· Tell me M.J., what do you like to write, and why?
I like to write about damaged individuals finding their happy ever after because finding love is that much sweeter for someone who has love and lost or experienced some sort of trauma.
· When offered your first publishing contract did you
B) Jump out of your seat and run around flailing your arms chanting OMG OMG OMG
C) Pee your pants
D) B & C
E) None of the above (You’re lying if your answer isn’t number 2 :P)
If not A-D , what was your reaction?
I screamed. But I screamed even louder when that company decided to close its doors a few days later and rescinded their offer! After that my offers were received with a much more cautious optimism.
· After how many published titles do you think it’s appropriate to write your own autobiography?
I’m not sure if it’s ever a good idea to write an autobiography! Let other people make up their own reasons for your strange behavior. No, seriously, I’ve often thought about writing an autobiography, but not because I am a writer, but because I am a mother of triplets, plus one older. Man, have I got some stories!
· How important to you are the names of your characters?
Vital! We all have a certain image we place with a name. That being said, my image of a Ralph might not be the same as your image of a Ralph. Whatever name I pick for a character is perfect for him, in my mind. A long time ago my lunch lady friends and I built a list of “hot” names for guys, names you automatically associate with a hot guy (yeah, it was a slow day). I still go back to that list when I need a name.
· How do you go about nabbing that perfect title for your books?
A few of my titles started my books. The book I have due out in a couple of weeks, ABANDON ALL HOPE, is actually the title of a book my character wrote in TRAPPED UNDER ICE.
· What are the occupational hazards of being a writer?
Very little time for anything else. But that’s okay. It’s what I like to do best! It is a very demanding job as you not only have to write, you have to read. And you have to read about writing. You have to review work for writing friends, (which I guess is writing about reading.) You need to market, give feedback on covers, play the social media game¸read email, attend conferences, workshops, writing clubs, take classes…
· Do you have a quote or slogan you try to live by?
Seriously?! You’re asking a writer to give you one quote? How ‘bout I narrow it down to two. “You are unrepeatable. There is a magic about you that is all your own…” –D.M. Dellinger. As a writer, it is your job to transfer that magic to paper. And, of course, no writer can live without—“Never, never, never give up.” –Winston Churchill. There are a lot of different forms of rejection in this business, (rejection letters, bad reviews, criticism from editors and critique partners…). You have to want it bad enough to not give up, even when somewhere inside a voice is screaming, “Just hang it up!”
· Have you ever taken the writing to the bathroom with you? Sometimes for me it’s the only place I can find that elusive peace and quiet. Until my 5 year old sniffs me out.
Only in my head.
· Pantser or Plotter? I’ll have you know how proud I am that I just used these terms. Since I’ve just recently learned what they meant. Go me. Always keepin’ up with the author slang.
Pantser, all the way. I like to go where the story takes me. It is a weakness though. Someone will ask, “What was the purpose of that scene?” And I’ll be like, “Uhh…that’s the way it happened in my head?”
· What do you like to write in? (i.e PJ’s and stompeez, a prom dress or perhaps a bathtub?)
Absolute, uninterrupted silence. The only sound I want to hear is the buzz of my laptop’s fan and the click of fingers on a keypad.
· How do you react to a bad review?
I’m not gonna lie. It hurts. Then I try to learn from it. If it doesn't ring true I like to think that the reviewer is just a very unhappy person with no moral character or friends. ( ;
· Do you feel like a complete dumbo when people ask for your autograph? I tend to get stuck on stupid and fumblerooski all my words when someone asks me for mine because its generally someone I know and that makes me feel even more herp derp.
I’ll let you know when someone does.
· Have you ever been a character in one of your books?
I refuse to answer on the grounds it may incriminate me. Okay, yes! I think I am part of all of my characters. But mostly Beth, from TRAPPED UNDER ICE, the lunch lady/romance writer (like myself) that scores the rock star!
· Would you ever play yourself in a movie or TV production of one of your books?
Wow, interesting… No. I’d rather be played by someone younger, thinner, and prettier with a modicum of acting skill.
· Have you ever gone a little REDRUM after a few days shacked up in the ol’ writing hole?
Absolutely not, and anyone who tells you I have is a liar! Actually, I’m more likely to go on a rampage when I can’t write.
· What do you think is your biggest accomplishment in writing? Your biggest failure?
The day I made the best seller list. It was only for a few hours, but it was awesome! I don’t think I would think of anything I did, or anyone else did, as a failure, just a step in the wrong direction.
· Do you do research for your novel? Me... I could totally walk into the Bio Buzz pick up a bong and be like..It’s for research dude! Lol
I prefer that no one learn anything from my writing. I want it to all be about feeling—laughing, crying, holding your breath in suspense... That being said, I have done some research to make those feelings more real (researching the backgrounds of settings, etc.) My husband likes when I do research for some of the hotter scenes!
· Speaking of bongs. Have you ever written anything while high on the weed, drunk on the wine or chill from the pill? I have...I’m on bottle number two.
Wow, Harlz! You’re like the Bawbaw Walters of writing blogs—asking the tough questions. I have been known to have a drink or two when writing.
