For my latest Author Spotlight I’m joined by the fabulous Madalyn George. We talked about discovering Kindle Unlimited during COVID, getting started through the 100-Day Artistic Challenge, and being influenced by Austen.
Over to you Madalyn…
First things first, please introduce yourself!
Hello friends! I’m Madalyn George. I am excited, and, me being me, also a little bit shy, to share about myself.
I get to come home from a nine-to-five job five days a week and write naughty words. It has been a joy to do so and to become part of a community of readers and writers who love this genre as much as I do.
I’m a single mom who has raised two wonderful, smart, snarky teens. My younger just turned 18, so I can officially say that I am the mother of two adults! (Yup, that still sounds weird.)
When I am not writing, reading or working… oh, who am I kidding, I’m mostly writing, reading and working, but occasionally I love to go to the movies or to take my book to the beach!
I’m a sci-fi nerd who grew up on Star Wars and Star Trek and raised her kids on the MCU. I love the occasional trip to Disney World or to New York to see a show. I’m an avid podcast listener who loves summer and can’t stand the cold.
Tell us a little bit about your writing style.
Though I’ve tried to get organised and create outlines and plans, it turns out I am just a fly by the seat of your pants writer! I learned the term “pantsing” a few year’s back and that’s me to a tee.
My files are full of spreadsheets with plot points and beats and scene descriptions meant to move a story forward. But in the end I eventually give up, open a blank document and simply start typing.
More than once I’ve been at my day job and thought about how I couldn’t wait to get home to see what happens next in the book I’m reading, only to realise that the characters I’m thinking about are in the book I’m writing!
Describe your books in only three words.
Happily ever after.
Can you tell us a little bit about your latest release?
My first ever full-length novel, Jamie’s Light released in July and it introduces us not only to single-dad Jamie and his younger brother’s best friend Devon, but to Jamie’s entire family, which includes a meddling mom, a pensive dad, five brothers, one sister and one precocious daughter. Jamie and Devon meet (cute, of course) over the Thanksgiving break and though the sparks he’s feeling might confuse Jamie, seeing as they are for a guy and all, he may just have to find a way to explore these new feelings.
Along the way a friendly game of touch football is played, there is more than one drunken family game night and a butt plug gets cast aside when it really should have been put away!
Out of all your books, which one are you most proud of?
I love them all for different reasons of course, but my novella, Monumental Love is the most personal and the first one I wrote with a clear deadline outside of the ones I’ve imposed upon myself. For those reasons, it will always hold a special place in my heart.
What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer?
Pretentious as it may sound, I think a lot about Jane Austen, remaining single in a time and place where that just wasn’t the norm, and managing to leave behind this massive legacy. While I know I am no Austen, having the time, ability and technology to put my words to “paper” and share them with the world is a humbling experience for me; even more so when I think of the uphill battles of the writers, particularly the female writers, of the past.
What inspired you to start writing?
For this story, we have to visit the Royal Farm in my town!
Years ago I got a degree in Literature, with dreams of someday writing, but, as tends to happen, life got in the way and that dream got tucked away.
A few years back I watched an independent MM movie and during the credits it noted it was based upon a book. So, of course, I went right to Amazon, bought it and read it!
Purchasing that first MM Romance had my recommendations flooded with great selections, and I kept on reading, discovering Kindle Unlimited during COVID and using all that free time to read MM Romance like it was going out of style.
I wanted to try my hand at writing one, but always had the excuse that I was too busy. Yup, I even managed to use that one when my work hours were cut during COVID (which is how I know I can be creative)!
Then one day, the hosts of the Big Gay Fiction Podcast mentioned a 100-day artistic challenge. I heard them talk about this while I was sitting at the Royal Farm, waiting for my tank to fill, on my way to my new job and, while I thought it was a great idea, with a new job and all, I didn’t think I could do it – you know, too busy!
A few weeks later I was passing that same Royal Farm, on my way to that same job, listening to that same podcast when they said they were dedicating a mere half hour a day to the challenge and I thought, well, hell, I can do that!
Jamie’s Light and my Novella, Election Night came out of that 124-day streak of writing or (toward the end) editing every day.
What’s your writing process like? Do you have a typical “writing day”?
I do try to do a little something each day either before or after work, but some days that just doesn’t happen! I block out a few hours each day on the weekends to write or edit. And I spend a lot of time tapping or talking into my phone and emailing myself ideas, sentences and scenes when I’m at work or in the car or just getting out of the shower (the place where many of my good ideas come from). Some of those emails occasionally even make sense by the time I sort through them over the weekend!
What comes first for you – the plot or the characters?
For my Hampstead Valley universe I have the characters all fairly well fleshed out and basic ideas of where the plot is going (see pantsing described above!). I would say that characters come first for me.
What’s a book that you wish you’d written?
Wilde Love by Lucy Lennox – the way she goes back and tells the story of the family patriarchs, pulling all the characters together and creating a years-in-the-making love story.
And I really wish I had written that scene in the barn where it all comes together for our main characters!
If you could only write one trope for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
I am a huge fan of forced proximity and only one bed, so I would write what I love. Also, the structure allows for the main characters to have naughty fun fairly quickly, and writing sex scenes early in my works is a challenge that I love to puzzle out.
What would be your three desert island books?
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
If one of your books could be made into a movie/TV series, which would you choose and who would you cast?
It would have to be Jamie’s Light so I could see the whole Marchetti-Gordon family on screen!
This question stumped me because I spend so much of my time writing and reading these days and don’t watch as much TV and movies as I used to, but here are my thoughts for some of the “leads”:
Jamie Gordon – Chris Messina
Devon Miller – (a young) Jake Gyllenhaal
Clifford Gordon – Bruce Willis
Natalie Marchetti-Gordon – Gillian Anderson
Vera Dillon Gordon – Jayden Rey (from The Conners)
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Do you have a secret passion or hobby that we don’t know about?
Genuinely, my secret passion has been writing! It’s only in this past year that it’s become not so secret. Other than that, I’m a fairly simple, stay close to home kind of person who values quiet time to read or catch up on TV and movies.
Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur?
Easy question for the mother of boys as I’ve read many a picture book on dinosaurs – Parasaurolophus!
MADALYN GEORGE is a single mom, still working full time, who finally decided to rediscover her dream of writing fiction. The journey of writing and self-publishing has been an amazing ride and, at long last, a legitimate use of Madalyn’s Literature degree.
Happily ever afters have been floating around in her head since she was a kid and she only recently learned that not everyone has a cast of characters throwing a party in their brain. She figured it was better to share their stories through works of fiction, as opposed to trying to introduce them to her family and friends. Aside from Jamie, whom we meet in Jamie’s Light, Vance, Josh and AJ are among the HEAs floating around in her mind, so be on the lookout for more from Hampstead Valley.
Madalyn is a beach lover and a pop culture geek who spends most of her time working, mom-ing, reading and writing.