Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Interview with M.J. Scott and Giveaway - September 14, 2011

Please welcome M.J. Scott to The Qwillery as part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge interviews.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

M.J.:  I tend to hear the characters first, so my first drafts are very dialogue heavy. I have to go back and concentrate to see what they’re doing and fill in the rest. Oh, and I write out of order when I can’t figure out the next bit.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

M.J.:  A list of my favorites could get very long. But here we go. Terry Pratchett. Lois McMaster Bujold. Jennifer Crusie. Jane Austen. Barbara Samuel/O’Neal. Guy Gavriel Kay. Megan Whalen Turner. Patricia Briggs. Ilona Andrews. Lilith Saintcrow. Keri Arthur. Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Loretta Chase. Jacqueline Carey. Anne Bishop. And influences? That’s a hard one. I think every book you read influences your writing. One person who has influenced my writing is Barbara Samuel because it was doing a course on voice with her that I realized I couldn’t fight my urge to write fantasy/urban fantasy forever and opened my eyes to some things about my writing voice I hadn’t seen before. But all of my favorites are people who make me alternatively green with envy and determined to keep growing as a writer so that one day I can write a book that makes somebody feel the way I feel about my favorite books.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a panster?

M.J.:  Pretty much a pantser. I usually have a vague idea of the last scene when I start but apart from that, it’s all a blur. I do sometimes stop when I’m stuck and braindump horrible messy outlines to try and figure out any plot problem once I’m a reasonable way in but otherwise, I can’t outline in advance.

TQ:  Describe Shadow Kin in 140 characters or less.

M.J.:  Assassin fails. Sunmage falls. Mayhem ensues.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Shadow Kin?

M.J.:  I can’t claim an inspiration for this one. I’ve written other books where I wanted to write about a particular thing but really, with Shadow Kin, the heroine popped up in my head one night and started talking. What she had to say was intriguing enough that I started to write it down and just kept going.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do to create the world of Shadow Kin?

M.J.:  I tend to research as I go along. I’m a character driven writer, I follow the character who shows up in my head and find out about the world as they tell me. I don’t do world building up front, other than doing a collage for the book which gives me some of the flavor of the world. I have to discover it as I go…like an excavation. I think Stephen King talks about discovering a story like a fossil…that’s kind of how I feel. And sometimes you’re excavating at midnight in a howling rainstorm with no idea at all how you’re going to get to the end.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Shadow Kin?

M.J.:  I still really like the first scene and I had lots of fun writing the action scenes, because it’s fun to write characters doing things they do very well and Lily fights well. And dirty.

TQ:  In Shadow Kin, who was the most difficult character to write and why? The easiest and why?

M.J.:  For me, writing the villain is always hardest. Because if I get it right, I creep myself out! And Lily was the easiest. She came through clearly from the moment she showed up in my head. Which is always nice as a writer, to have a character who makes it easy.

TQ:  How many books are planned for the Half-Light City series?

M.J.:  Three at the moment.

TQ:  What's next?

M.J.Blood Kin, book 2, in the Half-Light City series is out June 2012. Other than that I’m finishing up book 3 and then we’ll see what happens next!

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

About Shadow Kin

Shadow Kin
Half-Light City 1
(Roc, September 6, 2011)
On one side, the Night World, ruled by the Blood Lords and the Beast Kind. On the other, the elusive Fae and the humans, protected by their steadfast mages...

Born a wraith, Lily is a shadow who slips between worlds. Brought up by a Blood Lord and raised to be his assassin, she is little more than a slave. But when Lily meets her match in target Simon DuCaine, the unlikely bond that develops between them threatens to disrupt an already stretched peace in a city on the verge of being torn apart...

About M.J.

M.J Scott is an unrepentant bookworm. Luckily she grew up in a family that fed her a properly varied diet of books and these days is surrounded by people who are understanding of her story addiction. When not wrestling one of her own stories to the ground, she can generally be found reading someone else’s. Her other distractions include yarn, cat butlering, dark chocolate and fabric. She lives in Melbourne, Australia. Her website is

M.J.'s Links:


The Giveaway


What:  One commenter will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of Shadow Kin from The Qwillery.

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

Light or Dark? 

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Wednesday, September 21, 2011. Void where prohibited by law. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*


  1. Though I very much love sleeping, I prefer light. It's hard reading in the dark for starters and besides, you never know what lurks in the dark :o

    Thank you for the interview and giveaway, sounds really promising!

    +1 comment
    +1 follower


  2. Definitely the light. I can't live without sunshine!

    +1 comment
    +1 follower

    flaca798 at hotmail dot com

  3. Light for me as well,though I do enjoy cool nights and starry skies:)

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follower-Janhvi Jagtap
    +1 tweet-!/justjanhvi/status/113953693203841024

    justjanhvi at gmail dot com

  4. I prefer dark. I can sleep and it's cooler. Not as hot when you have all that light shining on you.
    Great interview. Thanks for the giveaway.

