Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Meet MJ Fredrick!

I’ve been writing for approximately a million years. I can’t remember a time when I haven’t had a notebook with me. I’ve got 12 novels and novellas published by four different publishers, and one self-published novel. I won the Epic Award in 2009 with Hot Shot and in 2011 with Breaking Daylight. This year Don’t Look Back is a nominee. I’ve been an elementary teacher for 23 years and currently teach music. I’ll be celebrating my 25th wedding anniversary in January, and we have one son who watches his parents follow their dreams.

Did you ever want to quit writing? Why or why not?

I can’t even imagine that. I haven’t had much time to write this past month and I get twitchy if I don’t get the file at least opened once a day. My hero was naked on the porch for over a week while I tried to find time to write between entertaining and school activities!

No, even if I couldn’t sell any longer, I’d still have stories bouncing around in my head. I have to write them down!

What are your writing career goals? (i.e. to write 2 books a year? To hit the NY Bestsellers List? To sell 100 books a month?)

My big goal right now is to make a living writing. I’m not close, not even with as many books as I have out.
What I’m doing to achieve that goal is poking around trying to get exposure. I have blogged on Romance at Random and I’d love to get on USA Today’s new HEA blog. And of course, I’m writing more books.

Have you truly mastered grammar and sentence structure? Do you feel 100% confident about every comma in your book?

I’m not bad, but 100% confident? No! I still get hung up on lie/lay/laid, and usually just reword the sentence! You know what helped me the most? Diagramming sentences when I was in middle school. I used to be able to out-diagram anyone. Now I’ve forgotten, and we don’t teach it anymore. 

How many pages do you think you could write in one day if you had zero interruptions from 8 AM to 8 PM?

Ohhhh. Hm. My very best day ever was 22 pages during one NaNoWriMo. That was with the story flowing. So, maybe…30 or 35? I’d like to try that, actually. I’ve found that after a really good day, though, my next day’s production is awful.

How do you think (take a guess) writers like Nora Roberts write so many books in a year?

She says she treats it like a job, keeps her head down and gets it done. I’m always surprised to hear she does her own cooking. And she exercises a couple of times a day. I imagine having a routine helps. I know I’m more productive when I do have a routine—writing at a certain time, eating at a certain time, getting on the internet at a certain time. 

What would be easier for you to write, a sex scene or a murder scene?

Sex scene! I love writing them! I have only written one book without one, and while I’d like to revise that book, well, I think I’d add one.

Any advice for new writers just getting started?

Turn off the Internet! Not only does it keep you from getting words on the page, but you hear so much conflicting advice, you start second-guessing yourself. You should have a basic understanding of the market, but don’t let yourself be so bombarded with information that you freeze up and can’t write!



Twitter: @MJFredrick

Thank you, MJ!


Norah Wilson said...

Great interview, ladies!

I was thinking it's a good thing MJ and I know each other, because otherwise she might think I'm a stalker, given how often I pop up in comment threads. I'm just a fangirl, honest!

BTW, MJ, great advice to new writers to avoid excessive exposure to the Interwebs. That's probably good advice for me, too, but I fear I'm a hopeless case.

Theresa Ragan said...

Good morning!

Norah, you do get around. ha! It's tough to stay off the internet, but that's very good advice if you really want to get a book written.

Welcome, MJ. Let us know what you're working on right this very minute. A sequel? A stand alone? A romantic suspense?

Caroline said...

Fun learning more about you, MJ!Congrats on your Epic Awards. That's awesome. Good luck with Don't Look Back.

MJFredrick said...

Thanks so much, Norah, Theresa and Caroline. This mInute I'm working on revisions for the first book in my first series. I hope to get all three books out next year!

Sandy said...

Great questions, Theresa.

I agree with your advice, MJ. Now if only I could follow it. Smile.

Theresa Ragan said...

Hi Sandy, I agree. Great advice. We all need to turn off the internet for a few hours and write! Easier said than done.

Thanks for stopping by.

Lisa Mondello said...

Congratulations on 25 years married and the EPIC awards! Wonderful interview and great advice for writers.

Lisa Mondello

Jeff Faria said...

"You know what helped me the most? Diagramming sentences when I was in middle school. I used to be able to out-diagram anyone. Now I’ve forgotten, and we don’t teach it anymore."

I did that, too. I've always remembered Mr. Walsh, my 8th-Grade English teacher, as the man who taught me how to write.

MJFredrick said...

Thanks so much, Lisa!

Jeff, two of my favorite all time teachers were language arts teachers. They connected with my love for stories!

Regina Duke said...

I'm chiming in a few days late, but I loved the interview! I am one of those who remembers diagramming sentences in school. I think that was a great exercise to help understand sentence structure!

(I'm late because I was taking MJ's advice and turning off the internet in order to edit.) :-)

MJFredrick said...

Regina, LOL on taking my advice! You know, if I was back in the classroom, I think I'd start diagramming again because the kids don't know parts of speech! Unfortunately (JUST kidding!) I'm in music now, lots less stress!

Jeff Faria said...

"I’ve been writing for approximately a million years."

You know, I'd like to see those early romance novels. Were they carved in rock, or painted on walls?

"Og looked at Sheba in funny way, like way Raptor look at little furry thing. Sheba thought Og not bad as others said, but just misunderstood. Mainly because him not learn talk good, but instead jump around and throw feces. And not in that good way."

MJFredrick said...

Jeff, LOLOLOL!!!

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