Meet Our Authors: Wil Redd

Wil ReddWil Redd is imaginary. It is a disguise used to distract the reader from the fact that the man behind the mask is a charlatan. Mr. Redd is a professional bad cat behavior enabler, assistant pop-culture t-shirt tester, and former heavy-weight champion of the crushed dreams league. His physical body lives somewhere in Lowell, MA with his beloved Fiancée, a pair of monochromatic cats, and a barky little mutt.
Wil is another long time member and the editors of the Mill Pages magazine.  In volume one you can read his story “What If All There Is To Life Is That Pat Benatar Song On Repeat?” and in volume two you can read “Magdalena Saw a Dragon.”
How did you get started writing?

I can’t remember the first time I started writing, but I can tell you I’ve always been a storyteller. As a little kid, my explanations for things included very convoluted stories that delighted my grandfather, and I’m not sure anyone else. Bottom line, I started early.

What types of stories do you like to write?

I like to write absurd stories. My go-to genres are science fiction, horror, surrealism, fantasy, and short stories.

Who influenced you most as a writer?

I think R.L. Stine influenced me more than I’d like to admit, particularly in the beginning. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Edgar Allan Poe, Aldous Huxley, Ernest Hemingway, and Alice Murno.

What’s the first book you remember reading?

The first book I remember reading was in Spanish “El Gato Con Botas.” [Puss in Boots] by Charles Perrault. The first novel I read was “The Haunted Mask,” from the Goosebumps from R. L. Stine.

What movie, tv-show, YouTube channel, or blog do you think more people should watch (just pick one) and why?

Legion. It’s a masterclass in cinematography, adaptation, and storytelling.

5 Things you want us to know about you:

  1. I would love to write for video games.
  2. I was a full redhead when I was a kid.
  3. In another life, I was a dodo.
  4. I talk to animals like if they were people.
  5. I was born in Puerto Rico.

Don’t for get Mill Pages volume 1, to read “What If All There Is To Life Is That Pat Benatar Song On Repeat? and volume 2 to read Magdalena Saw a Dragon.”

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Meet Our Authors: Matthew H. Jones

Matthew H. JonesMatthew H. Jones writes. Obviously, there’s more to him than that, but the fact of his writing, in this context, is the most important thing. He also lives in Lowell, attends classes at UMass Lowell, and has uneven legs. He encourages you to seek out his books, to decide whether he writes well or poorly. He’s been accused of doing both. If you’d like to know about him or his writing, try screaming his name at a south bound bird. If he doesn’t appear, try his social media links: Facebook and Twitter.

As one of our founding members and current leader, Matthew H. Jones has helped shaped the direction of the Mill Pages writing group.  When he isn’t writing with us, he also writes urban fantasy, including No Magic For Luke Peters, the first book in his Luke Peters series.  His work is included in both editions of Mill Pages.  In volume 1, you can read the first chapter in No Magic for Luke Peters and in volume 2 you can read Do You Regret Me?

No Magic for Luke PetersHow did you get started writing?

I honestly don’t know. Since I was very little, I would make up stories. Ask for writing seriously – writing to be published -, that’s a moving goal post. I wrote an 114,000-word manuscript, and I thought I was serious then. The manuscript was completely unedited and had plot holes big enough to drive trucks through. I also queried agents at random with a multiple-paged query letter. Looking back, I wasn’t serious.  

What types of stories do you like to write?

I’m goofy for violence. It’s come to the plot that I’m proud of myself when people in my stories argue instead of kick and punch. I want to be funny and sometimes, I succeed. However, my stories hang in dark corners.

Who influenced you most as a writer?

I read Stephen King a lot, and I will readily take his advice.

What’s the first book you remember reading?

The Henry and Mudge series: I’m not exactly sure why I read so many of these ready-to-read books. I remember my school’s librarian knew I read this series exclusively and I lost one of her books. Until I returned it, I couldn’t take out another book. I ended up paying the library for the book but the book was never replaced.

What movie, TV-show, YouTube channel, or blog do you think more people should watch (just pick one) and why?

In modern life, there is too much culture. It’s way more acceptable to “miss out” on certain things. When there were ten channels to choose from and they all went off by midnight, required reading made more sense. If I can retool the question to say “What shows do I wish people got behind so I could still watch it,” then I’d say Alphas. The show cost next to nothing and the writing kicked ass. If Supernatural could have twelve seasons, why did Alphas only get two? Granted, the two leads on Supernatural are beautiful in a way that even heterosexual men have to admit. But, Alphas had a pretty boy; half as many, so they should have gotten half as many seasons, at least.    

