Please welcome MJ Schiller – romance author
What genre(s) do you write in? Why?
Romance, and romantic suspense. It comes naturally because I am the kind of person who always looks for a happy ending. My friends laugh at me because I try to put a positive spin on everything. “Well, maybe he didn’t answer your text because his phone died. Or he’s asleep. Maybe he’s planning a surprise for you…”
Is there a book or two that you wrote and love that’s not published? If so, tell us more.
I have twelve books written and have published four so far. I have plans to publish the rest of them over the next three years. They are in three collections, my ROCKING ROMANCE COLLECTION (rock stars), my ROMANTIC REALMS COLLECTION (royalty), and my REAL ROMANCE COLLECTION (EMTs, teachers, police officers, waitresses, construction workers, you get the picture!)
Tells us about your next/ newest book release or current project.
I just released a Christmas novella romantic suspense about an EMT/part-time mall Santa who happens upon an accident scene still dressed like St. Nick. Dylan Fischer is drawn to the victim, Keira Kelly, and her little girl—especially after he begins to suspect that the accident may not have been an accident at all.
And I have a second release out in a few weeks, the third in my ROCKING ROMANCE COLLECTION. Only there’s a twist this time around—it’s a female rocker, Jasmine Barrett (or Jazz, as her fans call her). But don’t worry ladies, I’ve matched her with a red hot cop. Heath “Hawk” McGowan has been sent to her penthouse to investigate her best friend’s murder. As the body count rises, Jazz’s terror chases her into the strong and very capable hands of our hero. Stay tuned for more.
Who would play your characters in a movie?
You know, this is so hard, because I can never find anyone who matches the picture in my head (so where does the picture in my head come from? I ask myself.) But I’ll do my best. For Dylan, my hunky EMT in UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR, I’d pick William Levy. I don’t know where this boy came from, but he is fine. Look him up! For Keira I’d choose Scarlett Johansson with her red hair (like in “The Avengers.”)
For BETWEEN ROCK AND A HARD PLACE, a crew cut, stubbly Chris Evans for my hottie Hawk and Karen Gillan (Amy Pond from Dr. Who) would be Jazz. She’s striking!
What makes a good story to you?
I’m one of those who likes to see the underdog come out on top. So in my books there will often be someone, or even a couple of characters, who have been hurt before—through loss, bad break-up, painful childhood, whatever—who find the person who turns their world around. For me there is no other reason to read but that happy, satisfied feeling of watching two people come together and change each other’s lives for the good. That doesn’t mean there won’t be some tear-jerking moments, because they have to suffer to make their win that much more incredible. I love what I do!
Do you believe writers are born or made or both?
In my experience, you are both born a writer and made a writer [that whole nature vs. nurture thing 😉 ] No one in my family was a writer before me—that I know of—but I believe I inherited my storytelling abilities and desire from my father. He was one of those guys who, when they began a story, you could feel yourself mentally pulling up a chair and relaxing. It could be a simple story about his day, but he would tell it with such warmth and humor, or sensitivity and feeling, that you would be hanging on his every word. He was an incredible man.
But to grow as a writer you have to work at your craft. I have grown by leaps and bounds over the years, and I have much left to learn. In a way, that is what makes it exciting.
Besides getting published, what was your awe moment?
I think it would have to be the day Amazon recommended my own book to me. That was pretty cool! I later learned those ads are generated by where you’ve been on Amazon, and since I’d been checking my reviews and numbers, it would follow that it would be my book Amazon would recommend for me. Didn’t seem quite so cool after that! 😉
Thank you so much for having me on your blog today, Andrea. I enjoyed answering your questions.
Here’s a blurb for UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR:
Dylan Fisher is an EMT and part-time Santa Claus at a mall in Denver, Colorado. He has logged plenty of time with children sitting on his lap asking for anything from the latest electronic gadget to a week’s worth of homework passes, but he never heard anyone ask for what little Delaney Kelly asked for on one snowy night in December. A dad! When Dylan’s eyes search the crowd for Delaney’s mother and land on Keira Kelly, the paramedic almost finds himself in need of a little CPR. She is stunning!
Keira Kelly is still grieving over the loss of her husband, but a reckless driver has her thinking about nothing but survival as she’s headed home from the mall. When Keira wakes in the hospital to find a hunky EMT at her bedside, she begins having a few thoughts that would put her on Santa’s Naughty List for sure! But when she finds out the EMT is only hanging around because the police believe someone is out to get her, she’s not sure what to think about his kindness. Is he helping her because he wants to, or because he feels he needs to? And what about the man who rammed her car, could he have had something to do with her husband’s death?
Here’s an excerpt from the bad guy’s point of view:
Max didn’t expect the explosion. He heard the tremendous, almost rhythmic sound of metal crunching as the car cartwheeled down the side of the cliff like a preschooler at recess. The thunderous BOOM of the sedan going up in flames caught him by surprise. He was rushing to peer over the edge, but was stopped dead in his tracks by the blast. By the time he got to the side of the ridge, the fire had already engulfed the vehicle. The flames licked hungrily at the night sky like so many devils’ tongues and consumed the car with such vehemence that, within seconds only a black outline of the frame remained.
Looking back on it, standing on the side of the road was an incredibly stupid thing for him to do. Anyone could have seen him as they whizzed up the side of the mountain, and perhaps even noted the dents in his car and copied down the license plate number. But he wanted to see the results of his handiwork. Besides, he wasn’t thinking at all clearly that night.
It gave him a raw thrill to chase the sedan over the edge of the cliff. He followed Kevin home from work, desperate, not knowing what he would do to solve his problem. At first he only picked up speed to keep pace with Kevin, but then recklessness began to pump in his veins. HHe pulled out into the lane meant for on-coming traffic, not even realizing what he was doing. His eyes darted everywhere, his pulse raced, frightened witless as the scenery flew by. Luckily, for some reason, the usually well-travelled road lay deserted. Thinking he wanted to pass him, Kevin slowed down, no doubt cursing the crazy driver beside him. But he only matched the sedan’s speed. Kevin glanced over, and in the flash of a streetlight, seemed to recognize him.
He must have thought ol’ Max didn’t have it in him. But I did.
He remembered the changing expressions on Kevin’s face as he began to understand his adversary’s intentions. At first his brow had been furrowed in confusion. Then his jaw went rigid and he tightened his grip on the wheel, glaring at Max, who feinted with his car. Kevin had to swerve onto the shoulder before correcting the path of the sedan. That was when Max’s prey stared back, his eyes hollowed by fear. A wild laugh burst through the air and Max wondered at first where it came from, before realizing it belonged to him.
The vehicles jostled, and tires screeched. When Kevin’s car finally did careen over the edge of the cliff, Max could have sworn he felt the heat of the gigantic explosion, although he knew that was impossible. For him it was like an orgasm, a wave of pleasure and relief. Kevin Kelly was no more.
If only that had been the end of it.
MJ is a lunch lady in the heart of Central Illinois. My gosh, can you get more folksy than that? She met her husband at the University of Missouri-Columbia and now she has an eighteen-year-old (how did that happen?) and sixteen year old triplets! She loves to read, karaoke (where she can pretend she is a rock star) and spends WAY too much time on Facebook. She grew up in St. Louis and still has family there.
Links for M.J. Schiller:
Links for UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR: