Blast from the Past: The Bee Talks With… M.J. Williams

May 2019

The more I work through my old posts the more I want to interview authors again. Maybe I start this series anew? What do you think?

January 2015

A new year and a new interview. I am so looking forward to all the exciting authors who will be a guest on “The Bee Writes…” this year.

If you are interested: Please feel free to send me an email with the subject “The Bee Talks With…” to bee.halton(at)gmail.com. You can find more information about this interview series here: The Bee Talks With…

Today I am welcoming M.J Williams an author duo consisting of sisters-in-law Peggy Joque Williams and Mary Joy Johnson (nee Williams). They are writing the “On The Way To…” mystery series with their main characters Emily and Stan Remington. Both love to drive an RV and seem to end up in murder mysteries wherever they go.

But enough of the introduction. Let M.J. Williams speak for themselves:

How would you describe yourself in one paragraph?

We are a writing team comprised of Peggy Williams and Mary Joy Johnson (nee Williams). In fact, we are sisters-in-law.  Peggy is an elementary school teacher and a free-lance writer and screenwriter. Mary Joy is a retired college teacher and a professional quilter.

What made you write in the first place?

Peggy has been writing since forever. Her memories of writing go back to grade school. She writes in multiple genres and for multiple forums and media. Mary Joy taught writing on the college level and when approached by Peggy to work together on a mystery thought it would be a good idea to put her words into action.

Which Author has influenced you and why?

For models we look to mystery writers Louise Penny and William Kent Krueger for their character studies and use of setting. But our mentor is Christine DeSmet, author of the Fudge Shop mystery series, who reads our work and pushes us to write to the best of our abilities.

Your writing ritual (if you have one)?

The closest we come to a ritual are the Sunday afternoon writing sessions that take place in Peggy’s dining room while her husband (Mary Joy’s brother) watches football in the living room. However, we will brainstorm, write, and rewrite anywhere and anytime.

Do you suffer from writers block and if so, what do you do against it?

Not “writers block” per se, but we take longer to complete a novel than we would like. We have lots of excuses, such as work and our social lives getting in the way, but sometimes it comes down to fear of not writing well. Then we just have to knuckle down and challenge ourselves to “get ‘er done.”  Deadlines are a good way for us to overcome writers block.

Your advice for apprentice writers?

Don’t be afraid of writing badly. Get those first words onto the page. But never publish bad writing. Don’t be satisfied with just one or two drafts. Find people who know how to write and know your genre and ask them to read and give specific feedback on your work. Continually ask yourself if there is “a better way to say that.” Do a search in your manuscript of words and phrases that you tend to use often and see how frequently you really do use them…then challenge yourself to find a way to say what needs to be said using different words and phrases.

Portrait of P & J Wiliams

You would like to know more about M.J. Williams or want to purchase their books? Please look here:

M.J. Williams on Amazon

M.J. Williams on Facebook

On the Road to Death’s Door (1st in the series)

 

On the Road to Where the Bell’s Toll (2nd in the series)

Blog:

Musings of a MadCityWriter

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