Beautiful Disaster is a New York Times and International Bestseller, with more than one million copies sold. The new adult novel is also one of the most popular stories on The IF List, with over 4,800 fans wanting it on the big screen! IF Listers have called the novel “heart-warming” and “spectacular,” and have dream cast almost 700 actors for their favorite characters. It’s obvious that Beautiful Disaster has moved many readers and made an amazing impact, and we were delighted and honored to speak to the author, Jamie McGuire!
INSPIRATION FOR HER WORK
Hi Jamie, thanks for interviewing with us! First off, congratulations on the huge success of your Beautiful Disaster and The Maddox Brothers series! How did you become interested in writing, and when did you decide that this was going to become your career?
Thank you! I’ve always written in some form. In childhood, I wrote in diaries and journals, and also drew comic books strips. In high school, I wrote stories with more of a play-like, dialog-only structure, and in my mid-twenties I began to blog. When I turned thirty, my friend encouraged me to write a full-length novel. I didn’t decide it was going to be a career until I hit the New York Times and signed my first book deal, then I quit my radiographer position at the hospital to write full time.
You live on a ranch in Oklahoma, which sounds really cool! How many animals do you have and how much daily upkeep do you have to do around the ranch? Does this setting inspire any of your writing?
I lived on a ranch in Oklahoma last week. This week I live in Steamboat Spring, Colorado. We just moved and the entire family is thrilled. Steamboat is breathtakingly beautiful. Every time I look outside I shake my head because I feel like we’re living in a postcard. We still have our horses, dogs, and a cat, and the kids and my husband care for them. Most of the inspiration for my writing comes from travel. The setting for Beautiful Sacrifice, for example, was inspired by a trip to RomCon in Colorado Springs two years ago.
You also have three children! Does being a mother have any effect on how you write your characters and their relationships with their own mothers?
Being a mother affects everything I do, and every choice I make. It would be a fair assumption to believe my children also influence my writing. The protagonist in Sins of the Innocent, a novella I just completed, shares her first name with my eldest daughter. I’d never intended to write a story for her, but the fans really wanted to hear more about those characters. The daughters of the character Scarlet in Red Hill and Among Monsters were inspired by my daughters.
PUBLISHING BEAUTIFUL DISASTER
You had very successfully self-published Beautiful Disaster. Would you recommend it to aspiring authors as a way to get their careers started?
Absolutely. I recommend both self-publishing and traditional publishing, but self-publishing is a great way to get your foot in the door. Just make sure that your novel is professional and is completely polished. There is so much competition out there, anything less than perfect won’t cut it anymore.
CREATING STORIES AND CHARACTERS
You’ve written some of your books very quickly, having finished Beautiful Disaster in only 7 weeks. How do you keep momentum and overcome writer’s block?
I write every day, whether I feel motivated or not. If I write a thousand words of junk, then I delete it and continue, but I write. If I waited until I was inspired, my books would never get finished.
Where did the idea for Beautiful Disaster and The Maddox Brothers come from? Did you have the idea fleshed out before you began writing, or did you improvise?
Beautiful Disaster was something I wrote just for fun, and was heavily inspired by my own college experiences. I drew from my memories and a past crush, and made the rest up as I went along. I followed the same formula with the Maddox brothers series. I don’t typically outline my projects.
Your characters all have unique and relatable personas, and entices readers to learn more about them. What is your process of creating a character, and going deeper and deeper into that character’s psyche?
I’ve always been fascinated by people. I’m interested in motivations, circumstances that lead to choices, and behaviors. I’ve been told I’m particularly empathetic and sensitive to others. I think those things help me create realistic characters readers can relate to.
Fans love your realistic dialogue, writing, and the voice you give your characters. To what extent are any scenes in your novels inspired by real life experiences?
More than I would ever admit to! Dialogue is important to me as a reader, as a watcher of movies, and as a human being. Communication, especially in a casual atmosphere, can be messy and informal. Not everyone says what they mean. People banter. I like to include all of that in my writing.
It’s great that you connected Travis & Abby with Thomas in Beautiful Redemption. Are you planning to continue writing their story?
Travis and Abby make appearances in all of the Maddox Brothers books. I have plans to write a prequel for Abby, but at this time, I feel Travis and Abby’s story has been told.
ADAPTATIONS AND FUTURE PROJECTS
Your fans have been supporting many of your novels to be made into movies on The IF List! There are over 4,600 fans and 600 dream-casting proposals for a Beautiful Disaster movie! Fans have also been supporting Red Hill, The Providence Trilogy, Happenstance, and Apolonia. Are you looking to adapt any of these on the big screen?
Of course I would love to see my books come to life on the big screen, but I’m also aware very few book adaptations ever make it to film. What is most important to me is that the films or television series are done in a way that is respectful to the story, the characters, and my readers. Until then, we can all dream on The IF List!
What are some themes and subjects you’re looking to explore in the future novels you write?
I have new ideas all the time. As I’ve mentioned before, I have plans to write a prequel for Abby Abernathy, a sequel to Red Hill, a sequel for some or all of the Maddox brothers, and I have all new series I’ll be starting in the next year as well. Readers can check out the Upcoming Projects tab on my website, JamieMcGuire.com for more information on my future works.
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS
Favorite Maddox brother: Travis
Favorite Books: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, The Maze Runner by James Dashner, Wool by Hugh Howey (so far).
Favorite Movies: Aliens, Sean of the Dead, The Long Kiss Goodnight, The Maze Runner, Terminator, Star Wars (3-6), Avatar, The Avengers, Iron Man, The Hunger Games, World War Z, The Incredibles, Sixteen Candles, I Am Legend, Twilight Saga … there are so many.
Favorite TV shows: The Walking Dead, The 100, Reign, Orange is the New Black (does Netflix count? Can I just say Netflix?)
Next Movies You Want to Watch: Jurassic World, anything with zombies, Tomorrowland, San Andreas, Terminator: Genisys, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Thank you Jamie for your interview and congratulations on the upcoming release of Beautiful Sacrifice! Long-live the Maddox Brothers!