Interview With Author M.J. Vigna (Deadly Deadly, Western)

Deadly Deadly cover



In your own words, please describe your book.  In my opinion there is nothing like this book on the market.  First of all I am unaware of anyone ever writing a story that strongly portrayed a pet bull as a leading character.  It is interesting in the fact that the story is written from different points of view throughout the book, including Deadly’s.  Generally when you are reading a story that involves an animal as a main character, it is typically cutsie and G rated.  Not so with “Deadly Deadly,” it is not a sweet little tale.  It is violent and very raw in places.  You will get involved in the characters and “feel” everything they are experiencing.  It is very different for a “western” because it is told in a way that women can relate to, without excluding men.


What genre/genres does your book fall under?  One of the biggest problems with this book has been how to market it,  since this book has a strong appeal to women and men for other reasons besides being a “Western.”  Many people tend to bypass it due to it falling into a “Western” category.  I think Action/Adventure is a better genre category but it could also be placed in Historical Fiction and Romance.


Is this book part of a series?  It was initially written to be a stand along novel.  However, I have had so many requests for a sequel that I am attempting to write one.  I am actually on page 50 of a sequel right now.  It takes along time to think this story out to keep it as edgy as the first book.  I was stunned at the reaction of readers wanting a sequel to this story. I had no idea that people would enjoy the characters so much in the book that they would actually be “upset” when they finished reading it.  It is my full intention to deliver another book to the readers that extends the saga of “Deadly Deadly,” but everyone must keep in mind that I am now 85, so……


What was the inspiration behind your book?  I love animals, period.  I really love horses.  I am also in my heart a pioneer woman.  In my youth I would ride my horse all around the Burbank, CA area without saddle.  I wanted to ride like the indians by being “one with the horse” so I spent hours a day riding.  I accomplished that goal and could run my horse all around without saddle.  So many books have been written about horses but the way you train them would be similar to the way you train cattle.  I just thought it would be so interesting to write a story that involved a massive beast who was a real partner to a man and write the story in a very realistic, very possible way.


What led you into writing? Was it a lifelong ambition, or the result of some type of turning point in your life?  I am creative and writing is one of those outlets.  I have alway liked writing but I did not like the marketing part.  I have written lots of things but I am just now getting around to publishing them because my daughter agreed to handle that end of it.  Like most creative people, I don’t like worrying about the administrative things.  I love writing, painting, art in general as I use many different mediums.  I also make jewelry, mostly sterling silver, beads and turquoise.  I enjoy leather crafting as well.


So far, what has been the greatest moment in your writing career?  Reading the first reviews on Amazon that validated what I thought about the book.


Are you self-published or published through a small-press? Can you tell our readers what led up to that and your publishing experience?  With Deadly Deadly I initially sent the book out Ballantine .   They held onto the manuscript for about 8 months.  I received a few letters that they were considering the book but had not reached a decision.  After months of waiting I finally got the manuscript back with a letter which stated that at the time they were not going to move forward on the book due to the difficulty in marketing.  They gave me some suggestions regarding a few changes before I sent it out again, which I did do, but I never sent it to another publisher.  I did not take it out of dustballs until my daughter asked me about it.  I sent it to her and she took the ball and ran with it.  We made some changes, sent it to Createspace with Amazon and self published.  I always worry about how people will react to my writing because of course I like it, but will others.  I am quite happy whenever I read a positive review on Deadly Deadly.  There have been many reviews that have stated it is one of the best books they have read, read this year, or read in a long time.  Those are my favorites, of course!


What are you working on now?  I have completed A Sci-fi Fantasy that is currently in my daughters hands getting it ready for final editing.  I really had fun writing this story because it has a strong female heroine, who is the type of person in a fantasy world that I want to be like.  I am busy with a sequel to Deadly Deadly and I am also working on a book for girls 8-12, about a horse named “Fanny.”  It is full of illustrations which I have completed.  I just need to put the finishing touches on the story.


In your own words, please tell us about yourself.  Oh Goodness, it is hard for me to talk about myself.  I am getting to be a recluse, which is just fine by me.  As you know  I am 85 now and it seems all I want to do is entertain myself.  I love being able to write when I want, paint when I want, eat when I want, sleep as late as I want.  Well, I think you get the idea.  For the first time in my life, I am getting to do what I want, when I want.  Occasionally I get company, generally my kids or some dear friends, but mostly I am alone.  I went to one of my daughters for the Easter season this year and at that time I informed all of my kids that it would be my last trip away from my little house in Nevada,  they would just have to come to me if they want to see me.  It definitely helps having all of the technology to keep in touch.  I have an art room with all of my silversmithing and beading, artwork, acrylics, oils, sketching.  It is pretty much all within my reach.  There are so many things I want to do that I just never get bored and it keeps my mind active.  When I was younger I modeled, raised 6 kids, did a lot of camping the old fashioned way and always indulged in the love of animals, mainly horses through training, painting, writing, or raising them.  For many years I also raised miniature dachshunds.


What are some of your likes and dislikes? I like gardening in the spring and I don’t like anybody to get me out of bed before 9:00.  Oh, this is hard.  I’m really have a hard time thinking about what I don’t like since I don’t ever do anything anymore unless I want to.  These days I like just about everything.  I do hate getting older, since I am just now getting to do all the things I have wanted.


How can readers connect with you? is the best way to connect with me and @mjvignabullbook is my twitter handle.  I am really bad about utilizing twitter and facebook so my daughter takes care of those for me and she usually contacts me for answers etc.


Tell us one thing about yourself that we wouldn’t know?  I am a workaholic so my brain is on a constant loop.  I am reading about 3-4 books at one time just so I can shut down to sleep, and I wish I could live for another 85 years, cause I have so much more to do.  Since my daughter has started helping me it has allowed me to focus on what I really love, just the art, and leave the tedious stuff to someone else.


If there was one thing you could tell your readers, what would it be?  Have an open mind.  Consider the critiques you receive, don’t discard them.  Sometimes you do need to go with your gut.  Such as, it was a suggestion by the final editor of the book to delete the forward.  She felt that we would lose readers due to the tone.  My daughter and I really took this to heart and thought about what to do for several days.  In the end my daughter came up with an idea to write a warning above the forward.  Although some my disagree, it turned out to be a stroke of genius and actually helped to pull readers in.  That time we went with our gut but we did take the professional criticism seriously and did address it in the warning.


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