Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Guest Post: How I Became a Writer with Maggie Lyons

I originally became a writer by default. With no regard for the well-being of my family I trained as a classical pianist, subjecting all around me to four hours of practice a day. I suspect the pterodactyls that landed in my stomach before public concerts had something to do with not taking up a career as a concert pianist. Instead, I found myself learning how to put rear ends on concert hall seats, otherwise known as orchestral management. My first job in that heady field entailed writing the program notes for the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, DC. Now, that was a job made in heaven. I wallowed in the music section of the Library of Congress and luxuriated in the incredible privilege of being allowed to take books home to read. The research was as much fun as writing the notes, if not more so. My job was to write such compelling notes about the music on the concert program that audiences would actually want to read them before scanning the donor lists to see who may have donated more than they had. I had to balance the light—what the composer liked to eat for breakfast, and so on—with the heavy—how the musical composition was constructed. The job was an extension of what I had enjoyed studying at college, but now I was being paid to do it. Try beating that.

The writing continued as I zigzagged my way through the marketing, public relations, and fundraising bastions of a motley variety of business environments. This was all nonfiction, of course—or supposed to be. In the meantime, I rediscovered the fascination of children’s fiction when I read bedtime stories to my son, just as my parents had read to me when I was small. As a single mom, I didn’t have the time or the mindset to devote energy to writing my own children’s stories. I’m in awe of working mothers who can do that. It was only when I retired from full-time work that the idea of writing articles for children’s magazines swooped in one day. I have no idea where it came from, but there it was, waving frantically at me. I wrote some articles which miraculously appeared in Stories for Children Magazine, and then I thought of stringing a few more words together to make something longer, fictional, a little homage to the land of my birth—Wales. And so my first book came into being, an adventure story about a Welsh dragon who discovers an unorthodox and very smelly remedy for his inability to snort fire.

It’s the exuberance of children’s literature that has inspired my attempts to contribute to the literature, and the older I become, the more exuberance I crave, but I hope I’m not the only one having fun with my stories.

Maggie Lyons is a writer and editor who was born in Wales and crossed the pond to Virginia. Writing and editing business literature was fun, and editing for academic publishers brought plenty of satisfaction—she admits she has a fondness for nerds—but none of it matched the magic she discovered in writing fiction and nonfiction for children. Several of her articles were published in Stories for Children Magazine and knowonder! magazine published a chapter book—the entire book! She hopes her stories encourage reluctant young readers to turn a page or two.

Vin and the Dorky Duet
Publisher: Halo Publishing Int. & MuseItUp Publishing (Canadian e-book publisher)
ISBN: 978-1-61244-091-0 (paperback)
ISBN: 978-1-77127-073-1 (eBook)
Genre of Book: Children’s Chapter Book Adventure

About the Book:
A twelve-year-old boy named Vin, goes on a mission—reluctantly. He doesn’t share the optimism of the knights of old who embarked on impossible missions without a doubt they’d succeed. When magnetic compost heaps, man-eating bubble baths and other disasters erupt, Vin comes close to packing in the whole ridiculous business. He calls it Operation BS, his code name for a mission to introduce his sister to a boy she has a crush on. He doesn’t want to play matchmaker, but Meg’s promise to reward him with a David Beckham autographed soccer jersey is a decisive incentive.

Get a sneak peek of the book at

Her middle-grade adventure story Vin and the Dorky Duet is available as an e-book at MuseItUp Publishing’s bookstore (MuseItYoung section), on Amazon at, and as a paperback at Halo Publishing International at

Her middle-grade adventure story Dewi and the Seeds of Doom will be released by as an e-book by MuseItUp Publishing in October. Halo Publishing International will release a paperback version. More information at:, and

Follow Maggie Lyons at
Twitter @maggielyons66
You can find out more about Maggie Lyons and her book Vin and the Dorky Duet during her World of Ink Author/Book Tour at

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