Author Interview: M. W. McLeod

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1. Paperback, hardback, audiobook?

Most of my collection is hardcover with dust jackets. I love the art that goes into making a good dust jacket, and even have a few of my favorites laminated.

2. Pick a genre, any genre!

I read all of them, but I have a particular love of contemporary fantasy and paranormal romance.

3. What is the first book you remember reading?

Either the Pokey Little Puppy or Alphapets.

4. What book shaped your childhood most?

I’m torn on this one. The first book that really comes to mind is The Phantom Tollbooth, but I didn’t find a love of reading until I picked up the Harry Potter series.

5. When did you first start writing?

My Mom still has a copy of a book that I made with paper and crayon in aftercare at school. So, maybe 8 if I’m being generous.

6. What made you want to write? Does it still hold true?

I call myself a recovering fanfiction writer. When an author didn’t end a series the way I thought it should, I would write it myself. As I got older and more experienced with my writing, I started to write the stories that I couldn’t find to read at all. That’s how my trilogy came to be. I couldn’t find what I wanted to read, so I wrote it.

Yes, I still do that frequently. On more than one occasion, I’ve even written alternate endings of my own books for fun.

7. What book/poem are you most proud of creating?

I would have to say the third book in my trilogy, Fine Print. It hits so emotionally hard, wraps up the trilogy, and sets up so many other spider webs to my future books in the same universe. I have plans for 23 books in the same setting, and there are references in that book to book 19 and 20. Having a plan way in advance, no matter how detailed, is a huge benefit when world building.

8. Did you publish your first book or is it for your eyes only?

Maybe, I’ll have my cover artist clean up that book I made when I was eight and publish it… 

Yes, I would just write chapters and publish them when I was doing fanfiction. Some proud accomplishments happened when writing fanfiction, and I don’t have the heart to take it down because it shows how far I’ve come.

9. How many books/collections have you published so far?

I have my completed trilogy available separately as well as an omnibus of the three now available on Kindle Unlimited. At the end of January, I have a historical faerie crime thriller releasing that is going to be a wild ride.

10. What genres do you write in (or hope to)?

Most of my books fall under some sort of fantasy subgenre, but I have plans for an interesting blend of science fiction/lit rpg. I’ve already written the first book, but I want to get further into the series before publishing them.

11. Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head?

I do the research as I go. Tried to front load it one time, and I completely forgot everything as I came upon the need to write it.

12. To plan, or not to plan your plot?

I’m a discovery writer. I don’t sit down and write long outlines or beat sheets. Instead, as inspiration comes, I write down the idea in a Word Document as a loose outline. I guess you could call it planning, but most of the time, I just start with a general beginning and ending in mind. Everything else in between happens on its own.

13. What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it?

I chose to self publish. I attempted to query for a while, but the anxiety the process made me feel turned me away from traditional publishing. I have one book that I feel might be a good candidate for traditional publishing, but I haven’t decided whether I will query it or not when I feel it’s ready.

14. If you could live inside another author’s universe, which one would you pick? (Ex: Middle Earth, Narnia, etc.)

Trudi Canavan’s Kyralia would be my choice. 

15. Do you currently have a WIP?

Yes, two.

The first one is a spin-off from my trilogy. I’m calling it Section Seven. It follows the origins of the world’s greatest demon hunter, Tarso Helge.

The second is a rewrite that I am starting from scratch. It is best described as a time travel romance, and it follows two teenagers who keep living their last week of high school on loop.

16. Tell me about the character you’ve created who is dearest to your heart.

If I can only pick one, Ellyria from my trilogy. She’s so tenacious and tends to punch first and ask questions later. She’s perfectly flawed, and I love her more for it.

17. What do you consider your *current* magnum opus? 

Honestly, the whole Beyond the Veil universe. I’ve got plans for something like 23 books. Some of them haven’t been written yet, and it’s already sitting over 1.3 million words. I’m beyond proud of this accomplishment, and can’t wait to have them ready to share with readers!

18. Do you have a favourite romance in your books? Or, if yours features no romance, tell us about your favourite character friendship!

Back to the trilogy with this one. Ellyria and Zangrunath share so many fun, quippy exchanges. They laugh, they cry, and they love each other unconditionally, even when they do stupid things.

19. Do you listen to music as you write? Recommend a favourite writing song.

My house gets noisy, so I tend to listen to loud music while writing. Rock or electronic dance music are favorites. I’m picking two because I can’t choose. Either Judas by Fozzy or High Hopes by Panic at the Disco.

20. Do you have any character art for your books, whether by you or another artist? (Be sure to credit/link if you can!)

None yet, but I hope to have some one day!

21. If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be? 

Form the habit of writing, even if it’s not NaNoWriMo levels of a word count. Write every day, even when you don’t feel like writing. If you manage 500 words a day, in a few months you’ll have have a finished novel. One thing that a lot of people won’t tell you or show you is the lowlights of being an author. So many of us only premiere the highlights. If being an author was easy, everybody would have a book. One thing you need to do to get through the slumps is have solid habits, keep self imposed deadlines, and learn from your mistakes when something isn’t working.

22. Have you entered any writer contests? Tell us about your experience!

It takes a lot to make me step out of my comfort zone. So, yes, but it was only one. It was a Twitter event for a 100 word horror short story. My only frustration with the contest was there was no auto-responder or date we would hear back by, so I didn’t know they received my submission or that I was not selected until almost 3 months later.

23. Who are your top 5-10 favourite writers?

You want me to choose?!

Okay, uh… In no particular order:

JK Rowling

Dan Brown

Trudi Canavan

Alma Alexander

CS Lewis

Maggie Sefton

RA Salvatore

I’m sure I’ll come up with another good one in about an hour.

24. Link us your book/twitter/goodreads or wherever we can best connect with you!




I love to hear from my readers!

If this happens to go out during the holiday season, I also have a free Christmas themed short story to share. Here is the link:

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