Interview with Michelle Miles

Jen: This week we welcome Michelle Miles to the blog. Michelle, welcome to Book Talk. Will you please share a short bio with us?
Michelle: I’m a single mom, with a Day Job, a cat, a great guy whom I refer to as Man, a coffee drinker, a hockey fan, and a shoe fanatic.

I started writing long ago in junior high when my then-best friend and I wrote and illustrated our own Indiana Jones comic books. Star Trek fan-fiction quickly followed on the heels of that, as well as Star Wars fan-fic. Later, I dabbled in my own science fiction stories and some historical fiction (princesses, towers, and handsome princes!), and finally found my footing on contemporary ground. My first book, Talk Dirty To Me, is available through Samhain Publishing as an ebook and is the first of the Coffee House Chronicles. I continue the series with Nice Girls Do and currently have the third, Take Me I’m Yours, on submission.

I’m a member of Romance Writers of America and reside in suburban Fort Worth.

Jen: Please tell us about A Break in Time and where it’s available.

Michelle: A Break in Time is the second book following the adventures of Skye Ransom and Dane Fortune – a time traveling duo. (Jen wanted to add that the first book in the series is A Bend in Time for those of you who are like me and have to read books in order). Dane is a hit man and Skye was his intended target, but instead the two got trapped with a faulty time traveling device jumping through time.

At the mercy of a faulty time machine, Skye Ransom and Dane Fortune are forced to randomly leap through time on a wild, roller-coaster ride of danger as they try to get back to the 21st century. Each jump sends them farther away from home, but brings their hearts closer together in a bond that not even a time bender can sever.

Getting back home may be the least of their worries. Warmed by Skye’s love, Dane’s soul struggles against that of the cold, unfeeling man he once was. Skye’s had enough of witnessing history firsthand. Yet finally getting home could mean she’ll lose Dane forever.

Worshipped by a jungle tribe, thwarted by a mad scientist, and captured by powerful Druids, Skye and Dane face the ultimate test of survival. Even if they get through it alive, will they be able to overcome their strongest enemy to date—themselves?

You can get the book via Samhain Publishing’s website at: http://www.samhainpublishing.com/authors/michelle-miles, on Amazon.com (by clicking the book cover here), Borders.com, or BooksAMillion.com.

Jen: Use three words to describe your writing.

Michelle: Intense, Fun, Sexy

Jen: How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?

Michelle: I used to be a straight “pantser”. I never plotted a thing. I had tried plot classes before, but none of those worked for me either. I just had an idea in my head, sort of knew where I was going and wrote. I could sit down and write an entire 50,000 word book in about six weeks. But then… I discovered that process just didn’t work for me too well anymore as I went through a six month dry spell. I would sit and stare at the blinking cursor and wonder what happened next and often times I couldn’t figure it out. I think part of it was because I didn’t plot and the other part was I had a lot of personal turmoil going on in my life (which is really no excuse to ignore the page).

So, earlier this year, I got a rejection on a book that I’d been toying with for years. The editor really liked it – loved that it was epic fantasy – but she said it had a lot of problems. She said if I was willing to revise it, she would take another read. I set out to rewrite the book.

It turned out to be a much more difficult undertaking than I had ever anticipated. And I was stymied by the story! I had no idea where I was going or what I was doing. It was really hard to deconstruct the old story and make it into a new one.

Then one day, I was reading Kelly Gay’s blog and she was talking about index cards and how she uses them for her synopsis. For some reason, something about that clicked with me. As I typed the comment on that entry, I thought (and even wrote) that it would be great with plotting. I got that little bubble of excitement and I couldn’t wait to get home to put my new plan into action.

I started writing random scenes on index cards. They didn’t necessarily go in order of the book, either. I just wrote whatever came to mind. I had very certain ideas about what I wanted to happen in the book, I just couldn’t figure out how to put it all together even though I had already written it before. Once I got the scenes put down on cards, I then took a piece of foam core (the kind you get at any office supply store) and put them in order of what I thought would work best in the book. The beauty of that was I could rearrange them anytime I wanted or if I thought something would work better earlier or later. I taped them with a small piece of tape to the board and VOILA! I started writing again. I committed myself to finishing the book by a certain date and, since I had handy Scene Cards, I committed to writing 4 pages a night.

