Welcome to Clubhouse Chat page. Those of you who are not a member won’t be aware that the location of the Clubhouse is shrouded in mystery. The only way to visit it is via membership or an invite to the tearoom. Every few days, I’ll be sharing a conversation with all sort of writers and authors at different levels of their writing careers. Over tea and cakes, or maybe a glass of something stronger, I shall be chatting with my guest about their work in progress, or latest book release.
Today I’m chatting with Molly-Jaye about her writing and books. Welcome Molly-Jaye and my first question to you is what beverage would like?
Well, there two on my favourite list either Cabernet Sauvignon, or maybe Chocolate Raspberry iced coffee, no cream or sugar.
As our driver Brutus will be run you home would you like a Cabernet Sauvignon.
Oh, please and I get a ride home too?
Yes, of course we like to make sure our guests get home safely. Let’s start by asking you what writing elements do you think is your strongest points, and what would you like to do better?
I feel very comfortable with dialogue. I believe this is because when I write it’s like a movie playing in my brain. I see it, I hear the characters. I can type out a conversation with ease. Sadly, it’s the description that gets me every time- especially action. I recognize my telling versus showing. I try to stay on top of this while writing and during my self-editing, but it is my most crippling writing issue in my opinion.
Tell us a little about latest writing project. Is it a new idea, or one you have been mulling over for some time?
I started THE ALVAH a million years ago! I wish that was a lie, but every time I think of it the old lady from Titanic pops into my mind claiming, “It’s been 84 years …” and that’s how it feels lol. I tend to write quickly. I can bust out 5000+ words in a sitting if the environment is right. I want to say I started this novel and completed it in 2017. Originally the second to last chapter was the first, I offered the reader nothing until the end, and my first batch of beta readers hated it! It’s come a long way: 2 professional edits, 6 amazing beta readers, and so many self-edits I lost count. I feel like the work I’ve put into it has taught me so much about writing, the process, and what to watch for my next book. So, it WAS a new idea … in 2017, that I’ve mulled over for 3 years!
How many unfinished projects do you have on your computer?
Currently, I have 3 completed novels on my computer that collect dust, one WIP that I’m editing and querying, and about four files with maybe a chapter or two that I just lost interest in. I keep everything I write. I was a finalist in a school contest for writing back in … er, we can leave the year out. The lady in charge told us on day one: “Never get rid of anything you write, even if it’s on the back of a receipt. Save it! Keep it forever! Ten years from now, you may come across it and it may spark the greatest thing you’ll ever write.” I took that to heart. I have a trunk in my office with EVERYTHING I’ve ever written. One day, I hope her advice brings about my bestseller … or when I’m long gone, someone will open that trunk and think I was insane lol!
Do you write a synopsis first or write the first chapter or let the characters lead you?
I just write. I never worry about the story, the direction, anything. I let the characters drag me through, for sure. I never question a thing that comes out on a first draft. If I plan too far ahead, my creative process is hindered and my brain cramps. I generally go scene-by-scene. I tend to drive around aimlessly for an hour or so, or hide in my office, listening to very specific music that puts me in the mood of my main character. An annoying habit that affects my husband greatly, but while writing something I have to listen to specific music the entire time I’m working on a specific book. Music keeps my mind focused and my thoughts centered in the world I’ve created. Once my characters are settled, the story starts to form and I just go into more scenes from there.
When reading your work through do you ever find that your daily mood swings are reflected in your writing?
Absolutely! And I know which days I CAN AND CANNOT write based on this. I know this sounds bad, but I tend to write best when I’m a little down. I find that writing from a sad place allows for more emotions to come out in my words. If I’m angry, I’m actually garbage! And of course, I can be happy, but if I cross over into that giddy, omigod, life is perfect, everything is great happiness, then I’m too distracted and nothing comes out.
Were any of your characters inspired by real people?
