Ronica Black interviews MJ Williamz:
MJ, as a child, did you ever dream of becoming a published author?
Heck yeah! I made the announcement to my fifth grade teacher that I was going to be an author when I grew up. What about you? When did you first dream the dream?
Oh, I had a few big dreams as a kid. Dolphin trainer, astronaut—to name a couple. In sixth grade, however, I declared that I wanted to be a romance writer. Well, my teacher laughed and told me I was being ridiculous. I never forgot that. Some days I often wonder if my dogged determination to make that dream come true developed a little out of spite.
Model Behavior is your first intrigue. Is that correct? How exciting! What led you to write it?
Actually, my first novel, Shots Fired, was intrigue. And it’s so nice to be back. I love intrigue. It’s one of my favorite genres to read, so I thought I’d give it a try. And I enjoyed it immensely.
Was writing an intrigue like Model Behavior any different for you compared to your romances?
It was. There were more moving parts to coordinate, you know? I had to make the bad guy believable but had to throw in a couple other suspects as well. It was a lot of fun.
What inspires you or sparks a story idea?
Different things. Sometimes a name gets me thinking. Usually an occupation intrigues me. I wonder what women wouldn’t ever get together, then try to make them a couple. Sounds twisted, but it’s a good time. I wonder a lot, What would happen if?
What about you? Where do you get your ideas?
I get ideas mostly while listening to music, especially when on long walks or drives. A few times I’ve had dreams that led to stories.
Even though Model Behavior is an intrigue, you do an excellent job of interweaving erotica throughout the book. And you write erotica very well. My Lord. (Wipes sweat from brow.) So you, like me, probably get asked all kinds of questions about that. Well there will be no exceptions here, because I’m just as curious as your fans. (Did you really think I’d let you off the hook? LOL) So tell us, when did you write your very first erotic love scene? Were you nervous to let someone read it? Do you ever get nervous about sharing your erotica? What made you want to write the full scene rather than fading to black?
I wrote my first sex scene in around 2003 in a book about women’s chat rooms. That book was never finished, but I found I enjoyed it. So I looked around for publishers that were looking primarily for sex scenes and my first short story was published. My fear about people reading my work is that they’ll say all the sex scenes sound the same, ya know?
The decision to not write fade to black was a natural one for me. I wanted and want my readers to join the characters on their journey in the bedroom. I don’t want them to miss a single minute of the sex.
What do you like to read, MJ?
I love reading mysteries. They’re my favorite. In the world of lesfic I love reading Laydin Michaels. Not just because she’s my lovely wife, but because I like books that keep you on the edge of your seat. I love not knowing what’s going to happen. Will they catch the bad guy in time? That’s what I like to read.
As you know, I consider you a writing machine. You are extremely prolific and always seem to be working on something. Tell us what keeps you fueled and keeps you going during a typical day of writing. Do you write all day? Every day? Set the scene for us, we want to know!
I used to write all day, well, four to six hours, when I was writing full time. A year ago I was getting ahead of the BSB production schedule so I took a day job. I love it and still have it. I have Sundays and Mondays off now so I basically write all day Monday. And I usually get a few hours of writing in the evenings during the week. Since I started writing on my phone, I find it easier to get a few words down every night.
What keeps me fueled? LOL Coffee. And Diet Dr Pepper. That’s what keeps me going.
Do you work on one story at a time? Or can you switch it up and work on one for a couple of hours and then easily shift into working on another?
I write one book at a time, but often have to break for edits or page proofs on another book. What about you? Can you juggle more than one work in progress at a time?
Yes, I can, but I try really hard to just stay focused on one work at a time.
In addition to romance and now intrigue, I know that you write horror as well. What’s your favorite one to write and why?
Oh, wow. Great questions. I definitely enjoyed writing horror the most. I love writing vampire stories. They’re my favorite. I don’t see me writing a full length vampire novel. You never know, though.
I know you live with your wife, the lovely Laydin Michaels, who is also a writer. If it’s not too personal, tell us what it’s like to be a fly on the wall in your house. Is writing front and center? Is your home a creative haven of sorts?
Laydin took a bit of a hiatus from writing. Life got in the way, as happens. But when we’re both in the groove, our house is pull of positive, creative energy. We can sit together and write for hours. We bounce ideas off each other, help each other if we get stuck, and congratulate each other when we hit a milepost. Our adult niece who lives with us is creative as well. And when our son lived here, he mixed music all the time. So yeah. Lots of creative energy.
