About MJ Nightingale from her Amazon Author page
MJ Nightingale is a USA Today Best Selling author, and the author of The Bounty Hunters: The Marino Brothers. She has also written the Secrets & Seduction series, and the Mystic Nights series. She lives in Florida with her husband, two sons, and a sweet dog named Champ. Writing is her passion and escape, but she is also a teacher of 27 years. Her books are set in the places she has lived and travelled. Her heroes are men who will sweep you off your feet, and save the day. You can always expect a wild ride, an HEA, suspense, intrigue and super steamy scenes in an MJ Nightingale book.
I am pretty sure that I first encountered MJ Nightingale a few years back when I was organizing one of my Autism Awareness author events on Facebook. I know for certain that is how we recently reconnected. She did an amazing half hour takeover back in late April for the event hosted by myself and Ro Merrill. This special lady is a wife, mom, educator, talented writer, and advocate for ASD awareness. So, Let’s talk with MJ Nightingale, shall we?
Let’s talk about your favorite genre to read? To write?
My favorite genre to read and write is romantic suspense. I love stories with happy endings because they leave me satisfied and feeling positive about life. It is a great pick me up. I also like the added bonus of the suspense element because that keeps me turning those pages.
My Granny used to say, “You are what you read.” While I am not certain about the validity of that statement, I am always interested in knowing what books have made a lasting impression on people. So, MJ, would you mind sharing a bit about your top 3 favorite books?
My favorite books of all time as of this moment because it is always changing:
Jane Eyre – a classic love story with so many twists, turns, and complications it will leave your head spinning. Plus, I love the idea where true romance can come to anyone, even someone as plane as Jane.
The Hunger Games series – I love dystopian fiction so gosh darn much. What talent these writers have to completely create a world of their own from their very imaginative brains, while at the same time telling a rich story guised as a fable that can teach us lessons about our society as a whole. I am currently writing a dystopian series of my own and these books inspire me so.
Pride and Prejudice – I know its another classic romance, but this book has it all. Great character and side character development. To think the authors back then did not have character maps, and technological tools, like writers today to plot out these masterpieces really blows me away. I love this book because of the complexity of a family saga is just so fantastic. The weaving and crafting are genius. Plus, it’s a love story between one heck of an alpha who has to overcome societal stereotypes and misogynistic views to see the woman before him is his true match. I mean growing up as a teenage girl, I am sure many of us thought about the guy we were crushing on, and thought, why not me. Why is he chasing that girl? It spoke to me then, and speaks to me know. Plus, the guy finally makes the right decision in the end to get the happily ever after I crave in all of my books.
Please tell us what’s on the top of your TBR pile right now?
I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of Broken Throne by Victoria Aveyard. I just finished reading her Red Queen series, a great dystopian fiction series, and I miss the characters so much. I want to know how they are doing. Haha. But Broken Throne has five novellas about different characters mentioned in the series. I can’t’ wait to see what her characters have been up to since I read the last pages of final book in the series.
Do you have a favorite theme for the stories you read and write?
One of my favorite themes is overcoming obstacles whether they be external or internal obstacles. Preferably I try to make my characters have both. The external conflict for the adrenal junky in me and I just find those types of conflicts make me want to keep reading the book to find out how the problem will be resolved. I always like to have some kind of internal obstacle to overcome as well. I think readers appreciate this so much, I know I do, because then you can really get a feel for the character and possibly even relate to them in some way.
As a writer, let’s talk POV? Which do you prefer and why?
I’m a third person point of view person all the way. I like to get in all my characters heads, and reveal story and plot and emotion through this point of view. I find first person so limiting. You can only get into one character’s head with it. Then if you don’t like that character it kind of kills a book for me. I mean, why would I want to read the thoughts of someone I don’t like. I have read some great first-person point of view books, but I prefer third as a writer. I find I can get readers excited about many characters that way.
What inspired you to write your first book? And, please, tell us about that book.
The first book I wrote was called Fire in His Eyes. I was inspired to write it because it was a gut-wrenching romance story that needed to be told. It has tons of angst, will make you cry but leave you feeling good in the end. It is not your typical romance. I really wanted to explore the idea of secrets in relationships and how they can destroy you, or you can choose to overcome those obstacles and learn to rebuild trust. I wrote three books in that series before I turned my attention to writing romantic suspense.
Can we talk about character development? Do you have a set process for developing your characters? Do you plot them out ahead of time or do they develop as you write the story?
I usually come up with the bid idea for a series. Then break them down. Then I do character sketches for all the main characters. I focus on physical descriptions, and emotional baggage. I want each character to be different and have their own backstory and history before I start writing. This way I can be sure the readers are happy with unique tales weaved together to culminate in the final book of a series. I plot, plot, plot.
Do you mind sharing the synopsis of your latest story with our readers? Maybe give us a tease to whet our appetites? How did you come up with the idea for this story?
Black Jack (Book 4 of the Mystic Nights series)
Synopsis: Dawn Sassacus wants to help her family even if it means looking for trouble at the casino as a dealer on the floor. No one steals from her people and gets away with it. No one. Especially not a smoldering hazel eyed con-man who counts cards. Even if he makes her body burn.
Jackson Black is a working man. Using several aliases, he conducts his business across the country undetected until one young, bookish black jack dealer threatens his game. And he knows he’s the best game in town. But looking at her, he knows she is a game he would like to play. With his cover in jeopardy, he needs to do something drastic. With single minded focus, Jackson sets his sights on pleasantly distracting the woman with the cherry lips, and sexy smile.
Dawn knows she’s in deep. Deep trouble and love. Her gut tells her to trust Jack even though she still can’t figure him out. He’s hiding something from her. She knows it. Should she risk her heart? Can she play his game, or will she find out that Jack’s heart is as black as his name?
Idea inspiration – I was at a book signing event in Biloxi, Mississippi and it was located at a casino. I just though a casino run by a family would make such a great setting for a book. I mean so much could happen there with the business offices, stores, restaurants, etc. There was just so much possibility for good intrigue and mystery to happen there, right. Well, because I also grew up near a reservation, I knew a lot about Native Americans and know many tribes have started their own casinos. So that was when I knew I wanted the family to run it to be Native American. In total there are five main books in the series. Each of the first four is about a sibling who works there. The fifth book will be about the four sibling’s mom and the over arcing mystery that is hinted at in the first four books. But, each book is a complete book in and of itself and each has its own mystery as well. I don’t want to give away too much, but the final book is going to be such a shocker. It will be my homage to classical romance books as well.
Other series by MJ Nightingale that will blow you away!
Readers can find MJ Nightingale here:
You can contact her on Facebook, twitter (@nightingale_mj), and Instagram, or visit her website.
Find MJ on Amazon: https://viewauthor.at/MJNightingale