I absolutely adore this book and will be sharing it with my 18 year old daughter. I enjoyed the different styles of poetry and prose mixed together with photography. It flowed beautifully. An uplifting, magical, sweet gem of a book. – Camilla
I interviewed the author of this book in March 2020. Follow the link to read more about M J Mallon.
Today we travel to Cambridge, England to chat with M J Mallon about how Hong Kong, a robin, Edinburgh, a dragonfly, the Corpus Christi Chronophage clock, chilled strawberry flavoured cider, and making connections come together as part of her past and current life.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a bit of a strange mixture!
I spent my early childhood in Hong Kong and my teenage years in Bonnie Edinburgh. I’m now living in Cambridge, England with my husband, David, who plays rock guitar! My two daughters have ‘almost’ flown the nest but still return. Amusingly, it is they who complain about their dad making too much noise!
Both of my parents have fascinating stories to tell, (and that’s where my love of storytelling originated.) My father couldn’t bear the extremes of Scottish weather, so he worked abroad in exotic locations such as Malaysia, the Middle East, Africa, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and the Caribbean. Conversely, my Malaysian mother didn’t mind the Scottish weather and settled in Edinburgh!
In What Genre Do You Write?
Whatever genre takes my fancy! I started off writing YA fantasy (The Curse of Time Book 1 Bloodstone,) and took a detour into short stories, flash and poetry. I wrote Scrabble Boy, a short story set in an imaginary creepy arcade (published in best-selling Horror anthology Nightmareland, edited by Dan Alatorre.) Thereafter, came another short story: Dexter’s Creepy Caverns, (Ghostly Rites 2019,) (inspired by Edinburgh’s creepy underground haunted caverns.)
My latest book, Mr. Sagittarus is different again, it’s a magical poetry, prose and photography book inspired by my mindful walks in Cambridge Botanical Gardens.
What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?
My spirit animal would either be a robin or a dragonfly, or perhaps a dragon! A robin because they are family orientated and lucky. A dragonfly because they denote change – my life has changed so much since I started writing. My two favourite spirit animals, the robin and dragonfly feature in Mr. Sagittarius. And dragons are dragons! I have plans for dragons…
What is the most inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?
He took me out to lunch, and we chatted about his love of clocks and crystals and his numerous inventions, including the practical cordless kettle. Afterwards, we walked to the clock, and on the way, he stopped to pick conkers. This is my photo with him. He’s such a lovely man, very down to earth and interesting, such an inspiration.
What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?
Edinburgh, my home away from home. Every time I visit Edinburgh, I always find something new to marvel at, or enjoy. It’s a great city and I particularly enjoy the buzz of Edinburgh in August during the International Festival, with the excitement of the street acts, dance shows, plays and comedy. There is something for everyone, and there is also The Edinburgh Book Festival—a must see for bookish people such as I! I’d recommend visiting the quirky shops, terrific coffee houses, restaurants and fantastic art galleries. The seaside is just a short drive away. Sometimes I wonder why I ever left!
What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?
Little Women. I was up in Edinburgh with my eldest daughter. We were both soaked as a small umbrella is useless in windy Edinburgh. Regardless of my soggy back I just loved Little Women. It’s the perfect movie for a writer: such a great story about overcoming all obstacles to achieving a dream. Particularly at a time when females had to write under an alias.
Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day, weather, place, etc.
My perfect solo date would be a day in Brighton. I’d be strolling along the waterfront, the sun would be shining, music would be playing, and I’d stop for some chilled strawberry flavoured cider, or perhaps a cocktail. It would be a relaxed afternoon, (as is the way in Brighton,) and I would find someone to chat to. Brighton is such a friendly town and there is always a chilled-out vibe. One year, I spent a long weekend writing in Brighton and ended up at a party with people I’d never met before, it’s that kind of place. Awesome.
What is the most enjoyable thing you’ve found through writing?
Making connections both online and in-person with like-minded individuals. The most enjoyable aspect of writing is interacting and sharing a love of writing, books and creativity. I’ve met so many people through blogging: via the bloggers bash in London and writing groups such as SCBWI which is an awesome group, very supportive and friendly. Recently, I went to my first SCBWI (The Society of Children’s Writers and Book Illustrators,) conference in Winchester, which was amazing. I loved it: My First SCBWI Conference. Luckily, I’ve been to several blogging conferences before this, so I knew what to expect. Without a doubt this is the biggest conference I have attended, to date.
At this stage in your life, what advice would your young self give to your more mature self?
Grab every opportunity! Follow your heart’s desires, don’t let anyone crush your dreams.
When my husband was sixteen he had the opportunity to go touring with a band. Not surprisingly, his dad didn’t let him go! He’s always regretted that he didn’t pursue a musical career. I wish I’d started writing at a younger age, but it is better to follow your dreams when the time is right. This is my time, before regrets become lost opportunities forever.
What are you currently working on?
My next projects for completion are:
To finish the second in my YA fantasy series The Curse of Time Book Golden Healer. I’m currently working through beta readers’ comments.
Thereafter, my focus will be my next poetry collection. Which I intended calling Do What You Love, but my dad suggested Mr. Pisces,(that’s his zodiac sign!) So, we will see…
Tell us about your most recent book.
My latest book is a collection of poetry, prose and photography entitled Mr. Sagittarius.
The collection is inspired by the natural world—flowers, trees, and the magical creatures that frequent the botanical gardens in Cambridge—and by two elderly gents who I saw sharing a coffee in Cambridge. Mr. Sagittarius is an uplifting smorgasbord of poems, stories and images celebrating sibling relationships, the circle of life and magic!
It was wonderful to have you on MTA, Marjorie! Your solo date sounds like me kinda solo date! I’m partial to your dad’s suggestion of Mr. Pisces for the title of your next book, as I’m a Pisces. Wishing you all the best! Keep having fun! –Camilla
Who Is Mr. Sagittarius?
And what is his connection to twin brothers, Harold and William?
When Harold dies he leaves a simple memorial request
Will his sister Annette honour it?
Or, will the magic of the garden ensure that she does.
A magical story expressed via poetry and prose with photographic images.
Available in Amazon kindle, free on kindle unlimited and in full colour paperback.