By Tiffany Merlo Phelps
When Maggie FitzRoy was a teacher, she always had a strong feeling that she was meant to be in a different field. One day, she got a book on photography, started studying it and signed up for a correspondence photography class. She instantly loved it. That decision would change the course of FitzRoy’s career and life. FitzRoy, who has a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in deaf education, was drawn to the power of telling a story through an image. In 1998, she walked into a local newspaper’s office and asked if they needed a photographer. As it turned out, the receptionist said yes and asked if FitzRoy was, in fact, a photographer. “In my mind’s eye, I saw superimposed on her, big wooden monastery doors, the kind you see in the Middle Ages, swing open,” she said. “It was awesome, and I just knew that it was going to work out.” FitzRoy was hired to complete five assignments a week. About one-and-a-half years later, FitzRoy decided that she wanted to write stories as well, something that was not initially well-received. FitzRoy took the reaction in stride and did what came naturally to her throughout her life: go to the library, check out books and learn. FitzRoy not only got a shot at writing her first story, but she went on to be a reporter and photographer for the Shorelines section of the Florida Times-Union for 11 years. She was also the editor for First Coast Magazine. After that, she decided to write a novel, so she went to the library to learn about the craft and soon discovered that her imagination carried her perfectly into this next season of life. FitzRoy, who is married with three adult children and two grandchildren, is also the director of programming at First Coast Romance Writers.
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but grew up in Audubon, New Jersey. We had a summer home from when I was eight to 18 in Medford Lakes, so that was very formative. We lived in a log cabin on a lake with a canoe and a sailboat. It was just perfect.
Q: Describe the novels you have written.
A: I love to write historical romances that sweep the reader into the past. “Mercy’s Way” was my first novel set in 1845 about the Oregon Trail. “Beacon Beach” came next and is set in 1886 Cape May, NJ. “His Haven” is a historical romantic suspense set in 1923 Miami Beach. My most recent novel, “Never on Monday,” is set in 1955 Philadelphia and features romance and mystery. It is about a female private investigator who is a complete rookie. She meets her competition, a really good-looking guy who is a PI with a lot of experience. I am taking that relationship through seven books.
Q: How has singing in the choir at Christ Church impacted your life?
A: I am very spiritual, and I have always had a strong spirituality. I don’t feel like I am alone. I have always had a strong core, and I feel lucky that way. When I joined the choir, I heard it said that when you sing, you pray twice. I think singing has really enhanced my spirituality.
Q: What are your hobbies?
A: I like to play pickleball for socialization and exercise, taking it up during the pandemic even though I had never played a ball sport before in my life. I also enjoy swimming laps and walking on the beach.
Q: What is your life philosophy?
A: What I say to myself every day is everything is working itself out for good. I am open and receptive to my highest good. And I am going to meet my good. My good will also help other people meet their good. So, I am going to meet my good.
[Author’s note: For more information about FitzRoy’s novels, visit www.maggie fitzroy.com.]
Photo courtesy Craig O’Neal