her heart, she risks losing Kyle.
VJ: Did you ever expect to have this much impact and popularity after only one novel?
Maggie: I’ll be honest. I’m clueless about this impact and popularity hahaha Never knew it existed. Someone forgot to send me the memo!
VJ: What influenced you to write this series?
Maggie: Blessed started out as a short story, and it grew from there. I always had the setting, the two main characters (Emery and Darryl), but their story was different in the original short draft. The two felt it wasn’t enough for them, so the short story expanded into a novel. While writing the novel, Bridget and Jude (Emery’s older brother and sister) decided they also wanted a story. I liked their backstories enough to say, “Okay, I’ll make this a series and give them each a novel.”
VJ: You have a third book almost finished, “Sanctified”. Will we be seeing Bridget, Emery and their husbands in it?
Maggie: The adult children appear in all three novels. Along with Norman (the deacon and patriarch of the family) and Maria (wife of the deacon and mother to Emery, Bridget, and Jude). So do the Kabatay family, enemy of the Matawapit family. Each book is a stand-alone. You don’t need to read all three, but I do encourage it because the Kabatays have an arc that carries through the three novels.
VJ: What are your plans for future books?
Maggie: I’ve been hemming and hawing whether to write a fourth book for the Matawapit Family series, but we’ll see. Right now, a trilogy has my interest and has been waiting patiently (read: impatiently) in the background. I already have sixteen chapters written. It’ll take place at the fictional Thunder Mountain First Nation located beside Thunder Bay during the “grunge/alt. music” era.
This is the logline that is subject to change for the new trilogy: A drug-dealing punk and the chief’s haughty, privileged son, fall for each other, even though they stand on opposing sides of a raging political conflict that could tear apart their Ojibway community, and their newfound love.
Thanks for dropping by Maggie. It was fun, as always!
Don’t forget, Maggie’s first book, “Blessed” is available on eXtasy Books’ website in a variety of formats. “Redeemed” will be out sometime soon, I will update when I find out!
A single woman battles to keep her foster child from his newly-paroled father—a dangerous man she used to love.
Blurb: Bridget Matawapit is an Indigenous activist, daughter of a Catholic deacon, and foster mother to Kyle, the son of an Ojibway father—the ex-fiancé she kicked to the curb after he chose alcohol over her love. With Adam out on parole and back in Thunder Bay, she is determined to stop him from obtaining custody of Kyle.
Adam Guimond is a recovering alcoholic and ex-gangbanger newly-paroled. Through counselling, reconnecting with his Ojibway culture and twelve-step meetings while in prison, Adam now understands he’s worthy of the love that frightened him enough to pick up the bottle he’d previously corked. He can’t escape the damage he caused so many others, but he longs to rise like a true warrior in the pursuit of forgiveness and a second chance. There’s nothing he isn’t willing to do to win back his son–and Bridget.
When an old cell mate’s daughter dies under mysterious circumstances in foster care, Adam begs Bridget to help him uncover the truth. Bound to the plight of the Indigenous children in care, Bridget agrees. But putting herself in contact with Adam threatens to resurrect her long-buried feelings for him, and even worse, she risks losing care of Kyle, by falling for a man who might destroy her faith in love completely this time.
About the Author: An Ojibway from Northwestern Ontario, Maggie resides in the country with her husband and their fur babies, two beautiful Alaskan Malamutes. When she’s not writing, she can be found pulling weeds in the flower beds, mowing the huge lawn, walking the Mals deep in the bush, teeing up a ball at the golf course, fishing in the boat for walleye, or sitting on the deck at her sister’s house, making more wonderful memories with the people she loves most.
Web Site: https://maggieblackbird.com/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/maggieblackbirdauthor/