Having grown up in both the cold, quiet town of Topsham, Maine and the steamy, southern hospitality of Mobile, Alabama, Michele is something of a enigma. She is an avid Yankees fan, loves New England, being outdoors and misses snow. However she thinks southern boys are hotter, Alabama football is the only REAL football out there and sweet tea is the best thing this side of heaven and her children’s laughter!
Her family, an amazing husband and three awesome kids, have planted their roots in the middle of Michele’s two childhood homes in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Hi Michele! Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview. You will be my first. Let’s start out with something easy. What have you written?
The Prophecy of Tyalbrook series is a YA Fantasy Romance trilogy. Book Three will be out sometime in 2014.
– Never Let You Fall, Book One
– Never Let You Go, Book Two
Last Call, a New Adult Contemporary Romance with some suspense
From The Wreckage, a Young Adult realistic fiction is coming in June (tentative release date)
What are you working on at the minute? What’s it about?
I am currently working on books two and three in the From The Wreckage series. From The Wreckage is about the immediate aftermath of a life changing event in the life of Jules Blacklin. Books two and three continue on from there. The series deals with the loss, love and hope we find after our worlds are torn apart.
When and why did you decide to become a writer?
I’ve always been a writer. I started truly writing, scripts and plays, in the seventh grade as a way to cope with a difficult move and life changes. Before that, you would always find me acting out stories in my playtime. My Barbies lived fascinating lives 😉
I quit writing after graduation when work and marriage, and eventually my first born, became my life. It took the emergence of self-publishing and e-books for me to realize that perhaps I could create stories on my own. There isn’t really a “Why did you become a writer?” answer. It’s more of a need. A need to tell the stories of the people talking in your head – I want to tell them. It’s not to be a bestseller or to travel the world, make movies or be famous. (I’ll happily accept that if it comes knocking though!) It’s just to tell stories; hopefully people will like them and find some escape for the few hours they are reading.
What is your favorite genre to write in and what draws you to this genre?
Romance. Without a doubt, I am a romantic at heart. Whether I write fantasy, suspense, YA or NA, I will always include romance. I believe in soul mates, fate, love at first sight; I’ve experienced it, so I want to share it with others.
Out of all the characters you have created, who are you most drawn to?
Honestly, I think that changes with each book. I love Xander! I also fell HARD for Nickoli (Never Let You Fall, Tyalbrook #2). He was a character I didn’t expect to love, but there was something about him that drew me in and made me write his story.
Gage, in Last Call, is another character I had fun with. Apparently, I fall for all of my own book boys!
What made you decide to sit down and actually start writing your first book?
My poor husband had seriously tried to tell me to write a book for years. Really, truly years! I hemmed and hawed about how I couldn’t do that… and then if I did, what would I do? It took some random things happening for me to end up at the house of Nancy Straight for Y’all Fest 2012 in Charleston. I began grilling her about how it (self-publishing) all works and her words gave me the push I needed. Those words of wisdom that finally did me in? Write.
So simple, right? Just write two thousand words a day for three months and you’ll have a book. Voila!
What/who are your muses?
Music plays a huge role in setting tone. My characters are often times bits and pieces of people I know. The snarky comments from one friends, the fierceness from another. The idea of a knight in shining armor from my husband (cue the sighs). I often look at pictures of models, celebs or “normal” people shots on Pinterest for physical muses.
What is your writing process typically like?
Very random and not explainable. I write what I feel like writing. I know people who are waiting on books hate me for this, but I can’t write what is expected of me. I have to ‘be in the mood.’ So while, right now, I SHOULD be writing my last Tyalbrook book, I can’t. It’s not speaking to me in the way that it needs to for it to be what I need it to be. I write out of order a lot too, or I write dialogue only because I can visualize a conversation so clearly. I then go back later and fill in the details of the scene or insert the dialogue where I think it should go later.
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
This is probably funny, but my new motto is when in doubt write a sex scene. *grins* I don’t mean some full-on erotic scene; it can be a lovely, sweet scene. For me, I find writing love scenes is easy and intimate and it helps me get into my characters heads. Therefore, it pulls me into the story when I’m having a hard time feeling them.
