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The other Maggie Fogartys

Maggie Fogarty has chosen to publish her book through Amazon.com.

Have you ever looked up your name on the internet and found other people with the same name, or been stopped at the airport because your name matched someone else’s in the computer system?Bermuda forms the backdrop for a new book called ‘My Bermuda Namesakes’ written by former resident Maggie Fogarty.Ms Fogarty lived in Bermuda for a year starting April 2011, with her partner, Paul Weall, who was working as a digital forensics consultant with the Bermuda Police Service. The couple now lives in Truro, Cornwall.“We still try to keep in touch,” said Ms Fogarty. “Every day we log into the Bermuda newspaper websites. I am also mentoring a young person in Bermuda.”‘My Bermuda Namesakes’ is her debut novel. Ms Fogarty is a television producer by profession.The idea to write a novel came about after she was shortlisted for a prestigious British literary competition, The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook.“It was a short story, and I thought maybe I could expand it into a full length novel,” she said. “When my partner moved to Bermuda to work for a year, I came with him, and took that opportunity to write.”The plot of the book is that Josephine Jones of London, England is involved in a bad accident and is left with memory problems.She has to keep a daily diary of everything that happens to her, so she will remember the next day.To recuperate she goes to Bermuda, and befriends two other women with the same name. During her time on the Island she is accused of a murder she has no recollection of committing.“It is about how life can turn on a six pence,” said Ms Fogarty. “It is about how you can be okay one day, and definitely not okay the next.“It is also about the vulnerability of someone who has got memory problems and how that can be used against them.”A novel with three characters called Josephine Jones could get a little confusing for the reader, but Ms Fogarty said she kept things straight by giving two of the characters nicknames, JJ and Josie.She wrote the book while living in Bermuda. While here, she met a lady whose granddaughter worked with people with brain injuries.She got in touch with the lady and consulted with her about the sort of issues her character would face.Ms Fogarty published the book through Amazon.com. The book is available electronically or as a hard copy.“I wanted to try it because Amazon offers good royalty to writers,” she said. “Its reach is massive.“In the United Kingdom and probably other places, more and more writers are going that way rather than going through the traditional publishing route. The landscape of reading and publishing is changing so much with Kindle and e-books.”The book has only just launched, and so far, so good. She said it will be about eight weeks before she really knows how the book is selling.She said publishing on Amazon wasn’t a complete breeze, as you had to know a bit about formatting and publishing. She also had to produce the cover and layout of the book herself.“There is something called Create Space which produces the actual book before it goes onto Amazon,” she said. “If you are a professional writer you have an advantage. I used test readers to look at it and proof it and make sure it made sense.”Ms Fogarty has worked as a television producer in the United Kingdom since the 1980s. Her focus has been documentaries for independent television.She won a Royal Television Society Award for a programme about an Irish Republican Army bomb that went off in Birmingham, England in 1974.She has also written for national newspapers such as The Guardian, and now has her own production company called Bfm.“I loved my time in Bermuda,” she said. “It is a fantastic island. Now that I am back in England, I have been saying to people ‘you must go to Bermuda’.“My partner has been wandering around in his Bermuda T-shirts. He is refusing to accept we are now in a cold climate.”She’s now interested in starting an online campaign to get people to look up their namesakes online and contact them, just for fun.“See where it leads,” she said. “It might lead nowhere, but it could lead to something interesting. I am going to contact another Maggie Fogarty and see how it goes.”She is also planning another book set in Bermuda, although she isn’t sure whether she will continue publishing through Amazon.com .“I will see how I get on with Amazon or whether I go through a mainstream publisher,” she said. “The idea I have is about two women who meet at a ladies’ club in Bermuda. I haven’t started it yet, but I hope to get started in the next few months.”