Meet the Author… M.N. Seeley

Meet the Author… M.N. Seeley, author of ‘A Flicker of Shadows,’ a story like no other but one you don’t want to miss if you like your stories dark yet funny.

As you may know, I follow Leonard Tillerman’s website as he reviews a lot of books. He reviewed my book as well, and after some nail-biting days, I was very happy he gave Living Like A Vampire five stars! You can read his review of it here. He doesn’t always give five stars, so you know when he does, the books are good 🙂 . So, one of the books that received five stars from Leonard was A Flicker of Shadows, by Neil Seeley. I contacted Neil and here’s the interview.

M. N. Seeley

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Biography

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.

Do you outline or just write?

I won’t begin writing anything until I have the entire story outlined, detailed and paced. My first novel was outlined using Post-it Notes stuck to a wall. The outline for my second novel is a 30 plus page document. I leave plenty of room for changes and sudden inspirations, though.

What gives you inspiration for your book? How did you come up with the idea for A Flicker Of Shadows? Tell us about your writing process and the way you brainstorm story ideas

Neil_Seeley_AFlickerofShadowsA Flicker of Shadows began life as a series of children’s illustrations. However, since illustrating is a painful and labourious process for me, I found it more fun to write the accompanying story paragraphs for the paintings. That’s when I decided to forget the illustrations entirely and just focus on the writing. But, I had no interest in writing a children’s novel, or even one for young adults. The concept of transitioning into adulthood was a massive inspiration. It occurred to me that I could tell a different story based on the illustrations; a story that has one foot in the children’s world and one foot in the adult’s world. Where these two worlds rub together is where my novel lives. At least to me, I thought I had a hold of something unique.

What is the biggest surprise that you experienced after becoming a writer?

I was surprised by how exhausting, hive-inducing and ulcer-burning self-promotion is. I’d rather perform drug-free DIY dental work on a gorilla.

Give us an interesting fun fact about your book

In A Flicker Of Shadows, I never allowed Morton, the bat, to use contracted words in his journal. I thought this rule would make him appear uptight and repressed. 

Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

It’s a curse well managed, I’d say. There have been many, many times when I wished to trade all of my creativity in just so I could play 8-ball better. At the very least, I’d like to be able to make a simple cross bank with some regularity. To date, the Devil has yet to present himself with a contract detailing the trade conditions.

What is your favorite part of the book?

The very last paragraph of A Flicker Of Shadows, particularly the last sentence, makes me happy. I enjoy the tempo of the words as well as what they imply. For the most part, it was effortless to compose. That didn’t happen to me often.

Do you want each book to stand on its own or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I prefer stand alone stories because of their finite structure. When the book is over, it’s over. Done. Myself, the reader, the person who glances at my novel laying crumpled and dirty in the bottom of a garbage bin, can all move on with their lives. Having said that, I do plan on reusing one character from A Flicker Of Shadows. A variation of him will show up in every future novel I write. Readers of A Flicker Of Shadows will likely be surprised to know which character I’m referencing.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Treasure_W700.jpgSure. I love symbolism and other hidden gems. They’re mostly there for my amusement. I like to amuse myself. A Flicker Of Shadows has plenty of meat to be picked off the bones, should one feel so inclined.

What writing/publishing wisdom would you bestow upon new writers?

You’re looking in the wrong place if you’re looking for wisdom here. I wrote a novel that I wanted to read. That alone was hard enough without adding other people’s expectations to the mix. This 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 me, combining the two is madness and leads to mediocrity.

What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?

One reader of A Flicker Of Shadows thought my book had more in common with cult classics than popular best-selling books. That was very cool to hear. I would gladly take more of that sort of praise. I know my book won’t appeal to everyone. That’s how I prefer it.
Thank you so much for your time and your words of wisdom, Neil. I know you think they aren’t, but I think your comment on picking a lane is a very wise one. I’m still at the crossroads myself but leaning very much to the ‘write for yourself’ direction. I think that gives the most pleasure to the writer and hence the reader. You can’t please them all, so you better please the ones that do like your writing! And I can relate to your thoughts on promoting!

