I interviewed white witch, novelist and blogger Marjorie Mallon about her active creative life and the community of creative minds she works with. Marjorie , who is a busy book reviewer, won first prize in the 2018 Bloggers Bash Blog Post Writing Competition. She says about herself: “My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheroes! I’m a passionate Scorpio and a lucky rabbit in the Chinese Zodiac, who was born in Singapore, grew up in Hong Kong and Edinburgh and now lives in Cambridge, UK. When not writing, I eat exotic delicacies while belly dancing, or surf to the far reaches of the moon. To chill out, I practise Tai Chi. If the mood takes me I snorkel with mermaids, or sign up for idyllic holidays with the Chinese Unicorn or Qilin, whose magnificent voice sings like a thousand wind chimes.”
Leslie: Your blog Kyrosmagica ‘…is all about Books, Writing, Photography, Magic Haiku and Inspiration’. What are the creative experiences in your life that tie these different areas together?
Marjorie: My grandfather and uncle were both photographers who ran a photography business in Edinburgh prior to the Second World War. My cousin is an artist. My eldest daughter loves to read and write. My youngest daughter is a keen photographer. My husband loves music so much he plays his guitar or his favourite YouTube music videos every night. I’ve always loved poetry. When you write, paint, draw, photograph, sculpt, collage, or play music you create a world that opens your heart to possibilities. This awakens your senses to the magic that exists all around you. I wrote about this recently on our collaborative Sisters of The Fey Blog. I discovered a gate in Cambridge which seemed magical. Perhaps it was just the sunlight dancing on the trees. Who knows? It is those unexpected moments that make you smile. They are special, unique and rare.
Leslie: You’re a founder member of Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook which aims ‘to create a community of like-minded individuals’. Where did the idea come from? What kind of ‘like-mindedness’ does the group support?
Marjorie: The idea for #ABRSC came from the wonderful friendships I have made via the blogging community. Particular thanks go to my fellow administrators of the group Colleen Chesebro and Debby Gies. Colleen and Debby have been an amazing help and encouragement. Without them, #ABRSC would never have occurred to me. These two ladies are so awesome. They rock!
Why #ABRSC? Independent authors, artists and creative people work best as a team. I am proud to say that the Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club is different from other Facebook groups. This is a group which is growing in popularity and receiving new members regularly that doesn’t just churn out author buy me posts..
We share posts to help each other learn more about self-publishing, writing and reviewing. We share launch posts, reviews, product and author information. The heart of the group can be summed up with three words: collaboration, support and engagement. This is a bustling community of authors, poets, artists, and book bloggers who share a mutual enjoyment of books and creativity. Without this love of the written word and its sweet sister creativity, being an author has no meaning.
Leslie: You are very much involved in the world of blogging and go to blogger events. What does that involve?
Marjorie: I attended my first bloggers event in 2016 and have not missed a single bash. I am an original Bloggers Bash attendee. The very first event was a huge deal. It was so nerve-wracking, but as soon as I met Hugh Roberts, Helen Jones, Graeme Cummings and all my ‘online’ blogging friends all my nerves melted away. Each time I attend a bash something happens to me on the way, and I always share my crazy journeys with my blogging friends when I arrive. I remember a great quote from Sacha Black (the founder of the Bloggers Bash) at the very first bash I attended. She said, “I’m an introvert stuck in an extrovert’s body. ” That struck a chord in me. I’m most definitely an introvert with extrovert tendencies hidden deep in my persona. I would really recommend attending a bash event. It is so wonderful to meet your online friends in person. There is nothing quite like it.
This year was a particularly notable year for me as I won first prize in the Bloggers Bash Blog Post Writing Competition with my entry The Queen’s Dress Down Day. I popped up on stage in front of all the attendees and made a speech. I said a lot of silly things but I didn’t have a moment’s social anxiety or nerves. Amazing! The Bloggers Bash, and writing in particular, have done an wonderful job in creating a new me: a more confident, fulfilled person.
Leslie: You are also a member of The Sisters of the Fey. Can you explain what this is, how it came about and how it fits into your creative life, please?
