Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Inside the Writer's Mind - Interview with Michelle Graves

Welcome to the very first of a new feature, Inside the Writer's Mind.

I'm pleased to announce that my first interviewee is Michelle Graves, author of See How She Runs, The Chronicles of Izzy. See How She Runs is Michelle's debut novel and what a great one to debut with. I enjoy a good urban fantasy novel and this one definitely left me wanting to read more. The refreshing element to See How She Runs, is that the heroine of the story is a Seer. Most of the UF novels I read are either centered around witches, faeries, vampires or werewolves not seers. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of See How She Runs for review. If you want to read the review you can here. Well, let me stop blathering and let's get this interview started.  I hope that you enjoy and as always, any and all respectful feedback is welcomed.


Welcome, Michelle, to Inside the Writer's Mind.  I'll be asking you some questions, sort of picking your brain a little bit to get to know you as an author. Thank you for joining me.

Same DiNamics: Writing can be a daunting prospect, what made you decide to share your story with the world?

Michelle Graves:  Honestly, it was the encouragement of a few friends that read it while I was writing it.  Then there is Izzy, my main character.  I am pretty sure she would have mentally prodded me until I shared her story with the world.  It is a strange feeling to be pressured by a character that I created.  I think they make medication for that.

SD: Who has influenced you, as an author?

MG:  Oh, this one is a hard one.  I am a rather voracious reader, and I think like in all things in life, every book I have read has influenced me.  But if I had to choose just a couple of authors that I look up to I would have to say Molly Harper and Elizabeth Hunter are the two that come to mind immediately.  Molly Harper's quick wit leaves me laughing so loudly I receive strange looks from the people around me.  She has a way of taking serious situations and adding humor to them without taking away from the importance of the drama.  I love that.  Then there is Elizabeth Hunter who's words are poetry in motion.  I can't get enough of her writing.  Her words always pull me and keep me longing for more.

SD: What is your writing method? Do you outline first or do you purge your brain on paper until your story is told? 

MG: I have never been able to outline.  I get a general idea of what the big conflict in the story will be and then I start writing.  The story unfolds as I write it and often times I am just as surprised as I assume the readers are when I get to the big twists.  None of them are ever planned. 

So, as far as writing method goes, I would say that I sit down, pound out the story, and then go back and look over everything to make sure it flows and the story has a sound continuity.  I never read what I have written until I have completely finished the book.  It keeps me in the creative mode and not editorial mode. 

SD: How long does it take you to write your story, from getting it down on paper to publishing? 

MG: I can typically hammer out a rough draft of a story in about a month.  I know that is uncommonly quick, and in all honesty if I am in a writing mood and the ideas are flowing I can write it in a matter of weeks.  It all depends on my mood or whether I am blocked or not. 

After I get the story down, the rough editing usually takes about two weeks.  Then I send it out to a friend to review and she gives me feedback.  Once I implement the changes that I think need to be made I ship it off to my editor.

My editor takes about two weeks from start to finish to review it and then sends it back to me.  Then I do my FINAL edit which takes about a week.  Then it is back to my editor for formatting and off to publish.

The biggest problem is getting everyone's schedules lined up to make the magic happen... from editing, reviewing, and cover art.... it is hard to get it all put together.  

SD: Can you tell me a little bit about your book(s) without giving away too much? Why should I read it? 

MG: I would say that The Chronicles of Izzy are urban fantasy novels with a splash of romance.  The stories primarily focus on Izzy's journey in self-discovery as she takes her place amongst the ranks of Seers and tries to protect the world from nefarious forces working against  events that have been preordained.  She is challenged in her relationships as well as in her ability to accept her fate.  Her journeys often take her down dark roads and threaten to pull her under.  My main goal is to write her as a character that is hard to keep down.  Izzy is resilient.

SD: How much of yourself is in your character(s)?

MG: Oh, in Izzy there is a lot of who I am.  Her sense of humor and quirks are decidedly my own.  Even her accent resembles my own muddled Southern one.  I think that I set out to write what I knew and who better do I know than myself? 

Then there is Kennan who is based on my husband.  His sense of humor is really similar to my husband's.  Even his stubbornness comes from my husband.  

SD: What advice would you give to an aspiring author? 

MG: Surround yourself with encouraging and supportive people.  This is a scary business in which you put a huge part of yourself out into the world to be judged.  If I did not have my support system I would surely have crumbled under the pressures by now. 

The other bit of advice I have is to not compare yourself to other authors.  Just get your story down in your voice.  Your writing style will not be exactly like anyone else's and that is a good thing.  So do what you do best, tell your story, and worry about making it perfect once it is down.

SD: Is there anything else that you'd like to share? 

MG: Read my book. No, in all honesty, I hope that people can relate to my characters and that my readers feel comfortable enough to reach out to me and let me know what they think.  Reader feedback is so important to authors.  We have no way of knowing if what we are writing works if we never hear back from the readers.  Reviews are important, as are notes to the author!  Don't ever underestimate the power of a review! 

Oh, and a huge thanks to you Dianne for having me here.  This has been a lot of fun!

~ End~

Author Bio:

Michelle Graves is a self-proclaimed nomad, moving every two to three years with her husband the Army man, her beautiful daughter, and a fat tailless cat named Torri. When she is not writing away trying to purge her mind of yapping characters she can be found entertaining her daughter, attempting to craft (whilst trying not to injure herself with the glue gun), baking yummy treats, or reading. She admits to having a restless spirit and forces her family to go out on adventures whenever possible. They lovingly play along. 

If you want to find out more about Michelle, be sure to check out her Facebook page here and her blog here. You can also add See How She Runs to your reading list at Goodreads here.  If you want to read the prequel, first chapter or Life Lessons with Izzy, be sure to check out Michelle's blog so you can start your journey with Izzy.

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