Neil Seeley’s book is available in eBook and paperback form on Amazon. You can follow him on the following social media:

Website
Twitter

 


Another Great Review for Living Like A Vampire!

Another 5 star review for Living Like A Vampire! This time written by book blogger and book reviewer Leonard Tillerman.

We all know how important reviews are for writers. It boosts our ranks on Amazon, making our books more visible for readers, and hopefully result in more sales which, hopefully one day, makes our writing sustainable.

Leonard Tillerman is one of those wonderful people who writes reviews for pleasure. He buys our books (instead of trying to get a free copy) and writes honest reviews. He really cares about our books! Now, because Leonard writes from the heart, you’re not guaranteed a great review. If your work sucks, he’ll tell you (in a nice way!). Getting a review from Leonard isn’t easy, though. There are so many other writers vying for one. Yet, I worked hard, did my best… and Leonard picked my book!

I must say I’ve been biting my nails while waiting for the verdict. He ramped up the tension as he was really busy at work and had to postpone reading my book. I was relieved and over the moon when he told me he loved my book! Here’s what he wrote:

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Have you ever considered what you would do if you saw the world as you know it coming to an end?  Your very existence being replaced by the arrival of a new order which has no mercy or place for you.  Mere fodder for their impending triumph.  Would you attempt to preserve your life by running for the hills and hiding?  Perhaps you would choose the opposite approach and make one last desperate stand.  Fighting to the bitter end to protect your loved ones and way of life.  What would you do?  If such a potential scenario intrigues you, then Suckers-Living Like A Vampire by Jacky Dahlhaus, would be an excellent pick for your reading pleasure!

Essentially, the book begins by following a trio of teachers who are forced to flee their town and hide from an ever-increasing horde of vampires who are terrorizing the countryside.  A virus has created this vampire menace called suckers who are stronger, faster and superior to the mere humans who they quickly utilize as their food source.  In the midst of this bloody terror, our main character, Kate, encounters a handsome and suave sucker by the name of Caleb. Sparks fly and despite everything, our heroine quickly falls in love with the handsome vampire.  She is beyond smitten!  However, after Caleb disappears, Kate finds herself roaming and searching to find her lost love.  Will she ever find the true love she has been missing in the midst of chaos, terror and destruction?  Or maybe she will soon discover that it has been there all along?

B1_W600_RGB_180531This novel would certainly fit into the paranormal romance category.  However, it is also quite full of non-stop action and plot twists which really make you stop and think.  It is a good versus evil theme, but there are plenty of “sub themes” which take place as well.  While there is certainly love and romance in this book, there is also fear, suspense, surprise, mystery and foreshadowing of things yet to come.  There is warfare, gangs of wandering vampires and plenty of blood and gore.  It is truly a book which is hard to put down as it is both engaging and entirely creative!

There are a number of interesting characters in this novel as well.  The author’s narration style and quick, snappy chapters make it quite easy to follow the story without getting lost in the plot details or in regards to the various characters.  While there may be a number of different characters in the tale, Kate and Charlie are explored and developed in the most detail.  Kate makes for a convincing, yet somewhat naïve heroine.  Nevertheless, by the end of the story we have seen incredible growth in her and get the sense that big things are yet to come for this brave, young woman.  Charlie on the other hand is a very atypical hero who experiences steady growth throughout the book.  He is a very easy character to love and relate to.  The reader will find themselves cheering for Charlie on more than just one occasion!

Living Like A Vampire has all the elements which are needed for a wonderful story.  Descriptive writing which flows, a fascinating plot and some very intriguing characters.  The setting also totally matches and supports the storyline and gives a very “dystopian feel” to the time and place. Due to some sexual content and violence, I would recommend this novel to an adult audience. I absolutely look forward to reading more from Jacky Dahlhaus.

5 out of 5 Bloodsucking Stars for this one!

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Thanks again, Leonard, for such a wonderful review!

Leonard Tillerman has his own website with lots of great reviews of indie author books. You can find them all here.