mjhearle

Month: May, 2012

Author Commentary: Winter’s Shadow Chapter 1

It was the church that brought Winter here.

And here’s another crucial sentence that was re-written numerous times. Why is it crucial? Well, for one thing it’s the first mention of Winter. It’s also the readers introduction to the ‘Present Day’ sections of the narrative. I was conscious of altering my writing style slightly for these bits. Winter’s a modern gal so it made sense to vary my language accordingly. Read the rest of this entry »

Author Commentary: Winter’s Shadow Prologue

As a film buff one of my great pleasures is listening to director commentaries. I love hearing about the creative process and the trials and tribulations faced during the production. It occurred to me recently that I could create something similar for my books – an author commentary if you will. Instead of listening to my nasal drone on a DVD you’ll be able to follow my thoughts, chapter by chapter, here on the blog.  Read the rest of this entry »

Making the Winter’s Light Trailer – Part 3

The editing of the Winter’s Light Trailer went pretty smoothly, mainly because I didn’t have much footage to tinker with. I’d shot sparsely – too sparsely it turned out as I was stuck with one wide shot that didn’t match the close-ups. If you watch the trailer you can probably spot it (hint: it’s towards the end). Once the footage was cut together, I was ready for the next stage: visual FX. Read the rest of this entry »

Winter’s Light Twitter Competition

Greetings Shadudes and Shadettes,

I know I’ve been a bad blogger recently but it’s not for want of posting. Sometimes, life just gets in the way. If you try to brush it aside, life will punch you in the face. I fully intend to finish writing about the post production of the teaser trailer as well as the Winter’s Light launch period but you’ll just have to bear with me. Later in the week I should be able to get some of my thoughts down. Today, however, I’ve got a little Twitter competition I’d like you to participate in.

It’s incredibly simple but might be a fun little diversion. Basically, I’d like you to submit an alternate title for Winter’s Shadow. It can be humorous, sincere, satirical – the more creative the better. Something like The Demori’s Kiss or The Girl Who Wished She was Bella Swan.  At the end of your suggestion please add the hashtag #winterslight so I can track it.

If you’re not groovy enough to be on Twitter yet (and by ‘groovy’ I mean you don’t have time to waste on more social media junk), a facebook status update will be perfectly acceptable. Shoot me a link in the comments below or better yet, write on the Winter’s Light facebook page wall.

The best title will win a signed copy of Winter’s Light, as well as signed posters of Winter’s Shadow and Winter’s Light. I’ll announce the winner on the weekend so you have five days to tweet. Unfortunately, this competition is only open to Aussies. Please forgive me international readers. When my PR budget improves (or I actually get a PR budget) I’ll start opening these comps internationally.

As always, feel free to share this competition through your social media outlets. Little book series like mine subsist purely on the passion of the readers. Without your love and support, Winter’s story will wither and die like a neglected flower. So far, I am absolutely delighted with the warm reception Winter’s Light has had. It really feels like the book is resonating with you guys. I’m in the midst of outlining the third novel and knowing there are readers out there dying to know what happens next is an enormous boost to my confidence.

Thank you.

M.J.

Winter’s Light is Available Now!

My second book is in stores now. Just typing that sentence is incredibly surreal. If you asked me ten years ago what I thought my chances were of ever becoming a published author I would have told you zero. Sure, I loved storytelling but writing a book just seemed far too big a project for a lazy so and so like myself. I hadn’t taken a single step in that direction and didn’t plan to. I guess, sometimes the path finds you.

At the moment, Winter’s Light is hovering in the Top 50 of iTunes. It’s been in that vicinity since last week when it was released, peaking at number 10 a couple of times. The fact that’s it’s been there for so long, rather than dropping off after a day or two, is very encouraging. It demonstrates there’s an interest out there for Winter’s story. As an author that’s all I could ever ask. I may never do Twilight numbers but as long as there’s some kind of readership out there for my books it means I’m doing something right.

In fact, I think I do a number of things right in Winter’s Light. It’s not the great work of speculative fiction I hope I still have inside me but I’m getting closer. The writing is stronger and so is the storytelling. It lacks the neatness of Winter’s Shadow but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Winter’s Shadow was my first book and as such I freely admit to not having a clue what I was doing. To stave off panic attacks, I created a detailed chapter by chapter outline. I also researched the genre I was writing in – reading the Twilight series, Lauren Kate’s books and anything else I could get my hands on. Other authors had already traversed similar territory so it seemed foolish not to use them as a guide.

This doesn’t mean I ever copied their plot mechanizations (I may be a hack, but I’m not a plagiarist) but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t aware of the paranormal genre conventions. I knew the beats and strived to hit them, sometimes going against my storytelling instincts to do so. Winter’s Shadow is the best book I could have written at the time and I’m immensely proud it, but if I was to write it again the story would probably be much different. Less beholden to the genre. Much stranger.

Which brings me to Winter’s Light. It’s a strange book and I love it for its strangeness. Part of the reason for this strangeness is probably because I didn’t outline. Not because I wanted to experiment with my writing process – I simply ran out of time. I had a deadline, and, as I’d already spent the advance money, no option but to meet it. The book was finished in three frenzied months, which left little opportunity for me to second guess myself, and even less time to plan. At first this was terrifying – imagine setting off for a destination with no map and absolutely know idea of what direction to take – but during the writing something interesting happened. The characters began talking to me. Winter, Jasmine and Sam knew where they wanted to go; I just had to follow. Instead of imposing a storyline based on genre conventions and pre-existing narrative paradigms, I let the characters dictate the direction to take.

Where we ended up together was unexpected, but ultimately incredibly satisfying. It wasn’t the path I thought I was going to take but that’s okay. Sometimes the path finds you.

MJ