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

Neil_Seeley

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

 


What to Watch? Salem

What to Watch? Salem, a paranormal horror series on Netflix about a medieval witch hunt in the New World.

As there’ll be witches in my next novel, I thought I’d better get to know as much as I could about witches. So, I watched the first season of Salem on Netflix, a supernatural horror series. I learned a lot!

Salem

salem_2

Cast

Main Cast

Salem_Janet_MontgomeryThe cast of Salem is very well chosen. Janet Montgomery plays Mary Sibley, the main character/witch whose features are beautiful and her soul ugly (or is it?), and Janet plays a good witch. Mary’s one true love, Captain John Alden, is played by Shane West. He has the rugged look of a man who’s been out there. There’s no nonsense to him, every word counts. Then there’s Tituba, the servant (slave?) of Mary, played by the beautiful Ashley Madekwe. I love, love Seth Gabel’s portrayal of the reverend Cotton Mather (where did they get those names from?). He is so believable and has such sorrowful eyes. If ever they decide to film my series Suckers, I’d be happy for him to play Charlie! (I know, he’s no dwarf, but still).

Others

Salem_Shane_WestI also have to mention the other actors in the series who do a wonderful job of entertaining. There’s Tamzin Merchant as Anne Hale (there’s more of her role to come, I’m sure!), Elise Every as Mercy Lewis, Iddo Goldberg as Isaac Walton, Xander Berkely as Magistrate Hale (his white long hair always reminds me of Lucius Malfoy), Michael Mulheren as George Sibley, Azure Parsons as Gloriana Embry, and Stephen Lang (remember him as Colonel Miles Quaritch in Avatar, the one talking about the indigenous having your eyes as jujubes?) as the scary Increase Mather.

Plot

Salem_Ashley_Madekwe.jpgThe series starts off in the past. The past compared to when the bulk of the series is playing, of course. Mary and John are still young, and when John is sent to go fight in the war, Mary promises to wait for him until he returns next year. Fast forward seven years. John finally makes it back to Salem, only to find Mary has married the one man who sent him away. George Sibley has mysteriously lost his faculties, though, and Mary, now the most wealthy woman around, is running the town in his stead, refusing to give up her position to be with her former lover.

Unaware to most, witches are running Salem. Their goal: to take over and live in peace. But who is friend and who is foe? And is it all mind control or is there real magic going on here? You’ll have to watch the series to find out!

What I liked about Salem

Salem_Seth_GableI won’t lie. I like watching old costumes and pretty people and special effects make-up. Sometimes, I think I was born in the wrong time, but then again, maybe not! Back to the series. I liked the darkness of it. How the goodies are the bad guys, the bad guys are the good guys, and that everything is actually very grey overall.

I liked watching Cotton Mather’s frustration. I liked the power struggle going on between the witches and their attempts to keep it all under cover. I liked the way they suggested the lesbian relationship.

I also like the music they used in the series. The intro tune of Marilyn Manson’s Cupid Carries a Gun is very eerie.

What I didn’t like about Salem

Sometimes the acting wasn’t all that spectacular. Sometimes the scenes didn’t make sense. Sometimes the special effects were a bit fake. Yet this didn’t stop me from watching to find out what was coming next.

Summary

This is not a series for the faint at heart. It is gruesome, weird, shocking at some points. Yet there is hardly any nudity in it, for a change! I loved seeing something different, and I can’t wait to find out what they come up with in the second series.

 

New books to read!

A few books I bought you might be interested in…

I always want to help other writers and hence keep getting/buying their books. I have very little time to read at the moment, but I hope to be able to read more once my re-writes are done and the pressure is off.

In the mean time I thought I’d let you know what books I have acquired this last week, you might be interested in them too! Obviously I bought them in the UK, but you can always switch to the Amazon.com website to get them there. Here goes:

chasingthedream

Chasing the Dream: A Sports Thriller  by J.D. Dudycha  – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01J52NN5C (£0.99)

alteredlifebook1

Altered Life: The exciting debut of the gripping Sam Dyke detective thriller series (Sam Dyke Investigations Book 1)  by Keith Dixon  – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00361ENWG (free kindle edition)

languageinthebloodbook1

Language in the blood: Book 1  by Angela lockwood et al.  – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00EMEN1P6 (free kindle edition)

redsunrising
Red Sun Rises Box Set  by Victoria Kinnaird – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01LMH5SFG (£1.50)
Please note: Prices noted are as when I bought them, they may have changed.

