Monday, August 18, 2014

Travel to Old Kinsale with Michael McKee and MJ Schiller

This week we have imaginative author M.J. Schiller, creator of Damage Done and protagonist Michael McKee. Welcome M.J. and Mikey!
When an unhappy youth leaves him damaged, will Teddy McKee be able to find love?
Teddy Passmore McKee was born in Cork, Ireland, with a limp and a chip on his shoulder that threw his balance off all the more. When he falls in love with the dark haired beauty born of an Irish father and a Spanish mother, will Gabrielle Quinn be able to restore his balance? And what about the charming Sean Hennessey? When Gabby catches his eye, too, will Teddy’s playboy best friend cause his own damage?
Fourteen years later, will Teddy and Gabrielle’s son be able to overcome the damage done to him in his childhood?
Even through bloodshot eyes he could see she was different. But can Michael leave behind the bottle, and his womanizing ways, to win over the lovely Tess Flanagan? Tess has sustained some damage of her own. Can she and Michael overcome the terrors of the past and learn how to love each other?
And if they do, will they be able to elude those after them who want to create their own damage?
On the run after an altercation leaves their boss in a pool of blood, will Michael and Tess be able to stay one step ahead of their pursuers? Or is it simply too late to correct the damage that has been done?
Well, gee. With that, we have to know more about this man. Where are you from, Michael? I guess you could say I’m from a lil’ bit of everywhere. I was born in Cork, Ireland and lived there until I was twelve, lived in Limerick for a while, then on the Old Head of Kinsale. I get around.
Tell us a bit about Damage Done. It’s pretty much the story of me life, and the lives leading up to mine. It’s about me mum and da and me Uncle Sean, and about Tess and me. There’s a lil’ bit of mystery to it, too.
What did you think the first time you saw Tess? Ahh! I thought she was a fine thing. She was…fresh. Different. Tess.
And your second thought? I thought that any man who could fetch her would be living the life of Reilly, and I wanted to be that man.
Did you think it was love at first sight? It was, but I didn’t know it at the time.
What do you like most about Tess? Oh, it’s so hard to say. It’s the whole package, you know? She’s sweet, but sassy. Innocent, yet sexy. She keeps me in me place and sends me to the moon!
How would you describe her? You mean physically? She’s got this gorgeous cascade of wavy red hair you just want to grab hold of. And eyes that reflect the greenest green of Ireland. And a heart as big as County Cork.
How would she describe you? I think she’d say I’m a goofball. But a lovable goofball.
What made you choose musician and woodworker as careers? Never considered what a queer mix that is. I play me music because I like to fancy meself a rock star. The woodworking I do to bring home a paycheck. Or at least what passes for a paycheck.
What is your biggest fear? I guess it’d be reliving the night me mum died.
How do you relax? Oh, the usual. Playing with the kids, making love to me missus, strumming me guitar or plunking away at the keyboard.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? I guess I’d have to say the legendary hero, Cuchulainn. Or Fionn and Fianna, distinguished warriors and guardians for all Ireland. Tess has kind of got me into them when she tells the kids bedtime stories.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Let go of your past. There’s a reason it’s behind you.
Excellent! We'll remember that one. Now, let's spend a bit of time with MJ, your creator: What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer and why? Nora Roberts' books have had both a positive and negative impact on me. Positive, because her books so captivated me I wanted to write romance. Negative because Nora has a habit of head-hopping, a giant faux pas in our industry and I’ve had to battle that in my own writing. Nora can get away with it because, well, she’s Nora.
What real thing or event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? My trip to Ireland in 2003 heavily influenced this book. The cottage we stayed in was on the Old Head of Kinsale and that is where Tess and Michael’s story begins.
Would you do that same thing in your next story? My next story is set about as far away from the Old Head of Kinsale as can be. In outer space! And I’ve never been there so I don’t see that shaping the book.
