Guest Spot – Author, Sinead MacDughlas

by sjbgilmour

Next author on the block is Sinead MacDughlas.  Give her a round of applause folks…

Author Expose with 20 Questions – Hard, fast, random and possibly embarrassing

G’day Sinead.  Thanks for dropping by.  Now, sign here and we’ve got you for life, tee hee…

Author name (just in case it’s different from what’s up there in the title of this post):

Sinead MacDughlas

Bio: – must include city & country, age, marital status/dependants – after that, it’s up to you:

Greater Toronto Area, (yes, that’s a total cheat), Canada, 42, married, two children: Miss Monkey and Mr. Monster and one 13 yr old cat/editor, Gunnar. Wait! I think I’m technically a dependent of the cat. Coffee addict, devourer of cheese, dry red wine, chocolate and words. (Yes, I eat them often). Enemy of punctuation, bane of editors, friend to just about anyone descent.

Latest release:

Best Served Bloody – A Halloween Novelette.

When thirty-eight year old Jess Green tries to start a new life in a tiny Ontario village, far away from the mad world, she learns that madness will always find her. Eleven spirits, most of them victims of one insidious murderer, inhabit the old house she bought. Until they have retribution for their deaths, they’re trapped between the mortal plane and the afterlife. Jess is their only hope.

Murder is unforgivable, guilt is inflexible, escape is impossible — and revenge is a dish Best Served Bloody.

Current Work In Progress: (pick just one WIP please!)

Really? Just one? Okay, um … Given The Moon.

Crap! I don’t think I’ve announced the title until now! This novella/novelette/novel? is a follow-up (I hesitate to call it a sequel) to Learn To Love Me. Alex is secretly preparing to give the love of his life an ultimatum. My heroine’s career as an author is just getting started, but her secrets threaten everything. Zander is getting horrible headaches, along with a flood of strange and sometimes terrifying emotions. He’s afraid of what might happen if he tells anyone. That’s about all I’m willing to spill at this point. ;P

If you could assassinate a world leader (without fear of being caught and prosecuted) who would it be?

Wow. Is it really horrible that I don’t really follow politics anywhere? *runs off to google current world leaders list*

Well, that didn’t help. Could I just take them all out at once and let the world start fresh?

And now the 20 questions…

1  Let’s start off with your writing style.  Plotter or Pantser?

I like to say recovering pantser, but really my plotting consists of an outline that the muses throw around like a rag doll. So … Pantser-with-a-plan?

2  And just how disciplined are you when it comes to your writing.  Do you set yourself goals for word-count or pages, that sort of thing?

I’m just not. I try to set goals and deadlines, I really do. I’m just really horrible at sticking to any schedule.

3  Who does your cover art?

I’m blessed with two fabulous cover artists.

Dave J. Ford (


Rue Volley from Vivid Book Designs (

4  In twenty words or fewer, what do you think the future looks like for traditional publishers?

Increasingly difficult to stay in business, unless they adapt more rapidly.

5  Now I know we all put a lot of ourselves into our novels, but I’m also curious about what we leave out.  Are there any aspects of yourself that you’d like to work into a character that you haven’t already?

It might be interesting to write a character with lists of lofty goals, but no time or resources to complete more than a quarter of them. A character who makes to-do lists, and then has to make a list to prioritize the to-do lists. They would lose all of their lists and have to make new ones, only to find the originals and get them mixed up.  I want to be organized, but I’m hopelessly scatter-brained.

6  What about the reverse?  Are there any experiences you give your characters that you’d love to try but haven’t yet?  Be honest – a “No comment” will result in me making something up, probably sexual.

Yours would probably be more fun!  (Aww shucks! ed.)   I would love to be able to think of the perfect thing to say at just the right moment. Many of my characters can do that. I usually think of that perfect comment or come-back hours after the moment has passed.

7  I’m sick of reading about which authors writers admire.  What was the last book you just couldn’t finish & why?

Moby Dick, and on the twelfth attempt. Why? Well, I scoot along just fine until they start repairing nets and then I kind of zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.  Yeah, like that.

8  Which way does the toilet paper roll go in your bathroom – paper out or paper in?

Over and out, always. I’ve even been known to change it when I go somewhere. It’s almost an obsession.

