Monday, December 8, 2014

Introducing the awesome Malin James, author of The Power of Positive Thinking

Blissemas Update! Still blissing the missing, or something like that. Sorry I missed reminding you over the weekend; I had something like 35 people in my house and I am exhausted... So, today is Jessica Jarman

I really adore Malin, she came onto my radar several months ago and we've had some of the best, in depth conversations about erotica and life and books that I could possibly hope for. She's also a big music fan and doesn't mind when I throw videos at her...

I quite literally jumped up and down in my office when I first got her submission... and then I read it. Oh, my lord...! I'm telling you, you will love this story...

So, let me let Malin talk to you for a while...

What are your greatest challenges in your writing career?

I’m not sure if it’s my greatest challenge, but complacency is certainly the most consistent one. It’s easy to relax once you’ve met a long-term goal, but that’s exactly when I find that I need to kick it up a notch, and try things that intimidate me or make me nervous. Like writing a novel, which I’m in the middle of doing right now, and which terrifies me daily. But the alternative is complacency and that scares me more.

Of your published works, do you have a favorite? Why?

I’m not sure I have a favorite yet—different stories appeal to different parts of my personality. That said, I’ve definitely written stories that I’m not as fond of. Putting that aside though, the story I did for Rose Caraway’s Kiss Me Quick’s podcast, “Bound / Unbound,” is really special to me. It’s based on the first draft of one of the first erotic stories I ever tried to write. I couldn’t write it then, but everything fell into place as I was writing it for Rose. And, of course, hearing her narrate it was a dream.

What are your biggest pet peeves for other people's grammar? Are there any mistakes that you find yourself making regularly?

It’s not really a grammar mistake, but I’m not sure how else to categorize it. I hate it when people use the word “literally” in a figurative statement. You didn’t “literally die” when you saw the puppy—if you had you wouldn’t be telling me about it. Either skip “literally” or use it correctly. Please. This would literally make me happier than if the Oxford comma came back into fashion.

How do you decide on character names?

It depends. Most of my protagonists end up naming themselves very early on, even in short stories. I just sort of know what his or her name is. That said, the protagonist of “The Master” a novella length story I have coming out in an anthology for Sweetmeats Press this spring went through three name changes before I was done.  I feel like character names are like suits. You can feel when they fit.

Malin's desk; I find myself squinting at her artwork... how about you?
What writers or novels do you consider “must reads”?

This is hard because I would recommend different books to different people, but that’s kind of a cop-out so here are some of the books that I can’t imagine not having read.

1. Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks is the most beautifully structured novel I’ve ever read.  Plus, Banks’s Culture series is awesome.

2. The Bloody Chamber and The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter were my first introduction to a bold, unapologetic, profanely literary treatment of sexuality. She’s a big one in my influences.

3. Hemingway’s short stories, especially “The Killers,” “Hills Like White Elephants” and “Clean Well-Lighted Place.”

4. Dracula by Bram Stoker. I freaking love this book. I love everything about it.

5. Anything by Sarah Waters, especially Tipping the Velvet. This was the first time I read a mainstream, literary novel with lesbian relationships at the center. It’s heartbreaking and sexy to the point of being nearly pornographic at times. After reading this, I started reading a lot more erotica.

6. Anais Nin’s diary. I love Volume 1, (1931-1934). Her short stories are excellent, but for me, her “liary” is where it’s at.

Tell us three things about you that are interesting.

1. I have an MA in medieval literature but decided against getting a PhD because there are so few teaching positions for medievalists.

2. I went to NYU on an acting scholarship and completed my acting training at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. I was a stage actor for about 5 years. My favorite roles were Masha in The Seagull and Olivia in Twelfth Night.

3. In an alternate life, I would want to be a museum curator if I couldn’t be a writer. Writer is still my fantasy job though.


  1. I learned something new about Malin today! Thank you, Lynn! This literally makes me happier than the return of the Oxford comma to common usage.

    1. Malin's pretty awesome... thanks for dropping by, Lace