Friday, 27 February 2015

Interview: MJ Meads

What have you had published?
I am a first time novelist and this will be my first published work.

What genre(s) of book do you write?
I certainly find myself drawn to write stories with a romantic element, although the relationship is usually only part of a wider social commentary. Perhaps Romantic Drama is more appropriate, or RomDram.

What inspired you to write your first book?
This book has been floating around in my head and on various scraps of paper for ten years or more. It was inspired by stories and life experiences I'd been privy to that I felt weren't reflected in contemporary fiction.

How long did it take you to write “Milk: A Modern Love Story”?
After losing 40,000 odd words in March 2014 and having to start again from scratch, it took around 10 months. The book did spend nine years in the conceptual stage though!

What is the working title of your next book(s)?
Toast. It will be a sequel to Milk. There seems to be a breakfast theme running through my titles!

When and why did you begin writing?
I've always considered myself a writer, starting with poetry when I was eight or nine years old. I worked in non-writing jobs for many years but I was eventually lucky enough to make a living copywriting and writing for social media.

Do you self publish your books or go through an agency?
I really only considered self-publishing, but I dipped a toe in the water with an agent to see if any would bite. I'm a huge fan of the democratisation of publishing, especially in the wake of e-readers. I wouldn't turn down a sizeable advance for 'Toast' though!

What part of writing books do you find the hardest?
Staring at that blank page waiting for something to happen. Also having to go through looking for continuity errors that crop up when you're writing over so many months.

What do you do in your spare time?
I enjoy visiting museums and galleries, I think all art is inextricably intertwined and I'd love to work in conjunction with a sculptor or painter in future. I love to cook too, food is an important part of my life and helps cushion the blow of a bad day in front of the computer.

Who is your favourite author?
It pains me to say this but I don't read as much as I should. I miss the era of the storyteller, the orator. I'd often rather read The Iliad aloud to someone than I would bury my head in a book. I enjoy reading Will Self's musings on modern life though.

What’s your favourite genre to read?
Anything funny, intentionally or otherwise. I have a nasty habit of inventing characters voices in my head and so a well written joke makes me laugh out loud when reading on the train.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
I often hear or read the phrase “write the kind of book you'd like to read” but I'm not sure that's good advice. Write the book you want to write, don't let anybody tell you it's too niche, too complex, or not mass-market. If you're passionate about the subject you're writing on, that will show in your work.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Milk: A Modern Love Story is available on Kindle 1st March 2015.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Review: "Pip" by Freya North

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Freya North is one of my all time favourite authors. I have read every single one of her books at least once and have enjoyed them all. Some of them take a little while to get into but not "Pip". "Pip" throws you straight into the action, introducing you to the major characters and immediately pointing out everyone's quirks.

Alongside the three sisters, Pip, Fen and Cat, there's Django. I really think Django deserves a book to himself. He is such a well drawn character who fits in well with the sisters. I like how the author writes not only from Pip's point of view but also from the main male's viewpoint. The life between Zac, his ex and his child is nearly as interesting as Pip's.

As always, the plot is well thought out and structured. The writing flows almost effortless from one page to the next and you are drawn into a sort of trance between reality and the world which North has created.

Finally, there's Pip's career. The kind of career that only the best of author's could write into a book without making it seem daft and unbelievable.

5/5 Stars, a must read (I have done twice).