Author spotlight: Margaret Priddy

By Hyenas in Petticoats Press - December 15, 2020
Author spotlight: Margaret Priddy

This week's featured contributor is inspiring author, screenwriter, and world traveler, Margaret Priddy. Margaret answers questions about her story, "Mellie's Mountain," in the anthology THE STORIES OF SHE.

What inspired you to write this story?
I can almost remember when I was 11 years old and how my imagination ran wild. I wanted to rediscover that experience in Mellie, my 11-year-old protagonist who lives in a fantasy world.
How did you come up with the concept for your story?
Mellie is bullied in school. It’s a big problem for many school-aged children. It was also a big problem for me.
What do you hope readers will connect with in your story? How bullying can have a deep impact on someone’s life and how it can be resolved.
Did you learn anything during the writing of this story? I learned that writing a story takes time and dedication that includes research, even if you know your subject matter well. I learned that a story should move the reader. In order to move the reader, it must move me first.
Have you written any other books or scripts, published or unpublished? I’ve written nine other short stories, which have appeared in the Antelope Valley Anthologies. I wrote Bloody Harvest, an unpublished horror script.
If your story had a candle, what scent would it be? Lemon verbena
Is there a writer whose brain you’d love to pick for advice? Who and why? Thomas Harris is my favorite author. I consider him a genius with words that produce an instant emotion. I would enjoy working on a script with him, although he writes more gore than I would care to write.
What book/script do you think everyone should read? Train to Busan
How long have you been writing? All my life but I didn’t know that writing could possibly become one of my passions.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why? I write in silence so that I can intuit the moods of my characters.
Do you write one thing at a time, or do you have several projects going at a time? I only write one thing at a time in order to give it my full attention.
If you could have been a writer of any book or script ever written, which story would you choose? Jurassic Park.
Do you write with a pen, typewriter, computer, or tablet? I use a computer, but I often keep a pen and paper handy in order to jot down notes relating to the story when I’m not near my computer.
Tell us about a favorite character from a book or movie. Lisbeth Salander from Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” has a tragic upbringing. As an adult, her struggle to survive continues as she navigates a heartless bureaucratic system, and how she does so in effective and unpredictable ways.
Who or what made you want to become a writer? I retired early from a nursing career, and feeling lost, I searched for a new identity. I stumbled upon a group of women authors who were giving a seminar on writing. I followed them, intrigued, into a writing career.
What makes a good story? A good story has many elements—characters, dialogue, pace, setting, plot, and others—that must work well together. A good story begins with a hook that takes readers by hand and leads them deep into the story.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be? Learning about writing is never-ending. Study all genres. Discover your voice and what genre you like best. Join writer’s groups. Attend writing seminars. Enter contests. Grow a thick skin because you’ll get feedback that will sting. Some of it will be meaningful feedback, some won’t. Learn the difference. The first draft of your writing will be crap. Don’t let anybody see it. Rewrite. Rewrite. Rewrite until it takes form. Know that writing is lonely work; you can’t be much of a party girl. 
Fun facts: Sometimes when I wake up in the morning, a character is waiting at my side to tell me more of what to write about her and the others in the story.

MARGARET PRIDDY - is both a screenwriter and a business owner who specializes in Marketing. She has written nine short stories that have been published consecutively in the yearly Antelope Valley anthologies in Southern California. Her tenth short story, Mellie’s Mountain, is adapted from her screenplay of the same name, and contains elements of fantasy and mystery connected to an unusual child who has some profound, out-of-this-world experiences. Margaret is based in Los Angeles, CA.