When you need a break from a tedious bout of writing, what do you do to relax? Do you have a place you like to escape to?
When we have the chance, I love to escape to the beach. We have a place in Galveston that we can get away to. For a normal escape from writing, Laydin and I have a nook in our house where we relax and play games. Our favorite right now is Cribbage.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would that be and why?
Maldives. Hands down. I’d go in a heartbeat. I think it looks beautiful. I’ve been very fortunate in my life that I’ve traveled extensively. I’ve been to all but six states. I’ve been all over the Caribbean, been to Europe, South America. I’ve seen a lot of amazing things. I’d love to see Maldives, though.
What about you? Any special place calling to you?
I would love to visit Ireland. Such an amazing special place.
When I visit new places, I often get an overwhelming need to write about them. Does the same happen to you?
Most definitely! One of my first published vampire stories grew out of my first trip to New Orleans. If a place really speaks to me, I often find a way to include it in a book.
Who is your favorite author of all time? If you could meet them, what would you say?
That’s a really good question. It’s really tough. Probably J. D. Salinger. If I could go back in time, I’d totally pick his brain about where in the world he came up with Holden Caulfield. He’s my favorite character of all time. Bar none.
Have you always loved to read? Do you consider yourself a bookworm?
Yes! I’ve always been an avid reader. I remember as a kid my parents punished us by making us read for an hour. My brothers hated it but I was in heaven! I’m not much of a bookworm anymore, though. I still read voraciously, but not as much as I’d like.
Do you prefer to read ebooks or do you like the good ol’ printed versions better?
Give me the good ol’ print version. I love to hold a book in my hand. I love the smell and feel of a real, honest to God book.
As a writer, it helps to have a deep understanding of human behavior and a keen sense for noticing the details and subtleties in life. Do you consider yourself to be extra sensitive or observant? Do others see you as such?
LOL! That’s really funny. You probably won’t ever meet anyone as unobservant as I am. Except when it comes to people. I observe the heck out of people. I notice lots of details when it comes to them.
What question or questions are you most often asked by fans?
Biggest question is where do I get my inspiration for my sex scenes. I hate to be boring but my characters themselves are the inspiration. I try to keep the scenes in continuity with my characters… Does that make sense?
I’m a film fanatic, so I gotta ask. What’s your favorite movie and what kind of movie do you like best? Drama, action, etc.
Favorite movie of all time—The Breakfast Club. As a matter of fact, we just watched it last night. LOL
I like mystery or thriller usually. Not gory though. I can’t handle gory, scary movies. I love psychological thrillers though. I also love movies that study human behavior like The Breakfast Club and The Big Chill.
You’ve said that your stories are like movies in your head that you have to get out. I feel the same. As I write, I’m seeing the story play out like a movie, as if I’m in the theater watching it. Is it the same for you? Or do you experience it a little differently?
That’s exactly it! I see the movie in my head and I write it on paper. I just give life to what I’m seeing.
What’s next for you MJ? What are you currently working on?
I have another romantic intrigue coming out in July. Scene of the Crime. And, at the moment, I’m writing a memoir. But shhhh…that’s a secret! LOL
What about you? What are you working on?
Right now I’m working on a new romance called Olivia’s Awakening. Its about a woman who’s been a bit repressed taking hold of her life and making changes. Along the way she meets someone who not only helps her with her goals but helps her with the matters of the heart as well.
Tell us one thing about MJ Williamz no one else knows.
Wow! That’s a really hard question. I don’t know. Ummm…I hate spiders? LOL When I was in high school, I was trying to get into West Point, but flunked the depth perception test. So I couldn’t fly. So I didn’t really want to go anymore. But, after I’d completed the rest of my testing, Senator Leon Panetta said he’d give me an appointment to any of the academies I wanted to go to. I often wonder how different my life would be now if I’d gone to one…
MJ, thanks so much for giving us such a great peek into your life. Sharing the bits and pieces of what makes you up as a writer not only excites us as fans, but it also helps to connect to who you are as a person.
I had a lot of fun, both asking questions and reading your answers.
My very best to you my friend. The writing machine!