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I recently enjoyed an interview with author Michelle Somers. Her new book, Murder Most Unusual (a seductive romance suspense novel) releases tomorrow - February 7, 2017 (book review coming soon). Somers author bio shares: "Michelle Somers is a bookworm from way back. An ex-Kiwi who now calls Australia home, she's a professional killer and matchmaker, a storyteller and a romantic. Words are her power and her passion. Her heroes and heroines always get their happy ever after, but she'll put them through one hell of a journey to get there. Michelle lives in Melbourne, Australia with her real life hero and three little heroes in the making."
My author interview with Michelle Somers, below - enjoy!
Tell us a little about yourself...
I’m an ex-Kiwi, now Aussie. A mother of three. A chocoholic. Read-a-holic. Romance-a-holic. Runner. Photographer. Crime show addict. Rom com movie buff. And last, but nowhere near least, a writer. I make people fall in love, kill a character or two on the way, but there’s always a happy ending (my husband’s words, not mine).
I’ve worked all over the world, yet it wasn’t until I moved to Melbourne, Australia that I met my own real life hero.
Danny and I are approaching our sixteenth wedding anniversary this March. With him and my three heroes in the making I am living my own happy ever after.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I don’t think it was a conscious decision at first. I’ve always just written. When I was younger I tended more toward poems and short stories. And never for anyone’s eyes but my own.
The desire to write something mainstream came in my twenties. But I never followed it. At that stage in my life, my confidence was sadly lacking. And there was always that niggling self-doubt – what if I fail? It took another twenty years for me to find the courage, sit down at my keyboard and just write.
And I’ve been writing ever since
Can you share your journey to becoming a published author?
Six years ago I wrote my first full length romance novel in six weeks. It was long, unwieldy and a great example of how not to write. Not only did I break every rule of craft I didn’t know existed – which was pretty much every rule! – but I wrote what I thought I could rather than what my heart really desired.
This pattern continued for the subsequent four novels. These were a mix of category and contemporary single title. And much as I love both forms of romance, my heart wasn’t committed 100%.
For my sixth novel I stepped outside my comfort zone and into another world.
It was a romantic suspense – built from passion and a release of my uncertainties. I wrote selfishly, thinking of nothing other than what I loved – a perfect mix of romance, crime, murder and suspense. And from this process, my debut Lethal in Love was born.
I thought this was by far ‘the best novel I’d ever written’ and that everyone who read it would think the same. But I’d thought the same about every other rejected novel I’d written.
So, how to gauge if I was right?
I entered writing competitions, both in Australia and the US. To my surprise I started placing, and even winning! One of those competitions was the Valerie Parv Award, run by Romance Writers Australia. Winning this contest meant I won the generous and talented Valerie Parv as a mentor for a year. Someone who is now a very dear friend.
I think that was the moment I truly believed I could write for more than just me. The year was 2013.
In 2014 I pitched my story four times – to a mix of both editors and agents – and received four requests. One of those requests was from Lex Hirst of Penguin Random House. She loved my story so much she wanted to launch a new serial line with it.
The rest, as they say, is history. A whirlwind of contracts and edits and my book out in the big wide world for everyone to enjoy. A serial that only last year was combined into a single ebook the same weekend I won Romance Writers Australia’s Romantic Book of the Year. For those outside Oz, the RuBY is Australia’s equivalent of the Rita. And being presented with the award was both incredible and emotional.
A knock to all those self-doubts I’ve carried with me for so long.
And a moment I realised I’d made the first giant leap into authordom.
What do you find to be the biggest challenge, as an author?
Overcoming my fears of rejection and self-doubt.
Not rejection from editors and agents – although that does sting – but rejection in the broader sense of the word.
Being an author is so much more than sitting at the keyboard and writing. It’s being social – something this introvert finds daunting. It’s interacting with readers and the pretty much the world. It’s putting yourself out there and laying yourself bare before strangers.
Every step I’ve made in terms of my writing career, I’ve done against first instincts. It’s been such a huge learning curve, but I can honestly say, through this process of baby steps outside my comfort zone, I’ve grown, not only as a writer, but a person as well.
What do you find most rewarding, as an author?
Hearing how much readers love my stories. It’s a thrill that will never grow old.
I write because I can’t imagine doing anything else, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have those low moments – moments that I question myself, my talent, the state of mind that made me think I could actually write a book people would want to read.