5 Things you want us to know about you:

  1. I’m a liar and insincere as hell. Half of my personality hangs off of guiltily hiding the fact that I forgot someone’s name and how I know them.
  2. I understand that I’m likable because people seem to like me. However, if I knew someone like me, I don’t think I’d hang out with him.
  3. In conversation, I will sometimes stop paying attention because something you said gave me an idea for a story. I was with friends last night, talking about drinking games. ”You don’t even have to watch the movie; I’ll just tell you when to drink.” That made me think of a cute, Jewish woman being the personification of Alcoholism, following you around, randomly commanding you to get drunk.
  4. Many writers place great importance of the names of their characters. In most cases, I place no importance at all. I think it was wrong-headed to name Remus Lupin that. When his parents were figuring out a name for him, did his father say: “I bet he’ll be the kind of guy who gets attacked by werewolves. Instead of protecting him from that fate, let’s give everyone else a hint at how clever we are”? Han Solo isn’t cool because George Lucas named him that.
  5. I like beer. I drink it, too.

Buy your copy of  No Magic For Luke Peters, the first book in his Luke Peters series.  Don’t for get Mill Pages volume 1, to read the first chapter in No Magic for Luke Peters and volume 2 to read Do You Regret Me?

Meet Our Authors: H.L. Rudd

H.L. RuddH.L.Rudd was born and raised in the rural reaches of northeastern Alabama. Her parents were a pair of lovable hippies, and her stepfather was an ex-catholic Italian from Boston. Needless to say, Alabama didn’t work out. In the land of hunting, hiking, and high school football, she preferred reading collections of spooky southern folk tales and surfing the southeast’s unforgivably slow internet. In Alabama’s defense, it was the 90s.

Today, she lives in Massachusetts, where she still loves her creepy stories, but can’t quite get over the shortage of all-night diners. Even so, she loves Massachusetts, and has been part of the Mill Pages writing group ever since discovering it. This is her first real Massachusetts home, and she’s honored to be a part of it.

Hannah’s short story, “Unicorn”, is included in our anthology volume 2.  You can follow her blog, 905, where she shares more about her life and more of her stories!  You will be able to read more from her here at the Mill Pages blog when she posts book reviews.

How did you get started writing?

A couple different things lead up to it, but there is one moment in particular. Like any other kid, I used to play pretend and make up little adventures for my toys and things like that, but it didn’t really think about writing fiction until the 7th grade. I started off by writing little snippets for assignments in English class. That’s not exactly voluntary, though, so I don’t count it.
My English teacher was incredibly supportive, so I moved from doing little assignments for class to writing little pieces of my own. But it became important to my when I posted my first story online.
I posted it on a dingy, long-forgotten forum on the early 2000s internet. I didn’t expect much to come of it, but when I checked the next day, a single anonymous comment was waiting for me.

“You’re good at this,” it said. “You should do more.”

That was the encouragement I needed. Parents and teachers, I felt, always had some measure of obligation. The anonymous internet doesn’t owe anything to anybody.

What types of stories do you like to write?

I’ve been swingings swords and slaying dragons since I could pick up a stick, and it’s hard to find a brand of fantasy that I haven’t dipped my toes into, either as a reader or a writer. I lean towards politically-oriented period fantasy; it gives me a great chance to inject some of my love of history into my work, though I don’t write any true historical fiction.

I’m also enjoy writing horror. My first novel-length project is a psychological horror piece, which I hope to finish in the near future. Horror themes speak to me – my sense of humor, my taste in ambience, it all leans a little dark.

Who influenced you most as a writer?

There are a lot, but I ought to be diplomatic and choose one, right? There were plenty of important fantasy and sci fi series in my youth, but there’s a stand out winner: Anne McCaffrey, author of Dragonriders of Pern. It’s not the first series I loved, but it’s the first series that I allowed to swallow me. I’d never loved anything so deeply, and I can see its influence in my work now. Thank you, Dragonlady.

What’s the first book you remember reading?

Not counting actual children’s books, it’s probably either The Animorphs series by K.A. Applegate, or The Hobbit by Tolkien. I can’t recall which was first.

