Top Quotes by Jennifer McMahon

By | April 24, 2017

I found many treasures in the woods over the years: shotgun shells, empty Colt 45 bottles, old railroad spikes, orange and black beetles eating a dead mouse, pebbles that looked just like teeth, old stone walls and cellar holes, a rusted out frying pan, the skull of a cat.

Jennifer McMahon

I believed then – in a deep, easy way that is impossible for me as an adult – that there was more to this world than meets the eye. Trees had spirits; the wind spoke. If you followed a toad or a raven deep into the heart of the forest, they were sure to lead you to something magical.

Jennifer McMahon

Over the years, I have been a house painter, farm worker, paste-up artist, Easter Bunny, pizza delivery person, homeless shelter staff member, and counselor for adults and kids with mental illness – I quit my last real job in 2000 to work on writing full-time.

Jennifer McMahon

I do believe in ghosts, or at least in some kind of persistent spiritual echoes of the past in certain places.

Jennifer McMahon

I have a pretty open mind about supernatural stuff – I do believe that there’s more to this world than what meets the eye.

Jennifer McMahon

In all honesty, I didn’t love reading when I was a kid. I’d rather be running around in the woods or doing my best to scare the pants off all the children in the neighborhood by pretending my house was haunted or making them play Bloody Mary in the bathroom.

Jennifer McMahon

Do me a favor – right now, today, start a list of all your crazy obsessions, the things that get your heart pumping, that wake you up in the middle of the night. Put it above your desk and use it to guide you, to jumpstart your writing each and every day.

Jennifer McMahon

I think we all have a kind of dark side, and that’s what keeps life – and characters – interesting. That’s one of the things that I’m drawn to write about again and again, the secrets we keep and how they shape us.

Jennifer McMahon

Some people say, ‘Write what you know.’ My thing is, ‘Write what scares you.’

Jennifer McMahon

Although in my life the level of loss has never reached the extremes it does in ‘The Winter People,’ I certainly can identify with being both a daughter longing for her mother and being a mother who is almost scared by the intensity of her love for her daughter.

Jennifer McMahon

I practically lived in the woods when I was a kid, avoiding grown-ups and my dysfunctional family, pretending I was half-wolf, a feral child who napped in nests made out of ferns, ate wild blueberries, and wove sticks and feathers into her hair.

Jennifer McMahon

Some things, I think, like fairy books and secret doors, are only meant to be found by children.

Jennifer McMahon

At the heart of every story is conflict – whether external or internal, make it a good one, and remember that this problem is going to shape your character, leaving her forever changed.

Jennifer McMahon

I have a friend who calls me the queen of the nightmares because I’ve always had really bad nightmares. I keep a notebook by the side of my bed, so I’ll wake up in the night from a bad dream, and my heart’s pounding, and I’m really scared, but I write it down, and sometimes I get ideas for books that way.

Jennifer McMahon

All my life, I had this idea that if I could unravel the mystery that was my mother, then I could help save her. But it didn’t really work. We were close, but she struggled with mental illness and alcoholism, and it was rough at times.

Jennifer McMahon

If there was a way to bring someone back, would you do it, no matter what the consequences might be? I know that for me, my logical mind says, ‘Of course not!’ But the truth is, when you lose someone who is so close to you, it’s as if they are a part of you; there’s always one more thing to say, one more moment you wish you’d had.

Jennifer McMahon

I think of setting as almost a character of its own, influencing the other characters in ways they’re not even aware of. So much of the success of a good ghost story rides on creating a creepy atmosphere; details of the landscape itself can help create a sense of dread.

Jennifer McMahon

I absolutely love writing about the things that scare me, the things that keep me up at night. I don’t quite know why. Perhaps because so many things do scare me, and this is my subconscious way of trying to exercise some control over things that go bump in the night!

Jennifer McMahon

My grandmother was a psychiatrist and possibly the ultimate of all skeptics. But even she couldn’t explain the strange noises we so often heard in the attic.

Jennifer McMahon

I studied poetry in college and for a year in an MFA program. As time went on, my poems got more and more complicated. What I was really trying to do was tell stories.

Jennifer McMahon

Poetry taught me a great deal about language and images, but when it came to plotting, I was stumped. It’s been very much a learn-by-doing thing for me.

Jennifer McMahon

I just try to write the best story I can, a story I would love to read, and hope that readers feel the same.

Jennifer McMahon

One exercise I always do when I’m getting to know a character is ask her to tell me her secrets. Sit down with a pen and paper, and start with, ‘I never told anybody…’ and go from there, writing in the voice of your character.

Jennifer McMahon

You can have the greatest characters in the world and write beautifully, but if nothing’s happening, the story falls on its face pretty quickly.

Jennifer McMahon

I was born in 1968 and grew up in my grandmother’s house in suburban Connecticut, where I was convinced a ghost named Virgil lived in the attic.

Jennifer McMahon

I wrote my first short story in third grade.

Jennifer McMahon

I graduated with a B.A. from Goddard College in 1991 and then studied poetry for a year in the M.F.A. in Writing Program at Vermont College.

Jennifer McMahon

My grandmother was a psychiatrist and had shelves full of medical books – I was constantly sneaking looks at some of those. I was fascinated by the descriptions of illnesses and diseases.

Jennifer McMahon

People often ask if my books should be read in any particular order, but they’re all standalone novels, so picking up any one of them would be fine.

Jennifer McMahon

Honestly, I feel pretty awed anytime I meet just about any writer. I get how hard it is to write and make a living from it, but there’s also this almost magical force you need to tap into, and I’m amazed by anyone who can do it.

Jennifer McMahon

My mother taught me to believe in ghosts: to use a Ouija board, have seances, and leave little offerings out for those who have passed.

Jennifer McMahon

I’ve never done a sequel – so far, there have been too many new stories and characters calling my name.

Jennifer McMahon

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