Marjorie: The Sisters of The Fey is a greeat collaborative blog. My dear friend Colleen Chesebro created this blog and invited myself, Debby Gies, Annette Rochelle Aben, Adele Marie Park, Wendy Anne Darling, Deborah Stevens, and Tina Frisco to be a part of it. Perhaps it is our deep connection – we all share a love of magic, crystals, runes, tarot, angels, fairies and the like. Or is it simply because… we are white witches. My husband believes that I cast a spell on him. I will let you be the judge of that…
Leslie: Can you tell us about your debut YA fantasy The Curse of Time – Book 1 and what makes this book uniquely yours?
Marjorie: My debut YA Fantasy is an unusual and imaginative novel, (the first in a series.) It tackles some difficult topics and philosophical questions within the framework of a young adult book. It is a coming of age story, detailing the troubled life of my young protagonist Amelina Scott who lives in Cambridge with her dysfunctional family, a strange black cat and a mirror girl. It overturns the usual beliefs that the reader might have about the beautiful male hero.
Is the charismatic hero an ugly old tramp in disguise?
Does he deserve to be pitied, or hated?
Perhaps he has the potential to change?
Is the monster your friend?
It hopes to explore the nature of time. How each of us is cursed by the speed in which the grasshopper of time gobbles our life up.
The novel is largely prose but there are Tanka poems throughout. Each chapter (Puzzle Piece) begins with a Tanka Poem.
The Curse of Time tackles fairy tales in a twisted way.
Who is that girl trapped in that mirror?
Can she escape her mental health issue – self-harm – or is this imprisonment of the mind something she can’t escape from?
Leslie: As a book reviewer, what inspires you, and which authors would you recommend – why them?
Marjorie: I love books that make me cry, contemplate, consider or excite. At the moment, I am entranced by the writing of best-selling author YA author Jay Kristoff. There is a gritty effortless about his writing that makes me wince, laugh and wonder – how does he do it? I read widely in all genres. You can see my favourites here.
Leslie: Can you sum up why do you do each of your main creative activities – writing, magic and blogging?
Marjorie: I write because each day brings delight in the promise of new stories, new characters and plot lines. Magic dances in my heart via my great loves: crystals, the sea, trees and nature. There is joy in the light of my crystal collection, the sparkle of sunlight, the fullness of the moon, and the waves crashing on the beautiful shore. Blogging is another home, a place to be me. It is such a special blessing to connect with my readers and to encourage others to join me on this creative journey.
Next week Barbara Navarro talks about creating artworks that protest against the destruction of tropical forests and the degradation of the way of life of indigenous people
ABOUT LESLIE TATE’S BOOKS:
- Heaven’s Rage is a memoir that explores addiction, cross-dressing, bullying and the hidden sides of families, discovering at their core the transformative power of words to rewire the brain and reconnect with life. “A Robin Red breast in a Cage / Puts all Heaven in a Rage” – William Blake. You can read more about/buy Heaven’s Rage here.
- Purple is a coming-of-age novel, a portrait of modern love and a family saga. Set in the North of England, it follows the story of shy ingénue Matthew Lavender living through the wildness of the 60s and his grandmother Mary, born into a traditional working-class family. You can read more about/buy Purple here.
- Blue tells the story of Richard and Vanessa Lavender, who join a 90s feminist collective sharing childcare, political activism and open relationships. You can read more about/buy Blue here.
- Violet is about late-life love. It begins in 2003 with Beth Jarvis and James Lavender on a blind date in a London restaurant. Attracted by James’s openness, Beth feels an immediate, deep connection between his honesty and her own romantic faith. From then on they bond, exchanging love-texts, exploring sea walks and gardens and sharing their past lives with flashbacks to Beth’s rural childhood and her marriage to a dark, charismatic minister… Signed copies of Violet can be bought here.
- The Dream Speaks Back, written by Sue Hampton, Cy Henty and Leslie Tate, is a joint autobiography exploring imagination and the adult search for the inner child. The book looks at gender difference, growing up in unusual families and mental health issues. It’s also a very funny portrait of working in the arts, full of crazy characters, their ups and downs, and their stories. You can buy a signed copy of The Dream Speaks Back here.