Hello, MJ:) Welcome to Top 2 Bottom reviews and more! Thank you for taking some down time and spending it with us. Let’s start this off with a beverage. We have coffee, tea, some sort of juice (I think it’s been in here a few weeks) and soda. What would you like?
Thanks for having me…and let’s see. Oh, man! I’m a toss up between coffee and tea. I think tea. Yorkshire tea with milk and a little bit of honey:) That’s my favorite.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hmmm, it always feels so dorky to talk about myself:) I live near Seattle, I used to teach reading/creative writing to middle school kids. I really love music and art. I tend to spend a lot of time doing those when I’m not writing. What else. I just got back into running. It’s pretty painful still. I’m hoping I get back into my old shape soon!!
When you received news that your manuscript had been accepted what were the first words that fell from your mouth?
Haha!! I think I was too shocked to even say anything. After a few minutes I think there might have been a very ladylike “Holy Sh**” :) It was a good day.
What forces brought you over to the MM Genre and what made you want to write it?
You know, It’s a combination of a few things. I had surgery in late 2009 and was stuck at home for a while. I got into Queer as Folk (the gateway drug for many) and at the same time I found Supernatural…see a pattern forming here? Haha. Anyway, the idea struck me and I did some research and found out that I wasn’t even close to the only one who liked the idea of writing romance between two men. I was off and running after that!
Would you care for some cookies? We have chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal with or without raisins and a package of mystery ones. We have cake too. Your choice.
Cake please!! My favorite cake EVER is this lilikoi (passion fruit) cake from a Hawaiian bakery nearby. It’s like the best thing in the world!
How many hours a day do you spending writing?
It depends on my day job schedule and how many other bits and pieces I need to do. On a good day I get in a solid hour or two. On a great day four or five.
Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?
I do a little bit of both. I usually don’t revise until I’ve finished a whole chapter, then I go back and revise one chapter at a time, fleshing out scenes I just sketched lightly and adding/changing words. Then I’ll go back after the whole book is finished and do another round of revising and wording changes.
When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?
I’m an outliner for sure. It’s really hard for me to finish a book if I don’t have an idea of where it’s going. That’s not to say that things don’t change along the way but it really helps me to have a general idea.
Of your characters do you have a favorite and why?
You know, Nick Ventura is still my all time favorite…because he had so much redeeming to do, plus it was a ton of fun to write his mouth. He got to say things we’re just not allowed to say in day to day life:)
I think my new second favorite is Elliot from my boy band book Catch My Breath coming out in a few months. He’s awkward and dorky and endearing and pretty much the exact opposite of Nick. I couldn’t help but to love him.
Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?
Of course! Sometimes I admit I’m not going to get any writing done and I clean my house or dance or go on a walk or paint another tree on my wall (pretty soon my house is going to look like a forest!). Sometimes, though, I’ll do some timed writing, just make myself get into it. It’s surprising how that works and before you even realize it you’re writing away and into the scene.
Do you have a particular spot in your house that you call your comfy zone? (The place where you write.)
I have an office to write in:) I know lots of people write with their laptop on the couch or their bed, but I haven’t had a lot of luck with that.
When you’re in the mindset to write, do you put a sign up that warns others not to disturb you while at work?
Nope! There’s nobody to warn other than my two little dogs, and they just like to sleep in the armchair in my office and hang out with me:)
How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?
You know, it’s varied. I typically don’t laugh at comedy films, but I love banter, inside jokes, innuendo. That’s the kind of thing that will make me laugh for hours, and quite easily. Usually in a crowd if there’s one person talking and giggling away, it’s me.
What is the most frequently asked MJ O’Shea question?
Hmm…lately it’s been about Finding Shelter. I’ve had months of people asking when the third Rock Bay book was going to come. I love that they cared:))) It’s so amazing. Other than that, I think people just really want to know regular things about me. It’s always nice to know the person behind the book!
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a contemporary about two guys who have a rocky past and end up at the same school, in the same hallway, teaching. Lots of sparks flying, lots of angst:)
Writing is obviously not just how you make your living, but your life-style as well. What do you do to keep the creative “spark” alive – both in your work and out of it?
I think the best thing (for me at least) is to get out and experience things. We all create people and places in our minds but the more things I experience and do the easier that is!
What kind of books do you like to read outside of the MM Genre?
Tons! I think I actually read more outside the genre than inside. I love Dan Brown and Steve Berry, the historical conspiracy mysteries. I’ll always be a huge JK Rowling fan, and I love to read middle grade and young adult. The books are light reading but the ideas can be amazing and fresh.
Pick one: Scientist, Astronaut, Retail, or Horse Trainer-
Eek. Horse trainer? I’m not much into horses, but I don’t have the patience for two of them and there’s no WAY I’d go out in space! Plus at least you’re outside.
Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
I play a few instruments, I like to do that when I’m not writing. I paint, usually murals in my house, I do go to the gym fairly regularly, I like to walk and I’m just starting to build my garden. I want to have a pretty herb garden. We’ll see how well that works:)
Any special projects coming out soon we should watch for?
I do have a book coming out in either June or July from Dreamspinner. It’s probably my favorite book that I’ve ever worked on. It’s called Catch My Breath, again, and it’s about a boy band. I started thinking it would be cute and fluffy — and parts of it are — but the more I looked into pop culture and the music industry the more I realized just how fascinatingly duplicitous and. So there’s a lot of The research for this book changed the way I see so many things and I wanted to include what I’d found. I had a great time writing it and I hope people like reading it:)
Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?
Website and blog: http://mjoshea.com/
It was a pleasure having you here with us today. Please come by and let us know how you’re doing from time to time. OH! And before you leave, can I get your help here in the kitchen? Thanks!!
Sure! I like to cook:)