Author, military consultant, and self-described Renaissance man Matthew (M.J.) Hardy was born and raised in the Detroit suburbs. He joined the United States Army as an infantry soldier and officer after receiving his undergraduate degree. He served in the military for nearly 22 years and has since worked as a consultant. He now devotes his time to creating contemporary short stories and mystery novels, advising, and spiritual mentoring. According to an M.J. Hardy interview:
1. What difference do you see between a writer and an author?
Although, I have two books published and received compensation for my writing. I still consider myself a writer—it’s a better fit. If I called myself an author, I would be compelled to wear corduroy sport coats with leather elbow patches and smoke a pipe.
2. Have you ever considered writing under a pseudonym, and why or why not?
I was never compelled or interested in writing under a pseudonym. My name is Matthew John Hardy, and I go by Matt, but I decided to go by M. J. Hardy. I liked the sound of it.
3. What does “writer’s block” mean to you?
I have never suffered from writer’s block. But, I spend a lot of time just “thinking” about characters, storylines, arcs, and details. My favorite things to help clear my mind are vacuuming the rugs and polishing the furniture—my wife loves me for it.
4. How do you process and deal with negative book reviews?
Do not take it personally or obsess over it. Learn and grow from them. I wrote a lot as an Army officer and received thoughtful and constructive criticism. This was a tremendous opportunity to grow professionally as a writer.
5. What is the most challenging part of your writing process?
I enjoy it all—creative and business. However, I am a perfectionist, so my biggest challenge is trying to make everything “so.”
6. What advice would you give writers working on their first book?
Perseverance. I would say just keep going one word, one sentence, and one paragraph at a time. Keep after it, and your story starts to take shape. Editing. Yes, pay money to have your story professionally edited. Criticism. Do not be thinned-skinned. Be open to honest and objective criticism. I was trying to help a young writer. She complained that she did not have a single review of her books. I told her I would purchase one of her books and write a review. I started reading the book, and it was terrible—sophomoric. No wonder she couldn’t even get family and friends to write a review. I pointed out many areas that would improve her story, but she refused to listen or change.
7. What are the most important elements of good writing to you?
Well-crafted and exciting story with compelling characters. A story that has readers wanting to turn to the next page.
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