I’ve known MB Panichi for, my God. Almost nineteen years. Dayam. If anyone should be published, it’s this one. I remember we went to P-Town with our better halves back in the late ’90’s. Had a great time, played hard all day and who would be up at the buttcrack of dawn writing? Yes, indeed! MB. Crazy woman.
I remember being so impressed that she had rewritten the ending of one of those crazy Sci Fi shows because she hated the way it ended. She showed me the manuscript and I still remember being in total awe that someone I knew actually wrote something that could equate to a real book. Holy crap. Fast forward many years, and I found myself knee-deep in the writing world. I finally conned MB into taking a writing class with me, and KABOOM! Off she went! She hasn’t looked back, and I’m so very proud of her and her accomplishments.
I sat down with MB–okay–full disclosure. I emailed her a few questions and she emailed the answers back. BUT I am currently sitting down writing this, so I am sort of sitting down with MB, right? Anyway, Here’s what she had to say:
What are the biggest lesson(s) you learned after becoming a big-shot published author?
That it’s a lot of work to write a book, but it’s worth it, and I really enjoy the process. Oddly enough, I’ve especially enjoyed the editing process, and have had the good fortune to work with some excellent editors and mentors. I think I’ve learned more from them than from anyone in terms of making my writing flow and the stories fall together.
I’ve also learned that I suck at time management. I struggle to have the energy and brain cells to write after a full day at work. I work best with a deadline, but I also need to be careful to be realistic about my timelines.
Somewhere over the last few years, I also came to believe I could do this writing thing for real, and that it’s okay to call myself an author. It’s still surreal to realize I have two published books!
Where do those novel ideas of yours come from? How do your crazy personal experiences play into the topics you write about?
Most of the time, stories come to me when I’m in that half-asleep dream state, when the images are vivid, and I practically dream a story. Those are the dreams where I get a good sense of my characters and a general feel for the world I’m going to write in. There can be plot points involved, but often it’s more a sense of place and a couple of very vivid video clips in my head. That’s how Saving Morgan came about. I never actually used the scene I dreamed, but I did use the characters in it.
Other times, there is a story or theme in my head that just needs to be written, often for personal reasons, that deals with issues or topics I’m struggling with, or have struggled with. I’m working on one of those right now, slipping out of sci-fi mode and branching into a present-day romance. It’s an adventure for me because I’ve never written outside the sci-fi genre, so I’m stretching my writer’s wings.
Personal experience figures into what I write. I don’t know that I could write without drawing, at least a little bit, from my life experiences. I think there is a little of me, or the idealized person I’d want to be, in some of my characters. Overall, I write what I would want to read – books that are fun, end happily ever after and have strong characters that do interesting things. I used to read a lot of sci-fi, and think easily in those terms, so it’s easy to create that kind of world to write in. I have always read for escapism, and I think the Shaine and Morgan books reflect that.
Yo, Dude!!! If you could give a new writer advice, what would it be?
Write for yourself. Do it because you want to do it, and you need to get the words out of you. Be true to yourself, and write from your heart. Just write.
One of the little known things about you, I think, is that you toured with a rock group. GROOOOVVVYYYYYY, baby!!!! What was that like? Did you have crazy groupie chicks following you all around?
Heh. Yeah. I was the drummer in an all-female heavy metal band in the early nineties, called “No Man’s Land.” I was the only dyke in the band. We wrote and played all our own music, and rocked it out as hard as any “guy” band. We released one CD and a few demos, and managed to get away from our day jobs to do some touring over the course of about three years.
Touring was an adventure, a lot of work, sometimes a lot of fun, sometimes maddening, and the best thing ever to play drums every day. To be honest, if we could have “made it,” I would have been happy with that life. It’s freeing to be able to simply live in the moment.
The tours I remember most were when we headed west. It’s hard to think of a specific crazy thing that happened; so much of that time is a blur of disconnected images and scenes and experiences.
We were playing in Hollywood when the Rodney King riots broke out. We’d played some place on Sunset Strip that night. I remember after the show we’d split up, wandering around the strip. A couple of the gals had gone to get tattoos, and a couple of us were just hanging out people watching. It was well into the wee hours when people started talking about something big going on, but nobody seemed to know what. I remember I could just feel the bad energy in the air, and we knew we didn’t want to spend the night in our rickety RV, which was parked on the street in North Hollywood.
We got the band together and ended up staying in an apartment with about five other people that night, crashed on the floor in our sleeping bags. By the morning, there was a pall of smoke over the whole city, and the news coverage was constant and incredibly racist. Everyone was scared. I remember walking down to the 7-11 on the corner to get food and worrying that we wouldn’t make it back to the apartment before curfew. It felt creepy and scary, and dangerous.
For a bunch of women from Minnesota, it was very eye opening. I know it was way outside my personal comfort zone.
What are you rocking on now? Are you planning on bringing Shaine and Morgan back?
I’m working on a present-day romance, which is a story I needed to tell for myself. There are parts of it that hit close to home, though it’s not autobiographical. It touches on homophobic small-town relatives and breaking out of the roles our families force us into. I wanted to write a character who had to stand up for herself and come into her own.
Never fear, though! I’ll definitely return to Shaine and Morgan’s world. I’ve got another book or two floating around in my head for them, and that will be the next project on my list.
Thanks for taking time to virtually hang! Any last-minute words of wisdom?
Write, read, be peaceful and love each other.
Here are MB’s two published books, and if you care to leave a comment, ask MB a question, whatever, your name will be thrown in the hat, and we will do a drawing for TWO print books! You could be one of the two lucky winners!
MB Panichi writes sci-fi/romance/adventures. She has two titles currently published with Bella Books. “Saving Morgan,” and the sequel, “Running Toward Home,” released in May of 2014. MB lives just outside Minneapolis, MN and by day is a Quality Assurance Analyst and Software Developer. By night, she considers herself a writer, a drummer, and an obsessive reader. MB shares a home with her wife of 18 years. They have two loveable and impish little Shihtzus who keep them very busy.