Marjorie Mallon Interview
The Indie Book Butler Interview.
Indie Book Butler: Let’s start things off with an introduction. Tell us a little about yourself for those not already aware of you and your work.
Marjorie Mallon: I write young adult fantasy and paranormal novels as well as poetry, multi-genre flash fiction and short stories in multiple genres including horror and ghost stories. I blog at my lovely blog home Kyrosmagica, https://mjmallon.com which means crystal magic. My blog name derives from my love of crystals. I collect many kinds and love writing stories about the magic of the natural world.
During the first lockdown in the UK I compiled my first anthology, This Is Lockdown, with my personal family diaries, (set in Cambridge, UK,) poetry, flash fiction plus contributions from 28 international authors.
Currently, my latest release Lockdown Innit, Poems About Absurdity is on pre-order, it releases February 26th.
Lockdown Innit is a poetry collection of eighteen poems about life’s absurdities and frustrations during lockdown. Wherever you live in this world, this is for you. Expect humour, a dollop of banter and ridiculous rants here and there. Amongst other delights, witness the strange antics of a swan posing by a bin and two statuesque horses appearing like arc deco pieces in a field. Check out the violin player on a tightrope, or the cheeky unmentionables wafting in the lockdown breeze!
Universal link for kindle: https://mybook.to/Lockdowninnit
IBB: You’ve got twenty words to tempt us to read your book(s). What would you say?
MM: Indie authors provide something different from the mainstream. I am that different, expect imaginative fantasy, current affairs, poetry and horror!
IBB: Where do you like to write?
MM: I write wherever the muse takes me. Often I wake up with a burst of writing ideas and jot them down in my notebook, which I keep by my bed. A few years ago, I enjoyed a writing weekend away, a breath of liberating seaside air in Brighton. I wrote in cafes, in my hotel room and in the local library. It was such fun; I met many interesting people, (an unexpected writing conference was in full flow at the hotel I was staying at!) I’d love to escape for an impromptu writing weekend again sometime!
IBB: Is there anything you must have in order to write?
MM: A manic burst of energy helps when that happens! Sometimes a strong cup of coffee if I am tired. I’m not one for background noise, no music, or such like. Unless I am in a cafe and eavesdropping for ideas, of course!
IBB: What books have influenced you most, both as a person and as an author?
MM: In terms of fantasy reads it would have to be Philip Pullman, (High Dark Materials Trilogy,) Jay Kristoff, (The Nevernight Chronicles,) and Victoria Schwab, (The Archived.). On a personal level, I am often swayed by my eldest daughter’s suggestions. We often buddy read, chat about books and writing and share opinions on traditionally and independently published authors.
IBB: What is the one thing that has helped you develop most as an author?
MM: It’s difficult to pick one thing, a variety of learning tools have helped me develop as a writer. If I must choose just one it would be learning from positive critique, from beta readers’ and from my editor’s comments.
IBB: What do you want to achieve most from your writing?
MM: Some measure of recognition, not fame or fortune! Most important to me is that people will enjoy my books, and review them. And hopefully this will lead to some well-earned royalties too!
IBB: Have you received a favorite review of your work?
MM: Many, for all of my works. So, I will just mention this recent five star review I discovered from Robbie Cheadle for the anthology I produced during lockdown.
Here it is:
“This is lockdown is an unusual collection of diary entries, discussions, poems, and a few short stories written by a variety of people from different countries and backgrounds and recording their experiences and emotions during the 2020 lockdown.
The book is divided into three sections: Family Diaries of the author MJ Mallon, No More which contains poems and pieces from a number of different contributors, and Part 2 which comprises of short stories by MJ Mallon.
The Family Diaries is just what is says, a collection of diary entries from 28 February 2020 to 1 June 2020, setting out the author’s emotions and experiences during the first three months of lockdown. The author was in lockdown with your two daughters and her husband and her entries extend to cover some of their feelings and reactions to being confined to home for an extended period. I enjoyed the family’s attempts to stay cheerful and to make the most of their time through exercising, walking, and reading. Simple joys like cooking and finding a new statuette on a walk are highlights of this period, as is the pervasive underlying anxiety about the illness and the future. The author has also recorded some of the politics of the time and how the actions of leadership impacted on the psychology of the nation.
The contributions from other authors were equally interesting as the contributors were from all over the world. Some of the contributors are known to me through my blog and I really sympathized with their circumstances and anxieties. Some were new to me, but their stories were no less interesting. I found the contribution by Beaton Mabaso from Zimbabwe of particular interest as I live in neighbouring South Africa. Beaton’s experiences and anxieties about food supply, medical treatment, the ability to social distance in crowded communities and a government with limited ability to financial aid its citizens are similar to the circumstances of the vast majority of people in my country. The different impact of the lockdown and pandemic on developed countries where people fight the psychological battle of loneliness and fear, and developing countries were people face poverty and physical deprivation were highlighted for me. There are also beautiful poetic contributions from Sally Cronin, Debby Gies, and Frank Prem. Willow Withers wrote a powerful and overarching poem about the impact of “the plague” on society and the economy of Britain.
Part 2 set out some excellent short stories by MJ Mallon, my favourite of which was The Poet’s Club Fictional Short Story. This story illustrated the diverse impact of coronavirus and lockdown on teenagers and how it impacts on their socializing, learning, and ability to cope. If found this story to be insightful and realistic.
This is Lockdown is and excellent and well-rounded depiction of lockdown and the pandemic of 2020.”
IBB: Were there any particular parts of the writing/publishing process that you struggled with?
