Today I have a guest post from  M.J. Rose, author of The Hypnotist. Here, she will share her own writing rituals and habits with us. I will also be giving away a copy of The Hypnotist so be sure to fill out the form at the end of this post and leave a comment for M.J. Rose.

Please welcome M.J. Rose!

All writers have rites and rituals that we've developed over the years. I always wonder about these habits and idiosyncrasies. But I never have the nerve to ask the venerable pros I meet.

Here are mine.

Before I start any book I need three things. The first is a question I don't know the answer to but find interesting enough to spend at least a year finding out.

The second is a quote that captures the spirit of the theme I want to write about — what I think powers the novel.

And the third is an object that belongs to my main character — that has some meaning to him or her — even if I don't always know quite what that meaning is when I begin.

The question that inspired this book was: Who owns art? Should the cultural heritage of a piece of artwork determine what museum it finally winds up in? Is restitution always in the best interest of the pubic?

For years I've been reading about Greece's efforts to get the Elgin Marbles back to their homeland. I can see both sides of the arguments. I have sympathy for countries whose riches have been taken from them. But at the same time I've spent a lot of my life visiting museums. I've been moved and inspired by work gathered from around the world and can't imagine what these amazing institutions would be like if they were stripped of their treasures.

The quote that mesmerized me and epitomized what I wanted this book to be about was:

Often, in the cosseted quarters of a museum, we forget that every work of ancient art is a survivor, a representative of untold numbers of similar artworks that perished. This triumphant exhibition makes us remember, while demonstrating that every survivor saves much more than just itself: long strands of culture, identity and history waiting to be woven back together.
—Roberta Smith writing in the New York Times about the exhibit Silent Survivors of Afghanistan's 4,000 Tumultuous Years

And the magical object, the talisman that belongs to my main character, is a broken pencil. It was in Lucian Glass's pocket the day he was brutally attacked and killed. He was only 20 at the time, a student at college. Glass has kept the pencil in a drawer that he opens all the time... he's seen it so often that he no longer notices it. Until the day my novel starts... and he's forced into remembering something he never really could forget.


M.J. Rose - THE HYPNOTIST - An Indie Next Pick
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Thanks to M.J. Rose, I have a copy of The Hypnotist to giveaway to one lucky winner! You must fill out the form below in order to enter. Don’t forget to leave a comment for M.J. Rose! Giveaway open to US and Canada residents. Please read my Contest/Giveaway Policy for complete list of rules. Giveaway ends Thursday, August 5th, 2010. Good luck to all who enter!

About Brianna: Supermom by day, naughty reader by night. Addicted to chocolate, Twitter, her iPad, her Kindle, and 99¢ Kindle deals. You can follow Brianna on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Instagram.


  1. Thanks for the post. This book certainly grabs me. Now I want to read it even more.

    dorcontest at gmail dot com

  2. I have read a lot of reviews on this book, and have been wanting to read it. It sounds absolutely wonderful.


  3. Great post & thanks for the giveaway!

  4. Thanks for the giveaway. Sounds like a great book.

  5. I enjoyed the post, thanks for the giveaway!

  6. I have the first two books of the series on my shelf. I'm looking forward to reading them. I hope I'll be adding this one. Thanks for the giveaway.

  7. I really enjoyed this post. The three things you need to begin writing are so unique and insightful. You imparted a lot of information to us with few words. Thanks.

  8. Thanks for the guest post. I've never thought about the question of if the cultural heritage of art should determine which museum it is displayed in. It would definitely limit who gets to see certain things. I hadn't heard of this book before now, but it sounds great.

  9. I'm definitely intrigued to read this one. Thanks for the guest post! :)

  10. M.J.'s rituals are very interesting...and refreshing! I do not think I've ever heard of an author having this type of ritual. It's almost like a spiritual connection with the writing. Very cool!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  11. Thank you for offering this giveaway! I can't wait to read it!

  12. So, the main character is related to Lucian? How did the pencil come to be in his possession? And what happens on the day this book starts??? Ack, I am intrigued!

  13. @MJRose- fascinating! I love how intricate and relevant your rituals are. I've never heard anything like that from a writer before, though I have heard similar things from painters/sculpters. But I have noticed that many, many writers do use quotes at the beginning of their books, if not also at every chapter. I once heard there was a term for it but I forget what it's called. Thank you so much for sharing :)

  14. MJ Rose - thanks for the insight!
    Great contest!


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