Most of my characters take on the look of people in my life, but not the actual people themselves. Many people think the main character in THE ALVAH is me. And yes, her looks are similar, but no, she is in fact her own person. I just really want to bring body-types like my own into focus. I’m tired of the perfect female protagonist. My work is generally female-driven and they are mostly short, curvy types- not thin enough to be skinny, not large enough to be plus-sized. I will admit I pull stories from my friends and family and often include them in back stories. It’s like adding my own, personal Easter eggs and I love them … the people they’re inspired by are not always happy lol.
Is there anything about you your readers might be surprised to find out?
I think there’s a lot about me that my reader doesn’t know. Even in my social media presence, I’m not sure people truly “get” me. I tend to be light-hearted; I joke a lot. In “real life,” I’m very sarcastic and I cuss ALL THE TIME lol. Although these are all aspects to my personality, I like to leave people guessing. If you only see me as the former, you’ll probably wonder if I actually wrote THE ALVAH. It’s dark and twisty and at times, frightening. I grew up enamored by horror, sci-fi, and true crime. If I’m being honest, I’m still obsessed with these genres. In fact, my dogs are named after horror film actresses (Betsy Palmer and Piper Laurie … Cruella de Vil is the cat’s name). In my youth, I read a lot of Christopher Pike books- he was my favorite, and yes, we are friends on social media, and yes, I totally messaged him once and he responded (let me believe this, though it was probably an admin lol). I’m not sure my readers can tell that about me from interaction, but I hope they will enjoy that in my book.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I’m a night owl. I always have been. At night, after my husband goes to bed (taking our two Great Danes with him), my cat comes out and joins me. I call it “Mama-Kitty Time.” I pull out the computer, play the correlating music, and just write. I’d say between the hours of 11 pm and 1 am, I am solidly working. If I can grab some time in the afternoon, I will, but I generally do edits during the day because I’m too easily distracted. My job as an esthetician allows me to set my own hours and days so I always make sure to start later in the morning or afternoon, giving me just enough sleep for my late night hours of work.
Do you set yourself a daily word count?
No. I’m very anti-box. What I mean by that is I believe placing boxes over yourself, your craft, hinders your creative process. If I set goals and don’t meet them, I would beat myself up. Plus, I don’t believe a specific word count should ever be a goal. I could throw out 2k words, but if they mean nothing, if they are just filler to meet said accomplishment then all I have is 2k worth of trash in a file. I write until my fingers hurt from a long day, until my brain is too tired, or until I have the bones of a scene that may need to be fleshed out later.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I actually have one. Prior to THE ALVAH (soon-to-be published by Darkstroke), I self-published a picture book series under a pseudonym. What some might not know is that I have the longest name in human history (thanks, Mom lol). I actually created my pseudonym from pulling out of my own name. Are you ready for this sneeze? My birth name is Molly-Jaye McKitrick Kirchner (this is where you say “God bless you” lol). And no, that doesn’t include my married name. I still question how I learned to spell this as a young child. So, my pseudonym is “Jaye McKitrick” and I wrote four picture books under the title THE MESSY WORLD OF LITTLE MISS MOLLY. Yes, these are based on my childhood and they tell little life lessons. It started out as an adult project because I always say “my life is so messy”- not literally, I’m actually quite clean, but definitely figuratively. For our honeymoon, my husband and I stayed home, pretty broke from our wedding, and I asked him if he wanted to help me with this project. I wrote the books and drew the pictures. He then took my pencil drawings and created them as graphics so I always give him illustrator credit. He’s a very talented artist and his ability with graphic design is amazing – far better than what I forced him to work on. To this day, he says I’m the worst boss he’s ever had lol.
Thank you for joining me in the tearoom, Molly-Jaye. The link for Molly-Jaye’s mybook.to/thealvah*It’s available for pre-order now and releases on February 3, 2021 on amazon for print and kindle
If you want to find out more about Clubhouse Member’s Books don’t forget to check out the Clubhouse Bookshops too.