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Author Interview - M. M Justine discusses about her book "Traitors From Inside Out" and thoughts on life

My passion for writing in the thriller genre was grounded in High School. Literature was my favorite subject. I loved the thrill, and suspense of mystery, the cat-and-mouse chase between the protagonist vs antagonist. 

I am the author of, Traitors From Inside Out, a medical thriller. The first two books are published and the third and last instalment is due to be published in October 2018.

The first book, Traitors From Inside Out, attended five major book exhibits in 2014: London Book Fair International, England, Frankfurt Book Fair International, Germany, Beijing Book Fair International, China, Book Expo America, New York, USA, and Guadalajara Book Fair International, Mexico.

In March, this year, Traitors From Inside Out, participated in the Tucson Festival of Books and will attend the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, in August, and the Miami Book Fair International, in November, as a promotional tour to enhance the visibility of the book to readers. 
M. M. Justine

In an interview to TALKTOBLOGGER.COM, M. M Justine gets talking about her books, readers, roaring success, and of course her thoughts on life! Catch the interesting conversation here!

What motivates you to write?
       It had been a life-long dream to write books, but the idea did not mature until later after High School. Our world has been undergoing massive change, and mainly, it was the gravity of the direction of the change that inspired me to write the Traitors Trilogy. The first book, Traitors From Inside Out was published in 2014. In fact, one reviewer put it so well, "A fiction from facts to educate the unknowing, depicting the turbulent world we live in." It is always delightful when readers grasp the essence of the story, and the silent message embedded behind the scenes. 

       The second book, Traitors Unleashed, was published in 2016. The last installment, Traitors Beyond Insanity, is due for publication in October 2018. It has been an interesting learning curve, a passion that has advanced my creative capacity and facilitated progress in so many ways. Travel has been an asset in creating the trilogy. I am well-traveled; born in Africa, educated in Asia, live on and off in the USA, Canada, and in Latin America. Europe has been my home for over thirty years. Having lived in different countries has offered me a treasure of ideas, rich cultural landscapes; rhythms, sounds, and sights. Things that interest in real life, find similarities, and opportunities to connect with the art of writing fiction. 

What was the feeling when your first book got published? How did you handle that moment of glory and self-pride, were people supportive or something else?
       It was an exciting moment to hold the first book in my hands, and know that I had shared it with the world. But at the same time, there were feelings of anxiety that it was out there, and I no longer had control over it. It would live a life of its own, and people would read, and make judgements upon it. I noticed quickly that people were reading and posting reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Goodreads including on other platforms. That is when I realized a sense of accomplishment. I was happy the book generated reader interest. People have been deeply supportive. I get invited to work places to do readings about my books, especially just before the peak reading seasons, in summer and the Christmas season. That is when book readers buy and read most books. I also, do book readings in Libraries, schools and book clubs.

How do you take writing novels, as a career or hobby or between both?
I still hold a full time job but I have discovered that writing is my passion. I am slowly shifting from a corporate job to a writing career. I sell my books through my company website, Bigambo  in combination with my Copywriting Consultant business. I usually buy hundreds of copies from my publisher at a discounted rate and sell the books Online my business website. That way, I eliminate the go-betweens and make a good return on investment.

For your books you must be doing a lot of research topics and themes. How did you go about it?
I do a lot research when I am writing and I read lots of books; fiction books, non-fiction, books on the theme I am writing about, and diverse topics in newspapers and magazines. Occasionally, I also interview people working in the field I am writing about. A well-researched fiction story, stands out, and reads like reality. 

What is the best aspect about your writing that you love most?

       Writing the trilogy, I learnt that I love telling stories and mostly, I enjoy the creative process. I brainstorm different ideas and decide on one that will drive the story. I plan plot points, character profiles and development. Once, I get deep into writing, I get to know my characters well. Eventually, the characters take over and I follow. I become a tool telling their story. 

       It is the re-writing and polishing of the first draft that is the hardest job. This is when I discard excessive words, tighten plot holes, shift paragraphs and even shred chapters which don’t move the story. It is a gruesome process, but necessary to make sure that I am relatively satisfied before I send the manuscript to my editor.

Is getting published traditionally really tough? Share your views.

