Interview with M.D. Massey, author of Druid Justice

05 Mar 2018

What can you tell us about your new release, Druid Justice?

Druid Justice is the fifth book in my Junkyard Druid urban fantasy series and the first book in the second Colin McCool tetralogy. In this installment in the series, I’m introducing a new four-novel story arc, new stakes, new challenges, and new villains. The novel is intended to be an entry point for readers who are new to the series (although I recommend starting with the first book, Junkyard Druid), and it also serves as a continuation of Colin’s story.

In Druid Justice, Colin is continuing his druid apprenticeship with his mentor, Finnegas, while attempting to track down a serial killer who is targeting fae. He’s also navigating life as a shifter, a condition that comes with its own unique complications, advantages, and drawbacks. And, Colin is navigating his relationship with his current girlfriend Belladonna, while being haunted by his deceased former girlfriend, Jesse.

Readers who are new to the series should note that each novel is a self-contained story. And yes, there are questions that arise in each novel that are resolved in later novels in the series. However, readers won’t be left feeling like the plot wasn’t resolved within the pages of that novel.

Which books would we be surprised to find on your shelves?

I have a number of copywriting manuals on my bookshelves, some of which are quite rare and hard to find. Obviously, I acquired them so I could learn how to write sales copy, which I did for years in my other gig as a small business start-up and marketing consultant. I also have a number of survival and disaster preparedness books, which I read both for research and for personal pleasure. And, I own a substantial collection of martial arts guides and manuals, which I collected over the years during the decades I spent running martial art schools.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

Like most authors, I love to read, and if I had a vice it would be buying way too many books. My mother was a teacher, and during my pre-school years, she would let me pick out a Little Golden Book whenever we went to the store. I was reading books like Homer’s Odyssey and The Silmarillion before I was tall enough to see over the counter at the public library. These days I can’t walk into a bookstore without leaving with an armful of books.

Avid readers tend to become aspiring writers, and I was no exception. When I was in my twenties a journalist friend encouraged me to write and publish a non-fiction book, so I did. By my late thirties I’d written and published a few moderately successful non-fiction works, so I thought, “How hard could it be to write a fiction novel?”

As it turned out, very hard indeed. I took a few writing courses, read a lot of books on writing fiction, and stumbled through a few unfinished manuscripts. Then in 2013, I read James Scott Bell’s Plot & Structure, and it was like a light bulb went off inside my head. I completed and published my first novel in December of that same year, and I haven’t looked back since.

If you were a teacher, what book would you assign to your class?

It depends on what I was teaching. If I were teaching creative writing, I’d start with the book by Bell I mentioned previously. If I were teaching literature, I’d tell my students to read whatever interested them.

For example, my son recently fell in love with Dav Pilkey’s Dog Man books. Before those books came along, we couldn’t get him to read much at all on his own. Now, he reads every day. So, I’d assign my students the task of finding a book they would enjoy reading, and then instruct them to read that book for the sheer enjoyment of it.

What’s a typical day like for you?

I wake up between 6 am and 7 am, even though I don’t have to. I drink some coffee and check email first thing, then I get on the treadmill for half an hour, during which time I take care of day job stuff. After that, I listen to writing and publishing podcasts while I shower and get dressed.

Once I’ve made myself presentable, I get more caffeine in me before hitting my writing desk by 9 am. I write until I hit my word count goal for the day, taking five-minute breaks every hour. After I’m done writing for the day, I eat lunch and do more day job activities, then I train martial arts or I read. By then it’s time to get my kid from school, so I spend time with him until his mom gets home.

After that, I do whatever additional work I need to do that day, or I relax by reading or watching TV before I go to bed at no later than 10 pm. I used to be a night owl, but these days if I go to bed past 10 pm I’m a wreck the next day and my writing output suffers. So, it’s early to bed and early to rise the next day to do it all over again.

BAM. You’re a superhero. What’s your superpower?

Flight, because I’ve always wanted to fly. In fact, I wanted to be a pilot but my vision was too poor. So, definitely flight, and preferably at super speeds, because necessarily that superpower comes with other superpowers, like limited invulnerability and stamina due to the stresses of high-speed flight at altitude. I think you can tell that I’ve really thought this through.

What scene in Druid Justice was your favorite to write?

Probably the fight scene at the vampire garden party. It has just the right mix of humor and violence, which is what I think makes for a good fight scene. That’s probably why I loved shows like The A-Team as a kid, and why the Blade movies are among my all-time favorites. To me, there’s nothing quite as good as a snarky hero kicking butt, which was what I was aiming for when I wrote that scene.

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

Just be kind, which is the simplest and most basic thing ever. It costs nothing, and it’s amazing how a small act of kindness or word of encouragement can brighten another person’s day.

My father-in-law was a great example of this. He recently passed on, and when he was alive he was an incredibly unassuming man. But after he died, people kept telling us story after story about how he spoke a kind word once or helped them in some small way, and time and again they said it made a huge difference in their lives.

I just think that’s such an incredible legacy to leave behind, and I hope when I go I will have made that sort of a positive impact on the people I’ve known.

M.D. Massey is the author of the new book Druid Justice

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