Please tell us a little bit about yourself… (would you describe yourself primarily as a writer, publisher, editor, artist, radio talk show host…) Do you focus on a specific genre with your work?
I describe myself as a storyteller. I tell stories. I make stuff up that is almost plausible, throw in some weird character flaw for my protagonist and antagonist, send them on a journey into a ‘what if’ situation and see what happens. Inevitably, I have an idea, and it will come from something as simple as walking into a room and seeing something out of the ordinary and my mind wanders automatically in to….what if someone became so obsessed with her boyfriend that she thought he was cheating on her, and she killed a complete stranger in the process. The caveat in this piece is the MC was in grade nine.
I write horror. That’s what I classify it. It’s psychological horror, crime horror, the type of stuff that makes a reader go ‘huh’ at the end. It’s about people, damaged, broken, hurt people, who do messed up things, either because they have to, or because they want to. I have always been obsessed with why people do the things they do and I try to get into their heads and figure that out. I write from the broken perspective. Not to garner sympathy, just to play around in their sandbox for a while, mess with their toys, and then I go home to my warm bed and cuddle my dogs.
I do edit for others and my main goal is to write and edit fulltime after my I am finished with career number 8. I change jobs and careers like people change underwear. Well, hopefully people change their underwear more often than eight times in a lifetime……I have fixed airplanes in the military, hung upside down like a bat inside the cockpit of a Tutor; studied psychiatric nursing; managed a hair salon; was a live-in help aide to disabled people, and now I am in law enforcement. I have always wanted to be a writer, though. Wrote my first story when I was six about Dracula and a Duck. Yeah I don’t get it either. But the teacher thought it was great and had me read it to the class, then to the school during an assembly. By the time I was in Grade 6, I was in a Grade 12 English class.
I also review books for other authors and promote them whenever I can. As an industry, we are here to help each other. Being a writer is a tough job, and there are so many great ones out there, that are falling by the wayside. I started writing book reviews to help people get noticed. I read a lot, on the average, probably 200 to 300 hundred books a year. Insomnia is a gift. So when I read something that I think deserves credit, I review it and recommend it for the Bram Stoker awards.
I started the Solstice List two years ago, and a few Stoker recommendations appear on both lists. I love great writing, and want to do my part to promote it. The Solstice List is simple. If I read a book that is edited, blows me away or I can get lost in the dream of it, regardless of the year it is published, it makes it on the list. So out 200 books, 20 make the cut. I started this because I wanted to promote writers but also because I was reading all these great books I could not recommend for a Stoker because they were published in the wrong year. I thought, wow. You people are missing out, readers and writers alike. Penelope Crowe was my inspiration for this when I read 100 Unfortunate Days. What an amazing, terrifying and utterly page-turning book. I read that in one sitting then had nightmares and weird experiences for months. And I could not recommend it for a Stoker because she published it the previous year.
Not all horror writers are members of the Horror Writers Association. If you don’t know about it, how do you get your work noticed?
Right now, I work full time and I take courses in editing to get my certification as a professional editor. I sleep. A lot. I am recovering from the great Brain Splatter Incident of 2009 as I call it, when my brain decided, you know, you think way too damn much, and blew up. Had two ruptured brain aneurysms, who I have named Esmeralda and Esperanza, my conjoined twins. I was terrified I would not be able to write afterwards, but I did. And I take life way less seriously now.
Do you/Would you ever write under a male pseudonym? Why or why not?
I write under M.L. Roos because of the stigma there is against females in writing horror. Everyone expects men to be the horror writers, not the women, and, if you are a female horror writer, then it must be paranormal romance….and I am so far from that. I want people to read my work. I think I have a better shot at it if they don’t know I’m female. Is this reality? I think so. Some would agree, others would say, that’s BS and that’s a cop out. I don’t know. I am not here change the world, just to grab a tiny, crazy little piece of it. So if writing under my initials makes that happen, so be it.
Name a few of your favorite books/authors you’ve read recently:
One of my favourites was The Missing Years of Thomas Pritchard from Matt Shaw. Beautiful, intense, lovely piece of work that made me cry, damn him. Just outstanding. Made my novel of the year for my Solstice List: The Best Books and Stories of the Year, that I publish every December 21st.
Deeply Twisted by Chantal Noordeloos was a great compilation of a deeply twisted mind. That girl can write.
And then of course anything by Michealbrent Collings, Craig Saunders, Billie Sue Mosiman or Penelope Crow. For shock value, I read Matt Shaw and that’s why he surprised the heck out of me with The Missing Years.
Who has been the most influential female in your personal life and how have they shaped your work?
Hands down, without a doubt, Billie Sue Mosiman. When I read Interview with a Psycho, I was hooked. She writes so clean, so to the point, without pretention and claptrap, and superfluous fluff. I loved her from the moment I read her and thought, dammit, that’s who I want to be when I grow up.
The one book that stands out is Widow. I wrote her and wanted her to change the ending. I loved the MC. She was doing horrible things, but she was so broken. I could totally understand why she was doing what she was doing and I was cheering her on. Loved her.
If you could give your younger self one piece of advice relating to the business what would it be?
Be yourself. Do not give up. Keep writing. Keep eating cake for breakfast. Push the send button. One, you asked for one.…..ADD is a gift, dammit.
Do you have a current project or upcoming project you would like to tell us about?
I have several……as I am sure we all do. Do all writers have ADD? I think we have to be, or have some mental illness that sets us apart from the rest of the regulars.
Sever, Slice and Serve will be a collection of short stories, if it ever gets finished.
Talia is part one of a three part series about the origins of Vampirism, Sleeping Beauty and where fairy tales really come from.
Circle of Survivors is a compilation of research in to brain aneurysms and the treatment, care of, and survival guide for survivors and the people in their life.
The Wolfing is about a community of werewolves who share more with the human race than we care to think about.
Where can we find you?
Malina Roos tells stories, runs with scissors, and makes things up all the time. The best part is, a lot of people believe the things she says. He loves her husband and family, including her fur babies and that’s what keeps her grounded. Especially her husband. Without his support, none of this would be possible.
Creating fiction in a non-fiction world keeps her sane and makes her less stabby. And yes, people in her life, do appear in her work……..