What movie, tv-show, YouTube channel, or blog do you think more people should watch (just pick one) and why?

Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell. It’s a science and philosophy channel with excellent information and wonderful presentation. I believe it’s important for people to be scientifically literate and to think more deeply about their world. This channel is one of the most fascinating I’ve found.

5 Things you want us to know about you:

  1. I grew up in rural Alabama. I’ve relocated to Massachusetts and I absolutely love it here, but the connection to the south will always be a part of me.
  2. I hold a graduate degree in history, and I love incorporating history into my writing.
  3. I used to own a comic book and game store. I sold it to pursue a career as a teacher.
  4. I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
  5. I’m absolutely terrified of aliens! I’m talking about the traditional Grays, with the big, almond-shaped eyes. I used to have nightmares about them as a child, and ever since then, they scare the life out of me!

Meet Our Authors: Katelyn Varley

Katelyn Varley writes poetry and prose. When not engaging in wordplay, she teaches swimming to all ages. She graduated from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA with a degree in History. She lives in Ayer, MA with her partner and their cat and two dogs. Find her on Twitter @HistKB.

Katelyn is one of our newest authors!  She will be featured in our third issue, which is currently in production.

How did you get started writing?

In third grade, I wrote and read a story in front of my class. I was highly praised by my teacher for my creativity. It gave me a lot of confidence and encouraged me to continue telling stories.

There have been times in my life in which writing was the only way I felt comfortable expressing myself. Journaling keeps my writing going even when facing difficult times.

What types of stories do you like to write?

I have dabbled in different genres. Yet, whether it is a fantasy on imagined planet or a slice-of-life comedy, character is the most crucial part of my stories. Inspiration strikes me in the form of a new character first. I find developing and drawing out their story the most interesting process in writing.

Who influenced you most as a writer?

My spouse, Heather, is the most influential person in my life. She has pushed me creatively for years. Whenever I have a question about a character or a plot point, she always helps me figure it out. I would not have finished any of my work without her.

What’s the first book you remember reading?

The first book I can remember being able to read independently was Dr. Seuss’ One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. I knew many nonsense words before I knew many actual words!

What movie, tv-show, YouTube channel, or blog do you think more people should watch (just pick one) and why?

The YouTube Channel I would recommend to nearly everyone is The Vlogbrothers. It is a channel by brothers John and Hank Green. It has been running for years and covers a vast amount of topics from general advice, creativity, (John is an author and Hank is a musician) and science. Through their channel they have also launched The Project for Awesome, which gives money to charities chosen by the donors. They take their phrase, “Don’t forget to be awesome” seriously, but also inject plenty of silliness.

5 Things you want us to know about you:

  1. Since 2011, I’ve participated in National Novel Writing Month annually. I find it creatively challenging and a way for me to connect to the larger writing community.
  2. I always listen to music when I write. For every piece I’ve written, regardless of length, I’ve also created a playlist that reflects the mood I aim to convey.
  3. I have a strong belief that all narratives must belong to a larger context.  It is important for me to have a solid understanding of the history of the society I’m writing about. I have constructed family trees for characters because it is essential for me to know their roots.
  4. Although I’ve never employed the technique myself, I love footnotes in fiction.
  5. I have memorized Emily Dickinson’s poem “I’m a nobody! Who are you?”

Meet Our Authors: E.A. Weir

E.A. WeirE.A. Weir joined the Mill Pages group a few years ago. She is a huge sci-fi/fantasy fan and child of the 80s. She is from the Greater Lowell area in the wicked awesome state of Massachusetts. Her first published story, “Trick and Treating”, is included in Mill Pages volume 2.

How did you get started writing?

When I was a kid I did an assignment that my teacher entered into a contest and I won.  As an adult I started watching a t.v. show and I almost wrote fan fiction but I wanted to write my own instead.

What types of stories do you like to write?

Sci-fi & Fantasy but it’s mostly Fantasy set in space with light sci-fi.

Who influenced you most as a writer?

L.M. Montgomery, Anne Lindbergh, J.K .Rowling, and My Mother and Father both are big readers I want to write something they would read and enjoy.

What’s the first book you remember reading?

