The Writing Life of: Marjorie Mallon
This week on ‘The Writing Life of:‘ I am thrilled to be interviewing author Marjorie Mallon. Marjorie will be sharing with us detail of her writing life, telling us all about her latest book ‘Bloodstone: Curse of Time Book One‘, which was released on 2nd April 2018, and answering a few fun questions too.
So without further ado I’ll hand you over to Marjorie Mallon
I am a debut author who has been blogging for three years at my lovely blog home Kyrosmagica. My interests include writing, photography, poetry, and alternative therapies. I write Fantasy YA, middle grade fiction and micro poetry – haiku and Tanka. I love to read and have written over 100 reviews.
My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheroes! I was born on the 17th of November in Lion City: Singapore, (a passionate Scorpio, with the Chinese Zodiac sign a lucky rabbit,) second child and only daughter to my proud parents Paula and Ronald. I grew up in a mountainous court in the Peak District in Hong Kong with my elder brother Donald. My parents dragged me away from my exotic childhood and my much loved dog Topsy to the frozen wastelands of Scotland. In bonnie Edinburgh I mastered Scottish country dancing, and a whole new Och Aye lingo.
As a teenager I travelled to many far-flung destinations to visit my abacus wielding wayfarer dad. It’s rumoured that I now live in the Venice of Cambridge, with my six foot hunk of a Rock God husband, and my two enchanted daughters. After such an upbringing my author’s mind has taken total leave of its senses! When I’m not writing, I eat exotic delicacies while belly dancing, or surf to the far reaches of the moon. To chill out, I practise Tai Chi. If the mood takes me I snorkel with mermaids, or sign up for idyllic holidays with the Chinese Unicorn, whose magnificent voice sings like a thousand wind chimes.
1) As a child what did you want to do when you grew up?
I’d probably say something predictable like a ballerina. I’ve never really known what I wanted to do until I was much older. I’ve tried my hand at so many different careers, (none of them ballet related,) including: office work, retail, hairdressing, and for a short while I worked as an aromatherapist/reflexologist.
2) Who were your favourite childhood authors?
I loved C.S. Lewis. The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe. I also loved comic album story books such as Tintin, Asterix, The Broons, and Our Willie. When I was a little older I adored Raymond Chandler, and Agatha Christie.
3) At what point in your life did you realise you wanted to be a writer?
I wrote when I was a teenager, but discovered boys and got side tracked. I’d say I only discovered that I wanted to be a writer about four years ago.
4) How did you go about following that dream?
I read masses, in all genres but with a particular emphasis in YA Fantasy fiction. I joined a writer’s group in Cambridge, called Cambridge Writers and went to regular critique group sessions. I worked really hard trying to improve my craft. I joined in flash fiction, short story, and poetry challenges via blogging.
5) What is your writing day like? Do you aim for a certain amount of pages or words before you stop for the day?
It varies because I work full-time so it’s more a case of snatching time for writing when I can. I’d love to write all the time and hope to do this in the future.
6) Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I don’t have a pseudonym but sometimes I cheekily call myself MJ after Mary Jane in Spiderman as I am a big fan.
7) Do you have any strange habits before starting, or whilst in the midst of writing?
I tend to get obsessional if I am writing, I have been known to burn the dinner, ignore my kids’ demands for attention or forget to go to the toilet!
8) Do you write longhand, typewriter, or on a computer?
Mainly computer but I do sometimes use a notebook to jot down ideas or write a rough draft.
9) How many books have you written? Do you have any unpublished work?
I have written one published book, The Curse of Time – Book One – Bloodstone and partially written the next in the series The Curse of Time – Book Two – Golden Healer. I have lots of unpublished work, including a MG fantasy story about a girl and a dragon set at Chinese New Year, a couple of picture book ideas, lots of poetry and my dad’s travel memoir. He has serious wanderlust having travelled to the Far East, Middle East, Africa, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, and Caribbean.
10) Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I am definitely not a plotter. In fact, I tend to be driven by my imaginative urges and end up having to move scenes around to make them work.
11) Do you read all the reviews left for your book(s)?
Yes, I do. I have received a range of reviews from 5,4, to 3 stars. I try not to get too upset if a reviewer doesn’t like my book as much as I do. I review books myself so I really appreciate a well-thought out review that gives me food for thought and might perhaps give me ideas to improve my craft.
