Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Hello! Call me M. I’m an anthropologist by training and an educator by trade, collector of pens, hats, umbrellas, and tea tins, student of history and folklore, aficionada of all that is steampunk or gothic. I have published six books and two short stories – science fiction, fantasy, horror, and poetry.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My most recent book – upcoming release – is called No Cage for a Crow. It’s a Victorian adventure featuring Morrigan, the sister of Sherlock Holmes. I like sharp women in my literature, and I like my nineteenth-century London dark and dirty beneath the sparkle and pompous pageantry of the upper classes.
This one will be serialized. Part one is up for preorder right now, and part two will follow shortly.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
To have unusual writing habits, I’d have to have writing habits, and I’m afraid I’m horribly irregular.
I will say, though, that I write everything longhand before it gets typed up. I type very fast, and sometimes my fingers can outstrip my brain, and I have to delete huge swaths of text that made no sense at all. Writing longhand gives me more time to craft a sentence, and moving it from paper to screen gives me a chance to squeeze in round one of editing, right there.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I’m a huge fan of the nineteenth and early twentieth century writers, of Poe and Doyle, Lovecraft, Stoker, Gaskell, Wodehouse, Christie, Sayers, and earlier writers like Ann Radcliffe and Mary Shelley.
I also love Montague Summers. He was nuttier than a fruitcake, but his entirely-serious work on vampirism, witchcraft, and demonology provides excellent material for fictional terrors.
What are you working on now?
Far too much.
I have the ongoing Liminality series reaching its midpoint with The Mage (which follows The Medium and The Mora). With luck and diligence, it will be out late this year or early next.
No Cage for a Crow, while written, is still in process, and will take a lot of work yet before the serial is complete. Morrigan Holmes is likely to receive a number of other books once this one is published in its entirety.
A third project is in the pipeline, to be completed heaven-knows-when. It is, for the moment, titled “We Shall Not Sleep” and follows the next generation of vampire-hunters after the events of Dracula in the gin-soaked aftermath of the Great War.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Word of mouth, for the most part. At science-fiction/fantasy conventions, my strategy is to make awkward eye contact with people until they come over and talk to me. I’m rubbish at actual promotion, but it’s amazing how many people will buy a book anyway after a nice conversation.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
The usual advice seems to be “keep writing.” It’s good advice, so I’ll stick with that. When you’re doing really well, write more. When you feel like there’s no point, write more. A single idea might be wonderful or terrible, but if you never stop, you’re bound to hit on a gem some time.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Pay an editor.
Or at the very least, don’t edit your own work. Find a qualified friend, or your fourth-grade teacher, or your grandmother, if she’ll be honest with you. Find someone you can trust to rip it apart, because the market is glutted with brilliant ideas cloaked in dense gloop. Everyone writes gloop. Everyone. And no one is able to see their own gloop. That’s what editors are for.
What are you reading now?
What am I NOT reading now? I have a stack of books on my bedside table so high I can’t see the lamp. Some of it is research and some of it is recreation.
One that I can recommend, though, is the Vampires Don’t Belong in Fairytales series by Alicia L. Wright.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Well… more writing, I suppose. I have a to-be-written backlog that will last me the next decade, at least, so no danger of writer’s block.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
I choose to cheat and grab collections! The Complete Sherlock Holmes, The Complete Edgar Allan Poe, The complete fictions of G.K. Chesterton, and My Man, Jeeves.