A look inside Madison Magazine’s February issue from the editor

February's Issue of Madison Magazine is a love story to local authors from our own resident book-loving associate editor.
Mount Horeb Mail with a photo of Maggie Ginsberg
Photo by Andrea Behling

We were scooped.

Usually this enrages me, but in this case I’m elated.

An above-the-fold feature story on our very own associate editor Maggie Ginsberg appeared in the Mount Horeb Mail newspaper back in December, in which editor Matt Geiger mentioned her upcoming debut novel, “Still True.” It’s a lovely profile on an equally lovely person. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Maggie better this past year since she joined our staff full time after freelancing for the magazine since 2006.

After you read the front page feature or simply talk to Maggie for a few minutes, you’ll catch on that she’s a passionate storyteller with an enormous appreciation for the process. And she loves books. Boy, does Maggie love books. It’s become a running joke in our office that she’ll find a way to work a local author or book title into every story that crosses her desk. (And she’s been very successful. We have a madisonmagazine.com/books URL now, and it’s filled with her author Q&As.)

So you can imagine who might have been involved in the making of February’s cover story. Maggie admitted she had to keep her cool so she wouldn’t scare any of us away from the idea. She packed the section with as many titles as she could without making text boxes run into the margins. This feature has been close to her heart because she loves reading, but also because she knows how much work went into each of those books. She’s been through it herself — finishing a manuscript, finding an agent, getting rejected, then getting rejected again, and again, until finally finding a “yes.” Which prompts a series of submissions, reviews, more edits and on and on until the finish line. “Now knowing what I know about the publishing process, it’s sort of remarkable to me that so many books make it onto the shelves every year,” she says.

Then comes publicizing the book, which Maggie is very good at doing … for other authors. “I will always do what I can to support them, because I know how complicated and difficult it is, whether authors are working with a publisher or not,” she says. When it comes to her own book, she says talking about it feels trickier than writing it was.

While it will be five years from first draft to publishing date, Maggie wrote the first manuscript of “Still True” in just four months. Main character Lib Hanson is a 58-year-old woman happily married to Jack for just about 30 years, and the two live in separate houses on opposite sides of their small Wisconsin town of Anthem. One summer evening, Lib is forced to grapple with secrets from her past when the child she had with her first husband shows up on her doorstep 40 years after she abandoned him.

UW Press will publish “Still True” this fall. I’ll just be over here working my way through “The Big Book List” as I patiently wait for its release.

Order the February issue of Madison Magazine here.