First, if we were meeting at a coffee shop I’d be drinking an iced Coffee as I’m readyfor the summer 🙂 !
What would you order?
I don’t actually drink coffee (it makes me ill) so I’d go with a nice flavoured ice tea or an iced chocolate.
Thanks so much for hanging out with me today.
Congratulations on your RITA nomination in the Paranormal Romance category for The Shattered Court. Super exciting and what an honor. Where were you when you got the call?
I was actually at home and I’d completely forgotten that it was RITA time. Aussies and New Zealanders get called early so that the people making the calls aren’t waking us up at 2am in the morning our time. So I was sitting at home on Good Friday, doing a bit of writing and I almost didn’t answer the phone because hardly anyone other than telemarketers calls me on my landline any more. But then I did because I thought maybe it was my mum. I was pretty surprised to hear an American accent on the end of the line. I remember saying Oh My God a lot and not much else. And then I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone until the US people started getting the calls, so I had to wait from about 11 am my time to about 1.30am the next morning. It was a very long day!
For those who are not familiar with your work can you tell us a little bit your books. You have multiple series in your backlist, what can we expect in those lines? What was the inspiration for The Shattered Court?
My books most often start with a character appearing in my head. I was thinking about new book possibilities and I got the image of Sophie, sitting in a room, feeling very fed up with her current life but unable to see a way out of it and thought “she’s interesting”. I wrote a chunk of the book quite a while ago but then had to move onto other things so it was good to finally come back to her and see what happened.
As M.J. I write dark romantic fantasy and urban fantasy. The Half-Light City series (which is finished) and The Shattered Court are dark romantic fantasy and my Wild Side series is urban fantasy with vampires and werewolves and an accountant heroine who gets dragged into that world.
The Half-Light City series has magic, Fae, vampires and werewolves and humans and is set in a city where the various races live in relative harmony due to a treaty between the races. Which then starts to break down and wild things result. Each book features a different hero and heroine but there’s an ongoing arc.
The Four Arts series (of which The Shattered Court is the first book) is about a world where humans can use four types of magic (but not all humans have magical abilities). The heroine is Sophia Kendall who is a lady in waiting in a royal court, who is about to reach the age where she’ll either come into her powers or not. At this stage I’m planning two more books and they’ll all have the same heroine/hero.
I also write contemporary romance as Melanie Scott. My current series is The New York Saints series about three best friends who buy the worst team in Major League Baseball.
With multiple series, is it easy to keep characters from crossing over?
Because my worlds are all different, I can keep them straight fairly easily. I do use different fonts to write fantasy versus contemporary just as a visual queue. Though I confess, I occasionally find myself typing the wrong name if I’m working on two different series at once but usually catch myself. Or worse, writing in first person when I should be writing in third.
Each book has fantastic covers – do you have a part in the design?
I’ve been really really lucky with my covers. My editor does ask me for ideas so I’ll send her pictures that I’ve used for inspiration etc but the art department and cover artists then come up with something completely awesome.
I love reading your blog – I hope readers check it out. (I’ll link to it 🙂 ) Are there any topics you enjoy?
I just like to blog about stuff I’m enjoying mostly. I tend to talk about books, movies/TV, music, art, girly things like make up, my stationery addiction and my adventures in cooking and other things that I stumble across that catch my eye or I think are cool. I figure there are other people out there who like the same sorts of things as me and I’m not focused enough to only talk about one thing on my blog all the time.
I read that you love to knit. What are you working on? Have you ever traveled to a knitting event in the states? (here is a link -https://www.knittinguniverse.com/STITCHES/) I used to travel to them and found it absolutely exciting. All of my favorite vendors in one location and immediate satisfaction taking the delicious yarns, books and trinkets home.
I haven’t been to one in the US but I’d love to one day. I have been to similar things in Australia but they’re on a much smaller scale (though also bad for the wallet). I am however lucky enough to be related to an indie yarn dyer, who enables my yarn addiction. I don’t have a project on the go right now but it’s starting to get cold and my mind is turning to yarn. I found a hole in one of my pairs of hand knitted socks recently (tragedy!) so might have to knit a new pair. I have to ration out my knitting time or I get sore hands which isn’t good for writing.
I’ve never attempted spinning but had a friend who used to all the time. I hear it can be very therapeutic.
