Interview with M. A. Malcolm

When did you first start writing?
To be honest, writing was never really on my radar. As a child, I read so very much that I thought about becoming an author, but writing never really 'clicked' for me. I've always written poetry, but this novel is my first attempt at fiction outside of English Language classrooms. I started writing it in 2010 but did most of the writing in November 2013 as part of NaNoWriMo.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I experienced two pregnancy losses early in my marriage. I was devastated, but managed to maintain a positive outlook because of my faith. I began to feel like I should write a book to help other women go through the same challenge, but the book I tried to write just wasn't happening for me. It was something of a self-help book with a spiritual perspective, but it just didn't "click." Everything came out like a journal instead of something to share with others.

Prior to that, I had always wondered why I couldn't find a book about a pregnant amnesiac and the man who falls for her -- at the time, technology penetration was low and I'd never even heard of an ebook, so I couldn't just search for one. Eventually, I began writing about the pregnant amnesiac, and my own story kind of found itself into the fictional novel. It wasn't a conscious decision in the beginning. I was just trying to get that persistent story line out of my head and unto the screen.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I haven't written much, but the greatest joy of writing resides in hearing how my novel has affected its readers. I know the hand of God is in it, because they are gleaning so much more than I ever imagined. I listen to their comments and I think, "Wow! That was in my book? You saw that? You got that out of it? Wow!" Then there are the little things:
Hearing my father -- who to my knowledge has never read a romance novel before -- laugh out loud while reading my book.... Seeing my brother put a proof copy of the paperback version as his display picture on his phone... Hearing my mother say it's the first book she's read in one day in 50 years.... Hearing another brother mention how much he wanted to read it.... Priceless!
What are you working on next?
Originally, there was never any intention of writing anything else, but these days, I'm wondering about the story of two characters from "His Last Hope" who are involved in the subplot... how did they end up together? What's the "real" story there?

I suppose a prequel is working itself out in my head right now, but I only have a few pages typed up. I'm still focusing on getting "His Last Hope" out there.
Who are your favorite authors?
Hands-down, my favorite author is Gabriel García Márquez (may he rest in peace). I have read just about every piece of fiction he ever wrote, and my entire Master's thesis focuses on his writing. I love his style of magical realism. I could talk about him for days. I also enjoy Agatha Christie's work. I'll read anything by Karen Kingsbury, Jan Karon, and (recently) Steve deMaree.
What do you read for pleasure?
I enjoy reading clean romance novels -- especially those with a Christian worldview -- and cozy mysteries. I've also read most of Agatha Christie's books. I'm currently getting a good laugh from Steve deMaree's Dekker Cozy Mystery Series.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Wow. Let's see. there's the Bible, which I try to read daily, and a few devotionals, but in terms of fiction, these are my favorites:

1. "Chronicle of a Death Foretold" by Gabriel García Márquez => I had this book for years before I actually read it after spending some time in Colombia and watching the movie, and even though I knew how it ended, when I got to the last page, I was turning the page looking for more. That was my introduction to Gabo, and it's been 15 years of pure love.
2. "Love in the Time of Cholera" by Gabriel García M. => There is just so much going on, but I remember this book for its amazing wisdom and insight into relationships, like "marriage is an absurd concept possible only with divine intervention" (paraphrased). Truer words have never been spoken.
3. "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee => I was introduced to this book when I was five. My sister, who was closer to 19 at the time, was reading it for school and she would read it to me or I would read it to her (I started reading at two, just like my son). I think the memories are more important than the plot for me.
4. "Animal Farm" by George Orwell => I haven't studied much history, so the symbolism is lost on me, but I enjoyed this book, mostly because my brother and sister read it in school, read it to me, and had me read it to them.
5. "Living to Tell the Tale" by Gabriel García Márquez => Gabo's memoirs read like a fictional novel!
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I read on my Android phone. That way, I always have a novel (or 50!) in my pocket. With my cell phone, I can read while waiting in lines at the bank or post office (yes, I still use the post office), and I also read while eating lunch if I'm alone.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I'm still learning how to market my book. I'm an introvert by nature, and marketing is a whole new thing for me. It's a rather steep learning curve!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I'm a Jamaican who has never lived anywhere else. I've only spent 10 years living in our two local cities, and the rest of the time, I've been in a rural part of the island. I don't know that where I live has influenced my writing much. I would have loved to have set my novel in Jamaica, but because of the plot, I had to use a space that was much bigger in order to make it believable. I chose the USA because I've visited so many times and most of the novels I read are USA-based. I felt comfortable enough to be able to write with some level of authority.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Once I wrote the book and shared it with a few friends who encouraged me to publish it, I just wanted to get it out of my hands and into the hands of those who need the message. I figured traditional publishing would take too long -- even longer because I am in rural Jamaica. I figured it would be easier and quicker to self-publish.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm a wife and mother with related responsibilities like cooking the same thing every day for my son's breakfast (sigh). I also see my parents every day because they love spending time with my son, who's three. He's their youngest grandchild and the one who has the most time for them these days.

With respect to work, I'm a full-time assistant college professor; I also work freelance as a copy editor and administrative assistant. When I find a little extra time, I read clean romance and cozy mystery novels.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I must admit I have a hard time getting out of bed! I have so much going on at any given time, that I get very little sleep. My son won't let me sleep for too long, though. He inspires (and forces) me to get out of bed every single morning. That smile when he sees that I am fully awake... that makes it all worth it.
Describe your desk
My desk... well, to be honest, it has two sections. It kind of folds outwards, so it can be compact, L-shaped or very wide. I occupy one side with my laptop and my son uses a desktop on the other side. That way, I can monitor what he's watching while I'm working. It's pretty uncluttered most of the time, which is surprising for a quasi-hoarder like me.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Most of them come to me through BookBub email notifications these days. If I find an author I like through BookBub, I'll seek out more of his or her books.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Actually, I don't. We had a lot of story writing in school!
How do you approach cover design?
I conceptualize the cover myself, and then I find an experienced cover designer to bring it to life. On my first novel, I went through several drafts with my designer, until we got it just the way I wanted it.
Published 2015-06-16.
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