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Maggie Kingsley sadly passed away on Saturday 11th Augsut 2012. Below, editor Sheila Hodgson kindly pays tribute to Maggie and her work.
As her editor of 7 years, it was with huge sadness that I learnt that Maggie had passed away, very suddenly, on Saturday 11th August.
I wasn’t Maggie’s first editor but I had long loved her work and it was with great joy that I started to work with her in 2005. Reminiscing in the last few days about working with Maggie as a writer, and the woman I came to know through our phone calls, emails and her work, (sadly we never met in person) it was obvious to me that the only way to pay tribute to her was to celebrate her life and huge writing talent. Maggie was never one to dwell on life’s misfortunes, she was always stoic, generous with her time and understanding of others – and her wicked sense of humour was legendary.
Maggie published 23 Medical Romances with Harlequin over a career that spanned 15 years. Her first title A Baby to Love was published in 1998.
In 2008 she was awarded the Cataromance Reviewer’s Choice Award for A Baby for Eve. Maggie wrote her own series of books set in Belfield Hospital and was a tremendous contributor to our continuities Brides of Penhally Bay and St Piran's Hospital. She loved to involve her characters in challenging emotional issues and A Baby for Eve was no exception. In it Maggie tackled the tricky subject of abortion, and pulled it off splendidly with her beautiful and thoughtful portrayal of a heroine’s journey to come to terms with her lost baby and reconcile with the father. The Cataromance review, below, captures many of my feelings about the story and her work. I’m sure it will resonate with you all:
"Maggie Kingsley is a superb writer of romantic fiction. Her breathtaking storytelling prowess ensures that all of her books sparkle with terrific characterisation, nail-biting drama and outstanding emotional punch and A Baby for Eve is certainly no exception! I’ve been reading category romances for a very long time, but I’ve never come across a novel that has moved me so much. A Baby for Eve is extremely well-written, intelligent, sensitively told, heartwarming and heartbreaking and destined to become one of the classics of category romance."
I’m well aware of how valued Maggie’s friendship was amongst her fellow authors. Her writing was adored and respected by editors, readers and reviewers all over the world and it always made my day when one of her manuscripts dropped into my inbox.
Maggie was truly a quality writer, though she was self-effacing about her own talents – despite constant praise from myself and others, I’m not sure that she wholly accepted just how talented she was. She wrote about characters who triumphed over adversity, and while their stories were sometimes heartrending, Maggie imbued her characters with wit and intelligence, and always delivered an inspiring and uplifting read. She was brave (she enjoyed taking risks in her writing), a perfectionist (she insisted on creative licence and utilised it skilfully), a lady of depth, intellect and emotional understanding all of which fired her novels and characters and made her the engaging writer that she was. Her characters touched readers because their emotions and behaviour were just so real and familiar to us.
Maggie was devoted to her family and to her writing and the novels that are so very loved by all of us – poignant and universal as they are, will be enjoyed by readers for a long time to come. I imagine she’d like that.