Do you personally prefer to read e-books or traditional paper/hard back books?
I typically read at night before bed – so e-books. My Kindle really is my very favorite thing ever! I buy a lot of paperbacks at events, but I get them signed so I hate to touch them. For traditionally published books, I often find paperbacks to be about the same price as e-books, so I do prefer to buy them in paperback form but I end up taking forever to read them that way. The Kindle is just so much easier to carry with me or to use at night.
Who are your favorite authors?
I’ve met so many authors I admire, I can’t really list them for fear of leaving someone off. I will read any book by the fabulous Amy Bartol who, along with Nancy Straight, set me on my path to self-publishing. I have old school love for Jane Austen, Judith McNaught and Mary Higgins Clark, VC Andrews – those are the books I grew up reading.
What books are you currently reading?
I just finished Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher.
I’ve also been catching up on some older releases – Tragic by JA Huss and Crush by Lacey Weatherford. I am on some panels with authors this summer at a few book conventions, so I am trying to catch up on their books as well.
Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to edit it or do you prefer to finish it all at once?
I let some things stew, but for the most part when I finish it (or think I have) I read over it one last time before I send it to my editor.
Your covers are always so eye-catching. What goes into your cover-selection process?
For the Tyalbrook series, I randomly came across a picture from a California photographer that I fell in love with for Skye. I contacted her and she went through all of her shots and pulled out other pictures for me to look through. Those became the covers for 1 and 2. The original shot I loved will be on book 3.
For Last Call – I had someone do a custom photo shoot because I knew I wanted a bar shot. It’s not what I was originally going for, but I think it turned out very intimate and sort of sexy. The guy POV that will come from that series later this year has a very sexy shot – because it’s his POV. 😉
The From The Wreckage series covers came from my desire to have something totally different on a YA book than what is currently being done. I didn’t want a girl in a prom dress, or a couple kissing, shirtless, hugging…etc
It’s 1am and you’ve been writing all night. What three items are on your desk?
Tumbler with sweet tea, twizzlers or pretzle sticks and my scratch paper and pen to jot reminders when something pops in my head.
Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
Toughest part of this job!! I signed on with a PR agency (Red Coat PR) in February because this is such an integral part of the job. I think in self-publishing you market yourself more than your books. I tend to buy books from other authors who I know on a personal level before others. I think teasers are great but you have to get bloggers, fans and FB sites to share them. That is hard if you’re not willing to have personal relationships with people. I love connecting with people – I am VERY grateful for the help and support everyone gives me.
When you aren’t writing, where can we find you?
Not writing?? On those few hours you will find me watching sports on the weekends during football season. You’ll find me hiking or enjoying the Carolina mountains in the Fall and Spring and playing by the pool with the kids in the summer.
What is your favorite book and why? Movie?
I really don’t have a favorite book. I love a lot of books. I’ve read many many books multiple times and never get sick of them. Classic historical romances by Judith McNaught are some of my favorites mostly because of the person I was when I first read them. They were my introduction into regency and highland romance when I was scarcely 20.
There are classics, like Pride and Prejudice and Lord of the Flies, contemporaries like Easy (T Weber) and Slammed (C Hoover) and paranormal stories like The Premonition Series (A Bartol) and The Infernal Devices (C Clare)
My standing favorite movie is Gone With the Wind. I always use this as an answer because I love the epic story. I love period pieces and the drama and humor.
Where can you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
Probably right where I’m at now. I love my family (3 kids and hubby). My oldest will be in college (holy wow!) so I’ll be crying at being that old. I know I will still be writing – regardless of the monetary/ranking success I have, I will always be writing.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
The same I got – write! Also, write for you. Don’t try to follow a trend because they change, and I feel like often times you can tell when someone forces a story just so they can sell it. Make sure you research who you use and who you give your money to. Self-publishing doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg., you don’t have to pay for review and tours, or formatting – learn to do things yourself. Pay for a good editor but have referrals, read a book they’ve edited. Oh, and covers matter. Like really, really matter!
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/michele-g-miller