Today I am interviewing M.J. Kane, author of The Butterfly Memoirs, namely, A Heart Not Easily Broken (Book One of The Butterfly Memoirs) and Jaded (Book Two of The Butterfly Memoirs). She creates characters aptly compared to butterflies who she says, ‘goes into a cocoon and emerges changed.’ If you are not familiar with her work, please click on the covers below; they are Amazon linked. Her books can also be found on Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Smashwords.
Grab a cup of coffee or tea, take a seat and relax while we learn more about Ms. M. J. Kane!
Hi MJ, tell us something about you.
Well, the person behind this pen, (or keyboard!), is a stay-at-home-mom with a very over active imagination. I once thought it was because of being an only child and spending a lot of time making up stories to entertain myself. But since I am an adult with four kids, a hubby, and four dogs (yep, one big happy family!), I now see storytelling as a gift! I am also a stroke survivor, and by that I mean I really survived. After nearly dying in in 2006 and recovering from partial paralysis, every day is a blessing. Discovering I have a talent I wasn’t aware of before has aided in my recovery.
How fortunate that you survived MJ and what a fascinating and enduring journey to now!
Where are you from?
I am from Atlanta, Georgia.
When did you know you were a writer?
After I retrieved a 30 page fanfic story I’d written about a character I created to follow the events of my favorite show, LOST. Hubby suggested I work on it some more. When I realized I no longer wanted to invest in writing along the lines of someone else’s creativity, I took my character and gave her a life of her own. I reached a moment where I gave up the idea of writing…period. But my characters wouldn’t leave me alone. I realized then that the passion and will to see this through, even if I never published it, was what made me a writer. Four years, and an untold amount of revisions, tears, frustration, and research later, Ebony Campbell and Brian Young of A Heart Not Easily Broken made it to publication. I knew then that I am indeed a writer.
How was life growing up? How does it affect your writing?
I am an only child. I grew up spending a lot of time with my doll collection and making up stories for them to act out. I guess that would be the beginning of ‘character voices in my head’. I read a lot, enjoying stories that were character driven and full of drama (as much drama as you can get for a kid anyway. I.E.- The Box Car Kids, Circle in the Sea, Homebound). As I got older I began to read Sci-Fi and being a huge Star Wars fan and always interested in what happened to the main characters AFTER the story ended, I discovered the Expanded Universe Stories and dug in. Eventually I found romance novels, and became interested in the stories, but I always felt something was lacking. Most were written from the female point of view and the men’s story barely mattered, they were like arm candy. Being a person who loves drama and likes to dive deep into a characters motivations (thus the love for the TV show, LOST, which sparked my decision to write), I decided to write a romance that centers more around characters personal growth both internally and externally. I don’t focus on short term events, but ones that span months. My books often span between six months to a year. Some of the things I’ve learned in my life are weaved into the tales which make them emotional to write, as well as affect my readers emotionally when they can relate.
Seeing that both your books made the Best Seller list, one can safely say that you have accomplished that!
What motivates you to write?
Life is my motivation. The knowledge that somewhere out there, someone may be enduring the same trying, stressful, and emotional issues as my characters motivates me to tell stories of survival and the ability to grow, evolve, and change. Often times we internalize a lot of the pain we endure to put on a brave front to those around us. We keep secrets thinking that we can survive the issues we face alone. It’s often hard to open up to someone and share what is really bothering us, but when we do, it can be liberating and help us grow. My goal is to motivate any reader who can relate to the characters and give them the encouragement they need to face their problem.
I agree with you M.J. What genre do you write?
My stories cover several genres. Primarily I write Women’s Fiction, but it also fits into the category of Contemporary Romance. The characters throughout The Butterfly Memoirs are from different racial backgrounds, some are bi-racial, which puts me in the Interracial Romance category as well.
How much of what you write is based on personal experiences?
Some of it is, some is what I’ve observed from others, and some is a ‘what would I do if it were me?’ setting. But I can honestly say, Jaded has so far been the story that hits closest to home for me, as you can see in the books dedication. Two years after writing it I still tear up when I read it.
Aw that’s so touching! Please share with us your writing process.
Oh god, where to begin! Basically, I chose a topic that relates to women’s issues and interests me. I muse over what I would do, then imagine what characters would best fit the situation for an interesting read. From there, I let them decide what race they are. (okay, there’s a little prodding!). From there I do a basic outline, research my characters backgrounds, write a complete chapter by chapter outline, then grab my pen and paper…yes, pen and paper first, and write freely what comes to mind, focusing primarily on dialogue, while following my outline. From there, I edit, then go to the laptop, and let the games begin! I can typically write my story by hand in about 4-6 weeks. From there it takes about 2 weeks to type it all up because that’s when I start adding scene information and extra action tags, etc. Then the editing begins…that can take up to 2-3 months of revisions, more adding/taking away. I don’t stop until I feel the characters have touched on every possible avenue for their story….or my deadline approaches, whichever one gets there first…lol.
How thorough! What genre do you read? What authors do you admire?
I can’t say there’s any particular genre that I focus on when reading. I look for books that intrigue me, be it romance, women’s fiction, sci-fi, mystery, comedy. The authors I admired most when I started writing and still look to for inspiration are J.R. Ward, Suzzane Brockmann, J.R.R Tolkien, and George Lucas. Each of these authors has written a series of books that have dived deep into their imagination and created characters that are memorable in some way.
What would you like people to know that they might not know about you already?
Before I started writing, I was a floral designer. I still have fun working with flowers, but that has now taken a back seat.
Now I didn’t expect you to say that! But now I suppose I can see you designing flowers, adorning them with butterflies!
What advice would you give others about writing & in general?
Writing is a craft that often do alone. Sometimes we’re lucky enough to get support, other times you are on your own. Don’t give up. Reach out to other authors for support. Social networking with others or finding a local writer/critique group is important to growing as an author. And most importantly, don’t stop reading! Read books on writing, read works by your favorite authors, read works written by your favorite authors in the genre you write in. Decide what you like about that authors voice or writing style, then create your own. And above all, never give up. If you have the passion for it, keep writing!
Finally, tell us what you are working on and when can we expect a release?
I am currently working on the next book in The Butterfly Memoirs series, Lonely Heart. This story follows Kaitlyn, the third friend of the trio that was introduced in A Heart Not Easily Broken. Her story will not be like the others, because each character has a set of circumstances that are uniquely their own. You’ll see Ebony and Yasmine again, as well as be introduced to a few new characters. The publication date will be released as the project nears completion.
Wow! Sounds intriguing! I know I speak for many when I say that book is greatly anticipated! Thanks so much for dropping by and helping us to get to know you a bit! It has been an honor to have you in my Chat Chair!
Please continue to follow M.J. Kane at her email, The Butterfly Memoirs Fan Page, her Blog/website: Author M.J. Kane, 5 Prince Publishing Author Site, her Twitter, Facebook, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Google+, Goodreads and LinkedIn pages.