· Do you laugh at yourself ever?
On a daily basis. I think I’m hysterical.
HJ:As do I!
· How much of your childhood reflects upon your musings?
My childhood, my adulthood, it’s all in there.
· How do you like these questions so far? Anything striking your fancy? Ok, moving along…
Actually, they are a lot of fun!
· How do you feel about being interviewed?
I enjoy being interviewed. I just don’t like the pressure of coming up with something new to say all of the time. These questions helped with that.
· How do you feel about global warming?
I think it’s a bad thing, unless you’re a lizard or camel or something.
· How do you feel about Antonio Sabato Jr.?
I recognized the name, but I had to look him up. Let’s just say that window is still open and leave it at that.
· Are you jealous of other writers?
I know that I shouldn’t admit this, but actually, yes. Insanely jealous! But then I tell myself that we’re all different. We all have our own voice, own story to tell, so I shouldn’t compare myself to others. Sometimes that even works.
· What makes you laugh? Cry?
Okay, this is probably strange, but I laugh when I hurt myself, like stub my toe. The harder I laugh, the more it hurts. I cry at anything the least bit sentimental—Hallmark commercials, veterans returning home, wedding videos, proposal stories, pictures of children, dogs, cats, blueberry muffins…
HJ: OMG I cry at Blueberry muffins too!
· Vacation or staycation?
Umm…both please! I love to explore new places, but time off to accomplish things around the home is invaluable, too.
· Fancy Schmancy wedding or a Vegas wedding?
I think that I’d enjoy either. It’s not the wedding, it’s the groom.
· Favorite season? Mine’s football :P
I love the fall. The feel, taste, smell of the air. The leaves, the food. I love baking in the fall—cakes, pies, muffins, breads…
· Who were some of your inspirations for writing? For your characters?
Well, for my ROCKING ROMANCE COLLECTION, rock stars. For writing, Nora Roberts, Charles Dickens, RT Wolfe.
HJ: R.T. Wolfe is pretty bad-ass may I add!!!
· Did you enjoy this interview?
Absolutely! It was honestly one of the most enjoyable interviews I’ve done. Thank you for having me!
Thanks for showin’ up, you're awesome!!
Here's the goods! Read all about M.J.'s Rocking Romance Collection, the Trailer for Trapped Under Ice and the hot covers of Trapped and Abandon All Hope. (Steve Novak Illustrations)
Below, you'll find the links to purchase all this awesome and a little bit more about M.J. Schiller.
Trapped Under Ice is a novel about a three time platinum record-producing band whose lead singer, Chad Evans, is haunted by his past. Growing up in an abusive home, then being left alone at the age of thirteen to raise his kid brother, Chad still fights the pain he felt as a child, and the anger it causes, despite being a wildly successful rock star. “Chad [tries] to play his heart out on the stage; but he [can] never quite seem to leave it there.”
Beth Donovan, lunch lady/writer, is thrilled to be enjoying a Trapped Under Ice concert with her daughter, Cassie. Even though it has been three years since her husband, Paul’s, death, sorrow still shadows her life, so the distraction of seeing her favorite group is a welcome one. However, when the concert is over, Beth and her daughter are followed and attacked by two men in one of the stadium’s bathrooms. When Chad and his bodyguard, Pete, come to their aid, an attraction sparks immediately between Beth and the tall singer.
Though the pair is drawn to each other, the relationship goes through numerous trials centered on Chad’s unresolved anger, and Beth’s fear of opening herself up again. Just as the two seem to be able to work through their problems, they face being separated forever by someone who is sending Chad death threats. Trapped Under Ice is the story of a love-affair fraught with difficulties from without, (ex-girlfriends who resurface, crazed fans who don’t want to take “no” for an answer…), as well as difficulties from within, (jealousy, anger, fear…). Will Chad and Beth be able to rise above these trials and tribulations? Or will they remain trapped under ice?
M.J. Schiller needs no introduction but I'll give you one anyhow. :P
I was born in the heart of Tornado Alley, and I’ve been a bit mixed up ever since. Not really, but I’ve always wanted to use that line. The medical community has established no solid connection between the place of my birth and my off-beat personality.
I grew up in St. Louis and graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a degree in English education. I left the workforce, however, when my kids were born. Unbelievably I now have an eighteen year old and sixteen-year-old triplets! Yes, I write to escape teenagerdom. Although I love them dearly. I also escape via rock concerts and karaoke. My first book, TAKEN BY STORM, was published by last fall, and my next book, the second in the ROCKING ROMANCE COLLECTION, titled ABANDON ALL HOPE will be coming soon!
You can find me at www.mjschiller.blogspot.com , or MJ on FB, or Twitter.
You can find TRAPPED UNDER ICE at Amazon, BN.com, the I-book Store, and other e-book retailers.
I've enjoyed having Ms. Schiller here as my guest as I sure hope you have as well. Feel free to ask some questions or just say hi!
Make sure you come back next week and get to know Leslie Garcia, author of Unattainable.
Until then, you know where I'll be...Between a Book & a Real Place!