Writer’s Spotlight: Stuart Haddon

Let's have a cuppa.

Red was busy with a spilled latte when she heard the unmistakable accent of a Scotsman at a table in the corner. Yes, he was arguing with his tablet, but she wanted to see who the newest member of the M3 Coffee Shoppe was. Stuart Haddon stowed the wayward tablet and got wound up in Red’s typical game of over-caffeinated stick and move.

M3: I have seen your passport, but the M3 Readers have no idea who you are yet. Give them the book jacket version of your identity.

SH: Stuart Haddon is a Scot, living in Southern Maryland. He is the author of action thriller The Butterfly & The Bull, recently published, and a number of short stories… He is working on a sequel to his novel.

M3: Before you fall prey to the questions, anyone you want to thank?

SH: For daily inspiration, support and editing skills, my wife Juli is at the top of the list. I’m also grateful to Joe The Dog, who walks me on the beach twice a day and thus gives me the space for being creative AND getting exercise; and the Writers By The Bay group who provide merciless critiques of anything I put in front of them.

Stuart Haddon

Stuart Haddon

M3: Animal lovers score big with the M3 Readers. So, where did this all begin?

SH: Standing on a beach on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, staring at a beach locker and thinking what a good place it would be to shelter from a storm. That was the point at which I decided I was going to write a novel.

M3: Paper? Check. Pencil? Check. Story line? Speaking of story line, are you busy doing something now?

SH: The Sequel…working title! I became so attached to the bunch of characters I created for the first novel, that I just had to write about them again. It’s a bit darker than the first one, but I think it’s going to turn out really well. I just finished Chapter 9 before I started doing this interview.

M3: Your poor tablet was just tired. Shame on you for yelling at it! Do you ever give it a hiatus?

SH: I love writing and even a day without it seems like a missed opportunity. Besides, my aging brain can’t retain things as well as it used to, so any hiatus might be fatal for continuity.

M3: Born blond, eh? If you are not taking big breaks, how do you find time, what with Joe The Dog dragging you around the beach?

SH: I was lucky enough to be able to retire four years ago, and I now consider myself a full-time author.

M3: Oh, good. The M3 Readers and I should not care about your day job.

SH: No, you should not. Because I don’t have one. Oh, wait a minute, I’m a writer during the day!

M3: Funny how that works, huh? So, Mr. Writer-During-The-Day, what wisdom can you pass along to the aspiring authors at M3?

SH: Once you start writing, the next most important thing is to share it with someone who can give you an honest opinion and has the skills to make suggestions. I recommend joining a writers’ group, or sharing your drafts with people you link to on the Internet.

M3: The Internet is playing a bigger role for authors. How important is your own social media marketing?

SH: In my case, that’s the whole game. Like lots of authors in my situation, I’m playing catch-up. Social networking has perforce become a big part of my day’s activities. Along the way, I’ve discovered that there is a big positive spin-off from all this time spent. I get to be in touch with a lot of interesting and supportive people, and I daily get nuggets of information and links which help me to be a better author and publicist.

M3: Let’s talk shop. The traditional publishing landscape is morphing. Any bone you have to pick from the ones sticking out of it now?

SH: I try not to pick bones. I have Joe The Dog, after all. The industry is what it is but it won’t be for much longer, the way things are going. I think their motto is going to have to be Adapt or Die!

M3: I think they should print T-shirts. Do you think the industry holds the opinion self-published material is inferior to its own products?

SH: Definitely. Although I do think that view is slowly changing. However, self-published authors have a big nut to crack, which is finding a way to ensure that their product is always of marketable quality. Lack of editorial input is a big problem, resulting in some works being full of typos, grammatical errors, continuity problems, etc.

M3: You should see some of the aspiring authors in the Friday Follies! Tell me about your colleagues. I know you love your writers’ group. What about the people you work with all the time?

SH: I love my editor. In fact, I sleep with my editor…

M3: That’s one way to get promoted! Well, you may as well tell me a secret, since you are being so open. What do you want me to keep from the M3 Readers?

SH: That the loveable master of the Blarney, Mike O’Malley, doesn’t actually die in the explosion. This is just between you and me, right?!

The Butterfly & The Bull

The Butterfly & The Bull

M3: Mum is the word. The Butterfly & The Bull means a good bit to you. Why is this one so close to your heart?

SH: Because, in its conception, I found my voice as a writer, created some great characters who continue to give me pleasure, and explored some of my favorite places in the world. I also get a lot of positive feedback about it, which does my self-esteem no harm.

M3: You have come to the right place for building self-esteem! How is this one different from the rest of the genre pack?

SH: I think it is the combination of the setting (financial collapse, social unrest); the hero (ordinary man with some paranormal skills); the motley collection of interesting characters he meets and their relationships; the action and excitement; and the locations (DC, Chesapeake Bay, Atlantic Ocean, Ireland, Scotland, London).

M3: Break that down into a 15-word headline. Why should the M3 Readers buy The Butterfly & The Bull?

SH: It’s a terrific read: exciting, interesting, full of great characters and exceptionally well-written.


Dearest M3 Readers,

Please take a few moments to check out Stuart Haddon and his new title, The Butterfly & The Bull. Visit Stuart’s blog to learn more about the author and his book. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on The Butterfly & The Bull.

Thank you for your wonderful support of the talented M3 Coffee Shoppe authors. When you tweet and +1 this post, please use the hashtags #authors, #books and #WW.



(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2012
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  1. authormjlogan

     /  February 15, 2012

    Congratulations on publishing “The Butterfly & The Bull.” Believe me when I say I know how much you go through from first draft to ready for publishing. Six times through is pretty good. Some people go through twice that many revisions before a work is ready.


    • Thanks, MJ. I think my editor and I counted at least twelve passes through the final draft and then, when I got a proof copy of the actual book, we gave it to a number of willing volunteers who read it for errors, while we went through it twice more. Even then, a couple of (minor) typos slipped through!

      • I have to take my hat off to you for that. The last round of printed books I bought were atrocious. They have cured me of buying anything in print unless I have already read it digitally.

        Yeah, yeah. I know. Grammar Nazi.

        • I’m with you 100%, Red. I’ve read so many books over the last few months and, sadly, many of them failed to pass the grammar, punctuation or typo police check! Even those with good plots became unreadable as a result.

          • I think the most egregious was one with 15 straight pages of dialog, with not one reference to who was saying what. You would think they would at least have gotten the quotation marks correct to make it quasi-readable. Uh, no.

  2. Great interview Red and I enjoyed the meeting Stuart and being introduced to his work. I wish his book much success!

  3. What a great interviewer you are. I knew it all along. It’s who you sleep with. Does he have a list of names?

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