Michelle was gracious enough to allow me to do an email interview with her for the blog tour. Here are my questions and her answers as follows:
What inspired you to become a writer?
I honestly don’t remember. I think it was the fact that I loved to read so much when I was a kid. By the time I was ten years old, I knew I wanted to write novels! I wanted to create stories like the ones I enjoyed so much.
Are you a “plotter” (outlining, planning before writing) or a “pantser” (writing where the story takes you)?
I outline, but my outlines are very loose. I try to leave a lot of expansion and wiggle room so I can work with the story organically. I hate feeling too boxed in! I always outline, but by the time I’m finished, I’ve usually veered so off course, I’m “pantsting” near the end, anyway.
Do you prefer listening to music as you write or silence? If music, do your stories or characters have “theme songs”?
I listen to music, but it has to be music I’m familiar with and can tune out. I like upbeat music that will keep me feeling positive. I can also write in silence, though, and sometimes prefer that if I really need to concentrate on something particularly difficult. My stories and characters don’t have theme songs, per se, but I do like to listen to specific genres for specific books. For instance, for my Celtic-themed book about selkies, I listen to a lot of Celtic music whenever I work on it.
What book/author had the greatest impact on you as a child/teen?
I really liked Joan Lowry Nixon and Lois Duncan. When I was a teen, there really wasn’t a “YA” category, so I enjoyed a lot of adult fiction, as well. I got into John Grisham and Tom Clancy. I’m pretty sure that’s where I picked up my love of suspense and thrillers.
If you were stuck on a deserted island, what 5 books would you want with you?
Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Awakening by Kate Chopin, Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and The Book of Mormon.
How does it feel to be a published author verse unpublished?
Um, AMAZING. But, I have to stress that it’s also a lot harder because there is so much other stuff to juggle now. I think the hardest thing I’ve had to learn is how to write new books while marketing other books at the same time.
Do you have any advice to share with aspiring writers?
Focus more on “watering the grass” where you are instead of thinking the grass is greener somewhere else. Being published is awesome, but I’ve found that most writers who want so desperately to be published, aren’t really ready. I think when you’ve realized and accepted that being published is not the be-all-end-all, you’re more ready and will be more successful.
What inspired you to write about fairy tales?
My daughter, honestly. She’s six now, but when I started writing Cinders, she was a lot younger. She kept watching Disney fairy tales, and I think somewhere in my subconscious, my love for fairy tales just grew and grew. I’ve always loved them, but until that love blossomed, I hadn’t though of writing about them.
What is your favorite fairy tale? Why?
It’s one hardly anyone knows, at least not yet! It’s One-Eye, Two-Eyes, Three-Eyes. It’s such a beautiful fairy tales that doesn’t end just with the girl getting what she wants. In the end, she ends up helping her nasty sisters when they really need her. That, to me, is a beautiful ending and theme.
In Bonded, you based your three novellas off of three traditional fairy tales. Why did you choose those particular stories?
I chose Cinderella because my daughter kept watching the movie trailer for Cinderella III: A Twist in Time. I kept wondering what would happen after Cinderella married her prince! I chose One-Eyes, Two-Eyes, Three-Eyes because it’s my favorite fairy tale and is one so many people haven’t heard of. And I chose Sleeping Beauty because it’s my husband’s favorite fairy tale and has a dragon in it (at least the Disney version does). I knew Bonded wouldn’t be complete without the story of a dragon!
What is your favorite fairy tale retelling or reimagining story?
I haven't read a whole lot of fairy tale stories. The past few years, as I was writing my three novellas, I tried to stay away from fairy tale books, movies, and television shows so they wouldn’t influence me. Yes, I'm one of those writers who doesn't read in the genre I'm writing (when I'm drafting and revising, at least). I tend to get burned out or swayed into going certain directions with my writing. Now that I'm no longer working on fairy tale stories, I'm really looking forward to Disney's Maleficent movie coming out in 2014. Ever After is one of my all-time favorite movies based on a fairy tale, and I'm wanting to read Shannon Hale's The Goose Girl soon.
If you can say, what other writing projects are you currently working on?
I am currently working on revisions for my novel, A Curse So Deep. It’s set in Colonial America and rural Scotland in the late 17th century, and is about a girl cursed to turn into a monster when she falls in love.
About the Author...
Michelle lives and writes in Utah, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. She loves the seasons, but late summer and early fall are her favorites. She adores chocolate, sushi, and lots of ethnic food, and loves to read and write books in whatever time she can grab between her sword-wielding husband and energetic daughter. She believes a simple life is the best life.