IndieView with M.J. Scoggins, author of Haunted

There are some parts of the story that hit a little closer to home than I would like to admit. I know that some parts of the story have made my family put the book down and refuse to read it.

M.J. Scoggins – 2 January 2018

The Back Flap

CRAZY, MENTALLY UNHINGED, DEMON HUNTER, SAVIOR. All words that can been used to describe me. The world will tell you the things I see don’t exist. I’m here to tell you they do, and when evil knocks on your door, I’m the one you call for help. I am a seer, I see the darkness that tries to steal your light. I am the guardian that exorcises your demons. People will tell you I’m crazy. What happens when your life as you know it changes, and puts you in the fight of your life to save those who don’t believe? Sometimes when you stare into the darkness, the darkness stares back.

About the book

What is the book about?

The book follows a seer, named Eran. He was called upon by an ancient order of the Dharma to fight entities that have started to manifest on this plane of existence. Eran and his crew are charged to find the answers behind a number of strange occurrences around them. Mysteries start to unravel as the investigators uncover a sinister plot and a being of unimaginable power that has plans for our plane.

When did you start writing the book?

I started on May 8th of 2017

How long did it take you to write it?

I finished the original manuscript the first week of July.

Where did you get the idea from?

I started writing about the monks and their interactions and from there the story took on a life of its own. It moved into the paranormal, and then onto the thriller aspects as they told me their story.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

There are some parts of the story that hit a little closer to home than I would like to admit. I know that some parts of the story have made my family put the book down and refuse to read it. They weren’t particularly difficult to write, but after I had finished, I can see how my family would find them hard to read.

What came easily?

The dialog between the team and the monks, I had some great friends in the US Navy, we had a lot of philosophical conversations over many pints on foreign shores. I remember the camaraderie we had, and I wanted to translate that into a book where the reader would feel like they were a part of that.

Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?

The majority of the characters are entirely fictitious, there are a few that share aspects from current and past friends. After the military, the majority of my friends and I scattered to the winds. We all live in different parts of the country, and we don’t get together as much as any of us would like, so I figured I would find a way for us all to remember the good times.

We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?

Steven King, definitely, he is not afraid to put it all on paper, he has influenced me to let the story tell itself.

Christine Monroe, she has a very distinct writing style, the way she transitions from character to character.

Do you have a target reader?

Anyone who likes a good storyline, with a little mind bending paranormal mixed in. Anyone who isn’t afraid of twists and turns, that will leave them questioning.  

About Writing

Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?

Let the story write itself, let the characters talk through you, get the story down on paper first, then the storyline will fall into place. The best advice I can give a new author, is just to write, write the story you want to read.

Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?

I mainly just go chapter by chapter, when I got toward the end of the first book, I did a minor outline to make sure I had all the elements ready for an explosive ending.

Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?

I finished the entire manuscript first, then I went back over it twice for punctuation, after I finished that, I went back over it again for content and context.

Did you hire a professional editor?

I did have a professional editor, she approached me, through a friend. She heard about the book I was writing and offered to beta read it. After she finished the beta, she liked it so much she offered to edit it just to expedite the process and get it out into the world.

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?

That’s a good one, I enjoy a lot of different types of music, from classical to dubstep, heavy metal to country. I can get into almost anything, as long as it gets my heart pumping, I can write to it.

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

 I did submit my work to a few agents, however I chose to go indie because I wanted to maintain control over my schedule. I mean, I really write quite fast, I finished my first book in a little over a month and a half. The second one I finished in two months. I want to work on my own timeline.

What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?

I decided to go indie after I did research into the big five and realized that once they get you, you’re locked in to what they want you to do until your contract is fulfilled.

I have several friends who are indie authors, they self-publish, and with their help I was able to get my first two books out to the world.

Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?

In this, I am lucky, my amazing wife loves to do graphic design in her free time, after I finished the manuscript, we sat down together looking through stock photos, that she had licenses for, and photos I had taken years ago on vacation. We settled on one and I let her do her magic. Before we knew it, we had an amazing cover. We did the same thing for the second book.

Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?

This is where I truly struggle, I am an engineer by trade and training, I have a bachelors degree in cyber security. Marketing is the hardest part for me. So for now I am just winging it. I am trying to write bloggers, and this interview is definitely going to help, but at this point, I am just trying to get me book in front of as many people as possible so hopefully word of mouth gets out.

Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?

Don’t give up, if you have a story to tell, get it down on paper or on a screen. You have to remember being an indie author isn’t a sprint, its a marathon. Things might not happen for you right away, just keep going, take it one step at a time, enjoy the journey.

About You

Where did you grow up?

A little town in South Eastern Idaho, had a population of around 500 people, we lived at the base of the mountains, an hour west of Yellowstone National Park.

Where do you live now?

Now I live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota. I work downtown so I need to be close to that location in the event of an emergency.

What would you like readers to know about you?

I never give up, even when people told me what I wanted was impossible. I refuse to give up. I want to help inspire people, I want them to know that if I can do this, so can they. Nothing is impossible, put your mind to it and find the solution.

What are you working on now?

Right now I am working on Ascension, the final book in the Dharma Trilogy. I also have a sci-fi novel in the works, I haven’t got a title for it yet, but I will be working on that one once Ascension is completed.

End of Interview.

For more from M.J, like his Facebook page.

Get your copy of Haunted from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

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