Saturday, December 28, 2013

Author Interview: M. M. John

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview the wonderful debutante author M. M. John. Her debut novel, The Death of Ink, the first book in the series titled the same, is expected to be published in January, 2014! We had a discussion over her book, her writing and other stuffs. 

Hi! Its such a pleasure to have you here! Welcome to my blog. To start the interview, first tell us something about yourself.

I’m 22 years young. I love to create and only feel complete when I’m doing it. I love the capture the picture of the human soul. How beautifully complex we all are, both our good and bad parts, some parts contradictory, but that’s what makes life so interesting. I love people. I love studying and observing them. I live to create stories about the average person, the working class, the mail worker or nurse’s assistant, families that live paycheck to paycheck and the people who still dare to dream of a better life. I sometimes imagine my life with a soundtrack of music playing in the background, mostly Janelle Monae and other soulful artists. I’m a senior in college, majoring in International Business, but really writing is my life and writing is my dream. I have several story concepts bouncing around in my head all day, every day. Sometimes I wonder if I will have the time to write them all.

Wow! I can already imagine how beautiful your writing is! And by the way I love observing people too. Now lets talk about your book and writing. So, when did you first know that you wanted to be an author? Did you always want to be one?

Becoming an author wasn’t something that I would have named as what I wanted to be growing up. Writing was just something I alwaysdid. I didn’t really think about it or think on it. I knew that I loved sharing stories when I was a kid in elementary. I loved people’s reactions and how they could enjoy something I just made up. How they could laugh or cry based on something I said or wrote about imaginary people. Later on, after some tough circumstances in my life, writing was something that I did for myself, not an audience. In a way, writing is still something that I do for myself.

 How did you come up with the idea behind "The Death of Ink"?

Well, I had this book called Writer’s Muse, I believe, with pictures and quotes on every page. Occasionally, there would be a writing prompt. One of the writing prompts was about meeting someone at a bookstore and seeing them again years later, at the same bookstore, as a famous author. From that prompt, the idea behind The Death of Ink kind of just sprouted. Other ideas came and formed the structure of the novel.

Is any of the characters/incidents in your book influenced by real life people or circumstances?

I based some of Devon’s back story on my own life. Even now, parts of the story are difficult for me to read because it is ripe with so many memories. Some of those memories are painful. Originally, Devon and Paige, the main characters of my story, were based on two people I knew in high school. One was a girl who was very smart, but who everyone seemed to hate for some reason. The other was a boy who seemed hell-bent on getting her attention only to be rebuffed and ignored. I used these two people to form the bare elements of my characters, but after some development, the characters kind of took a life of their own. ”

What was the biggest challenge while writing the book?

I would say getting a chapter to my liking. It’s not abnormal for me to take a month on a chapter for this reason. I would have to have every chapter, every sentence, just the way that I wanted it. Sometimes I was hit with inspiration at a restaurant or sitting on a bus, I would write down the idea or thought, and it would come out just right. Sometimes the notes would get lost (thankful, I now bring a notebook and pen with me everywhere). I would literally turn the place up-side-down to find those notes again. I can never duplicate the words the way I wanted the first time. I have learned to get over this, albeit slowly, and accept nothing will come out perfectly or just the way I want it.

Did you ever suffer writer's block? If yes, what did you do to get over it?

All the time. Tricks I do are play music and imagine the scene or dialogue in my head, and then write what I see. I cannot write anything unless I first visualize it.

What were your feelings when you first saw the finished copy of your book?

Still not at that point yet. But when I saw my book cover I felt above cloud nine, so surreal, a glimpse of heaven…so the print copy might immobilize me for a few days.

Are you completely satisfied with your writing or would you like to change something in your story, given a chance?

If I could choose I would write like a god. I can never be satisfied with my writing because nothing comes out as beautifully as I imagine it in my head. Writing is a way to translate that vision to paper and it often fails.

 Are you working on the sequels already?

My sequels are all done. I completely finished the series before I even thought about publishing.

That's something I really appreciate. I think you should have framed the whole picture of the story before you pen it down! Now tell me why did you choose this particular genre to write about? Who are your target readers?

I was in high school at the time, so I chose to write about high school students. I don’t think I can write another young adult novel. I want to reach young adult writers and readers with a story about kids with passions like theirs.

Okay! I'd now love to hear a few things about you. To start with, is writing your full time profession?

No, at all. I am a full time student and an intern at a non-profit.

When you're not writing what do you do to relax?

I write to relax. Not the answer you were expecting was it?:-) Besides writing, spending time with friends and family helps me unwind.

What’s the schedule of a typical day for you?

Wake up. Get ready for work. Go over writing scenarios. Go to work. Jot down writing ideas. Eat lunch. Start shaping the ideas a bit more. Take the transit. Scribble more ideas. Get home. Lay down for a while. Eat supper. Go over notes and add it to my story. Do class work. Talk with boyfriend. Exercise. Get ready for bed. Draft a blog entry. Think about story scenarios as I go to sleep.

If your book is adopted for a movie, which actors would you like to play the characters of your story?

I can’t think of any. I think I would like to use lesser-known, up-and-coming actors for the main characters and maybe A-listers for supporting roles.

What are your favourite books?

To Kill a Mockingbird 
Misery 
King of the Lost and Found

To kill a Mockingbird is one of my favourites too! What are you reading currently?

Claire of the Sealight

What is your advice for aspiring writers?

Ignore advice, keep writing, do what you want, and don’t be afraid to break convention

Just for curiosity, if you’re ever deserted in an island alone, which 5 books would you pick to carry along with you? And why?

Probably books that can comfort me: the book of Psalms, an empty notebook and a pen (to write to keep my sanity/process the situation), Where the Sidewalk Ends (to remind me of childhood and happy times), The Cove, and that one biography book my boyfriend gave me but I never read (to remind me of him).

Thank you so much! I loved the chat with you. Congrats on the publication of your first book and lots of good wishes for your success. :) 


Title: The Death of Ink
Author: M. M. John
Series: The Death of Ink #1
Genre: Paranormal / Fantasy

Synopsis
Fifteen-year-old Paige Langley’s life has always revolved around good grades and escaping her less than ideal home life…but once she meets Devon Connors, her life drastically changes. Although, they share an instant attraction, Devon’s concealing a dark past. And an even darker secret…there’s a dead girl haunting him nightly. Resolute to win the school’s writing contest, Paige will do just about anything to achieve her goals. So after she finds a binder containing information on a past murder and the illegal activities of the students, she believes the stories are fictional and the perfect way to win the contest. But the owner of the manuscript, Devon Connors, has other plans. To keep Paige from exposing his secrets, Devon befriends her and even offers to help her write a winning story for the contest. The chemistry between Paige and Devon is undeniable, but Paige doesn’t know if she can trust him. The deeper she digs into the dark underbelly of their high school, the more she realizes that some secrets are better left buried.
You can find about M. M. John from her Goodreads profile and also by visiting her beautiful Website.


3 comments:

  1. well done! getting a book published is not easy, writing is hard enough for me :) good work

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's true, Ailyn.
      I'm sure it'll put a smile on her face. :)

      Delete
  2. Hey! I have nominated you for the liebster award! (:
    ~ http://thelittlebookwormgirl.blogspot.com/2014/01/liebster-award-no-5.html

    ReplyDelete