Madeline Wynn started her writing career by taking a ghost hunting class at her local Adult Education Program. She thought that gathering up local ghost stories would make her feel more at home in her newly adopted state of Connecticut. Unfortunately, she’s not the bravest of souls, so the class scared her senseless and she began writing to exorcise her fears so that she could sleep at night. So if you hear something go bump in the night, feel free to pull out your electronic voice recorder and chase it; this author will happily be waiting for you outside in a well-lit area drinking her coffee, eager to hear all about it. Currently, Wynn is touring the blogosphere and promoting her young adult paranormal novel, Daughter of the Fallen, about a 16-year old honor student who discovers that an evil force roams in the local cemetery…and it follows her home.
Welcome to Blogcritics, Madeline. Tell us, what do you do when your muse refuses to collaborate?
Tie it to a tree and tell it to squeal like a pig.
I’m being absolutely serious.
Essentially I chain myself to my laptop and force myself to write something. Anything. If what I write that day sucks, fine, I can cut it later, but I have to keep writing.
How do you keep your narrative exciting?
Oh, that’s easy. Sadism. I think of the worst thing possible for my character and then make it happen. I love to torture them. It makes for great reading. And I’m certain that my husband appreciates my torturing fictional characters instead of him. Why nag when I can go upstairs and make a character’s favorite teddy bear be possessed by Satan? It’s all about having a healthy outlet, I say.
Many writers experience a vague anxiety before they sit down to right. Can you relate to this?
Yes. I am anxiety-girl. It’s not so much before writing, it’s more like all the time and about everything. Before I walk out the door to go to the store I can think of fifty different ways that things can go wrong. I mean, yes, it’s just a trip to the grocery store, but what about ninja-attacks? Or GMOs that might make your stomach explode? An alien abduction, perhaps?
So yes, I am all about anxiety, but I have it under control. I have a dog and she loves me. No zombies will come near me if I have a dog, right?
I think that turning my anxiety, which even though I am making light of it, is a very real issue for me, into fodder for my novels has helped me in so many more ways than I could ever name.
More disciplined than a German dominatrix, baby! My day goes like this:
- Wake up and chase kids off to school.
- Walk dog. Dictate pages while walking dog.
- Have breakfast.
- Breakfast? That is a waste of time! Get writing!
- Around 2PM. I get very, very hungry. So I pull my laptop into the kitchen and eat while I write.
- Around 3:30, I contemplate about how I am wasting my life and how I am a failure and no one will ever read anything I write. Write? Did someone say write? Why am I not writing right now?
- 3:45- I write.
- Shortly thereafter, the kids get home from school, so the rest of the writing day is over until after they go to bed.
- 10PM- I write until about 11PM, at which time I read. And usually I stay up waaay too late doing so.
What was your publishing process like?
I am the rare bird that is both traditionally and self-published. So I’m kind of like a literary cyborg, I guess. So on one hand I found an agent at a pitch session and we sold a book to a traditional publisher. The whole process was very slow but also awesome because you have a whole team of people working with you and supporting you. On the other hand, I also had a book, this book, that I loved. Most people who read it loved it, too, but the big publishers were no longer buying paranormal YA, so I decided to go ahead and publish it on my own.
The major difference was that I had to hire my own team, and that is an awful lot of work. So I hired an editor and a cover artist and things and had to figure out how to do a lot of the nitty-gritty on my own. But the upside is that things can move much, much faster. And since I am a control freak, I did like having total control over things like the cover and layout.
How do you celebrate the completion of a book?
Margaritas and general mayhem.
When I’m writing a book I usually devote most of my days and almost every night to a draft, so when I finish, I binge-watch television shows that I may have missed. Since I hate the suspense of having to wait a week to find out what happens next, binge-watching is definitely my way to watch a program. Some recent treats include watching every season of Breaking Bad, True Detective, Bates Motel, Grimm, Gotham and Sleepy Hollow.
How do you define success?
Fan mail. The first time I ever received a letter from someone telling me that my stories meant something to them, even if it was just a happy diversion for a few hours, brings me a great deal of happiness. To know that something I wrote holds meaning for someone else makes all of the suffering worth it.
Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more about your work?
Oh yes. I have a naughty mailing list and everything. Well, I guess “naughty” is a matter of opinion, really, but I plan to give away all sorts of treats and things with it. The website is www.madelinewynnbooks.com.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00P3695KW]