Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Debut of the Month - All About M.J. Hearle

Bachelor Profile

Name - M.J. Hearle
Debut - Winter's Shadow ( Goodreads )
Genre - Paranormal Romance
Website - HERE
Twitter - HERE

Aspiring writers generally aren’t the most popular kids in school. There’s a reason why a bookish person holding a notepad isn’t held up as a stereotype of uber-coolness along with the jock and cheerleader. I would love to offer evidence to the contrary, to spin anecdotes about being celebrated by my classmates for my witty writing and startling imagination but, alas, I can’t. My job is to tell stories, not lies.

After school, I spent ten years trying unsuccessfully to be a filmmaker and then decided I might try and be a novelist instead. This turned out to be a much better fit. Winter’s Shadow, my first novel, was scooped up by the publishing house Pan Macmillan and hit bookstores in June. Now I’m a published author you might assume I find it easier to talk to girls. I don’t.

Dream Bachelor Suit - As much as it would be fun for M.J. to pick out a dress, it would be more realistic for him to pick out something he can actually wear :P

Notes from a YA Bachelor
Thank you for inviting me to be a Badass Bookie debutante. I’m absolutely thrilled to be here, especially as it looks like I’m the only man so far. At least I should have no problem finding someone to dance with. Now, I just have to learn how to dance.

Also, thank you for giving me an opportunity to dress like one of my heroes, Mr Roarke from Fantasy Island. Nobody rocks a white suit like Mr Roarke. Or should that be Roarke’s a white suit...? (yeah I know – lucky I don’t write comedies).

Okay, so lets talk about the inspiration behind Winter’s Shadow. I’ve always loved supernatural fiction, so it seemed like a logical step to write something with a spooky element. I also figured the best stories have some kind of romance at the centre. So, it seemed my book should be some kind of spooky romance. The hurdle I had to overcome was Twilight. The series was such a phenomenon that hundreds of authors had flooded bookstores with similarly themed novels featuring sparkly vampires, non-sparkly vampires, werewolves, angels, and fairies. If I was going to contribute a story to this crowded arena then it would have to be something original. Something special.

I finally found my inspiration – or it found me – in a cemetery.

Around the time I turned thirty, I noticed something alarming – my body was no longer trim and taught. It seemed my metabolism, after years of struggling to process a steady diet of pizza, milkshakes and apple pie had finally given up the ghost. Drastic measures were considered – should I change my diet? Not likely. I strongly believe a salad is a side dish and should remain so. The only option available to me, other than buying a new set of pants with elasticised waistbands, was to exercise.

So, I started jogging. I didn’t stick to a set route, I just went wherever my feet led. One day they led me to a cemetery.

Waverley Cemetery to be precise, which overlooks Sydney’s Bronte Beach. It was just on sunset when I entered the gates, and the cemetery was a place of long shadows. Here’s a helpful tip for the reluctant exerciser: run through a cemetery at sunset. You’d be surprised what a good motivator fear is.

As I weaved through the tombstones, I was unnerved to see I wasn’t alone. There was a teenage girl standing a few rows away taking photographs. She was dressed in black and had thick, flowing red hair. Rather than being alarmed by the wild-eyed, sweaty man barrelling towards her, the red-haired girl appeared curiously unperturbed. Raising the camera, she snapped a picture of me as I passed, and then turned her attention back to the graves. Almost immediately, the gears of my imagination began to whir and I started to think what would happen if there was something unusual about the picture the girl had taken.

And so, I began to write Winter’s Shadow. The story was about a teenage girl with red hair, named Winter, who takes a photo of a mysterious stranger in a graveyard during a school assignment. The stranger’s name is Blake and as the two of them grow closer, Winter learns Blake has a secret. A dark and terrible secret, which he is desperate to keep hidden. Blake isn’t a vampire, werewolf, angel, fairy, Frankenstein monster, mummy, or a creature from the Black Lagoon. He’s something else. Something readers have never come across before.

After three months of writing (and several new grey hairs) I had a first draft, which led to me getting an agent, which led to me getting a publishing deal. I still can’t believe how quickly it all happened. Now, I just have to write the sequel.

