Author Spotlight – MJ Vieira
Joining us for today’s Author Spotlight is MJ Vieira!
MJ Vieira is originally from Southern Maine. She recently moved to Southwestern Missouri with her husband, Alan, son, AJ, and their St. Bernard, Roxy. As a child, she traveled around the state with her parents, seeing the vast history the New England state had to offer as well as touring the nation while showing her American Quarter Horse. While traveling, she read many of the great authors of the time including JRR Tolkien, Stephen King, CS Lewis and Ann Rice. It is these writers combined with power of music, mainly hard rock and folk, MJ draws her inspiration.
In between writing, MJ enjoys reading, collecting music and attending concerts. Lux is the first installment in the Veritas series which is MJ’s first published work.
Thanks for joining us, MJ. Let’s start small: tell us about a great book you’ve read recently!
I am currently reading Haven, by Francesca Vance. It’s an epic werewolf series!
Okay, time to escalate things: reality warps and you suddenly find yourself leading a D&D-style party through a monster-infested dungeon. What character class are you, and what’s your weapon of choice?
I usually go for a ranger, classic bow but love my short swords too.
When you’re not trawling through dungeons, do you prefer to type or to hand-write? Why?
Hand write! Old school and adds to the experience.
And how do you like to work – in silence, with music, or serenaded by the damned souls of a thousand dead shrimps?
I work with music. I have playlists set for each character and then others for mood. I can’t write in silence, not easily.
Are you an architect or a gardener? A plotter or a pantser? D’you write in your underwear, or in a deep-sea diver’s suit? Tell us something unusual about your writing method!
LOL well, I usually have my music playing, as I’ve said. But I tend to wear necklaces and when I’m really concentrating I pull the chain up over my lip and leave it there while I focus. As far as other hobbies, my college degree is in Western Equestrian Training, so I still ride, judge horse shows and keep in that life as much as I can.
What are your most significant non-book fantasy influences?
My family, music, history and nature.
What was the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it?
The Act, because human psychology fascinates me. True crime shows make me go: hmmm….
The world shifts, and you find yourself with an extra day on your hands during which you’re not allowed to write or otherwise do any work. How do you choose to spend the day?
Hmmmm, good question. I’d either go find a pony to ride or go to the zoo with my son.
If you could choose one punctuation mark to be made illegal, which would it be and why?
The exclamation point. People use it too much and if used incorrectly, it doesn’t add to the sentence. If I see too many in a novel, I won’t read it any more.
In no more than three sentences, tell us a little something about your current work in progress!
I have a few WIPS at the moment so I’ll pick Familiar, Book one of the Dirigo Series.
Kacie is a girl without a past, abandoned in a small town in Maine where nothing of excitement happens. That is until “they” come. She soon learns the reason she has no past is because of the demon in her present, the one that will become her future.
If you could co-write or co-create a series (like The Expanse, or the Malazan Book of the Fallen), who would you choose to work with and why?
Franca Vance or Karen Marie Monning: Love their characters and worlds.
What’s the most (and/or least) helpful piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
I was once told to not continue writing because I had no talent.
If you could visit any country at any point in history, where/when would you go, and why?
Oh man, that’s a tough one! I’d love to visit Jerusalem at the time of Christ or China during the Ming dynasty or, or, or: Scotland in the 1600s because that is when my family line was affluent in the country.
Every writer encounters stumbling blocks, be it a difficult chapter, challenging subject matter or just starting a new project. How do you motivate yourself on days when you don’t want to write?
To be honest, on days I don’t want to write, I tend to not. I find trying to force myself produces horrible results. Now, if I’m having a writer’s block, I take a long drive and blast music. Eventually, the songs and the scenery will trigger the solution for the scene.
Tell us about a book that’s excellent, but underappreciated or obscure.
I like this question; it’s making me think. I love the book “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien. It was assigned reading in my Sophomore English Class. It’s a telling book about the Vietnam War. The author had to classify it as fiction for the government to allow it to be published. It’s heart breaking, heroic and enlightening. I love this book but could only read it once, that’s how much it affected me.
Finally, would you be so kind as to dazzle us with what we like to call a ‘shark elevator pitch’? (It’s exactly the same as an elevator pitch, but with sharks.) (Well, one shark. Which, by the way, is currently picking between its rows of teeth to try and dislodge the remains of the last author who stepped onto its elevator.)
Ahem. So: why should readers check out your work? A shark elevator pitch of your own book(s) in no more than three sentences – go!
If you want drab characters and no plot, don’t read my books. I spend way too much time on my plots and characters for mundane people. Now, if you want excitement, relatable characters and mind warping plot twists? Seek no further.
MJ Vieira is the author of the Veritas series and the Manjian Chronicles.