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Margaret Mal

Today I have the privilege of chatting with returning author, Margaret Mal. Margaret is the author of seven titles including Crimson Hills, and most recently, Double Lightning.

IDI – Thank you so much for joining me today. You’ve been busy since we last talked. Seven books? Tell us, how are you published?  

MM – Seven of my books are published traditionally (in Russia). I’ve self-published two novels written in English through Kindle: Crimson Hills and Double Lightning

IDI – Let’s talk about your newest release Double Lightning. How did you get the idea for this novel? Did you develop the plot thoroughly, outlining the beginning, middle and endbeforehand, or did you just start writing?

Double LightningMM – The idea to write about a criminal boss having supernatural abilities came to me several years ago. This man has been living in my head for so long, begging me to let him live – for real, on paper – that I finally gave in. When I started to write, I saw the beginning and end very clearly. I never start writing without knowing how I would end my novel because, for me, the end is the most important part. It’s what gives the readers an aftertaste and what helps them decide whether they liked the book. The middle is the most flexible thing which is mostly being developed in the process.

IDI – Who’s your target audience? What aspect of your writing do you feel targets that audience?

MM – Funny thing here. I always thought my target was what is called young adult and new adult. First, because of the main characters in my books who are young.  Second, because of thriller and ‘bloody’ aspects which are always included in every novel I write. I used to think that people of previous generation didn’t appreciate that: they were raised on books and movies of other sort. But being in a library in my hometown in Russia, I came across an old lady who claimed to be my fan and who said there’s nothing else for her to read, except me (she meant my books I guessJ). I was confused and amused at the same time. Now I really don’t know who my target audience is! J

IDI – Everyone has visions of where they see themselves in the future, be it a year or five. Where do you see yourself in five years?

MM – In a mental house. Seriously. I talk to my characters a lot more than to real people. Out loud. I guess from the outside it looks like I’m a schizophrenic and talking to myself. One day someone will call the ambulance and I’ll be put into a madhouse.

IDI – I might be in trouble because I think that is rather commonplace for writers! Where did you see yourself five years ago? Did you make it there?

MM – Actually, I kinda did. In 2012 I was eager to become a traditionally published author and had no idea whether I’d ever achieve this goal. And in 2013 most of my novels were published by the biggest Russian publishing house.

IDI – Wow, impressive. Most writers are happy to have just one picked up, let alone most. What is the hardest part about being an author?

MM – The hardest part is to get noticed. When you’ve finished your book and you are like: ‘Hey! Look at me! I’m a genius!’ – you have to realize that you mean nothing to the world. You either accept it and keep writing for yourself and your family or try to fight for the right to be noticed by other readers. If you choose the second option – here comes a real, cruel battlefield.

IDI – You are so right about that. Too many writers think that just because they’ve actually reached “the end” of their book, the world is ready to welcome it with open arms. It can be a devastating let-down when reality comes knocking. I’ve been promoting indie authors for almost as long as I’ve been writing and with almost every single one of them, the reality of writing has been one of the hardest aspects of writing to accept. What advice would you give to new/unpublished authors?

MM – Never ever give up. I know it’s a banal thing to say, but it’s true. It’s the only way to accomplish something you really want.

IDI – Random question, do you have any pets? If so, what are their names?

MM – Yes. A tortoise named Mary. She is adorable! And she loves to read too, doesn’t write anything though.Mary is reading

IDI – Do you have an all-time favorite book? What is it and what makes it your favorite?

MM – I have two: A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov and The Collector by John Fowles. These novels both are very deep, but in different ways. In A Hero of Our Time the main character Pechorin is so bored and confused with who he is that he constantly ruins other people’s lives. Despite dying young, Lermontov had learned people well (especially women), that’s why his works contain so much psychology. On the other hand, Fowles divided people in two groups in his novel – well-educated, intellectual elite and ‘the others’ who live in accordance to their basic instincts. And he did a great job in colliding them (although the most part of the book there were just two of them representing these two categories).

IDI – If you could have one wish granted, what would it be?

MM – No wars anymore. People, please, just stop killing each other!

IDI – I think that wish would resonate with many. You’ve received word that you will be included in a new book of original quotes on writing to be published next year. What quote do you contribute?

MM – If you failed seventy three times, give it a seventy fourth try.

IDI – Margaret, thank you so much for joining me today. Congratulations on your latest release, and we’ll look for more books from you in the future!

 

Margaret MalAbout the author. Margaret Mal was born in Russia. Double Lightning is her second book in English (mystery/paranormal). Link to buy www.amazon.com/dp/B06Y3LJ43S

Author’s page on Amazon www.amazon.com/author/margaretmal.

You can follow Margaret Mal on Instagram @Margaret_Mal, Twitter https://twitter.com/MalininaMM  or Facebook www.facebook.com/writer.margarita.malinina

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Margaret Mal

My guest today is Russian author, Margaret Mal. She’s penned thirteen novels, although (and unfortunately for many of my readers), only her latest release, Crimson Hills, is written in English. 

