She's a fellow RWAustralia member and in her pre-publishing days used to frequent the same contest circuits I did. Her work has finalled or won awards in the RWAustralia Emerald Award, RWAustralia Valerie Parv Award and the RWNew Zealand Clendon. She's also been a two-time finalist in the RWA® Golden Heart Award.
M.J. lives in Melbourne, Australia, where she enjoys yarn and fabric crafting, cat butlering, and dark chocolate (a lady after my own heart!).
We know of your contest successes, but can you tell us something a little more personal about yourself?Hmmm. I’m a lifelong bookworm and story nerd. I like yarn.
And handbags. And chocolate covered pretzels but thankfully I can’t get those here in Australia.
I drink too much coke zero and am learning to take better photos.
When did you start to write and how long did it take you to be published?I wrote my first stories when I was about eight or so and wrote on and off all through school. I came back to writing seriously around 2001 and it took nine years to get published.
Wow, nine years. Sounds familiar :-). Perseverance is key.
So, what do you think it is about our genre that readers find so fascinating?For me (so hopefully for other readers), the attraction of fantasy is the ability to step into another world entirely and follow characters who can do wonderful things around while they save the world (or whatever it is they need to do). It lets you recapture that childlike wonder and belief that all sorts of things are possible. And fantasy tends to deal with timeless themes like honour and loyalty and facing your fears, so that’s also part of the appeal.
This response makes me wonder which authors are your 'must-reads'. I suspect we'd share a love for some of the same, M.J.
Are you a pantster, scener, or plotter? Is it your characters or plot that influence you most? What’s your writing process from start to finish when writing a book?I’m a pantser. Which is not the most efficient way to write a book.
I can plot out a bit ahead when I get stuck (if you can call ‘banging your head against the desk until you figure out the obvious’ plotting) but generally when I start a book I know very little about what’s going to happen.
The first scene comes to me and I may have an idea of the last scene and then I run after the story from then on trying to get from A to B. When I get stuck, I write out of order then have to figure out how to put the bits together.
I write short first drafts with lots of talking heads (long bits of dialogue) and notes to myself. Then I have to expand everything out and fix the plot in revisions.
Go, pantsters and head banging, works for me, too!
On a more serious note, tell us about your latest release. (I LOVE the cover, by the way, it's awesome!)SHADOW KIN is my first book and the first book in the Half-Light City Series. It’s dark fantasy about a half-Fae assassin who botches her latest assignment and consequently her whole world gets turned upside down.
Imagine a city divided. On one side, the Night World, rules by the Blood Lords and the Beast Kind. On the other, the elusive Fae and the humans, protected by their steadfast mages. A city held together by nothing more than a treaty-and even then, just barely…
Born a wraith, Lily is a shadow who slips between worlds. Brought up by a Blood Lord and raised to be his assassin, she is little more than a slave.
But when Lily meets her match in target Simon DuCaine, the unlikely bond that develops between them threatens to disrupt an already stretched peace in a city on the verge of being torn apart...
Here's the link to read an excerpt from her novel.
Can you share a few fun facts about the geographic locations where your novel takes place?SHADOW KIN takes place in a largely nameless city in a world that isn’t quite ours, though it has some similarities.
In my head, the City is quite a lot like parts of London (where I lived for a bit) but not entirely. The technology is stuck at an early Victorian type level because there are treaties rationing the use of iron and silver, which makes for some interesting consequences.
Which book that you’ve read has made a lasting impression on you? And why?I love SUNSHINE by Robin McKinley. I’ve re-read it a lot. I just love the worldbuilding, which is brilliant, and the story which is dark and funny and scary and romantic. I love books where the worlds feel solid and McKinley’s worlds always feel fathoms deep.
|The young, mad torti-cat...|
Do you have a pet that keeps you company when you write?I have a mad young tortoiseshell cat who thinks I should spend more time playing with her and less time at the keyboard. I need to find her a feline pal!
I wonder if there's a link between fantasy authors and them being owned by cats? Hmm...
So, what’s next for you? What are you working on?Book 2 comes out in June 2012 so I’ve been editing that and working on book 3 and trying to ignore all the other ideas.
You can check out Book 2's blurb on M.J.'s website. It's been fantastic having you here, thanks for visiting, M.J.!
If you'd like to know more about M.J.Scott then check out her website and blog.