Spinning is absolutely soothing. As long as it’s behaving. Actually that’s why I enjoy doing crafty things so much, I find they do shut up the writer part of my brain that is always thinking about a book and just let me be in the moment for an hour or two.
Writing with a day job and other commitments is a challenge, do you have a writing ritual or secret location to get the work done?
I mostly write at home. I’m not so good with the whole writing in cafe things, I get distracted. Unless I’m really in the flow of a book and it’s coming fast, in which case I’ll write anywhere and everywhere. I even keep a notepad in the shower. I do a bit of writing in my lunch breaks at the day job but because I work part time, my day job days tend to be fairly packed and sometime I just need to chill out and actually take a break. I make a soundtrack for each book and that helps tune me into the world wherever I am as long as I have some headphones.
Thank you so much for being here today.
***** 8 Tantalizing Tidbits *****
1. What is a must read book and why?
Sunshine by Robin McKinley. Because great fantasy, a fabulous heroine, baking and both scary evil vampires and a scary good vampire. The only thing wrong with this book is that there isn’t a sequel (sorry, Robin, I know that’s a terrible thing to say to a writer).
2. What is one place that I should see if I visit your hometown?
In Melbourne, I’d recommend just wandering around the main part of the CBD. Melbourne has lots of fascinating little laneways and arcades full of wonderful shops (and great coffee). Either that or I’m always a fan of wandering around museums and galleries when I go to new places and Melbourne has great examples of both.
3. Hard Rock or Classical? Favorite Band or Artist?
I have fairly broad musical tastes. I played in the school band in high school so don’t mind a bit of classical or instrumental though I’m probably mostly a rock/pop gal. My all time favourite band is U2. My current favourite artist is definitely Taylor Swift. I think she’s a great storyteller as well as a very astute business woman at a very young age!
4. What are you afraid of?
I’m deathly afraid of large hairy spiders (Which is a problem when you live in Australia). Luckily very few other critters worry me. I can handle little spiders but big ones freak me out. I blame watching the Doctor Who Planet of the Spiders episodes at a young and impressionable age. Huge invisible spiders that sat on your back and controlled you (my parents possibly shouldn’t have let me watch those episodes 😀 )
5. Binge watcher or weekly viewer? Which show(s)?
I like a good binge watch because I don’t get heaps of TV time, so I like to save episodes up for a good couch and chill session. Also, I don’t have Foxtel which is the Australian equivalent of cable because it’s stupidly expensive here, so some shows I have to wait until they’re out on iTunes or DVD or come to free to air. But I will also watch by the week if something is an absolute favourite. Though I record those shows to and watch when I can. I love a lot of shows but currently on the top of the watch list are Grey’s Anatomy (I just cannot quit this show), Outlander, Person of Interest, Scandal and I’ve been slowly rewatching the X-Files. I recently binge watched Season 1 of The Affair, trying to watch season 2 more slowly.
6. What is one thing you can’t live without.
Books! Or my cat. Or both.
7. If you could invite 5 people to dinner (not friends and family – that’s too easy) would you invite?
Hmmmm…if they have to be alive then Neil Gaiman, David Attenborough, Chris Hemsworth, Kate Winslet and Taylor Swift. If they can be dead then I’d have to toss one of them out and invite Terry Pratchett.
8. If you could try any career for a day, what would it be?
That’s a hard question. Writers tend to have magpie brains and get interested in all sorts of things. Either a musical theatre performer (if I magically go the voice to go with that) or a zookeeper. I’ve always liked reading about zookeepers or people who study animals. Actual considered becoming a vet at one point but I changed my mind.
Thanks again for hanging out! Time for another Iced-Coffee 🙂
Happy Reading Dear Readers.
Happy Writing M.J.!
To find out who wins the 2016 RITA in each category head over to Romance Writers of America on July 16 at 8PM PT. Winners will be announced and be sure to follow #RITAGH and #RWA16 for all the news that night!
M.J Scott is an unrepentant bookworm. Luckily she grew up in a family that fed her a properly varied diet of books and these days is surrounded by people who are understanding of her story addiction. When not wrestling one of her own stories to the ground, she can generally be found reading someone else’s. Her other distractions include yarn, cat butlering, dark chocolate and fabric. She lives in Melbourne, Australia. Her website is www.mjscott.net.