IDI – Good morning Margaret, thank you for joining me today.

Tell us a little about the books you’ve written.

Crimson Hills

Crimson Hills

MM – I’ve written 13 novels. The newest one, Crimson Hills, is in English; the others are in Russian. I’ve published 7 detective novels in Russia. But Crimson Hills is not a mystery. It’s an adventure dystopia about a few people who are so obsessive about their fate and future that they decide to make a really dangerous journey, which can give them all the necessary answers. I’ve self-published this novel through Kindle.

IDI – When did you realize you were born to be a writer?

MM – When I was 16, I wrote my first detective novel (this novel, by the way, 11 years later was published by the biggest Russian publishing house). Before that, I’d had several attempts to write a book, but none of them had ended. So when I finished that book, I told myself “Wow, I can do it!” That’s when I totally knew. However, some acquaintances of my family told them I was going to be a writer even earlier, when I was a little child, because of my ability to rhyme. I created my first poem when I was 5 or 6 years old. I couldn’t write then; thus, my granny wrote it down.

IDI – I hope she hung on to them!

Think back to the first book you wrote and then think to the last one you wrote. In what ways have you grown as a writer?

MM – At the age of 16, I was less wise, less smart, less tolerant and less experienced than I am at the moment. And these are the things you need to use while writing a novel. So I guess now I can write a little bit more qualitative books.

IDI – How long does it usually take you to write a book from the initial spark of an idea to the finished product?

MM – Between the spark and the start of the writing process there can be a really long time; it varies. I can tell that it takes me roughly 2 months to write the whole book, from the first word to the last one, if the idea is totally thought-out. However, this time frame only works for me when I have nothing else to do. Unfortunately, you can’t just write books and enjoy your life; very few people can do that. The most of authors are paid so badly for their writing that they have to work somewhere else. And when you have a full-time job, you can’t give enough attention to your books. That’s why the most of my books took a year to write each.

IDI – Give us a rundown of your writing process.

MM – What works for me, first of all, is silence; second of all, is music. Hard to unite those two, huh? 🙂 Well, silence is above all. When you write a scene, you have to merge yourself into this atmosphere. It’s hard, and every extraneous noises make it even harder. As to music, I use it when I can’t put myself in the right mood. For example, when I have to write a scary scene, I open my playlist and listen to some creepy music, like soundtracks from horror movies, etc.

IDI – You’ve said that due to the low earnings, like yourself most writers have to work outside jobs. What do you do for a living?

MM – I tried many jobs. I was a social worker, an accountant, a manager, a journalist, etc. Now I’m trying myself as a screenwriter. I’ve made a few episodes for a Russian TV-show Trace (something similar to American C.S.I.).

IDI – Who is your favorite author, and why?

MM – Being Russian, I’ll pick Mikhail Lermontov. I adore his poetry, and I adore his novel A Hero of Our Time. It’s deep, it has so many levels, you can reread it twelve times and never get bored. He was a great writer with such a horrible fate. As regards non-Russian writers, I choose Oscar Wilde and John Fowles. I love the way they drew their characters.

IDI – We all draw from within. How much of ‘Margaret’ will a reader find in one of your books?

MM – Much, very much. As to Crimson Hills, there are some characters (may I conceal which ones?) whose all thoughts, fears, and moral values were taken from myself. But the whole story and characters’ biographies are, certainly, just a fiction.

IDI – What is the hardest or most frustrating aspect of writing: ideas, getting started, writer’s block, editing?

MM – The last one. As English is my second language, it’s really hard for me to edit my books. I can check every sentence carefully and be still not sure if everything is fine and understandable.

IDI – I can see where that would be an issue.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

MM – I love to travel. I’ve been to France (twice), Spain, Germany, Czech Republic, Belgium, Poland, Belarus. My dream is to see the whole world! Beside traveling, I like to study and to learn. I already have two degrees (Economics and Journalism), and I’m not sure if I’m ready to stop, lol. Also, I’m into self-education. I enjoy learning something new.

Margaret Mal

Margaret Mal

IDI – Is there something you can’t live without?

MM – Chocolate! Muffins! Pies! Green tea! These are the most important things in life! (Kidding. Well… Ok, not kidding, it’s all true.)

IDI – Define a great book.

MM – There are books dedicated to entertainment. There are books that make readers think; it is clever books for intellectual process. Both are good. Well, I think that a great book is the one which contains both funny stuff and intellectual stuff. It’s certainly the most difficult to write. That’s why it is worth readers’ attention the most. In Crimson Hills I tried to combine action and philosophic, romance and religion, laugh and social drama. I don’t know if I achieved this goal; it’s up to my readers.

IDI – In the end, it’s always up to the readers. It was a pleasure talking with you Margaret and I wish you the best of luck with your writing. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing future books released in English as well.

About the author – Margaret Mal was born in Russia. Her Russian pen name is Margarita Malinina. Crimson Hills is her first book in English (dystopia). You can find it HERE. You can find Margaret on Instagram or Facebook.

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