Today I’m joined by the very creative Marjorie Mallon to talk about her writing, her photography, and where all the ideas come from.
Hi Marjorie – first off then, tell us a bit about the thinking behind Mr Sagittarius. What’s it about?
Mr. Sagittarius is a collection of poetry, prose and photographic images inspired by mindfulness and the magic of the natural world. It’s a light-hearted, magical story about two fictional characters, twin brothers Harold and William, their sister Annette and the sibling’s connection to the beautiful botanical gardens in Cambridge. It celebrates many aspects of day-to-day life including: humour, sibling relationships, beauty, nature, the seasons of the year, love and ultimately magic.
I love spending time in nature taking photos – my favourite photos in this collection are the robin, the trees, flowers and the dragonfly that grace this little book. Photography is in my genes – both my uncle and grandfather were photographers. My grandfather A.G. Ingram was originally with the photography company Ingram, Gordon & Co in Haddington until the mid-thirties. Then he ventured on his own to form the Scottish Pictorial Press in Edinburgh, supplying photos to the press. When war broke out Scottish Pictorial Press became defunct. After the war he started AG Ingram Ltd, Commercial Photographers, at three successive locations in Edinburgh, Scotland.
I’m intrigued by the use of image and word in this way. What’s the process you went through – which element came first?
That’s an interesting question. I’d say that the images came first. I am a visual writer, so that makes perfect sense to me. The photographs in the collection were taken over time. I amalgamated some of the poems, flash fiction, and short stories a while ago and some are more recent. Nature inspires me: the dragonfly, robin, trees, and flowers, creatures and natural forms I discovered whilst walking in the botanical gardens. Also, there are a few extras: a splendid black cat, and a tourmaline crystal, (donated by my wonderful friend, blogger/cat/crystal enthusiast Samantha Murdoch’s son Alex.) I even added a photo of a huge bubble bath extravaganza, which made me laugh! The mighty bubbles conjured up ideas for a story about a bubble monster. It’s a precious book, very tiny but with a surprising amount within. It is very me!
Tell us about your writing habits and routines. How do you decide if it’s a poem or prose sort of day?
I write in my office in the morning, never at night. Often, I get ideas that wake me up with great excitement! I’m a writing butterfly! I flutter about… but there are some regular writing prompts that I take part in: Colleen Chesebro’s weekly poetry challenge, Charli Mill’s Flash Fiction Challenge. It depends on my mood, longer pieces are more time consuming and frustrating, so when I’m writing novels I need time and energy to focus on that.
You’ve also written a YA novel – The Curse of Time. Tell us a little about that. How’s the series going to play out?
The Curse of Time is, in Heena Rathore’s words, ‘an intricate fantasy novel with unique supernatural and magical elements which serves as a highly entertaining read.’
The Corpus Chronophage Clocks inspired me to write The Curse of Time. There are three: the grasshopper, the mythological fly , and the dragon, all created by the esteemed inventor Dr. John C Taylor, OBE, who I had the pleasure of meeting in 2017: https://mjmallon.com/2017/09/17/poetry-inspired-by-the-dragon-chronopage-colleens-weekly-poetry-challenge-no-50-haiku-tanka-haibun-voice-watch/
The main protagonist is a fifteen-year-old girl, Amelina Scott. Her life is bizarre, beset with stifling difficulties. Nothing makes much sense, her family life is perplexing even to her. The first novel , Curse of Time #1 Bloodstone serves as an introduction to the story.Itreveals Amelina’s connection to the Crystal Cottage and brings the magic within her to life. It also touches upon mental health issues, with the mirror girl Esme, who in the past self-harmed but is now a captive trapped in the mirrors in Amelina’s house.
At its heart The Curse of Time is an emotional coming of age story with a fantastical and hypnotic battle between light (represented by ‘good’ magical crystals, and Amelina) and ‘evil’ dark/shadows, in the form of Shadow Sorceror: Ryder.
In book two we learn about the antics of the mythological fly, Amelina finds herself whisked away by the chatty grasshopper to the dreaded Rollercoaster of Time and book three concludes with the dark and fiery dragon! Each book in the series will become darker and more intense, giving more detail of Ryder’s wicked nature.
Sounds fab! Now – and I’m so impressed at how much you fit in – you also review books. Does reviewing others’ writing help your own writing process?
Thank you, I love reading and reviewing. I set up an A – Z of book reviews on my blog in 2015: https://mjmallon.com/category/a-z-book-reviews/
I’d recommend reading books in the genre in which you write and reading in a wide range of genres and styles to improve your writing skill set.
Sounds sensible – what other advice would you give to a new author just starting out?
Join a writing group, read extensively, try writing flash fiction and short stories to hone your craft, keep writing and believe in yourself.
Excellent advice! And what’s next for you yourself?
I have many plans for 2020. Soon, I will publish This Is Lockdown a compilation of my diaries during COVID19, short stories, flash fiction and poetry. The collection also features authors and bloggers: The Isolation Writers, who share their thoughts and feelings about creatives coping with lockdown.
My second novel in The Curse of Time series is currently with Heena Rathmore who is critiquing/proofreading for me, prior to release. And I have a poetry /photography book entitled Do What You Love waiting in the wings…
And finally – and always very important – wine gums or chocolate as your writing nibble of choice?
It has to be chocolate, preferably dark and I’d never say no to a few nuts in my chocolate!
That’s a far more sophisticated choice! Thank you so much for joining me this morning, Marjorie – good luck with all your forthcoming writing!
Find out more about Marjorie (and her rather ace alter ego!) here:
I am an author who has been blogging for many moons at my lovely blog home: https://mjmallon.com. My interests include writing, photography, poetry, and alternative therapies. I write YA Fantasy/Paranormal novels, ghost/horror short stories and middle grade fiction as well as micropoetry – haiku and tanka. I love to read and have written over 100 reviews.
My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheros! I was born on the 17th of November in Lion City: Singapore, (a passionate Scorpio, with the Chinese Zodiac sign a lucky rabbit.) I grew up in a mountainous court in the Peak District in Hong Kong.
As a teenager I travelled to many far-flung destinations. It’s rumoured that I now live in the Venice of Cambridge, with my six foot hunk of a Rock God husband. My two enchanted daughters often return to visit me with a cheery smile.
When I’m not writing, I eat exotic delicacies while belly dancing, or surf to the far reaches of the moon. To chill out, I practise Tai Chi, or yoga. If the mood takes me I snorkel with mermaids, or sign up for idyllic holidays with the Chinese Unicorn, whose magnificent voice sings like a thousand wind chimes.
Author’s Website: https://mjmallon.com
Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook – #ABRSC: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1829166787333493/
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