Monday, May 3, 2010

Our Guest--M.J. Rose

Monday, May 3, 2010

Today I have the honor of introducing our special guest.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the amazing M.J. Rose.

At the Museum by M.J. Rose

Growing up, I didn’t want to be a writer; I wanted to be an artist. We lived a block away from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and I started taking Saturday morning art classes there when I was just seven years old.

I’ve often felt art is my religion and that museums in general but the Met specifically is my temple of choice. It’s where I go to be renewed, refreshed and inspired. I don’t think I’ve ever gone longer than a month without visiting there.

So its not all that surprising that sooner or later I’d write a novel with a museum as one of my main characters and that I’d pick the museum that was in my backyard when I was a kid.

But how I got idea for the Hypnotist is surprising, at least to me.

One day about three and a half years ago, on one of my regular pilgrimages to the Met, I headed straight for one of my favorite spots. The Mastaba Tomb of Perneb is a tiny bit of 5th Dynasty Egypt transplanted to Manhattan. A gift from Edward S. Harkness to the museum in 1913.

You can enter the limestone tomb from the left or the right. One doorway leads to the main offering chapel. I took the other, which leads to a second ritual chamber. The space is very small and only three or four people can fit at the same time. I was lucky to be in the intimate ritual chamber alone and looking through the slot in the wall at a wooden statue of Perneb in the room beyond known as a serdab. In ancient times this passage way allowed for family and priests to offer up incense and chants to the deceased.

I heard footsteps. A little girl about seven or eight had entered and came up beside me to look through the slot. She had long blonde hair and was wearing a school uniform. I watched her examine the space, giving every section careful attention.

“It hasn’t changed much at all,” she said finally in a wistful voice.

I asked her what she meant.

“Since the last time I was here,” she said.

Something about the way she said it made me curious. “When was that?” I asked.

“When I lived in Egypt.”

“You know this tomb has been on display in this museum since 1916.” I said.

“I lived in Egypt way before that,” she said and smiled. She was about to say something else when from outside the chamber an older woman’s voice called out.

“Veronica, it’s time to go. Now. Please.”

The little girl ran off, quickly, without looking back, without giving me a chance to ask her anything else.

Even though I write about reincarnation, I haven’t had any meaningful reincarnation episodes of my own. I don’t get visitations. I’ve never seen a ghost. But I’m not sure what happened that afternoon.

I can picture Veronica in her navy jumper and white blouse that had a dark smudge on the collar. She had a one-inch scratch on her left hand. Her hair was pulled off her face with a silver barrette. A lot of curls had escaped. She had a child’s voice but it was so charged with adult emotion.

It was that emotion which sparked the idea for my novel, The Hypnotist. And the paintings and sculpture at the Metropolitan Museum that fueled it.

If you go the Met, please go visit Perneb’s tomb. And if you see a little girl there with long blonde hair and a blue school uniform… ask her if her name is Veronica… and if it is, thank her for me.

Website -

M.J. will stop by periodically to answer any of your questions. Not only is M.J. an incredible author, she's also a marketing phenom. Don't be shy. This is your chance! ~~Elle


Beth Ciotta said...

Wow. I got goose-pimples reading about Veronica. What a great story, M.J.! Thanks so much for sharing and for being here at SIS.

I very much believe in past lives and I LOVE the Met! I've been to a lot of museums and it is by far my favorite. Thus I'm especially intrigued by THE HYPNOTIST. Looking forward to the read.

My question: I'm always interested to learn how one uses a specific angle to market one's book. Did you discover a unique way to promote THE HYPNOTIST by focusing on past lives and/or art museums?

A longtime fan,
SIS Beth

Elle J Rossi said...

Good morning, M.J.

It's a pleasure to have you here at SIS. Your story also gave me chills, though I'm confident I would not have handled it as calmly as you.

I've never had a past life experience, but I do believe I've seen a ghost or two. I often wonder about their lives and what it is that makes them linger.

I found it interesting that you referred to a place as a character in your book. But when it plays such a huge part in a story, how could it be anything but?

I also have a question for you. Your stories have many characters. How do you keep them all straight, their fears, their motivation, their secrets? Note cards? Bulletin board? Computer program? How about a glimpse at your office space through your eyes?

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

MJRose said...

It is so so great to be here. Thanks for hosting me.
@Beth - I can think of a unique way to promote everyone but me!!! No, seriously - I've been doing it all - from blog tours to ads. One of the ways I was the most excited about was a 100 page sampler - appox30 pages from each of the books in the series. We did 20,000 and gave them to indie booksellers and gave them out in Grand Central Station in NY. And we did a pdf everyone else can download from

We also did a game you can play here - that's had over 250,000 plays so far.

And then about 20 more things:)

MJRose said...

