Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? How did you start your writing career?

When I was in the 3rd grade I would devour books and I love the smell, the print of holding a book in my hand and dreamed of being a writer.

Has being an author been everything you thought it would be? If not, what has surprised you the most?

It’s more than I thought and a whole lot more. There’s so much that goes into getting a book published. I think the thing that surprised me the most is that just because you get edits on your manuscript, it doesn’t stop there. There character sketches to write, timelines, marketing, book signing and speaking. But all of these things are good things but they take a lot of time to stay on top of.

Can you give us a sneak peek into what you’re working on right now? What is the title and when do you expect it to come out?

I’ve just finished A Love of Her Own, which will release June 2010. I’m working on another series called The Blue Willow Brides.

Why did you decide to write under the name of Maggie Brendan? What are the advantages?

I wanted a name that sounded like an Irish romantic name. Lott just didn’t work.
I also wanted to maintain a way to write non-fiction under my real name. I almost went with my maiden name, O’Neal, I’m part Irish, but I really like my pen name. Maggie was my mother’s name and my granddaughter’s name is Maggie. I was nicknamed Maggie years ago by sister-in-law and it stuck.

What three things are you most thankful for in your life that others might think silly?

Of the personal things-I’m thankful that I have good hair and for my friendly personality. I hope that doesn’t sound egotistical for what others might call silly. I’m thankful for autumn, the smell of burning leaves and a clean sparkling home.

I loved your descriptions of the Colorado Rockies and how Crystal and the boys made through the country taking the cattle to market. Have you been to the Colorado Rockies? How do you know so much about cowboys and what it takes to run a ranch?

I lived in Colorado for eight years when my children were small, but I read about the Rockies and fell in love with them after reading Zane Gray novels. I read a lot of westerns growing up and loved all the TV westerns. I guess all of the information just stayed with me, but I do reach as well. I always say that I always wanted to be a cowboy.

I also loved how you described the parties they had in the country. I felt like I was there. Even through it was a beautiful country side and an amazing party there were still mean people like April to make a person feel like they could crawl up under a rock. I loved how you described Crystal's dress and how she felt at the party. This is a woman who was raised to be a social butterfly. How did you get your knowledge of the southern belle up bringing and how the country folk, cowboy’s social parties were like? I enjoyed those scenes.

Thank you for saying that, Nora. I’m a born and raised southerner but was definitely not raised with “advantages” in my life, so I chose to pretend that I lived her lifestyle. Lol! I’m a great observer of people, as most writers are. My background just lent itself to the way country folk spoke and I’ve read so many western novels and movies that I just soaked it up!

What fascinates you about writing about this time period and a southern belle? I could tell you enjoyed it by the way you described things. Did you grow up here in Georgia? Have the same kind of training as Crystal? Do tell!!

I enjoy history and I love the way genteel people spoke to each other and how they were willing to lend a helping hand at the drop of a hat. Sadly, I’m not sure these elements exist much anymore. I’m very visual so I notice everything—a well appointed table, a look of sadness in someone’s eyes, the smells around me, etc. I didn’t grow up in Georgia but Mississippi. When my children were small, we lived in Colorado and we did a lot of hiking in the mountains and visiting the historical towns and sites.

What movie most impacted you as a kid? Why?

That’s easy—The Ten Commandments. Since I am a visual, sensory sort of gal, the movie impressed upon me the omnipotence of God and his power but most of all that He is Holy! I still think it was incredible, especially when you look at the cinematography that they used back then. It was impressive.

If you had 48 hours to hang out with any TWO people (besides Jesus), alive or dead in the history of the world who would you hang out with and what would you do?

I would have loved to have hung out with Adrian Rodgers, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, TN. He passed away in 2005. I would sit and listen to him talk about God’s word. He was truly a gifted speaker and fine Christian leader. I used to listen to his radio program, Love Worth Finding that can still be heard 24-7. His sermons really impacted my faith walk like no one else.

Another person I would love to spend time with is John Denver. His love of nature in his music and in all his endeavors for the environment reflects my views of nature, too. I don’t know if he was a Christian or not, but I really loved the words in his songs. He was a great talent.

It was incredibly hard to narrow my answer down to two people when there are so many wonderful writers, artist and theologians.

You find yourself in a life threatening situation (kind of like in your books HA! Ha!), and you need someone to save you, who do you pick? It could be anyone from books, movies, TV, etc. the sky is the limit.

