Author Interview: Sinead MacDughlas
Hi, Sinead. Welcome to my blog. Thank you for allowing me to interview you. It’s a pleasure to have you here with us.
Sinead: Thank you for having me. It’s always a pleasure to visit your blog!
Would you take a moment and introduce yourself to us?
Sure thing! I’m something of a gypsy at heart and a lover of all things creative. If you were to visit my home, you’d see that I’m eclectic in all things. I read nearly all genres of books, and listen to a variety of musical styles. Every surface in my house has some kind of clutter on it, usually a plethora of knick-knacks in a mixture of artistic styles. I breathe music, bleed words and cry coffee. lol
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing fiction off and on for a little over thirty-three years. There was an eight-year hiatus where I barely wrote a word. I’ll never do that again!
You’ve recently a debut for your first novel, Learn To Love Me. Can you tell us a little more about it?
Learn To Love Me is a mystery suspense novel. It has murder and mayhem, guns and knives, abuse and torture, secrets and lies. In a single week, one woman must face a past she’d rather forget, reveal the secrets she’s tried to hide and uncover a murderer before she becomes a victim — again.
I wanted L2LM me to be about denial, acceptance, survival and transcendence. The result surprised even me. ;)
How did the idea for the story come about?
It all began with Emily. The character has lived with me for years, waiting to tell her story. Emily is a sort of tribute to many of the women I’ve had the privilege of being friends with, and sometimes a confidant to, in my life. She is strong despite her weaknesses, and weak despite her strengths. She’s been abused and she’s been loved, both beyond reason. Now, Emily is trying to forget the past and build a future, but some things aren’t so easily left behind. She truly believes that she has left fear and guilt behind her. Emily is about to learn that she’s terribly mistaken.
Learn To Love Me began as a Women’s Lit., but my muses went on strike halfway through. Thanks to some excellent feedback and advice from my friend/alpha reader/cover designer Dave J. Ford, I tore the story down, yanked out my favourite characters and rebuilt it as a mystery. I was thrilled when Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing picked it up and presented it to the world!
What type of research did you do for the book itself?
There was far more research involved than I expected. I’d forgotten nearly everything I knew about guns for example, so I put out a desperate plea at http://www.canadiangunnutz.com and Barry Chorney agreed to become my advisor on all things firearms. The Durham Regional Police did their very best to find a willing advisor for me, but were unable to find someone with time to spare, so I had to research police procedures on my own. I was lucky to have a friends in security systems (Don Richards), and Canadian law (Sandra Susac), to check my facts in those two key subjects. A fellow author and friend (Ada McEwan), was willing to read and advise on canine behaviour. I had my own experience with a small newspaper, my memories of living in Oshawa, and my past interest in criminal profiling and crime-drama to guide me. You wouldn’t believe how many little details I had to check to just ensure accuracy to the time period!
The book takes place in 1995. The time of sunset on particular dates, days of the week, even weather in some cases, are as accurate as possible. There was a television show that I had to make sure it was in syndication at that time, older cell phones, and even look up buildings and streets, (though I did use creative license with the strip mall). At one point, I’d learned more about the history and care of bowling alleys than I will ever need to know.
I think my favourite, though, was methods of murder, and decomposition of the human body. Not long after I’d completed that research, I gained a Mountie as a Twitter follower for a few days. He must have realized I was mostly harmless though, because he stopped following fairly quickly. lol
In addition to Learn To Love Me, you’ve also had a novelette published called, Best Served Bloody. What’s that about and how did you come up with the story itself?
Best Served Bloody was supposed to be a short story submission for a charity anthology. Somewhere along the way, the muses took over and it became far too long for the submission guidelines. I was committed to the story by then and couldn’t abandon it. Nicola from Vamptasy Publishing still wanted to see it and I still wanted to support the East Lancashire Hospice, so Rue Volley created the brilliant cover and it became a Vamptasy novelette. :D All of the proceeds from BSB will go to the charity as long as it’s available to readers.
Best Served Bloody is Jess Green’s story. (Just for those who may want to keep track in the future, Jess is Beth Green’s younger sister. ;) You’ll likely learn more about that in another story somewhere along the line.) Jess is a widow and an artist looking to hide away from the world, alone with her paints and her pain. She buys an old house outside a small village that seems like a perfect fit for her plans. Unfortunately, she has far more company than she ever expected or wanted. Eleven spirits are tied to the house until they can get justice for their murders, and they want Jess to make it happen.
The story was inspired by an old, abandoned house on a side road, not far from where I live. Hoblin Goblin was a Halloween themed anthology, and it just seemed like the perfect setting for a ghost story. I had to “move” the house to the lakeshore and “de-clutter” the area, though. lol
Of both stories, which one, by far, is your favorite?
Learn To Love Me is still my favourite. Emily has been a part of me for so many years, growing and developing into the perfect not-so-perfect heroine, it’s hard not to be as proud of her story as any mother is of her grown child. There’s a reason I call my books my “paper babies”. ;P
There has been mention of you writing a children’s story. Has that come about? If so, can you tell us more about the project at hand?
