1. Where did the idea for Effigy come from?
Between my sophomore year of high school and my sophomore year of college, I wrote a series of eight fantasy novellas, and the story was most definitely finished by the end of the eighth. The problem was that I didn't want to leave the world nor the characters that I had created. Then the summer before my junior year of college, Effigy's main character, Haleine Coileáin popped into my head and wouldn't get out. Originally, Effigy was meant to be a prequel, but Haleine completely took over—as my characters tend to do—and changed absolutely everything. Effigy was no longer a prequel, but rather the first in a new series, and my eight novellas became history.
2. Ha! I can relate to characters taking over! What was the easiest part of writing this book?
Well, the page numbering went pretty smoothly after that little Microsoft paper clip guy (who quite possibly doesn't exist anymore and I've just severely dated myself) explained how it worked to me. But on a slightly more serious note, I'd say the dialogue was probably the easiest part. That has always been rather straightforward for me.
3. The hardest?
Naming characters generally gives me a hard time. Usually, my characters go through two or three names before I find the one I like. And occasionally, they end up with names like "Mercenary Guy" or "Insert Name Here" because I'm just that creative.
4. I'm picky about names, too. What did you learn from writing the book?
I learned that plotting out a story ahead of time isn't necessarily the worst thing in the world. I used to be a hard core pantser but through the course of putting this book out in the world, I have evolved into a soft core plotter. I'm sure hard core plotting is just around the corner. It's pretty addictive. If you're me, anyway.
5. What are you working on now?
I am working on Effigy's sequel, Second Nature, the second book in the Coileáin Chronicles.
6. Is there any other profession you might want other than 'writer'?
I've always wanted to be an international ass-kicking secret agent/super spy ( à la Emma Peel or Sydney Bristow). That, or a concert pianist. Or a Broadway actress.
7. I loved Emma Peel! Guilty Pleasure?
Pinterest. For some reason, I feel I must pin all the things. It's a huge time suck, and I always feel guilty after a massive pinning spree. Also, cake.
8. First car?
My first car was an 80's Pontiac Grand Am. It was brown, very ugly, and you didn't need a key to start it. It turns out that you didn't need a key to start it because it had been stolen (not by me) from some woman in Connecticut (sorry about that), and I had unknowingly purchased it from a used car dealer who went out of business shortly after this information came to light. Oops.
9. Last book read?
I just finished Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater. That woman's work rocks my world. Seriously, I would read her grocery lists. I bet they're awesome.
I love Maggie Stiefvater, too; she's amazing.
The survival of a once-mighty kingdom rests in the hands of its young queen, Haleine Coileáin, as it slowly succumbs to an ancient evil fueled by her husband’s cruelty.
A sadistic man with a talent for torture and a taste for murder, he is determined to burn the land and all souls within. Haleine is determined to save her kingdom and, after a chance encounter, joins forces with the leader of the people’s rebellion. She gives him her support, soon followed by her heart.
Loving him is inadvertent but becomes as natural and necessary as breathing. She lies and steals on his behalf, doing anything she can to further their cause. She compromises beliefs held all her life, for what life will exist if evil prevails?
Her journey leads to a deceiving world of magic, monsters, and gods she never believed existed outside of myth. The deeper she goes, the more her soul is stripped away, but she continues on, desperate to see her quest complete. If she can bring her husband to ruin and save her people, any sacrifice is worth the price—even if it means her life.
Want to know more about MJ? You can find her at My Pet Blog. Interested in her book? Click on the pic to buy :)