- Does writing energize or exhaust you?
That depends. In the beginning of a project I am most definitely energized and that is because the story is yet to be told. By the end of a project, after the editing multiple drafts, the process is mentally exhausting. Luckily, I have a very short memory and repeat this process again and again.
2. What is your writing Kryptonite?
Distraction. When I write, all social media and the internet are shut down, except for bringing up a browser to reference something pertaining to the piece I am working on.
3. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
MJ Preston is as close to a pseudonym as I ever got.
4. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Too many authors to name really. A short list would be Gregory L. Norris, B.E. Scully, F. Paul Wilson, Kevin M. Sullivan, Joseph Boyden. Reading their work certainly helps. I am often in awe at their creativity.
5. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
My latest novel, which is in pre-publication has no connection to my other works, but often I will revisit characters and link them to other works.
6. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
That’s a tough one. Let me get back to you.
7. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
I believe it was around 1983. I wrote my first letter to the editor of my home town paper. The subject was regarding employers who pay their employees poorly. At that time, I was working for $4.00 per hour in a local carwash. The response to that letter blew me away. There was no email or internet back then, so people put pen to paper and mailed in their responses. That impressed me. Even those who disagreed with my opinion impressed on me that words were a way of invoking discussion and sometimes debate.
8. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
I’d have to say, Robert R. McCammon’s vampire novel, THEY THIRST. A great book, set in the 70’s and fun read.
9. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
Easy answer. The raven. I have always had love for these dark creatures. I’ve taken hundreds of photographs of them. Written stories and a novel that included them and I am always taken back by their intelligence.
10. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I don’t discuss unpublished work.
11. What does literary success look like to you?
Readers. Plenty of readers. I don’t care much about awards or being the darling of critics. I just want more readers.
12. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Research is certainly part of the process. It varies by project. In most cases, the research begins and continues during the project.
13. How many hours a day/week do you write?
I don’t know really. Again, it varies. Could be 20 hours, could be 30, depending on my schedule. Let’s just say I write as much as I can and as long as my muse is available.
14. How do you select the names of your characters?
Usually, it’s random thought, but once that’s exhausted the internet provides a well of opportunity.
15. What was your hardest scene to write?
I have written about the murder of children. Not an easy task. You have to know where your line is and whether or not you’ve crossed it.
16. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
I guess I would be categorized as a horror/thriller writer, but I often ponder writing a book that is completely away from that genre. I sometimes write small pieces or opinion pieces that are of a more serious nature. Balance doesn’t really come in to. If somebody asked about me it would probably be, “That M.J. Preston is a horror writer.” ―but I consider myself a writer.
17. How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing fiction since the 70’s, with a hiatus from about 1986 to 1998. During that period, I wrote articles for newspapers while serving in the Canadian military. So, technically, I’ve always wrote, but my love of fiction took a short vacation.
18. What inspires you?
Reading the work of others inspires me.
19. How do you find or make time to write?
If you want to be a writer you just make time. That’s what I do, anyway.
20. What projects are you working on at the present?
I said I don’t discuss unfinished work, so I’ll avoid specifics. I will say that there is a new book on the horizon pre-publication as well as another in the works.
21. 22. What do your plans for future projects include?
Warmer climates? 😊
Share a link to your author website.
Folks can visit my author website: http://mjpreston.net