I can! The short story is titled Minmi, Morris and Me and it will be appearing in a charity anthology, One In A Million, hopefully later this month. The proceeds from the book will go to support the family of an exceptional young man who beat Non Hodgkins Lymphoma when he was only two-years-old, and is fighting cancer again.
Connor is now nine-years-old and a big fan of dinosaurs. Minmi, Morris, and Me is told from the perspective of an eight-year-old girl whose parents are paleontologists. She gets to find a dinosaur of her own!
I’ve adopted the pen name ‘Jane Douglas’ for children’s stories, since most of my writing is decidedly adult. Besides, ‘Sinead MacDughlas’ is a mouthful for an adult! The Americanized version of my name should be easier for children to manage and remember.
Do you have any upcoming projects that you can tell us about?
I’m getting ready to immerse Emily and two other characters from Learn To Love Me in a changing world. I’ll be bringing them to 2012, where their lives will take a detour into the supernatural with a whisper of steampunk. This is supposed to be a novelette, in preparation for the sequel, but we’ll see what the muses have to say about that. lol I won’t give away the title yet, but I’ll likely reveal it once I’m ready to submit the manuscript to Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing.
With writing in such diverse genres, is it difficult to switch from one to the other?
I don’t find it difficult, but I think that’s just a quirk of my eclectic personality. :)
Picked up any good books lately?
Too many! My TBR list is 57+ books deep right now. I’m looking forward to getting back to Eyes of the Keep by Scott D. Muller, and then attacking Courting Danger: Agents For The Crown by Elizabeth A. Lance! That’s just a start, of course. There are so many talented indie authors out there, I want to read them all!
Do you have a certain favorite character from any of the stories you’ve written thus far?
Emily is definitely my favourite character. She’s so real to me. Of course, we share our twisted sense of humour, so we’re like old friends. lol I have a soft spot for Stan, too.
Do you have any recommendations for books that you think the blog’s readers may enjoy?
Oh yes! Let’s see…
For YA there’s SJB Gilmour’s Golden Mane and Madison Daniel’s Ember; in Science Fiction, Catrina Taylor’s Xarrok: Birth of an Empire; for Fantasy, Ressa Empbra’s The Dragon Dimension~Caught In Dragon Cove and if you want an uber-hot erotica, Rue Volley’s One Bite was sizzling! There are so many, I can’t possibly mention them all, but if anyone wants a great starter list of indie books, I’d recommend peeking at the one compiled by International Bug Your Library Day.
If your book were to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the main character of your story and why?
Oh! I have most of the cast picked out, already! If you’re going to dream, you may as well dream big. lol I would love to have Emma Stone play Emily, though she’s a little tall. ;P I’ve made up a little poster for myself of my dream cast. It may be bad luck to share it, but since I don’t really think Hollywood will be breaking down my door for movie rights anytime soon, I guess it couldn’t hurt. lol
If you had the chance to live the life of one your characters and mold it to the way you thought would make you the most happy, which one would you pick and why?
I honestly wouldn’t want to be any of my characters! Most of their lives are just too dramatic for me. lol. I’d probably most like to live like Jess wanted to, secluded from the madness of the world. Then again, I’m too social to hide for long. ;P
Do you have any tips, or thoughts, that you would like to offer to the blog’s readers?
Maybe a request? Give an indie author a chance, a read, a like, a review, or just a quick message of encouragement. They open their hearts and bleed onto the pages for you. Let them know that you appreciate them and they’ll repay you with more.
There you have it, Everyone. A lovely interview with the up and coming author, Sinead MacDughlas. I hope you’ve all enjoyed learning more about her. Thank you so much for the interview, Sinead. I look forward to more of your work and wish you the best of success.
Available for purchase via the following retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords.
Despite her secret past, Emily O’Shea was finally living a normal life. There had been some arguments with her husband, Trevor, lately, but no marriage is perfect. At least the column she writes for the local paper is going well…that is, until one of her interviewees goes missing, and a monster from her past resurfaces.
Within a week Emily’s life spins into chaos. Missing girls, a telephone stalker, murder, a monster, and an intense ex-lover; it’s turning out to be one hell of a summer!
Her husband is acting erratically, her boss is threatening to pull her column, and the police suspect she’s the muse for a murderer. Can Emily save her marriage, her job, her life and her sanity? More importantly, are her darkest fears justified? Does Emily already know who the killer is and, if she does; can she do anything to stop them?
About The Author:
Sinead MacDughlas is a Canadian writer with an addiction to the written word. Though she’s been honing her craft for over thirty years, Learn To Love Me is her debut full-length novel, and the result of over two years of intensive work.
Her favourite writing fuel is coffee, with the music she loves playing in the background, and the inspiration of a lifetime of people watching. Sinead plans to continue writing as long as there are readers who enjoy her work.