    +1 GFC Follower/ Amy@Amy's Book World

    +1 Twitter Post:!/Vamper_Fan/status/113951865766555648

    +1 Blog post:


  5. Dark. I'd be the one who is living along with the Blood Lords and Beast Kind, stirring up some havoc.

    -Tweeted - recusant_angel -!/recusant_angel

    annonymous002 @gmail .com

  6. Dark for me! I prefer to sleep through my mornings and I work nights, it's quiet and different.
    impy80 at hotmail dot com
    +1 comment
    +1 follower
    +1 shared

  7. Depends - light for real life (love sunshine too!) and dark for novels (gritty UF is my favorite).

    +1 comment
    +1 follower


  8. Great interview! I can't wait to get my hands on this book!

  9. I think dark makes for more interesting reading. Maybe I misconstrued the question- some of the other commenters took it a lot more literally than I thought it was intended. We can just all be right!
    I'm a gfc follower.


  10. Oh my, I'm a girl of the night so it would be dark, definitely. I love the mystery of the dark and the naughtiness of it.:) I'm a bad, bad girl!!! Lol

  11. Dark :) I've always fallen for the dark, mysterious thing and been interested in paranormal things :D At night, everything is totally different and I like it :)

    +1 comment
    +1 I'm a follower as mikki-mano
    +1 tweet:

    Thank you for the giveaway!

  12. Oh I am going for the Dark Side today. This release looks great. I have seen some great reviews on it and I cannot wait to check it out.

    terilhack at yahoo dot com

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. Ohh I love the sound of this. I would have to go Light. I get too tired at night ;)

    kasuranna at yahoo dot com

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. I could never live with out the day even though night has it's moments.

    GFC Anne38

  17. probably light.. i say this as im hiding in the dark basement of the house.. lol... im afraid of the dark, so light is the most obvs choice!

    alainala@ hotmail DOT ca

    + 2 comment,follower

  18. I need both dark and day. I think dark makes the books more interesting. Please enter me in contest. I am a follower and email subscriber.

  19. Dark with light at the end of the tunnel. I want to learn to appreciate the sunshine and to do so for me is to face fears, overcome obstacles and learn what my strengths and weaknesses are.

    GFC follower
    Cambonified (at) yahoo (dot) com

  20. +1 Dark- I'm a night owl and generally sleep when the Sun comes up.

    +1 GFC follower: Identity Seeker

    +1 Tweeted:!/SweetNSensible/status/114036474751619072

    Total: 3


  21. Definitely light for me. That's one of the reasons why I love summer, for the longer daylight hours :)

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follower


  22. Congrats on the book, MJ.
    I most definitely go towards the dark!
    +1 GFC as MJB

    msmjb65 AT gmail DOT com

  23. hmmm, I suppose I will say light. You never know about the dark >.> Thank you for the awesome giveaway!
    GFC Krystal Larson edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom

  24. Dark...;)
    +1 comment
    +1 follower

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  25. I prefer the dark. I'm a night owl, it's like everything starts happening at night. Great interview!

  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

  27. Wow what a great giveaway!! =) Thanks so much for the chance to enter! =)
    To answer the question...I've always been a fan of the dark! ;)
    I'm a blog follower and I shared this contest on FB.

    Valerie Long

  28. Even though it is quite scary, I would choose dark.
    GFC: Arianne Cruz

  29. Definitely light! I get extremely cranky if I don't have my sunshine!!

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follower
    +1 tweet:!/jwitt33/status/114065332536217600

    jwitt33 at live dot com

  30. Dark. Because at least you know there are things lurking in the dark, whereas you think you are safe in the light but you aren't.

    Sounds really a nice book!

    +1 comment
    +1 follower

    aliasgirl at libero dot it

  31. Good luck everyone! And thanks for the nice comments.

    Given it's early morning right now for me in Australia and I need more sleep, I'd have to join the dark side right now!

  32. Totally have to go with light!

  33. I would choose dark, the bright sunlight hurts my eyes and I love the night.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com
    GFC follower

  34. Hmmm, there are good things about both Light and Dark. I think I have to side with Dark.

    +1 GFC: ML

    mljfoland AT hotmail DOT com

  35. I do enjoy a story on the DARK side. To be drawn into a world of danger & deception & death.

    I Follow.


  36. Definitely dark for me! I am a total night owl and I melt in the sun. :)

    Thank you for the great interview and giveaway, I have to read this book!

    GFC - Lieder Madchen!/LiederMadchen/status/114176266411851777


  37. Dark of course!

    +1 comment
    +1 follower

    thegirlonfire27 at gmail dot com

  38. thanks for the giveaway ! I would say dark, it's always so much fun ! Thanks for the interview.

    I'm a follower : Melliane


  39. I prefer the light. I can not live without the sun.

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follower (RachaelM)
    +1 tweeted!/ERachaelM/status/114512656014123008

  40. Dark. All kinds of things go bump in the night! (Yeah, I'm the one hiding under the covers! LOL)

    +1 for comment
    +1 follower

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  41. Dark,even I'm coward to go to creepy places, but I can't sleep if the light at my room on

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    +1 comment
    +1 follower
    +1 Tweeted :!/r3n87/status/114696066586259456

    sawamura_foxman AT yahoo DOT com

  42. Dark for me. Moon, Stars, cool breeze, twinkling lights :) I'm a night person so it's always dark for me :)

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follower
    +1 tweeted!/joleneallcock/status/114806335815688193