This is delicious! I would want Sam Elliot as my hero, hands down. He’s all man and a “real cowboy”. If he weren’t available, then Dale Midkiff from the movie Love Comes Softly. I think he’s wonderful.

What are your two favorite places to shop?

I love TJMaxx and Kohl’s. But if I lived in Colorado, I’d have to say Shepler’s Western Wear.

If money isn’t an object what is your favorite place to eat breakfast and dinner? What would you order?

The Little Mountain Lodge in Breckenridge. It’s a bed and breakfast and they serve delicious omelets, pancakes and fresh fruit.

For dinner, I’d probably order whatever was the special for the day as it changes and a reservation required. It was the most beautiful places that I ever stayed in Colorado other than Telluride.

Someone has given you access to a time machine and you can go back and visit two events in the history of the world, what two events would you experience? Why?

I would love to have been an eye witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. That answer needs no explanation. Can you imagine that?? Wow!

I think the Westward Movement of the US would have been an incredible event which would include the Lewis and Clark Expedition, The Oregon Trail, The Gold Rush and the Transcontinental Railway Expansion. That would have been a great time to be living and be a part of the actual history of the West.

What was the last movie you saw in a theatre? Did you like it? What snacks did you eat?

That would be “Yes Man” with Jim Carey. I had popcorn and coke. I just can’t watch a movie without that.

You’ve just found a magic lamp and the genie has granted you three wishes. What are your three wishes?

Oh, my—I love not to have any financial worries, perfect health and maybe be only 35 again.

What TV shows were you most passionate about as a kids? You know the ones that you couldn’t miss each week?

I enjoyed Roy Rogers, The Lone Ranger and Mickey Mouse Club. I wouldn’t miss Roy Rogers.

If you could live anywhere on the planet where would you live? Why?

I’d probably want to live in Colorado or Montana. I love the Rocky Mts. and I love the crisp air, low humidity, the pristine snow and the hush quietness outside after a snowfall. That’s incredible.


I enjoy meeting new readers and hope your readers will stop by at my next book signing which will be at the LifeWay Kennesaw store in Marietta, GA. I hope if they read my books they will be transported to the wonderful historical world of the West. Thank you, Nora, for the interview.

Thanks Brenda for stopping by and letting us get to know you and your books better. We are looking forward to having to speak to us at book club next year.

Blessings on your writing adventures.


Nora :D
ACFW On-Line Book Club Coordinator


CONGRATULATIONS TO PAT GONZALES You've WON a copy of Maggie's Newest book--Thanks for entering.

****DISCLAIMER: Entering the give away is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws. Void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents, odds of winning depend on number of entrants


  1. What a wonderful interview. Enjoyed getting to know a bit about Maggee. Please enter me in the drawing.


  2. Loved your interview. I could relate to a lot of the movies and programs. I agree, with the lack of technology back then, the Ten Commandments was awesome. It stayed true to the Word most of the time.

    Add me to your contest. Thank you.
    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

  3. Nora, Enjoyed the interview with Maggie. I, too, am a Kohl's and TJ Maxx shopper. I look forward to reading her book and meeting her next year at bookclub. Tisha

  4. Your interview of Maggie Brendon was a delightful way to connect the author to her awesome work. Getting to know more about Maggie's life and perspectives gives me extra insight to her characters. I like being exposed to the "behind the scenes" stuff. Thank you for sharing!

  5. I got her first book from the library and I enjoyed it. The interview was great. Please include me in the giveaway. Thanks.

  6. Interesting interview. We share the same favorite cowboy, Roy Rogers. Good luck with your new book.

  7. Loved the interview with Brenda/Maggie! Her responses to your questions were great ... I could certainly identify with them. I enjoyed reading "No Place for a Lady" so much. Being that I'm a southern girl from Georgia, and love to ski in Colorado ... I could visualize exactly what the heroine was going through. I can't wait for Maggie Brendon's new book, "The Jewel of His Heart", to be released ... I'll be first in line! Tammy

  8. Interesting interview. We share the same favorite cowboy, Roy Rogers. Good luck with your new book.

  9. It was so nice to read about an up and coming author. I truly enjoyed "No Place For a Lady" and I'm really looking forward to reading "The Jewel of His Heart." Maggie gives her female characters more spunk than some writers do when they deal with the same time period. I like that. I'm a huge Sam Elliott fan too and it would be wonderful to see him in a movie based on a Maggie Brendan book.

