Author Spotlight: M.J. Fifield (“Writer. Reader. Insomniac.”)
I cornered author M.J. Fifield for an interview out in the Interweb to bring you a bit of information about the author, and her works.
Let’s start out with a simple question. M.J. Fifield, what is your favourite colour? Is it purple? I see you like purple pens. Purple is a good choice.
I do love purple, but I think my favorite color just might be cobolt blue. It feels like a color you could get lost in. My favorite pens are purple, though. The Pilot Precise V5RT is at the top of my purple pen list. Because I’m a weirdo who has a list of my favorite writing utensils. I must be a writer.
Have you always known you would be a writer?
No. I started writing at a young age and never stopped, but I was convinced I would be a photographer, or an opera singer, or an actress, a computer programer, a teacher—a butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker—You know, pretty much anything other than a writer. It wasn’t until I was about five years through a six-year college career that I finally came to that conclusion.
What’s the first story you remember writing?
I know there were stories that came before it, but an early creation of which I have a strong memory was the murder mystery I spent a weekend writing on my mother’s typewriter in a corner of our basement. (I’d just read Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None) I don’t remember a ton of details, but I’m pretty sure one character died from poisoned cereal.
Has there been someone in your life who has profoundly influenced your writing?
I have a wonderfully supportive network of family and friends, and a long line of teachers and bosses that I owe for never busting me for writing stories when I was supposed to be doing other things, but the person who had the most profound influence on my writing is someone I’ve never met. In the seventh grade, I stumbled across the work of author Ellen Emerson White in my school library. The way she constructed story and character, and specifically character voice completely altered the way I write. Though she hadn’t meant to, she helped me become a better writer, and for that I’ll be forever grateful.
Effigy is the first book in your Coileáin Chronicles, with the three following books currently in the process of being written. You describe it as a sword and sorcery fantasy series, focusing on three sisters and their epic struggle between good and evil.
Was there a particular thing that inspired the idea for this book?
I was probably twelve when my mother bought me a trio of books she had found in our local bookstore. They were the first three books in a series called The Secret of the Unicorn Queen, about an ordinary teenaged girl who is magically transported to a parallel universe filled with magic, unicorns, and a band of warrior women. It was totally my thing (it still is my thing) and it led me to write my first fantasy story. Many, many moons and many, many incarnations later, Effigy came about. Thanks, mom!
You have a soundtrack link on the book info page. How important is music to your writing process?
It’s become very important, actually. I have a hard time working in a quiet room, so there’s always something playing when I sit down to write. I have a playlist called “Mood Music” that’s comprised of instrumental music (i.e., the Lord of the Rings soundtrack) I listen to when I need to get some serious writing done. Lyrics or not, music helps me reach the proper mindset for those tough scenes.
Do you create the soundtrack as you go, or does it exist when you start working on the book?
The soundtrack is most definitely created as I go. It’s actually how I know I’m getting serious about a project. Sarah McLachlan’s song, Do What You Have To Do, was the very first track on Effigy’s soundtrack.I heard it on the radio one day while at my day job, and the lyrics and the mood just perfectly fit a scene I was working on at the time. Other songs followed, and the soundtrack idea was born.
Where to find M.J. and her work:
Book Direct link: http://www.mjfifield.com/books/effigy/