9  Sorry about that.  Told you there’d be random questions in this thing.  Let’s get back to the types of books you read.  It’s pretty safe to say most writers read – either willingly or they force themselves – a variety of genres.  What about the styles in those genres?  I always have trouble reading first person, present tense.  Are there any styles you like more than others?

First person, present is brutal for me! It takes me three or four chapters to get past it and enjoy the book. I prefer to read third person, past. Oddly, I prefer to write in first person, past tense. The rest depends on my mood.

Okay here are a few hot-topic questions

10  Censorship.  Where do you stand?

Ugh! Tough question! As a mother I want to censor the shit out of everything, but as an author it’s the tool of evil. I always end up on the side of freedom of expression, in the end, no matter how repugnant the expression.

11  Some writers make their work DRM free so the files can be copied, traded, shared etc.  Some go bananas at the very idea.  How do you feel about it with relation to your own work?

I’m all for DRM, but not because I don’t trust Joe or Jane Reader. It’s piracy that makes me go bat-shit crazy. If someone wants my hours of emotional, physical and mental stress for free, they could ask. I have one ebook, The Unscheduled Stops, that would always be free, if I could figure out how to make it so.

12  Are there any trends in the lit/publishing world you hope will end soon?  If so, what are they?

Phoney reviews. Especially those that are negative and not constructive. If you have nothing better to do, than write a fake, negative review, you are a pitiful human being.  I’m not saying that real negative reviews are bad. If you feel the compelling need to let the world know that you didn’t like it, try to give at least some kind of reason why you didn’t 

Let’s get back to some other random pieces and bits…

13  Have you ever read a book and wanted to slap the writer?  If so, what book, which writer, and why?

I have. I can’t remember the name or the author, honestly. I may have blocked it from my memory.  It was years ago, and it was so bad that I hurled it into a woodstove in full flame. That is the only time I’ve ever burned a book. It was a perverted attempt at a romantic drama, terribly written and full of typos and grammatical errors. I couldn’t believe a known publisher would put their name on it, but there was a logo on the spine. Penguin Books, I believe, though I could be wrong.

14  When I’ve finished a draft and have it ready for beta readers, I set them a set of parameters within which to work – find errors, point out bits they find repetitive or annoying, and most importantly of all, watch for breaks in characters (Sarah wouldn’t say that!).  And, I want it done within three weeks.  What sort of demands do you place on your betas?

Only four: 1. Mark anything that bothers you. 2. Be brutal. 3. Be honest. 4. Tell me why it bothered you.

15  Have there been any scenes you’ve edited out because of a negative reaction from a beta, only to regret it once you released the work and got feedback from the public?

Not yet. I almost deleted the graphic scene in Chapter 3 of Learn To Love Me, but chose to keep it in the end.

16  We all joke about it, even though we could probably get in serious trouble if a real person thought we were basing a character on them, but have you ever given a character in your work traits from someone you know in real life?

All. The. Time.  I think every character I’ve ever written is a mash-up of people I’ve known, met, or just observed in real life.

17  Don’t name the real-life person, but which character in, in which book are you referring to?

Specifically? Emily is a compilation of every strong woman I’ve had the pleasure of knowing, for one.

18  What kind of “music” makes you want to take an axe to the radio?


19  We’re all selling ebooks, but as a reader, how do you feel about them compared to paper?

I resisted eBooks for a long time, but once I got my Kindle, my whole world changed. I still love the weight, smell and feel of an honest-to-goodness paperback, but my house is much less cluttered without the overflowing bookshelves and travelling is less back-breaking. I also love the instant gratification factor. If I want to read a book, I no longer have to wait for shipping, or the chance to slip away to the nearest bookstore. It’s also much easier to handle a Kindle in a freezer baggie, while having a lovely soak in the tub, than juggling a paperback. I still order the paperback copies any book I know I’ll re-read multiple times, though.

20  Once I start a book, I usually know within the first few pages if I’m going to keep reading.  If I do decide to stick with it, I’ll often stay up late or ignore all manner of pressing tasks, just to finish the book.

Everything. I once read a series of books over three days and didn’t move from my bed for anything but coffee and bathroom breaks, and then the book I had in my hand went with me.

See?  That wasn’t so bad now, was it?  Keep that dry for a few hours and call me in the morning.  Now, before you go, where can we find you and your books?


Twitter @SinMacD






Now go get back to work.
Ye’sir! Write (groan!) now! ;P