  10. Thanks for a great interview!

  11. What a great interview with a hitch your wagon to the stars author! Maggie Brendan represents the very best in both classic fiction and what's new on the horizon, and you were able to capture all of that in this gem of interview...which makes me think of Jewel of His Heart...For me, the "His" is the loving Lord, and we are all His jewels as daughters of the King.
    Kelly Long

  12. Loved the interview and getting to know Maggie. Can't wait until next year when we can meet her!

    Gail Mundy

  13. The interview was wonderful, since I'm a friend of Maggie's I could of almost anwered all the questions. I definitely agree with her choice of Sam Elliot & Dale Midkiff. I would love to see them both play the characters in "Jewel of His heart."
    I'm so proud of Brenda, aka Maggie & all her hard work, but i know she has a blast writing. God has been so good!! Im so excited about her next book & can't wait until it's released.
    Ride on, beautiful friend..
    Love ya, Connie Crawford

  14. Nora and all, I feel so honored by the comments from everyone! This is what makes me stay with it and pound the keyboard!

    I'm especially touched by my dear long time friend's comments (Connie). What a cheerleader!!

  15. You ask the most interesting questions, Nora. I always enjoy your interviews.

    "Maggie Brendon" definitely sounds like a romantic Irish name. Good choice!

    Thank you for the chance to win a copy of The Jewel of His Heart.

    cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

  16. I really enjoyed this interviews because the questions gave us a look into Maggie as a person, not only a writer. I can identify with your love of Colorado and cowboys, Maggie. You and I are kindred spirits. Can't wait to read your book. I'd love to win a copy!
    patgonzales at arkvi dot com

  17. Great interview with Maggie Brandon. I feel I have met a kindred spirit.

    Please enter me to win a book.

    A J

  18. Thanks for the great interview - I wouldn't have thought of all of these great questions - and awesome answers! "Maggie Brendan" is a terrific author and lovely person - and I happen to agree with her answers on Sam Elliott and John Denver, though my #1 is Hugh Jackman. (come on Aunt Brenda - how could you not list Hugh Jackman! LOL - kidding)

    Congrats again on your books and I am so proud of you!
    love you,
    Your niece in Texas

  19. Loved the interview. Very interesting. Thanks

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

  20. What a great interview! You asked the most interesting questions!!! I absolutely love the covers of Maggie's books and they look like a wonderful read. Yay for finding a new author to read!


  21. What a great interview! I definately agree on your comments about Sam Elliot and John Denver, as well as several others. My very first time at the movies was to see The Ten Commandments, and I never miss it when its on tv. I haven't had the pleasure of reading your books yet, but I know I would enjoy them. Please enter me in your giveaway. Thank you!



  22. Wonderful interview! I enjoyed getting to know her. TJ Maxx is one of my favorite places to shop as well. Would love to be entered in the drawing as well. Thank you!


  23. Nora It was a great interview and one of my favorite books is Sacachewa (sp) who was Lewis and Clarks guide.

    Carol Littleton

    October 1 at 4:17pm

    i was ready to pick up the Jewel fo His heart On Monday night during book club. I love stories of the west. Great book and interview!!! Betsy

    Betsy Hoffman Schaknowski

  25. No need to enter me: just a note that we posted about this at Winning Readings:

  26. It's great to see someone that has loved books and has wanted to write since she was in the 3rd grade have her dreams come true. With Maggie's love of the West and its history, I know her books must be good and look forward to reading them.

    Marlene Rauch

  27. Enter me please - thanks

  28. Loved the interview, Nora. Maggie, I thought I was the only one left that loved John Denver...LOL! Can't wait til you join us at our bookclub next year.

    Nora, please enter me in the book contest...tks.

  29. I really can't say thank you enough for everyone's comments. I'm hoping you'll love The Jewel of His Heart as much as I did writing it.
    Carol, I loved the novel Sacajawea, about the beautiful Shoshone princess too. My book was so dog eared that it's falling apart. Another great Indian book is Follow the River. It's still one my favorites.

  30. Oh, and to Liz, my niece in Texas-yep! Hugh Jackman would work nicely, but would fit Luke in No Place for a Lady much better. :)

  31. CONGRATULATIONS PAT GONZALES on Winniner a copy of Maggie's New book.

    THANKS to everyone that encouraged Maggie and thanks Maggie for taking the time to stop by and let us get to know you and your book.


    Nora "D