She was born in North East England. She is a qualified teacher, but has also reviewed books on BBC Radio Newcastle, been an advisor in the Durham Reading Resources Centre and has organised children's book fairs. Maggie now lives in Co. Wicklow with her husband, Eric, and their cats.
An interview with Maggie Furey (from SFX magazine):
In the short time since Maggie Furey's first book was released, she has become accepted as one of the very best fantasy authors. Her fourth novel, Dhiammara, was published in April, and concludes the four-book Artefacts of Power series. The series tells the story of the mage Aurian and her struggle to gain control of the most powerful and dangerous magical items ever created. "Aurian was the book I'd always wanted to write," Maggie says. "When I lost my job that gave me the impetus. I was so mad about the idea of the book, I thought 'Right, I'm going to do it now: this is the time.'"
But Maggie freely admits that things weren't as simple as that: "It took me about three years to get to grips with Aurian, because I had the feeling that - especially when you don't have any publishing connections and you're going in raw - the first novel has to be the calling card, that one big hit, and I didn't want to let it out of my hands until it was as good as I could make it."
Initially planned as a trilogy ("growing up with Tolkien this trilogy thing gets engraved into your mind"), Maggie says she soon realised that three books weren't enough to wrap things up. "There were many lesser characters who played a great part in the formation of the whole story, whose own stories wouldn't get as much space as I'd have liked in the third book... But at the same time you've got to be disciplined and you've got to finish somewhere."
"My characters are very real to me - I cheer their triumphs and grieve with their sorrows. When I wrote Forral's death scene, I could barely see the screen for tears - but if I'm not moved, how can I expect the readers to be?"
Maggie's next book is The Heart of Myrial. "It's set on a different world, with new characters. Because my writing is very character-driven, while I've been finishing Dhiammara I've had a whole cast of characters sitting around in the green room in my brain, going 'Me! Me! My turn next!' Starting with a fresh cast of characters is a whole new adventure, not just for the readers, but for me as well."
Fans of the Artefacts of Power series will be pleased to know that Maggie isn't abandoning that world forever. She has plans for a prequel to the series, going back to the time of the Cataclysm when the Artefacts were created. "I'm plan to pitch it from the point of view of the non-human Mage-folk, the dragons and the Leviathan. I think that'll be fun to explore." Maggie also hints that further books will deal with events after Dhiammara: "Though Dhiammara completes the tale of the Artefacts I deliberately left certain subplots unresolved because I need them to launch a whole new story."
Maggie has also just finished work on Sorceress, the final book in a shared-world, young adult SF series called The Web (comprising six books, each written by a different author, covering SF, fantasy and horror). "I loved this project. It's so different writing a kids' book: they're shorter, you get right into the action and it makes a nice counter-balance to these angst-ridden epic fantasies."
Maggie cites Anne McCaffrey as one of her greatest influences. "Back in the sixties, SF was very much 'toys for the boys.' Anne was the first person to write a really strong heroine in Lessa, and reading Dragonflight was a turning point in my life. I remember thinking 'Yeah! This is the sort of thing I want to write!' She showed me that you could write strong women.
"The first time I met Anne McCaffrey in Dublin I was overawed: she'd been such a hero. She actually walked up to me and said 'Oh, you're Maggie Furey. I loved your book!' Moments like that you treasure forever."
But now Maggie Furey finds herself on the other side of fandom: "As an author I meet so many people who say 'I've always wanted to write.' I say to them 'Well, why are you standing around? Go home and start!' There's probably so much talent wasted because people are afraid to take the chance."
Maggie and her husband Eric have recently moved to Ireland with their six cats. "Eric has played a big part, really. He is always so supportive. When I lost my job he was the one who had the faith to say 'Okay, we'll tighten our belts, we'll live on the breadline for a while, but we'll cope. Write it.'"
After Eric, cats are Maggie's other great love. "It seems that all authors have cats. They really write this stuff... Putting it into our heads by telepathy. In the Artefacts of Power some of my favourite characters were the telepathic big cats... I wonder where that idea came from?"