Please welcome M J Mallon to my blog. Shall we sit and have a chat?
1. Please introduce yourself to those reading this blog post.
Hi Mary, I am an author, poet, book reviewer and blogger. I write YA Fantasy, poetry, and short fiction. As well as this, I enjoy taking photographs of nature, and European travel destinations such as Portugal, Spain, and in UK – Edinburgh, in Scotland, and Cambridge in England. I am building up my reputation as a book reviewer via my new bookstagram account.
2. Has writing always been part of your life and when did you “know” that it was time to start writing your first book?
I began writing in my teens, thereafter lost my writing mojo somewhat. Later in life, I came back to it when my family were grown up. With regards to my first book, my YA fantasy, Bloodstone #1 The Curse of Time series, lots of experiences came together and triggered my imagination to write. Some were artistic…namely two sculptural artworks – Juniper Artland’s crystal grotto in Wilkieston near Edinburgh, UK, designed by Anya Gallaccio, and Dr. John C. Taylor’s magnificent Corpus Christi Chronophage clock in Cambridge, UK… and a mysterious and magical black cat muse who suddenly appeared in my garden and became a character, Shadow in the series!
3. How difficult was it writing your first book?
The most difficult part of writing my first book was the editing process. I write with minimal planning so I had to do a fair amount of intervention to make the first draft work!
4. Have you ever wanted to give up and what stopped you?
Sometimes it gets frustrating, small independent authors spend so much time and effort writing, editing, and promoting our work. There is so much competition… and it is even harder with short poetic works. As is the case with some of my releases. My latest is Do What You Love, Fragility of Your Flame Poems, Photography and Flash Fiction which releases 25th November.
5. Who is the most supportive of you and your dream to be a writer?
My mum and dad and my eldest daughter, Natasha. My mum always reads all my work, loves it all! And gives me feedback. And Natasha is my go to beta reader and a keen bookish soul like me.
6. Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I wrote Do What You Love as a poetic, as a short fiction poetic summary of some of my highlights of my life-to-date. It is a nostalgic looking back, a processing of the joys of friendship, family, travel and change as we grow older.
It begins with this poem – I love hibiscus flowers!
FRAGILITY OF YOUR FLAME
fragility of your flame
memories not lost
recalled by rain drops falling
caressing tender petals
© M J Mallon
7. What is the best advice given to you (book or otherwise), and by whom?
In my case, focus on one thing at a time! I tend to be a bit of a writing butterfly. So, hubby’s great advice was to finish my first book… and not get sidetracked. He was right, I did! And there are now two books in The Curse of Time series with a planned continuation of the series in the antagonist Ryder’s Land of Shadows.
8. What is your target audience and what aspect of your writing do you feel targets that audience?
I have two target audiences… which can be tricky… teens and those who are young at heart for my YA Fantasy, (even though The Curse of Time series has poetic moments too!) and readers who primarily enjoy short fiction, photography and poetry for my other works. The style of writing that targets both is the poetic aspect in all of these said works.
9. Did the cover evolve the same way, or did you work with someone to make it come together for you?
My cover was designed by an old friend of mine: Colleen Chesebro who has a new cover design and formatting service. I believe Colleen captured the essence of the book exceptionally well and the girl on the cover does look like me!
10. What are you working on now? Can we get a peek, an excerpt?
I’m working on the third book following on from the Curse of Time series which is very much in its infancy…
Here is an excerpt, please be aware it may change and is unedited.
Excerpt – The Land of Shadows
Darkness descended as all too familiar phantoms beckoned to come. “Remember me,” they chorused reaching out as their irregular shadows danced so close that I could feel them crowding in upon me.
