Q: When Did you decide to become a writer?
There was never a time when I didn’t want to be a writer. It was always something that I wanted to do. I can’t remember a time that I didn’t write, but it took me a long while before I was brave enough to submit any of my work to agents and publishers. I wrote Concilium in 2010 and spent almost a year editing and rewriting it, finally submitting it in 2011.
Q: Who has been the biggest influence in your life so far?
My grandmother was a huge influence when it came to reading. I’d spend the night with her on weekends and we’d go to the library and check out books and read together all weekend. Those times introduced me to new worlds and people that fascinated me.
A second influence in my life is Stephenie Meyer. She and I have a lot in common; we’re at the same stage in life. I’d graduated top of my class in college and was on my way to a successful career in accounting. I had a family to raise, commitments to my aging parents and all the responsibilities that come with every day life. I thought my “time” had passed for publication—I still wrote, but it was for personal enjoyment.
Then I heard of Ms. Meyer submitting and publishing her first novel at the same age and stage of life that I was. I realized I didn’t have to give up on my dream; I just had to work a little harder to fit it in my busy schedule. So I began writing Concilium. I submitted it and it was picked up by Muse It Up Publishing in 2011 and released in 2012.
Q: Tell us a little about your books, Concillum and the upcoming PODS.
Concilium and it’s sequel Concilium: The Departure are adult urban fantasy romances with a touch of science/fiction thrown in. They center on an alternate dimension on Earth and its residents who have found a way to cross into the human dimension. They aren’t friendly and cause a lot of trouble, especially for the main character, Leslee.
PODs is my first young adult novel. It is a science/fiction, apocalyptic romance. In it the Earth is ravaged by an unstoppable virus. Certain people are chosen to live in the PODs, an underground habitat, until the virus kills the population above. The belief is that without human hosts the virus would die, as well. The story follows Eva and her struggles in the PODs and then the surprise the people find when they exit the PODs after living in them for more than a year. PODs will release June 4, 2013 through Spencer Hill Press. The paperback version is available for pre-order now on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
I also have a second book that will be published by Spencer Hill Press. Milayna is a young adult paranormal romance. It will release in March 2014. It centers on a group of demi-angels who are hunted by Azazel, one of Hell’s angels.
Currently I’m working on my first young adult contemporary romance, Unspeakable, that I’m very excited about.
Q: Where do you get the inspiration for you stories?
I’d like to say I have great epiphanies or dreams that result in my novels, but that isn’t the case. Usually my ideas start as a what-if game. A small idea will present itself, maybe from my children or a song, movie, ETC., and I think “what if” this happened, and then this, and maybe this would happen...and I keep asking myself, “What happens next?” I also use my family as a sounding board, especially my children. They come up with some great ideas. My son is very involved in helping me with ideas. He likes to draw the monsters/zombies and weapons for me to use as visuals while I write. But he draws the line on the romance factor. He says there shouldn’t be any kissing in a zombie story!
Q: What do you hear from your readers?
I’ve received a lot of positive feedback from Concilium and many readers have told me the sequel was better than the first. Spencer Hill Press has done an outstanding job of promoting PODs and it has a huge following with more than 3,300 people on Goodreads listing it as a book they are waiting to read. I have people from all over the country and some from outside the US emailing me about how excited they are for its release. My newest title Milayna is in the beginning stages of promotion so I haven’t received much reader input on it yet.
I love to hear from readers and other authors! Whether it be about my books or just a note to say “Hi.”
Q: What do you like to read? Do you have a favorite?
My husband says I’ll ready anything with words. I like most genres and read them all. My all time favorite book is Olivia and Jai by Rebecca Ryman. Easy by Tammara Webber has recently made my short list of favorites.
I find anything published by Spencer Hill Press great reads. They have such a diverse selection of titles and wonderfully talented authors. So I have to say one of my favorite things to read is Spencer Hill Press as a whole. I haven’t read one of their books that I haven’t loved.
Q: How important do you think being a reader is to the writing process?
I think it’s very important. We learn by reading. We expand our vocabulary, spelling, punctuation and so forth. We feed our craft by studying other’s format and and style. Of course this doesn’t mean we copy their way of writing. We develop our own style—life would be boring if we all wrote the same thing in the same voice. But by reading other’s work we can push our boundaries. I use my editor as an example of someone who pushed me out of my comfort zone. Her series The Ganzfield Series (by Kate Kaynak) pushed me to write in a genre I had never written before. That resulted in my newest title Milayna.
Q: If you had to grab three things (and ONLY three things) from your house to evacuate due to a zombie invasion, what would they be?
My Kindle (I’d read in between zombie attacks), my zombies are killed by guns. I would take one of those!, and my running shoes because I’d expect there would be a lot of running involved.
Q: What advice do you offer to someone who wants to write a book?
Start with a good idea. Decide which type of writing process works best for you. Are you going to plot it out or let the story lead you? Get a good laptop and write. And most importantly, don’t give up. Some people have the idea that writing is an easy process. Writing is actually very difficult. It requires a lot of time, patience, perseverance and dedication.
Q: Anything else you would like the readers to know?
Yes. Thank you for spending your time with me and my fictional worlds and characters. There are really no words to express exactly how thankful I am for my readers. There are a lot of books to chose from and I’m humbled that readers chose mine.
I love to hear from readers and other authors. Drop me a note about my books, the writing process or just to say “Hi.” You can reach me here:
Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/in/michellepickett
Thank you so much for your time, Michelle! We look forward to seeing you at the festival.