       I am mainly a self-published author and what I know about traditional publishing is mostly what I have read on author blogs, social media and what I have heard from other authors. Traditional publishing, starts with writing your manuscript and revising to make it presentable. You will be required to search for agents and send query letters to several agents. This process may take from a few weeks to a few years, depending on how many queries letters you send and how quickly agents respond.

       When you find the agent, he will revise your manuscript, compile submission list, and write a pitch letter. This might take a few months to a year. The submission process may take from a few weeks to a few years and you better prepare yourself for acceptance or rejection. If you receive a rejection, you re-start the process.
       
       Finally, you may receive an offer or multiple offers and a contract. The time frame depends entirely on the circumstances. Accepting an offer may happen quickly within a week or two, but plan for at least a few months of contract negotiations and delays. Make sure you get a good lawyer to go through the contract before you sign.
       
       Then, you start working with an Editor on editorial revisions and edit letters, copyedits, line edits, delivery and acceptance. It may take same 6 months to a year on average to finalise this process.  book cover designer will work on the cover. The book will go into production.
      
       Total estimated time for traditional publishing may take on average several years before you see your book in print.
       
       On the other hand, self-publishing is a much shorter curve to get published. You can get your book published within months. While you self-publish, you will get more control and a higher percentage of income but be aware that you will handle 100% of the cost and work of releasing your book or pay someone else to handle those tasks for you. The cost and the amount of work can be substantial and it is important you prepare to spend money on a professional Editor. The best advantage with self-publishing is that you maintain the copy rights to your books while in traditional publishing, you give up your copy rights to the publisher. 
       
       Here is an article about what bestselling authors are saying about publishers.

Tell us about your recently published book or the upcoming book?
       Currently, I am polishing and re-writing the third, and final installment in the trilogy, Traitors Beyond Insanity. I keep editing scenes and paragraphs and it is becoming increasingly difficult to cut words yet I have a deadline, to send the manuscript to my Editor by the end of July. But while I re-write, I have to remember that there is no perfect book and I must decide when to move to the next project or the third book will never be published. My next upcoming book after the trilogy, might be a non-fiction book about the Writing Fiction or a Guide to Freelancer Copywriting, or I will continue with another thriller novel.

There are many new writers out there who are aspiring to get their work published. What would you say to them? 
I remember when I started writing, I could sit and stare at my computer for hours without writing a word. It became frustrating, I almost gave up. Then, I decide to start writing anything that came to mind, without any idea of where I was going. Eventually, I took a fiction writing course and continued with an Online Internet course but before I gained confidence, I had to read abundant novels to see how other authors translated what I had learnt on the page.

       I have a well-developed schedule which I diligently follow when I am writing the first draft. Since, I still hold a fulltime job, I mostly write in the evenings. I write 1000 words per day before I go to bed. On weekends, I wake up at 4 am and write 2000 thousand words or more. By midday, I am done for the day. I take a walk or go to the gym and then, spent the rest of the evening with family, or I go out with friends.
       
       Aspiring authors should make a habit of writing 1000 words per day. That is 30 000 words a month. In two months, you will have written a novella of 60 000 words. In three months, you will have the first draft, a full novel of 90 000 words. 

       Make writing your priority. Set time apart for your writing and write every day. Find an idea that both excites you and interests an audience. Thinking through the whole process, write and finish your book, but write a book worthy of being read and sold.

Check out more about her:

       MM Justine writes articles in the Writers Journal Kings Calendar, and regularly publishes at iPatriotIn her spare time, M. M Justine enjoys theater, reading, taking a stroll in the woods, and spending time with family and friends. She continues with her passion and vocation with the same fervor and excitement to travel the world. A people person recurrently seeking to connect with her readers.

       Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mmjustine/
       Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mmjustine/
       Twitter: https://twitter.com/mmjustineAuthor
       Website: http://www.mmjustine.com/book/ This websites is soon to be refurbished to accommodate all the three books in the trilogy. The books are also available for sale at Author House. Since, I publish with them, I get paid a good percentage royalty for each book sold. Also, at Amazon and Barnes & Noble
      
Thank you so much M. M Justine, for sharing your experience with us. This will definitely help others to learn from it. If you liked this interview, share it with your friends on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn  and Twitter. 


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