Free Book Friday March 16: In Conversation with M.J Dees

M J Dees was born and raised in Kingston-upon-Hull in the East Riding of Yorkshire. He has worked in a variety of jobs in a variety of countries and is currently living in São Paulo, Brazil.

In Conversation With: M.J. Dees

Today I have the pleasure of sitting down with author, M.J. Dees. Thanks for entertaining us with a visit. Can I offer you anything to drink?

Thanks, a pint of Theakston’s Old Peculiar from their brewery in Masham, North Yorkshire would be great, thank you. Failing that, a cup of Yorkshire Tea.

Well, it is early in the morning, so . . . Theakston’s it is!
Your bio states that you are from the UK, but currently reside in Brazil. What prompted the move?

In the UK, I met and married a Brazilian and we had a child together. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out and when we separated, she wanted to return to Brazil. Rather than attempt to force her to stay in the UK I decided to go to Brazil so I could be close to my daughter.

Easy decision when a child is involved, I’m sure.

You write in several genres, science fiction, dystopian, war, and I don’t know where to put, The Astonishing Anniversaries of James and David, part one— Memoiric Fiction? What inspires you to switch?

I think my first two novels were probably a consequence of not being able to afford decent psychotherapy. Jim and Dave is probably an attempt at humorous literary fiction but the truth is that when I began writing I didn’t have a particular genre in mind, hence my debut novel ended up as a weird mix of genres – I’ve withdrawn it from sale while I rename and rebrand it and its sequel for re-release later this year.

I began writing the stories I had inside me and, just as I enjoy reading a variety of genres, I found myself writing a variety of genres. There is my space opera series Mastery of the Stars, my dystopian series Collapse, a soon to be re-released Teresa da Silva psychological suspense series and my historical fiction books which are all based on true stories from the family.

I agree. Writers should write whatever they are passionate about.
Are there any authors that influence you?

My first big influence would have to be Douglas Adams, when I first saw the TV adaptation of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, I was inspired to attempt to poison my schoolmates with a pan-galactic gargle blaster. I have always enjoyed sci-fi and dystopian novels by the likes of Ray Bradbury, Aldus Huxley, and George Orwell. More recently, I read everything by David Mitchell, the author, not the comedian, although I like the comedian too.

I had to look him up, and when I saw the list of books I said, “Oh, that guy.”
Do you have a favorite book?

My favourite book has to be the five books in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy.

Yes, that ‘book’ is quite good.
What book of yours are you most proud of?

My historical fiction books, Fred & Leah and Albert & Marie, give me the most pride because of the amount of research which went into writing them. Also because they are based on true stories, they have given me the opportunity to bring my ancestors’ experiences to live for others, albeit in a fictional way.

Tell me about your latest book, Insurgency.

Insurgency was first released as my third novel, When the Well Runs Dry. When I started to write a prequel it soon became clear that I had the makings of a trilogy, so I removed When the Well Runs Dry from sale and incorporated it into the Collapse series. Book one of the series, Hatred, is set in a near future UK still reeling from the effects of Brexit whose population is enticed by right-wing populism. It is actually based on the events in Germany between 1919 and 1945. Book two, Collapse, tells the story of the effects of global demand and supply that result in the lights going off, for good. It observes how different communities respond to the challenges of a post grid society in different ways and sets up the scenario for the third book, Insurgency, in which one city that has been managing to stand above the chaos is suddenly infiltrated by insurgents and the struggle for power which ensues.

Will this be available in a box set?

Good question. It will be available soon.

When you are not writing, what are you doing?

Writing does not yet pay all my bills and, as a result, I work during the day as a Drama teacher in an international school in Sao Paulo. Teaching drama allows me to try and pass on everything I have learned about narrative structure to my students and gives me plenty of holidays to catch up on the writing.

There’s not a big difference in drama and writing. Both are fueled by creativity.
Brazil has a history of wonderful music, Flamenco, Tango, Bossa nova, are there any musical styles that you enjoy? 

Apart from my childhood obsession with the Beatles, I enjoy a lot of jazz and blues. When writing historical novels, I tend to listen to music from that period and many of my novels reference music, so much so that I am considering creating a Spotify playlist for each of the novels.

That’s a great idea! I wonder if it’s been done before?
Are you ready for the lightning round?

Let`s go for it.

Favorite city?
Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire.
What’s the tallest mountain in South America?
Erm…I think it’s in Ecuador
What was the last thing you crossed off on your bucket list?
Finding a partner I want to spend the rest of my life with.
Waterfalls. Powerful beauty or angry cascade?
Ninja Turtles. Like ‘em?
Erm…sorry, not really. but I like pizza.

Well, it looked like we are out of our allotted time. This has been a pleasure. Thanks for chatting. Any links you want to share?

The story behind Free Book Friday:

I’ve met many authors and readers during my time marketing, cross-promoting, and blogging. I think writers have a responsibility to inform readers about all the indie authors out there in the very crowded world of book publishing. You can’t do it alone, and why would you when you have a supportive group available?

Readers don’t just read one author – they stick with their favorite genres. There lies the power in cross-promotion. If one of my readers buys a book from an author I promote, then chances are there will be a reciprocal effect, or so is the hope. Do I want to boost sales? Of course I do. Do I want to boost other’s sales? Why not. It’s called karma.

Shane Shepherd was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. At a young age he developed an interest in space exploration. That led him to major in aerospace engineering at UCLA. During his time there, he developed a passion for writing and decided to become an author instead of pursuing a career in his field of study. Now he currently writes science fiction focusing on steampunk and space opera. 

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Leon Stevens is a multi-genre author, composer, guitarist, songwriter, and an artist, with a Bachelor of Music and Education. He published his first book of poetry, Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures in January 2020, followed by a book of original classical guitar compositions, Journeys, and a short story collection of science fiction/post-apocalyptic tales called The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories. His newest publications are the novella trilogy, The View from Here, which is a continuation of one of his short stories, and a new collection of poetry titled, A Wonder of Words.

My new book page:

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Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

Sign up for my weekly newsletter and receive a free book!

Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

Published by Leon Stevens

I am an author, composer, and an artist. I published my first book of poetry: Lines by Leon – Poems, Prose, and Pictures in January 2020 and a book of original classical guitar compositions. My latest book is a short story compilation of science fiction/post-apocalyptic tales called, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.

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