I read and reviewed author M. N. Seeley’s novel, A Flicker of Shadows in the winter of of 2018. I loved the story and his writing. That is why he is one of my favorite authors and has earned a position on my Author Spotlight page! Please see his interview and upcoming work below.
1. What inspired you to write a book?
The answer to this question is incredibly hard to articulate. For A Flicker Of Shadows, the complex answer involves a zoo with a rampaging piglet, a book illustration portfolio and childhood memories of classic horror movies. The less complex answer is: I was inspired by a sudden awareness that I was actually enjoying the creative process for the first time in a long time. I guess I wanted to see where that enjoyment would take me.
2. What does your typical writing day look like?
During the work week, my typical writing day begins with my day job. I work from home, so my transition into “writing work” is as simple as closing some computer files and opening up my work-in-progress manuscript. I don’t even have to get out of my chair, which is pretty sweet. I’ll spend the next hour or so writing before breaking for family time. I’ll put in some more writing later in the evening. I’m not the sort that stares at a blank page and says, “let’s see what happens next.” If I do that, I usually end up writing a bunch of rambling garbage. I like preparing. A lot of my prep time is done while relaxing with my eyes closed at the end of the day. Weekends are when I try to get a solid block of time to write, if only a couple of hours. All in all, I get more work accomplished in short bursts.
3. Do you have a favorite book you have written?
I’m a writing newbie. I’ve only written one complete book so far. I guess by process of elimination, A Flicker Of Shadows is my favourite. I am excited about my new project, though. I’m trying to make it my new favourite.
4. What advice would you give to a new writer just starting out?
I feel a bit foolish doling out advice this early in my writing life. Perhaps I will never feel qualified to do so. But, I’ll give it a shot. It may not be universally true, but I think authors need to pick a lane: either write for themselves or write for an audience. Both options have merit. Both options have big concessions. For now, I write for myself and simply hope people will join me. Perhaps this is naive of me. If so, that’s cool. I don’t mind being naive.
5. Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you?
I never understood its appeal. I reluctantly joined the world on social media only a year or so ago. I learned early that Facebook is something I could easily drop into a dark pit and forget (notes for amateur photographers on Facebook: we have all seen a sunset before; and, a spider’s web covered in dew drops has been done to death). I enjoy Twitter, though. I’ve met a world of supportive and creative people on it. I happily engage with any and all there (@mn_seeley).
6. How do you handle literary criticism?
If I think the critique is unfair, or otherwise faulty, I’m like anyone, I suppose. First, I get my nose out of joint. Then, I blame the critic for “just not getting it”. A few minutes later, once my jets have cooled, and I’m happy just to have had my book read in the first place. When it comes to positive reviews, I stupidly grin and giggle quietly to myself until the emotion fades. Either way, I always end up in the same state: I’m just thrilled the reader took a chance with my book no matter what they think of it. Stories are meant to be shared. They aren’t all meant to be liked.
7. Please describe your writing space?
I write in my home office. It’s a room solely for me. My walls are filled with artistic relics from my past work-life, as well as reference books and vintage Star Wars stuff. I seldom use a laptop to write, even though it would allow me get some sun. More often than not, my desk is a disaster. I’ll have work papers and coffee mugs scattered all over the place. It’s all fairly standard for a home office set up for a graphic designer, I suppose. I wish it were more interesting to detail.
Oh, here’s something interesting: I used to keep a non-functioning pellet handgun (a revolver type dated from around 1968-1975) on my desk. While on a writing break, I would pace with it spinning around my finger. I’d “shoot” things and glare at the dog like I was Dirty Harry. It was a tool used to keep my hands busy while my brain worked out scenes. These days, I chomp on an unlit pipe while I type and contemplate. Whatever it takes to get the creative juices flowing, I suppose.
8. Who is your own favorite author? Dead or alive.
I’m not certain that I have one. Through my teen and young adult years, I chewed through a lot of Stephen King and Dean Koontz. I hate to be such a cliché, but that’s the truth. Later, I got into reading non-fiction “science for the masses” books. These books would include the likes of Richard Dawkins, Leonard Mlodinow, Brian Greene and others. Arthur C. Clarke’s Odyssey series was/is a favourite, now that I think about it. These days, I’m sticking with indie authors.
9. What is the most helpful thing to you in this industry?
I’ve found author and blogger reviews shared on Twitter to be effective. I try to make myself part of this machinery by reviewing books when I can. I re-tweet other author’s reviews and promotions, too. I think this is important. The indie movement is growing and needs support.
10. If you had to describe yourself in 3 words…what would they be?
Whisky. Dog. Lake.
My second novel is in the works. I’ve completed a fully planned treatment and have begun writing the first draft. It’s moving along slowly—but, at least it’s moving in the right direction. In spirit, it will resemble A Flicker Of Shadows; but, the styling and narrative will be much different. I want each book I write to have it’s own flavour. This new one will be harsh and vulgar. We’ll see how that works out for me. It is about the difficulties of the everyday working world. I’m excited by this new project. It’s a story I want to tell. It’s a story I like. Plus, it has alien creatures in it. What’s not to like about that?
I hope fans of A Flicker Of Shadows will join me as I explore. If my second book flops, I can always return to the well and write A Flicker Of Shadows, Part 2. Maybe this time Morton, the bat, will be running a tenement house for wayward girls. Oh, the adventures they’ll have.
About the Author:
M.N. Seeley, is a former Illustrator now working as a professional Art Director, Copywriter, Commercial Artist and Marketing Brand Consultant all rolled into one. But, what does this have to do with writing? Everything, if you ask him, because he believes storytelling is at the core of every successful creative endeavour. To him, the creative process never changes; only the medium does. He lives in Meaford, Ontario, Canada, where his children have spent years trying to teach him how to throw a football with a decent spiral. To date, they remain unsuccessful and undeterred.
M.N. Seeley can be found at: