M L Sparrow Interview About Writing Her Novel Red Days

Hi, I’m M L Sparrow. I’m currently the author of four full-length novels, two novellas and a slew of short stories.

I enjoy keeping my readers on their toes, therefore all my books are different genres and you never know what I’ll come up with… though there’s a good chance it will have some kind of romance in it!

Both Ghetto and The Demon Inside are YA romantic sci-fi’s. A Tangled Web is a YA Coming-of-Age novella set in Japan, in 2011 when the tsunami struck. Player is the first book in my What Happens on Campus Series – I’m currently working on book two! – and is my first contemporary romance for New Adults. Then there’s No Rest for the Wicked which is an adult romantic fantasy, perfect for people who enjoy stories with wizards, enchanted necklaces, sweet romance and a self-cleaning house…  

Finally, my latest novella Red Days, is about a cause I feel very strongly about, the Taiji Dolphin Slaughter, and although it is fiction if is based on a timeline of true events and is a story I hope will educate more people about this horrific annual event and will inspire them to help stop it.

You can connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and my website mlsparrow.wixsite.com

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember, except when I was really little and I wanted to be a farmer! I think my love of writing stems from my love of reading; as a child, my parents read to me a lot and I loved the idea of being able to create worlds and characters and make other people feel the way I did when reading.

Tell us about your book, and the story behind writing it

I mentioned briefly above that my latest novella, Red Days, is based on the Taiji dolphin slaughter and although it’s fiction it’s based on true events. Red Days follows a journalist, Keiko Saito, from London to Taiji when she is asked to write an article about the slaughter, following the release of the documentary The Cove.

After witnessing the atrocity of the slaughter, Keiko is moved to do more than simply write one article and so begins her journey to becoming an activist… The story follows her over ten years, chronicling the up and down of the real-life campaign until early 2017, at which point it goes into the future.  

What’s the biggest challenge about being a writer?

For me, the biggest challenge about being a writer is actually nothing to do with writing. Promotion is what I find hard! I think most self-published authors say this, but it’s hard to find promotional offers that are effective and yet don’t cost the earth. Also, I find promoting, though worthwhile, takes up so much time which I’d rather spend writing!

Do you have a specific writing space?

I would love to have a desk to write at, but unfortunately, there’s not enough space at home, so I usually sit in the armchair in the living room with my laptop on the footrest and music playing. Not very inspiring or professional, but it gets the job done!

What’s your number one piece of writing advice?

Just keep writing. Write a little something every day, even if it’s just a sentence or two. Also, read! Forget what you’ve learnt in school – for the most part, I’ve found a lot of it’s wrong! – reading is the best way to learn how to write.

What books do you currently have on your bedside table?

I’m currently reading Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy – I’m finding the main character, Willowdean, very relatable and enjoying that aspect of the story, but I’m not a fan of love triangles. After that I plan to read The Girl on the Train and The Hate U Give. I also want to read Jane Eyre soon, because I can’t believe I’ve never read it and feel the need to correct this awful situation!

Who have been your biggest writing influences and why?

I’m not sure if I can narrow down my biggest writing influence to just one or two writers. I read lots of different genres, age groups and writing styles and I like to think I’ve learnt something from all of them.

How do you market your writing?

I use various social media sites to market my books, along with requesting reviews and promo spots for book bloggers. I’m constantly trying to market my books, both through free and paid marketing, but so far I’ve found that the best thing is word-of-mouth recommendations, therefore, I put a lot of effort into contacting bloggers for reviews.

Lastly, something fun. What’s something our readers might not know about you?

Something fun… Well, my imaginary life is a lot livelier than my real one, but I enjoy travelling and have been to various places in America and Europe, as well as Thailand, Sri Lanka, Mexico and Japan, where I hope to end I living one day!

 Red Days 

By M L Sparrow

2017: 235 taken into captivity, 570 slaughtered.

Keiko never set out to be an activist, but when she’s sent on an assignment to Taiji, Japan, the ball is set in motion. Reporting on the brutal yearly slaughter of hundreds of dolphins alters her life.

Over the course of ten years Keiko follows the highs and lows of the campaign to stop the slaughter of dolphins in Japan and attempts to bring change through her articles. Will her efforts and that of many others be enough?

*Though fictional, Red Days is based on a series of true events up until January 2017*

About the Author

Scott Mullins is a freelance writer and digital content manager. When he’s not finding ways to distract himself from writing his novel he writes killer copy for companies all over the world. Connect with Scott on Twitter @ScottMullins86 or LinkedIn. He’s always looking to connect with other writers.