SO everyone meet our first ever Bachelor, M.J.! I'm not sure if he's eligible but Winter's Shadow definitely is! I just reviewed the book yesterday, so make sure you check out the review, I'll be very heart broken if you don't! :P It's really quite fantastic and I can't make any kidn of connection to Twilight *fist pump* Make sure you come back tomorrow to learn more abotu Winter, her shadow and the awesome Bachelor behind it all! Oh and we're giving away copies.

Badass Bookie xx


  1. I think M.J.'s first name is Michael (and if it isn't, tough) so that's what I shall address him as from this moment onwards. I loved Winter's Shadow and made sure to leave him a beaming comment on his site hehe. What I love about male authors is their natural ability to form witty responses. I read the whole guest post and was smiling throughout. Much of it could be accountable to the fact that I really enjoyed this bachelor's debut ... sigh. Now we've got to wait for the sequel. And I've got to buy a copy because that A4 size ARC has no chance of being re-read by me anytime soon. :P And I want to support Michael because his book is phenomenal.

  2. It has always sort of confused me when authors use initials as their pen name, since I never know what to call them!
    I haven't read Winter's Shadow, although my copy is in my 'Uni Holidays Reading Pile', as I'm calling it. :)

    And I most certainly agree with Cass, I couldn't stop smiling either!

    But if someone took a photo of me while I was jogging... well, let's just say there would be a lot of screaming and then a lot more running. :S
    Such an interesting way to get ideas for a book though - maybe I should run more often!

  3. I was smiling the whole time too! If the book is as witty as this (kind of) interview, I´m totally going to give it a shot. I love to know something about the author before reading what he´s written. Thanks

  4. Okay, Winter's Shadow has my unadulterated attention.
    I'm so glad to hear it's nothing like Twilight and brings in something absolutely new.
    That graveyard story? Has me intrigued. Wonder what that girl did with his photo.. :P

  5. I really do love cemeteries. They offer a lot of inspiration. I love taking photos in them.

  6. -I love this! It did make me smile. Plus, I liked getting to know M.J. He seems like a cool guy. I can't wait to check out his book. I wonder what Blake is! All my likely choice are ones that he named off, but those aren't it. :/ I think the cemetery really did have inspiration. It's happen to me before, but instead of a story, I wrote a poem. :]


  7. M.J. has a great sense of humour! I couldn't help but giggle as I read this. I'm definitely adding Winter's Shadow to my TBR list, sounds intriguing...I'm especially interested to find out what Blake it!

  8. Strange for me reading this being male? I think not! Michael had me in stitches. Hope he gets round to doing Aussie signings because it’d be great to meet him.

  9. Just reading about his inspiration for Winter's Shadow makes me want to know more about this story. Sounds very intriguing. :)

  10. Loved the story about how WS came to be! Male authors are always fun :)

  11. Interesting. I love when authors tell us their inspiration and hurdles they've had to jump over to get to where they are. Thank you!

  12. M.J. is humourous! The book sounds great and intriguing. Can't wait to read the book!

  13. Hahaha, love the suit! Can't wait to read the book!

    Hikari @ Imaginary Reads

  14. Loving the suit. Though a dress would be even more awesome.

    This definitely piqued my interest as it's pretty rare to be finding a guy writing something that might be considered paranormal romance. It's been added to my TBR list. I'd like to see how he does it. :)


  15. Haha, love that suit ;) Yeah, it would have been a little awkward to make him choose a dres... Seriously can't wait to read this book! Although that's the third time I've said it on your blog now so I'll shut up and go away, LOL. Thanks again!

  16. Wow, this post is amazing. Thank you, for introducing me to a new novel, a new book bachelor, and a new author all in one! :)

  17. The way Winter's Shadow came about is a bit creepy, but totally inspiring at the same time. It makes you wonder how huge an impact tiny moments can have on your life and how the smallest incident can lead to much bigger things. I, for one, cannot wait to read Winter's Shadow, so it was great getting to know you a bit, M.J.

  18. Interesting. I am really looking forward to reading his book.