@Elle. Great question. Not great answer. They're just very alive to me and are all in my head. I start a book by making a journal for my main character while I research all the subjects in the book. Usually that takes me 3-6 months - too long! I have some word docs by the end of that time with research.

Then I just write the book in Word. I like to get a fast first draft down and then rewrite for as long as they will let me.

I keep a pad of paper with dates and one line of action for each chapter to check in the last few drafts.

My office is very small. Just a desk, one big chair, one file cabinet and one window looking out at trees. It has about 30 art prints and photos on the walls - they are almost all covered by now. Lots of plants and flowers. A phone. A printer/fax and a laptop.

Tori Lennox said...

What an awesome experience!

~Sia McKye~ said...

What a wonderful story, MJ. That experience had to have induced goosebumps especially with the matter of fact way Veronica answered.

I read the first in this series but it looks like I have a couple of more to read. :-)

Reading your stories is like dealing with interlocking puzzles. How do you keep the two threads of past and present vibrant and well paced? Do you write it as one story or two? I do love the way you weave in the past in bits and pieces to the present. If you tell me you're a pantzer I'll bow down before the Rose altar, after I get over the shock, lolol!

Edie Ramer said...

Wow! I got chills, too. I've read The Reincarnationist, but I need to read the other two of the series. This is actually something I'm interested in.

Have you tried a past life regression? I haven't, but I do have PLT tapes. So far, nothing.

SIS Barb said...


Great question. It is like interlocking puzzles. I'm bowing right along with you!

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

SIS Barb said...


I thought you would like these stories. After what you and I talked about this morning, I can see why they would intrigue you. I recently finished THE MEMORIST and just started THE HYPNOTIST. Hurry and catch up so we can talk!

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

SIS BJ said...

Welcome to SIS M.J.,

Your story of Veronica gave me chills as well. Very erie.

Picked up The Memorist last night and am a few chapters in. Love a book that keeps me guessing, and this one does. Love the characters and story line. I need to read The Reincarnationist but can't stop readind The Memorist. It will have to wait 'till later.

Alyson Reuben said...

First of all, M.J., I love, love, love your story about Veronica! What a fantastic inspiration for THE HYPNOTIST - phenomenal, powerful, and slightly dark, which is great!

Second, I'm feeling some 'kindred spirit' vibes happening. I wanted to be an artist when I was younger, too. I also loved reading and writing, and eventually the need to write down story ideas began taking precedence. Yet, although I passed up art as a profession, I still dabble in it. And the Indianapolis Museum of Art is one of my favorite places to visit (just ask Elle!).

I have a few of questions for you. Actually, I could bombard you with tons of questions, but I don't want to be a total nuisance! So, I'll just ask what first drew you to writing? Also, do you find the business end to be harder or easier than the writing itself? Do you enjoy being in the 'public eye' during signings, blog tours, etc?

Can't wait to read THE HYPNOTIST. It'll be even more satisfying knowing how you got the idea for it.

Sandy said...

What a story, M. J.

Like you I grew up going to museums, and I still love to go.

Unknown said...

just stopping by for a hello.
great post.

MJRose said...

So here are some answers...and thanks for all the amazing compliments. I'm so flattered.

I don't have a problem keeping the threads together in my head and I write them at the same time. Weird. But true.

As for my past life regressions - can't get any good stories - I seem to be like my main character.

What's a pantzer?

And as for the biz/writing - its all hard - every part of it. I love it but none of it is simple or uncomplicated. And I think just being a voracious reader drew me to writing - I loved living in books - wanted to live in one of my own.

I don't think I'm good in public but am happy to do it.

Beth Ciotta said...

20,000? That's a lot of samplers! But I bet that was a very effective promo. When I ask readers what tempts them most to buy a book, it's almost always a strong excerpt. Love the game idea, too. Very creative.

Oh! You asked above: "What's a pantzer?" I believe it's someone who writes by the 'seat-of-their-pants'... as opposed to being a plotter.

BTW... I've seen you in public and I think you do great! I still remember a workshop I attended of yours a few years ago and I've been to A LOT of workshops.

SIS Beth

MJRose said...

Ah seat of your pants... no... I have a destination in mind from page one. I don't quite know the whole journey but I do know where I'm gong.

And thanks Beth - those are different -when I do workshops on marketing I am totally comfortable and love it. It's being the author where I'm self conscious.

Elle J Rossi said...


I think my favorite part is the journey and all the detours I take along the way. I'm a total pantzer. I know the ending, but the path to the last two words is as much a mystery to me as my characters. Full of surprises, twists and turns.

Isn't it funny how we can ooze confidence in one aspect of our lives and then shake in our boots in another?

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

~Sia McKye~ said...


Seat of your pants as opposed to detailed outlines and such. I'd say you're a seat of your pants sort since much of it is in your head and know where you're going.

I completely understand the comfort zone in promotion and marketing. It's a forte of mine. :-)

Post a Comment