I pushed them away, moving with utmost care, my hands outstretched to avoid obstacles and creatures of darkness in my way. I managed to stumble forward using my senses to reach the kitchen, pulling at the handle of the cupboard drawer I rummaged inside and clasped a pillar candle, and then a box of matches to summon the light. I struck a match, but the candle flickered and died. Trying again and again, I sighed with frustration as each time the candle refused to light. I trembled, alone in the house, my forehead creased with a mounting sense of doubt and fear. Had my world become a world of darkness? A world bereft of light, of happiness, had it become Ryder’s world?
“No!” I yelled in fury to the void.
The void was not as empty as I had imagined. The sudden familiar motion of Shadow curling around my legs calmed and reassured me. I knelt down and stroked his blue black fur, which blended into and became absorbed by the darkness. He purred the sweetest, melodious note, a gentle salve to my nerves.
“What’s happening Shadow? The world has turned dark. The moon is submerged, like it has tumbled into the sea, swept away by the tides and is now buried, and lost.”
Shadow miaowed, he jumped upon my leg, his claws extending gently. He wanted to be picked up, which was an unusual request from him, I bent down and carried him towards the lounge, my intention to sit with him on the settee. He relaxed as I put him down. His presence reassured me as he kneaded his paws, massaging my fear away.
The two of us sat
Waiting for something to change.
For light and hope to come.
But still the darkness remained.
© M J Mallon
11. Any last words before we wrap things up?
Thank you for featuring me on your blog! I hope your readership will give my books a go… if they like poetic, philosophical, descriptive and imaginative writing I believe they may find something they like in my works.
Blurb – Do What You Love
Do What You Love Fragility of Your Flame Poems, Photography & Flash Fiction is a personal poetry collection celebrating how the fates may have a part in all that we do.
With special poems and short reflective moments inspired by family, flowers and nature, love, scrumptious morsels, places I’ve visited, lived and intend to live in, the friendships and hopes I have for the future.
The overarching theme is to live a life well lived… And to do what you love.
float along with me
create clouds of sweetest joy
to do what you love
hold fate’s hand as we venture
near and far on life’s journey
© 2022 M J Mallon
Release Date: 25th November 2022, able to preorder via the following links.
Buy Links Do What You Love:
I am thrilled to say that two of my poetry collections, (Mr. Sagittarius and Lockdown Innit,) have been requested by prestigious libraries in the UK: The British Library, The Bodleian Library Oxford University, the Cambridge University Library, National Library of Scotland, National Library of Wales and Trinity College Dublin for Legal Deposit.
Add the book to your TBR: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/63114445-do-what-you-love
The cover of the paperback and kindle have been designed by Colleen Chesebro who has a new service for authors which I can highly recommend. Colleen also designed the interior and cover of The Hedge Witch And The Musical Poet.
Other poetry/flash fiction collections:
The Hedge Witch And The Musical Poet
Mr. Sagittarius Poetry and Prose
Anthology – This Is Lockdown, (poetry, diaries and flash fiction – kindle)
Poetry during Lockdown – Lockdown Innit
Poetry also features in my highly acclaimed YA Fantasy series. Each chapter begins with a short poem. The Curse of Time Book 1 Bloodstone and Book 2 Golden Healer are published by Next Chapter Publishing.
M J Mallon was born in Lion city Singapore, a passionate Scorpio with the Chinese Zodiac sign of a lucky rabbit. She spent her early childhood in Hong Kong. During her teen years, she returned to her father’s childhood home, Edinburgh where she spent many happy years, entertained and enthralled by her parents’ vivid stories of living and working abroad. Perhaps it was during these formative years that her love of storytelling began bolstered by these vivid raconteurs. She counts herself lucky to have travelled to many far-flung destinations and this early wanderlust has fuelled her present desire to emigrate abroad. Until that wondrous moment, it’s rumoured that she lives sometimes in the UK, and often times in Portugal.. Her two enchanting daughters have flown the nest but often return with a cheery smile to greet her.
Her motto is to always do what you love, stay true to your heart’s desires, and inspire others to do so too.
All my links can be found here: https://linktr.ee/mjmallonauthor