Friday, February 7, 2014

Author in the Spotlight: P.J. MacLayne

Please tell us about your writing. Can you explain the title without giving too much away?
The title of my nook is Wolves’ Pawn. It’s the story of a lone wolf-shifter who gets caught in a power struggle between the aging pack leaders of two feuding packs.  But a pawn isn’t as powerless as some people think.  And Dot McKenzie, my main character, knows how to stand up for herself. She has more of a problem with accepting help when it is offered.

What was your journey as a writer?
I remember getting an award for an essay I wrote in the sixth grade, and I don’t believe I ever stopped writing after that. I gravitated to poetry in high school and still write poetry on occasion, and try to incorporate what I learned as a poet into my fiction. I wrote a novel for National Novel Writer’s Month a few years ago, and got addicted! I suspect that first novel will never see the light of day, but I feel like each successive book I write gets better. Wolves’ Pawn is the first one I was happy enough with to release.

Whom do you see as your ideal reader?
Someone with an open mind. Age and sex aren't important, although I suspect my writing appeals more to females, but I do touch on some tough subjects. There’s no graphic description of sexual acts in the book, but it is definitely PG-13. Hopefully I've included enough action scenes to satisfy my male readers even though the main character is female.

What advice can you give to aspiring writers?
Write! Every day, if possible. It doesn't even have to be good.  The exercise of getting your thoughts from your brain to paper—or the computer screen—will help you develop your skills. And read as much as you can from a variety of authors and genres. If you pay attention to how other authors do things, it will help you to develop your own style. Don’t be afraid of criticism, as long as it is offered in a helpful manner. That’s one way you can grow in your skill level. But don’t be afraid to reject criticism that is mean-spirited. No one will ever satisfy everyone.
And those ideas and scribbles you rejected today? A year or two from now, they might be the beginnings of something great. Don’t be afraid to try.

Where can our readers find a copy of your work?
Wolves’ Pawn is currently only on Amazon as an eBook. I hope to get a print version available soon, and I eventually expand the distribution to other booksellers. The link to buy it for Kindle is (US).

And finally, as an author, do you have any quirks or habits that help you write better?
I have lots of quirks. Whether they help me write better or not is debatable. I think the one that does help me as a writer is that I like to watch people, and listen to them when they think no one can hear them. It’s interesting to hear only one side of a conversation and try to figure out what the other person is saying. It might be a phone call, it might be a conversation in a busy restaurant that I only get bits and pieces of through all the background noise. It’s all potential material for my next book.

Thank you for being my guest today. I wish you the best of luck with your writing. 

 Bio:  I’m a computer geek by day and a writer at night. I grew up in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania, and much of my writing is set there. I currently make my home in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains and think I must have been a mountain man in a previous life.


  1. Lovely interview. What drew you to the world of shape-shifters?

    1. Believe it or not, the prologue came to me in a dream. I resisted writing the book for awhile, but Dot (the heroine) kept telling me bits and pieces of her story. I finally gave in and Wolves' Pawn was the end product.

    2. It's always interesting how the entire novel takes off from a bit of a dream or sometimes just a fragment of a dream.

  2. I read the Amazon "What's Inside" and REALLY LOVED what was in it and that it looks like Dot isn't going to have to run scared without some help! Also, you seem to know a bit about motorcycles and how to find and use abandoned buildings putting a good degree of realism in your story. Much like you, my first book in my "Immortal Relations" series came to me in a dream or to be more exact it was channeled through a dream. While about guardian vampires protecting humans the third book does introduce a shape-shifter wolf which will be continued as an
    even more important part of my forth in the series. Best of luck with the book!