Concerning your latest book:
The Curse of Time Book One
Publisher – Kyrosmagica Publishing
Pages – 240
Release Date – 2nd April 2018
ISBN 13 – 978-1999822439
Format – ebook, paperback
Fifteen-year-old Amelina Scott lives in Cambridge with her dysfunctional family, a mysterious black cat, and an unusual girl who’s imprisoned within the mirrors located in her house. When an unexpected message arrives inviting her to visit the Crystal Cottage, she sets off on a forbidden pathway where she encounters Ryder, a charismatic, but perplexing stranger.
With the help of a magical paint set, and some crystal wizard stones she discovers the truth about a shocking curse that has destroyed her family’s happiness.
12) How long did it take you to get from the idea’s stage to your date of publication?
It has taken me about four years of blood, sweat and tears. But, during that time I have also written a lot of unpublished work, which I will return to after The Curse of Time is complete. As well as this I have devoted time to my social media and a couple of blogs, and started a Facebook club for authors and bloggers.
13) How did you come up with the names for your characters?
Apparently, my daughter suggested them to me! That’s what she says, her claim to fame. Some of my characters names I chose myself. I called the dog Clarence, and the cat Shadow. Then it struck me that Clarence might not be the best name to use, as my friend’s son is called Clarence and I decided to change the dog’s name to Toby.
14) Can you give us an insight into your main character(s) life?, What makes them tick?
My main characters are Amelina, Ryder and Esme. Amelina and Esme are like sisters. They live in the same dysfunctional household, both are captured by circumstance. Esme is locked within the mirrors of the family home and Amelina is unable to be truly happy so she feels like a prisoner too. There is light, in the form of crystal magic and an opportunity for Amelina to solve a perplexing mystery which could set Amelina, her family and Esme free.
Ryder is the main male protagonist. He is a deliberately confusing character. He is handsome, charismatic, and initially appears to rescue Amelina from impending danger but who is he really? Can Amelina trust him?
15) Which was your hardest scene to write?
The hardest part to write was without a doubt the ending of book one. It had to be powerful but still hint at more to come in Book two.
16) How did you come up with the title of your book?
The title of the book changed. At first, I entitled it The Crystal Cottage. Then I decided upon Krystallos Cottage. Neither seemed right. Then I had a magnificent idea to call it the Curse of Time and to use the stunning image of The Corpus Christi Chronopage clock on the front cover of the book.
17) Did you get a family member/friend to read your work before sending to the publishers?
Yes, I got my daughter who is an English Literature graduate to read it. My mum and dad read it too. I also had a couple of beta readers help me with it, notably author Colleen Chesebro who put her heart and soul into it and author Graham Cummings read the initial version giving me invaluable help. As well as this many of the chapters were critiqued by Cambridge Writers.
18) What process did you go through to get your book published?
I tried to go the traditional route initially but found it time-consuming, and soul destroying. So, I decided to self-publish. I like making my own decisions. Luckily I have a successful blog, twitter account and a range of social media to promote the book myself.
19) What did you do once you had written the final word in your book?
Celebrate. But, I had no idea that it was just the beginning. I had to learn so many new skills to self-publish.
20) What’s next for you, writing-wise?
I am currently working through Book two, and after that I hope to progress to Book three in the series. After that I will return to all my other writing projects.
1) What’s your favourite food?
I love Asian food. I was brought up on a very mixed diet as my mum is Malaysian and my dad is Scottish. There is very little I can’t eat. I love spicy food.
2) If you had a box of crayons and you could only choose one, which colour would you choose?
Green. Definitely. It is my favourite colour, and my first crystal I ever bought was a green Malachite.
3) What movie could you watch over and over again?
I love Top Gun with Tom Cruise, and Dirty Dancing. I could watch them over and over.
4) What would be the top song on your playlist?
Oh, that’s a difficult question. There are so many wonderful songs, and artists. I don’t think I can pick just one. I love Purple Rain by Prince. My favourite musicians and singers are David Bowie, Stereophonics, U2…
5) If you won millions, what would be your first purchase?
A yacht so I could sail away. I love to travel and I adore the sea. But, I would need someone to be at the helm as I am no sailor!
6) A talking duck walks into your room wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses, whats the first thing he says to you?
‘Hi, I have a confession to make. I’m wearing my baseball cap on my beak, and my sunglasses need special lenses as I am short-sighted. I waddle too slowly, I can’t dive in and catch fish but I can quack at a deafening pitch. This terrifies the poor unsuspecting fish and they die of natural causes!’
You can find out more about Marjorie Mallon by visiting the website/social media sites below.
Prize: £35 / $50 Amazon Gift Card (The equivalent of £35 for an International winner. If it’s not possible to purchase a gift card, the winner will receive the cash equivalent of £35)
I would like to say a big thank you to Marjorie Mallon for sharing with us details of her writing life, and for a wonderful interview.