I usually make use of my academic qualifications in editing to revise my own work, however, it is challenging to switch hats from writer to editor and still be impartial. Despite these obstacles, writing offers the gratifying opportunity to fictionalize life with the objective of making a positive impact.
What is the hardest part of writing for you? Starting? Creating a scene? Tension?
I think the hardest part about writing is being able to create enough distance between you and the story in order to look at the manuscript objectively. As the creator, there is a deep intimacy of the narrative that keeps you emotionally confined to the dimensions of the plot and its characters. This often results in a blind-spot that can prevent you from identifying plausibility issues or deeper structural problems that a fresh reader may easily spot.
Could you give me a short synopsis of your book?
The Runaway House centers on the remote Alexandria Cassell, a wealthy heiress raised in a loveless, but privileged world. Immune to misery, Alexandria abandons her rich parents in search of a different life. She spends her first night at the mysterious Runaway House. The other runaways attempt to connect with Alexandria, but she is instinctively drawn to the menacingly dark Rayne, a hostile teen with a decaying soul. However, as each runaways’ heartbreaking story unravels, a remarkable enterprise evolves amongst them testifying to the power of humanity and the prospect of a promising tomorrow. Now the runaways must decide if broken hearts can learn to beat again in a house where hope is extinct.
We have all experienced rejection. How have you learned to write past it?
My most disappointing rejection was with an editor from one of the big five publishing firms. I had previously submitted a few chapters of my latest manuscript and had an appointment for a pitch with her at a writer’s conference. After the pitch, I was walking on air. She said she’d absolutely loved the chapters she’d read; she commented they were ‘beautifully written’ and couldn’t wait to read the entire manuscript. I emailed her the manuscript the instant I got home. However, I never heard from her again.
What has surprised you the most about writing or publishing?
What is the best writing advice you’ve received or could give?
There are many sources of advice I take on board every time I write, however one aspect that’s important is to write from the heart. Sometimes writers are too afraid to step out of their comfort borders for fear of embarrassment or rejection, however being able to express yourself through words is one of the most liberating and privileged aspects of being human. It’s what makes a good story great.
Are there any other points about writing that you would like to add?
Don’t be afraid to take chances. Write as often as you can. The more you write, the more you will find your sense of style. Once you discover that certain style, you’ll probably want to change it but experimentation in writing is what it’s all about. Dare to be different.
What is the next book that will be coming out? Can you give me a short synopsis?
My next book, due for release in October 2018 is titled The Vision. It’s the first book in an exciting new YA trilogy. The Vision is the story of Willow Blue, a reclusive girl with the impossible ability to see the guardians who abide with every human on earth.
That’s all for today’s interview. If you would like to learn more about M.J.’ writing, here are a couple of links to get you started.