Hearing about the enjoyment I give to others makes all the stress and nerves and anxious moments worth it. Because giving joy to others is all an author really hopes to achieve.
Share with us a daily habit of yours, that helps you reach your goals.
I endeavor to sit at my keyboard at least once every day. For me, writing is both a career and a passion, so I believe to take it seriously I need to treat it as a job. Not necessarily nine to five, but certainly a five, if not seven, days a week endeavor.
Another habit I’ve started just this year is one of gratitude. Not necessarily linked solely to my writing, but to my life as a whole. I have a mini diary I keep by my bedside, and every night just before I turn out the light, I think of one thing I’m grateful for from that day.
How is this linked to my goals?
I believe that by acknowledging the things I’m thankful for, I’m more focused on the things that matter. And these are the things that are closely linked to my aspirations and goals.
There are so many things I want to achieve in my life, both personally and professionally. But I believe I can’t move forward until I’ve acknowledged and am content with where I am in the now.
Finish these sentences:
I am most grateful for... the love, health and happiness of my family.
If I could give my 18 year-old self one piece of advice it would be... follow your passion, feel the fear and do it anyway.
My favorite thing about being a writer is... creating female characters who are kick-ass, confident and with little bits of the kind of person I’d like to be.
My least favorite thing about being a writer is... I left this blank for the longest time in the hope I’d think of something, but I can’t.
My goals for the future are... more books, more great reviews, and more readers loving what I love to write.
I love living a creative life because... I get to fall in love every single day.
The last book I read was... The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule
My favorite book, ever, is... Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.
Outside of writing, my favorite hobby is... photography.
The most important thing to do if you want to achieve your goals is... feel the fear and do it anyway.
A few more questions...
Do you have any New Years Resolutions for 2017?
Yes. To keep pushing the boundaries and step just that little bit further out of my comfort zone. And be thankful for every inroad I take.
Tell us about your books (genre, where we can find them, etc.)
I write seductive suspense, with a mix of crime and humor tossed in for good measure.
At the moment I have two completed novels: my debut Lethal in Love and my soon-to-be-released sequel, Murder Most Unusual. Both books are set in Melbourne, Australia.
Lethal in Love features a sassy homicide detective, a sexy reporter and a sadistic serial killer. It’s a story of love, murder and betrayal, and holds a special place in my heart as the story that saw me move out of my comfort zone and into my passion.
Murder Most Unusual is a little quirkier. I have a homicide detective yet again, but his counterpart is a romantic suspense novelist who’s decidedly ‘unique’. So, when a Melbourne serial killer blurs the lines between fact and fiction, breathing literature’s gruesome murders to life, the unlikely couple must team up and fight the attraction between them, all-the-while fighting the killer determined to destroy them both.
Intriguing? I hope so.
And then there’s the first of my Simply Writing Series, titled Simply Synopsis, due out March 2017. In this, my first non-fiction work, I’ve sought to demystify the mysterious synopsis. Summarizing a 100+ word novel into a few pages or less is the bane of many-an-author’s life, yet a necessary evil.
I’ve designed a simple, step-by-step method for building a synopsis, paragraph by paragraph. With heaps of examples, this easy to follow guide takes the headache out of the process.
And in totally new projects... I’m planning an exciting series set in Chicago, a kind of James Bond meets Stephanie Plum, that I can’t wait to sink my teeth into!
BUY/BOOK LINKS ARE AS FOLLOWS:
Lethal in Love:
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2jZhcbv
Amazon Aus: http://amzn.to/2jiFkCQ
Murder Most Unusual:
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2iGjZEu
Amazon Aus: http://amzn.to/2jSDur9
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2iB9Vcw
Where can readers find you (i.e. website, social media, etc.)?
I’m everywhere man! Lol!
Readers can find me at www.michelle-somers.com where you can sign up to my newsletter for exclusive giveaways, excerpts and to be among the first to hear any ground-breaking news.
I blog over at the www.romancingthegenres.blogspot.com.au the first Thursday of every month, and I’m on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzqDkcerOgCocR_sEfPa9eQ
Also on social media:
And my publisher’s website: http://www.randomhouse.com.au/authors/michelle-somers.aspx
I have an interview that aired on Channel 31 a few months back, and it’s still available for viewing on their website at http://www.c31.org.au/series/2781
And …. that’s it folks!
Anything else you'd like to add...
Thanks Stacey, for having me on your blog. It’s been a blast.
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