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

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

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? 

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You may receive additional entries by:

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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.

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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.*