MM: The worst part for me is the formatting and editing. Those I find difficult, but practice makes perfect. I’m finding the formatting less troublesome than it used to be, but the editing is still an almighty chore!
IBB: Is there something specific you do to improve your writing?
MM: I’d say read a lot and in all genres, pay attention to books that you read, look at their style, dialogue, plot, study the way they are written.
IBB: What is the ideal relationship between editor and author?
MM: The editor must be thorough, and the author must be prepared for honest, constructive criticism. They should work together to ensure the manuscript is the best it can be. It’s important to have an editor who has a genuine interest in the genre you are writing.
IBB: If you had a direct line to someone who loves or hates your writing, what would you say?
MM: That’s an interesting question. To the people who love my writing I’d say that’s wonderful, I appreciate you so much; we are on the same page. To the haters I’d ask why they hate my books, listen to their ramblings politely but continue to write what is in my heart!
IBB: If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
MM: Share your work in whatever way you can to get constructive criticism, in person and online critique groups are invaluable for support and to improve your craft.
IBB: What does your writing future hold for you?
MM: The opportunity to write full time. I long to explore it all, different genres, new challenges. I can’t wait!
IBB: How have you set about the task of creating enticing cover art?
MM: Recently, I’ve started creating my own covers using my photographic images. It’s a learning curve, a new adventure. I am keeping my style fairly simple but striking.
IBB: How often do you read? What genre?
MM: I read extensively in all genres depending on my mood whenever and wherever I can steal the time! I also write book reviews, predominately for my fellow indie authors.
IBB: Before we let you escape, it’s your chance to name-drop. Anyone who you feel is deserving of more recognition at present or someone whose writing you have recently enjoyed? Now is your chance to spread the word…
MM: Oh, there are so many I’ve come across recently. I’m currently reading a novel by Helen Pryke, The Lost Girls, an excellent thriller. I’ve been curious to pick up Helen’s work after seeing rave reviews .A new author to me: Didi Oviatt, really impressed me with her psychological thriller: Search For Maylee. Heena Rathmore who is a wonderful psychological writer, her novel is Deceived, and she is also a highly detailed and accomplished editor. In terms of fantasy: D Wallace Peach, a fabulous author and (a great supporter of the indie community.) James Cudney, who writes family mysteries and so many reviews for the indie community that he puts us all to shame. I love Lizzie Chantree’s feel good romances and the way she supports writers in all genres. Cultural novels such as Mary Smith’s, (No More Mulberries,) which is set in Afghanistan and Ritu Bhathal’s ‘Chick Pea Curry’ Lit, Chick Lit with an Indian twist’ – Marriage Unarranged. The creativity and poetic expression of Sarah Northwood . Oh, and the writers in Dan Alatorre’s horror writing group are ace, as are all the amazing authors, poets and bloggers who contributed to the anthology I compiled: This Is Lockdown.
Contributors to This Is Lockdown:
Richard Dee, (Sci Fi , Steampunk, Amateur Detective author,) Catherine Fearns, (Amazon Bestselling Author of Police Procedural/Mysteries and Music Journalist,) Lynn Fraser, (Author,) Jackie Carreira, (Writer, musician, designer and aspiring philosopher,) Willow Willers, (Poet and writer,) Sharon Marchisello, (Murder Mystery, Financial non-fiction,) Fi Phillips , (Author, Copy Writer) Jeannie Wycherley, (dark stories, suspense, horror,) Chantelle Atkins, (urban fiction, teen/YA,) Tracie Barton-Barrett, (Speaker/author,) Peter Taylor- Gooby, (Crime, Love Stories, Political Fiction,) Ritu Bhathal, (Chick Lit romance, poet,) Alice May , (Author, Artist and Speaker,) Miriam Owen, (Blogger and Doctoral Researcher,) Drew Neary and Ceri Williams (Ghost Horror, Supernatural,) Katherine Mezzacappa, (author name: Katie Hutton,) (Historical Fiction/Romance,) Sally Cronin, (huge supporter of indie community/blogger/author) Debby Gies (D G Kaye), (Memoirist/NonFiction,) Adele Marie Park, (Fantasy, horror, urban fantasy,) Marian Wood, (blogger, poet and writer.) Samantha Murdoch, (Writer, Blogger,) Beaton Mabaso (Blogger, African Storyteller,) Frank Prem (Poet, Author,) Anne Goodwin (Author, Book Blogger) Sherri Matthews (Writer, Photographer, Blogger,) and two contributors Jane Horwood and Melissa Santiago-Val who raised £40,000 for the NHS with their mask-making enterprise which became a new charity: Sew Positive.
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Best of luck in the future.
For more on Marjorie — and there is plenty — please visit:
YA Fantasy: The Curse of Time Book1 Bloodstone
Poetry, Prose and Photography: Mr. Sagittarius
An anthology: This Is Lockdown
Short Stories in Anthologies:
Bestselling horror compilations
Nightmareland compiled by Dan Alatorre
“Scrabble Boy” (Short Story)
Spellbound compiled by Dan Alatorre
“The Twisted Sisters” (Short Story)
Wings & Fire compiled by Dan Alatorre
“The Great Pottoo” (Short Story)
Preorder Buying Links Lockdown Innit Releases February 26th
Kindle Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08VW81Q53/
Kindle Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08VW81Q53/
Universal link for kindle: https://mybook.to/Lockdowninnit
AUTHOR SOCIAL MEDIA DETAILS
#ABRSC – Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1829166787333493/
Collaborative Group: https://www.facebook.com/pg/5SpiritualSisters/