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?
I looove coffee (I am a Washingtonian after all) But I also like tea! My mom always made it with milk and honey:)
Charles! Tea and Coffee please! She’s a bit indecisive. Now, M.J., care to tell us a bit about yourself while we’re waiting on our beverages?
I’m (obviously) in love with writing:) I’ve been writing fiction in one form or another since I was a little kid. When I’m not writing, my other great love is music, and piano is probably my greatest writing procrastination tool. I love it. I dance a lot, I love to cook and bake, and when it’s not pouring rain, I go outside as much as possible!
When you received news that your manuscript had been accepted what were the first words that fell from your mouth?
Holy Sh… yeah, lol. That pretty much sums it up. I was kind of shocked…but very happy!
What forces brought you over to the MM Genre and what made you want to write it?
I’m gonna go with Queer as Folk. I was a massive Justin fan:) I decided to write it when I found a halloween short story writing contest (that I actually won) and yeah, my first M/M story was born. That was in 2009, and by May of 2010 I was on the road to publishing my first novel!
OH! Thank you, Charles, you’re just a doll!
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.
Not a huge cookie fan, but I do love cake….anything but chocolate! I do have to admit, I’m partial to red velvet.
How many hours a day do you spending writing?
It really depends! Sometimes I get in a good hour, and sometimes I procrastinate my way into four or five…or eight hours. When I get going, thought, I write quickly.
Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?
Both, actually. It really depends on the book. I try not to overthink it on the first draft usually, though. That tends to lead to stalls for me.
When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?
Also both, but I have to admit things tend to work better for me when I outline! I can break the outline but then I don’t have a big blank spot staring at me with nowhere to go. When I write with Piper Vaughn (my sometimes co-author) we always plot and outline fairly extensively. Other than that, I think we’d go crazy.
Of your characters do you have a favorite and why?
I do! It’s Nick Ventura (from The Luckiest). He’s been my favorite since the first snotty sailor-mouthed word out of his…well mouth:) Yeah, he’s a pain but he made both Piper and I laugh our butts off as we wrote him. And it was really fun to reveal his vulnerable side.
My second favorite is Rue (from One Small Thing), for a lot of the same reasons. He uses his quick mouth as a shield. I really liked both writing his snarky retorts and letting him fall in love and drop the tough act.
Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?
I have, on occasion…and I’d have to say I’m a pretty big fan of the salsa cure (and that would be dancing, not chips and dip). I do a lot of getting up and dancing, then I sit down and get back to work. Sometimes, it helps to outline some more, work on a different story for a while, or read. Luckily, it’s not a common problem for me, though.
Do you have a particular spot in your house that you call your comfy zone? (The place where you write.)
I have to write in my office. I have no idea how people do the bed and laptop thing. I’d just take lots and lots of naps! I have my desktop that has all my notebooks and a chair next to it for my dogs to hang out in!
When you’re in the mindset to write, do you put a sign up that warns others not to disturb you while at work?
Nah, only the snoring dogs would bug me anyway!
How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?
Hmmm, it’s hard to say. I laugh at smartass comments, wittiness…man, that really is hard. I guess when a funny situation hits, I laugh at it! LOL. Ironically, I don’t usually find comedies or comedians funny. Just real life stuff.
What is the most frequently asked MJ question?
Hmmmm, probably if I ever write books on my own without Piper (which I do!!) Probably about half with her and half on my own:)
What are you working on now?
At the moment, I’m working on my third Rock Bay book for Dreamspinner Press, tentatively titled Finding Shelter. It’s about two of the characters that are brought up in earlier books in the series but never got their starring roles (or any on page time at all for one of the two!).
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?
Music is a big part of it, and the stories I hear and see around me. I like to paint pictures, it’s probably my best thinking time (and my house gets decorated as well!!). I love taking old ideas, twisting and putting them together until I have something new that makes me want to sit down and write.
What kind of books do you like to read outside of the MM Genre?
I really like YA, sci-fi and fantasy, romance..just anything that’s good really. I don’t tend to gravitate towards western themes, but I loooove a good historical conspiracy theory. Give me something like the Davinci Code and I’m a happy reader:)
Pick one: Scientist, Astronaut, Retail, or Horse Trainer-
Horse trainer? It’s outside and I do like animals. I know zero about horses though.
Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
Lots of stuff:) Piano and dancing are my top two.
Any special projects coming out soon we should watch for?
Piper and I just had a release! (Oct 25th) It’s called One True Thing and it’s from Dreamspinner press.
Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?
For now, my blog that I share with piper is the best place:)
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 love to cook, lol!