Maguire had a longstanding interest in writing, but she struggled to find her best form. When she tried her first romance novel, things just "clicked."
She used National Novel Writing Month (an annual November event) to push herself to finish her draft in 2009. She reached 50,000 words, and while the manuscript needed a lot of work, "the characters were there."
"Characters are the most important thing in a romance novel," Maguire said. "The reader needs to fall in love with them so they can enjoy watching them fall in love with each other."
She says there are small pieces of people she knows in some of her creations. "There's one character, Libby, who is sort of the maternal caretaker of the Carson family. I didn't do this consciously, but as I was reading it back I thought, 'Oh, she's kind of like my Aunt Sue, who lives on a sheep farm and has this heal-with-cookies kind of thing.'"
As far as her own personality and life experience go, Maguire says the extent to which she appears in her own characters is their sense of humor. "To me, the weirdest thing is that people will read my book and think that's how my Saturday night is. I guess there are worse things than people imagining I have a healthy sex life. My romantic life is great and fine. It's not the same as in the book. The book is made up."
After receiving encouragement and enthusiasm from her writing-group friends, Maguire decided to finish her manuscript. She wanted to attend a conference she saw in Romantic Times, a big romance novel industry magazine. The full conference was too expensive for Maguire, but there was a pre-conference workshop in Chicago that was more affordable.
"At the end of the workshop there was a prize for your manuscript, and I won. The prize was that it would be read by an editor, and she read it and offered to buy it. I scrambled and got an agent, and here I am."
Romance readers like e-books, she said. "People who love romance novels read a lot, and with e-books you can have a ton of books with you. And people don't have to see the covers. You don't have to be embarrassed by the naked-chest book you're reading," she laughed.
Maguire recently finished a novella that takes place in the same town as does "Kentucky Home" and uses a side character from that book in a larger role. She has a contract to write one more book in e-Kensington's Southern Comfort series, and eventually she will have three full-length books. She also is collaborating with high-profile romance writers Lori Foster and Lucy Monroe.
She said it's important that writers "really commit to fighting with" their manuscripts.
"Think about the excuses you give yourself for not writing. I have a full-time job and a life outside of work, and it is work to carve out time to write. But it's worth it. You have to carve out time to write, and it may not always feel worth it, but it is worth it.
"I wrote the book because I thought it would be fun, and because I thought it was something that would make people happy and that they could enjoy. One review on Goodreads.com says it's "a pleasant read for a cozy afternoon" and I am happy with that. I hope people just enjoy it, and that if they're thinking about writing a book that they do it."