Lots of children’s books the one I remember reading many times is There is a Monster at the End of this Book, for novels I remember reading Anne of Green Gables, Bridge to Terabithia, The Hunky Dory Dairy, Where the Red Fern Grows, Bailey’s Window, a few of the Ramona books, a couple of Nancy Drew books, some of Sweet Valley Twins books and some of the Babysitters Club books not sure which one was first out of those

What movie, tv-show, YouTube channel, or blog do you think more people should watch (just pick one) and why?

Babylon 5 the complete series I think it is one of the best sci-fi space operas ever made. I think it is a more realistic of how earth would be in space as much as I love Star Trek it was too utopian to be realistic. The politics of the show is still relevant today.  This show has a tremendous overall story and outstanding characters and a rich, detailed universe.  

5 Things you want us to know about you:

  1. I love Sci-fi and Fantasy both the serious and the tongue in cheek.
  2. I am a political junkie love to read and watch.
  3. I have an extremely good memory it can be a blessing and a curse.
  4. I am an eclectic spiritual person I believe in a higher power but not one doctrine I think all have stuff to teach us.
  5. A quote I love is “Life is a movie full of mysteries but the trick is to learn to enjoy the comedies” I do always try to find the humor sometimes are harder than others.
Mill Pages Vol. 2
Mill Pages Vol. 2

Buy your copy of Mill Pages vol. 2 to read “Trick and Treating” and other great stories.

Meet Our Authors: Sara Marks

Sara MarksOur first interview is with Sara Marks, one of our authors!  By day she’s a librarian, but by night she’s an author, knitter, and Wikipedian.  She has been writing as part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) since 2004.  Her first novel, Modern Persuasion, was published in May 2017 with Illuminated Myth Publishing.  In December 2017 she released A Little More Modern Persuasion, an anthology of short stories and character profiles connected to Modern Persuasion.  Her second novel, Phi Alpha Pi, is set for release in May 2018.  She also has stories in both issues of Mill Pages.  In volume one, she wrote “Where Do All The Lonely People Come From?”. In volume two, she wrote “1000 Things I Saw Before I Died”.

Modern PersuasionBorn in Boston, MA and raised in Miami, FL, Sara attended Florida State University for 3 years before she failed and dropped out.  She now lives in Lowell, MA with her dog Cedric and cat Sabine.  She managed to not only graduate from college, but earned two Master’s degrees.  She’s one of our founding members and a member of the Society of Independent Publishers and Authors (SIPA), a group supporting indie authors and publishers in the Merrimack Valley.

For this series, we’ve asked our authors to answer five questions and share five facts about themselves.  Here’s what Sara shared!

How did you get started writing?

I’ve always been a writer, even as a child, but in 2004 I really started focusing on writing because of National Novel Writing Month.  I had wanted to participate for years, but graduate school had made it difficult for me to even remember it in November.  Once I was working, I finally had the time to write the story that had been in my head for about a year.

What types of stories do you like to write?

I started out writing fantasy, but I have published romance novels.  I like to play against romantic tropes, especially those found in Chick Lit novels.  It turns out, I’m pretty good at writing romance stories.

Who influenced you most as a writer?

A lot of different authors have influenced me.  These days, because I modernize her stories, Jane Austen has been my biggest influence.  I’m not trying to write social commentary through romance and I don’t have her subtle sarcasm, but she is a good model for general romance.  Also, it helps that many of her themes still apply today.

What’s the first book you remember reading?

My parents are and have always been voracious readers.  I don’t recall the stories I specifically loved having them read to me, but I remember learning to read with “Ramona The Pest” by Beverly Cleary.  I was in Kindergarten and so was Ramona.

What movie, tv-show, YouTube channel, or blog do you think more people should watch (just pick one) and why?

I spend a lot of time watching YouTube these days.  It’s my new way to consume media.  I do have one author I watch, Jenna Moreci, who writes fantasy books and has a channel devoted to writing and marketing advice for authors.

5 Things you want us to know about you:

  1. I was a clown for 3 years in college.  I went to birthday parties to paint faces and make balloon animals.
  2. I am obsessed with unicorns.
  3. I was a competitive swimmer as a tween and a certified life guard in college.  I worked at a Girl Scout camp every summer as a life guard.
  4. My Disney princess is Leia.
  5. I have been editing Wikipedia for over 10 years and often speak at conferences about the experience.

Visit Sara’s webpage

Checkout Sara’s books on Amazon