I intend to use this technique on future books.

Jen: Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?

Michelle: This is weird but it depends on what I’m writing. If I’m working on a contemporary, I generally like to listen to Classic Rock. There’s something about having Metallica, Rush and Guns ‘n Roses pounding in the background. haha If I’m working on anything else, like my fantasy, I have to have silence. Or maybe some very quiet lute music. Another must have: a messy desk. I just seem to concentrate better like that.

Jen: Describe a typical writing day.

Michelle: My writing doesn’t start until well after 9 pm when my young son goes to bed. Typically, once he’s in bed (and we have the obligatory up and down for water/snack/potty/one more kiss), I sit down and start. I like to go back to what I’ve done the previous day as a reminder on where I am, make a few edits, and then get back into the story. I write until I reach what I call Pumpkin Hour, which is usually about 11 pm. My goal is 4 pages a day – or more if I’m on a roll. I make myself sit in the chair, though, until I get in my 4 pages.

Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest?

Michelle: The most challenging…hm… self-motivation. Making myself treat writing as a second full-time job instead of just something I do on the side. Writing when I don’t feel like it, even when I’m dead tired and all I want to do is go to bed. It something I really have to commit myself to if I plan to succeed. And I do plan to succeed!

The easiest – I don’t know there’s really anything easy about writing. It’s a tough business, tough to sell and even tougher to stay published. It is, however, very rewarding and seeing my name on that book cover makes all the blood, sweat and tears worthwhile.

Jen: Do you do anything special to celebrate a sale, new contract, or release?

Michelle: Whenever I sell, I like to reward myself with a new pair of shoes, especially a pair I’ve been coveting for a long time. For a new release, I like to celebrate with giving away a book or two.

Jen: Is there a genre that you’d like to write?

Michelle: I would love to write historical and science fiction. I don’t think I’m ready for either one of those yet.

Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?

Michelle: Favorite authors: Karen Marie Moning; Patricia A. McKillip; Rosemary Clement-Moore

Right now I’m reading Alexis Morgan’s Dark Protector and I’m very much looking forward to Faefever by Karen Marie Moning! I can’t wait to get my hands on that.

Jen: What do you do in your free time?

Michelle: Free time? What’s that? 😉 As a single mother, it’s hard to find any time to do something just for me but I do enjoy reading books. I’m also a big fashion fan and I love flipping through the latest Lucky Magazine (the stickers are SO fun!); Vogue and Vanity Fair. And when I can get Man out, we enjoy movies.

Jen: What’s next for you?

Michelle: My current project is a YA Fantasy. It’s the one I actually plotted. I’d like to make it into a series because I have so many ideas for all these wonderful characters that populate this world. It’s based on Celtic myths and legends about the journey of a young girl whose sheltered life is completely ripped apart in one afternoon. She loses the only family she’s ever known and is plunged into a dark world where she discovers the hidden truths her mother never wanted her to learn.

I’m also working on a contemporary that goes along with what I call the Coffee House Chronicles. It will be the fourth book (the third is currently on submission) about a very feisty 30-something fashionista who has to decide between two men – one from her past and one who very much wants to be in her future. I hope to have it drafted by the end of the year.

Jen: Where can you be found on the web?

Michelle: All over, actually!
Web: http://www.michellemiles.net where you can sign up for my monthly newsletter
Blog: http://www.michellemiles.net/blog
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/flirtyandfabulous
And Facebook
On the 9th of every month at RomErotica Writers Blog: http://romeroticawriters.blogspot.com/
Samhain Publishing: http://www.samhainpublishing.com/authors/michelle-miles

Jen: Do you have anything you’d like to ask our readers?

Michelle: If you have a super power, what would it be?

Jen: Michelle is graciously offering up two prizes for two readers this week. Comment on the interview or excerpt, answer Michelle’s question or ask her one and you’ll be entered. We have a signed print copy of A Break in Time and a free download of Nice Girls Do up for grabs. If you only want to be considered for one of the prizes, please mention that fact in your comment. The contest will run until Friday, Oct. 24 at 5:00 pm PDT.