M.J. Rose is an international bestselling author and book marketing executive. She has published several novels, including The Reincarnationist, and some books on marketing. Rose is the founder of the first marketing company for authors, AuthorBuzz.

Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?

I grew up in New York City and everything that the city is, informs and shapes my whole life. My parents and grandparents were very much into all the arts and exposing us to them. I went to museums more than playgrounds. We went to Broadway and concerts and the ballet and all the amazing things the city has to offer. The city is truly a melting pot and there were no “others” to us. Everyone was in the whole big mess together and I didn’t realize that people were as different from each other as they were so similar to each other.  

What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?

That worrying is paying a premium on an insurance policy that isn’t yet due and will get me nothing.

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

“Write what you know.” I think you should write what you want to “know about”. I think an author who stops learning and stretching becomes stagnant.

Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?

When my mother died, I went into hibernation for a year. I learned that everyone lies – grief does not pass – at least it didn’t for me. Grief just changes shape and form as it becomes easier to bear. But it never goes away.

What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?

I don’t focus on the concept of failure. I believe there is always a way to get what you want. You either don’t want the right thing or you haven’t found the right path to get it.

What is your morning routine?

I get up at about 6:30. 

Make warm water/lemon juice. 

Drink it while I get breakfast for our dog.

Make green tea.

Go to my office with the tea. 

If I am in the process of writing a first draft – turn on Gregorian chants and write till I’ve done at least 1000 words. 

 If I am not writing a first draft – turn on other music and read the news/and email.

What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?

Walking every morning. 

Focusing on one beautiful thing every day. In a museum, art gallery, online, in a book, in the woods – where ever I can find it.

Deep breathing to help me fall asleep.

What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?

I don’t have any. I’ve always been really focused because I love what I do. That’s probably the best strategy for being productive.

What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?

A children’s book called Believe and Make-Believe by Lucy Sprague Mitchell, et al., my mother used to read me this when I was a little girl. It was my first memory of realizing that if you did it in stories, you could make things up and not be accused of lying.

Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?

The Dali Lama’s quote – “If you compare yourself to people who have more than you, you will always be unhappy. If you compare yourself to people who have less than you, you will always be happy and grateful.”

My own quote – “You have to be an optimist to write a novel – to believe you have something important or wonderful enough to say you should spend a year or two or more doing it. Then you have to be a pessimist when it sells because when it comes to publishing having expectations will destroy your soul.”

My mother’s quote (and a million other people) – “This too shall pass.”