 

Email List… :)

As I find it very hard to get away from my computer I am happy to say I have wasted my sunshine time wisely and finally made that email list for you to sign up on! Check out my Home Page for the form. I’m handing out free ebook copies to the first 25 to sign up!

LLAV LOGO

Digitalized Remake of AAWiL

An American Werewolf in London poster.jpg

I was having a shower this morning and had this wonderful idea. I often get inspiration in the shower, not sure why. Maybe it’s because it’s just me, the sound of water and my music. No, I don’t have a waterproof radio, I just put my phone really loud on the benchtop next to the shower. Sometimes I sing along, but I get my inspiration when I’m quiet.

The idea was that I would love to see a digitalized version of ‘An American Werewolf in London.’ That would be awesome! This is a movie from 1981, so before the digital era. The graphics were amazing back then, but so much more could be done now. The movie is funny, but also has suspense, horror, romance and action. All the stuff I love in one movie! It would be a dream come true.

Just for your information, I took the following from Wikipdia:

Accolades

  • Academy Award – Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling (1982) (Won)
  • Saturn Award – Saturn Award for Best Horror Film (1982) (Won)
  • Saturn Award – Saturn Award for Best Make-up – Rick Baker – (Won)
  • Saturn Award – Saturn Award for Best Actress – Jenny Agutter (Nomination)
  • Saturn Award – Saturn Award for Best Writing – John Landis (Nomination)

At the 54th Academy Awards, An American Werewolf in London won the first-ever awarded Academy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Makeup. During the 1982 Saturn Awards, the film won for Best Horror Film and Best Make-up and nominated for Best Actress and Best Writing.

The American Film Institute nominated it for ranking on its 100 Laughs list.[16] An Empire magazine poll of critics and readers named An American Werewolf in London as the 107th greatest film of all time in September 2008.

So, if any Twitterers in the film biz read this, please make it happen. And please put my name in the credits for the idea, would love to see my name in the credits…

Download your FREE copy now!

Get my first novel for FREE today!

My first novel, Succedaneum – Living Like A Vampire, is available as a FREE download on Amazon today!

Get your FREE copy at http://bit.ly/Succedaneum_1 !

 

Succedaneum - Living Like A Vampire5

Busted!

During the screenwriting course I am doing we had to do a little exercise today, to develop ‘character voice.’ We had to take a character, one we didn’t have much info on, possibly a new character, and write a piece on their eating habits and then stress them. You know, rob them, arrest them, have their credit card declined. Something to make the character struggle to get out of the situation. The character’s dialogue and action would then create the basic elements of voice.

I took a vampire from my ‘Vampires Anonymous’ short story (top right-hand side of my page) and came up with the following:

VAMPIRE: Prepare to die!
Vampire takes hold of victim’s coat and moves to bite the victim’s neck.
VICTIM: Oh dear! Did you, eh, did you fill your quota yet?
Vampire keeps a hold of the victim, but retreats his head.
VAMPIRE: What?
VICTIM: Did you already kill two people this week?
VAMPIRE: Yes, and you are next!
Vampire moves to bite again.
VICTIM: Ha, you can’t kill me then!
Vampire retreats again.
VAMPIRE: Why not?
VICTIM: Because you’ve reached your quota.
VAMPIRE: But I am thirsty.
VICTIM: You still can’t kill me. It’s against the law.
VAMPIRE: It’s a stupid law.
VICTIM: But it’s still the law. If we all did what we wanted we wouldn’t be here right now, would we?
VAMPIRE: I would.
VICTIM: Yes, I suppose so. But I wouldn’t, that’s for sure, haha.
VAMPIRE: I’m so glad you are a law-abiding citizen!
Vampire moves to bite for the third time. Before he reaches the victim’s neck a shot is heard and the vampire slumps. The victim is standing with a smoking pistol in his hand.
VAMPIRE: What did you do that for? It hurts!
VICTIM: I’m sorry, Mister, but’ you’re busted.
Victim reaches inside breast pocket and shows police badge.
VICTIM: You’re under arrest.

Of course the exercise was supposed to be a more dramatic piece, but I liked it :).

Rick

Just letting you know about my new short story called ‘Rick’. It is a story I wrote for Create50 and then forgot about it. I don’t think it’s good enough for a competition entry, but maybe a nice one to use for my film group.

You can find it in my list of short stories at the right-hand top of my page.

There is also one with an alternative ending; more horror (don’t worry, just a little bit).

Let me know what you think about it 🙂