Tell us a bit about your publisher. I traveled the traditional publisher route but now I self-publish all of my books. I love having artistic control over my work and cover art as well as being able to make my own business and marketing decisions. I discovered my traditional publisher through my Romance Writers of America chapter. It was five months from query to e-book, four more before I had a print copy out.
What project[s] are you working on now? I’ve just started edits on a new, sci-fi romance trilogy. The first book is titled Leap Into The Knight and is about a couple of space-aged knights and the princess they are called to rescue.
What's up next for you? After the trilogy is out I’ll be looking at putting out Blackout, a contemporary romance with a love triangle. Things start heating up for Eli and Faith when they are stuck on an elevator during a blackout. Ironically, it is a second blackout that tears them apart. An event that takes place when Eli is passed out. Eli’s friend Max steps up to fill the void in Faith’s life after that and eventually she has to choose between two very worthy men.
MJ has been kind enough to bring an excerpt to the table for us:
“Tessie…” He offered again. “We have to get out of here.”
She remained frozen in her spot, staring blindly over the cliff. He moved a step closer and gently grasped her elbow. “Tess—”
She whirled around and his heart caught in his chest as he stared into her wild green eyes. Tears shone on her damp cheeks, glimmering in the moonlight like trails of scattered diamonds. “Nay, Michael,” she said, her words coming out choked. “I have to tell them the truth. It’s my fault. …I k-killed him.” She sobbed.
He looked at her sadly, begging her, “Let me help you.”
The back door creaked open and light spilled out from the bar across the grass, startling them. He saw Jimmy Flynn’s outline in the doorway. “They’re out here!” he yelled.
Without waiting for a response, Michael took Tess’s arm and steered her along the cliff’s edge. He stepped over the railing and helped her to the other side as well. They stood on a narrow ledge. To the left a trail dropped off toward the sea. He led her skittering down the path, loose rock pebbling the beach far below. He had taken the pathway many a night when he was drunk and feeling particularly reckless. Tonight he hurried over it with only self-preservation and Tess’s safety in mind.
They heard voices above them, coming from every direction as searchers fanned out along the top of the cliff. Their eyes met. They hardly dared to breathe. A flashlight beam ventured over the railing and along the cliff face. She clutched his hand, squeezing it until he lost feeling in his fingers. He tried to flatten himself even more tightly against the rock face, wishing it would somehow melt and absorb them. Several seconds passed and the beam of light was joined by another, and another, each swinging away, and then toward them again.
He grabbed a quick look at the churning sea below then closed his eyes for a second, and his stomach dropped. He took a deep breath before turning his head to look at Tess. Her eyes were closed and her lips were moving fervently, but she emitted no sound. He swallowed, wondering again why the sight of her affected him so. After several minutes a voice called out, “You won’t get away with this, Mikey.” Had someone seen them? He heard Jimmy Flynn mutter, “Wherever they are, we won’t find them tonight.” One by one the lights disappeared until only a solitary beam shone.

This has been great fun for us, learning more about a loyal and frequent visitor to Wild Women Authors. All the best to you, MJ
To learn more about MJ Schiller, go to:
To purchase DAMAGE DONE, go to:


  1. What a fun interview! Loved getting a deeper look at Michael. Best of luck with Damage Done!

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Ally
    we appreciate the support
    Kat & Veronica

  3. Thanks, Alicia! Yeah, I kind of love Michael myself. ;) And thank you, Veronica for having me on again. I enjoy being here!

  4. Thanks, Diane. It's always fun to mess around with your characters! Have a good evening!

  5. Gorgeous cover, MJ! I loved the excerpt-- took me right back to the Old Head of Kinsale where I stood in the fog, menaced by thug hired to keep riff raff like me out of the private domain of the wealthy. I'm delighted to know about your book :-)

    1. Interesting as there are thugs and riff raff in DAMAGE DONE, too! Thanks for stopping in, Kate, and taking the time to comment!

  6. Great interview! Ireland is one of my favorite settings. Can't wait to read it!

    1. Thanks, Beth! I know you love the Emerald Isle as much as I do! Good hearing from you.