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. Ready?
Same DiNamics: Writing can be a daunting prospect, what made you decide to share your story with the world?
Michelle Mogil: I am an introvert by nature, so I find writing a way to express my thoughts without having to deal with an immediate reaction. I was delighted when I discovered the Internet, way back in 1985 when it was mostly text-based, and could interact, more or less anonymously, with people all over the world. When these anonymous interactions were mostly positive, it gave me confidence in my ability to convey my ideas through writing. Still, it took a couple of decades and a great deal of courage to click on that "PUBLISH" button and send something out there with my real self behind it. The fact that people like it has been a pleasant surprise and very gratifying.
SD: Who has influenced you as an author?
MM: I love Ursula LeGuin, Ray Bradbury and Ann Taylor. To me, they represent quintessential storytellers. I've found inspiration, not only in other writers, but in film and television producers as well. For me, Must See TV was "Alfred Hitchcock Presents", and Rod Serling's "The Twilight Zone", as well as "Outer Limits". On the weekends, I used to stay up until the television stations signed off for the night watching old science fiction and horror movies. I am most drawn to those creative minds that take the imagination and send it into orbit.
SD: What is your writing method? Do you outline first or do you purge your brain on paper until your story is told?
MM: I start with a conversation between two vaguely defined characters. I find human interaction completely fascinating. I really enjoy sitting in a bar or cafe, pretending to read while I shamelessly eavesdrop on the people around me. I take these conversations and weave a story around them. The characters tend to define themselves and the story itself as I go. So, I guess the answer is, I do a brain dump, like a big blob of mental clay, then I go back and mold the blob into something recognizable.
SD: How long does it take you to write your story, from getting it down on paper to publishing?
MM: It took me less than a month to get the story down, then another two months working with an editor/mentor to turn it into a mature, well-written novel.
SD: Can you tell me a little bit about your book(s) without giving away too much? Why should I read it?
MM: "The Gentle Man" is a story of wishful thinking. My heroine has pretty much resigned herself to a life of drudgery in her downhill years: her husband seems more interested in his gardening than her, she's being laid off from her well-paid full-time job at the university, and she doesn't seem to have much to look forward to. Along comes this skinny little foreign guy with strangely compelling eyes who claims he's running for his life. What woman wouldn't be entranced by his soft accent, his swift and complete infatuation, and his promise of a better existence? Ana wavers between her loyalty to her neglectful husband and the temptation to throw caution to the winds. In the end, she discovers a love far deeper than she had imagined.
SD: How much of yourself is in your character(s)?
MM: Oh, Ana is definitely me, foul mouth, impulsive behavior and all.
SD: What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
MM: Since I'm still in the "aspiring" stage myself, I don't know how effective my advice would be. As a cautionary tale, though, I would say I deeply regret that I didn't act on my writing skills sooner in my life. To those young people who find themselves compelled to write down the workings of their minds, I say write away! Then find someone to read your work and help you hone your skills. The world needs imagination and escape from the drudgery of daily living and you, the storyteller, can give it something incredibly valuable.
But please, please, PLEASE take the time to write well. There are so many independently published books out there — many of which have wonderful stories. But too many of them are ruined by bad writing and horrible execution. I was bitten by my own haste to publish and am so very glad that I took a step back and re-worked my novel with the help of a mentor. It's so absolutely wonderful that, with today's technology and access to the Internet, anyone can publish their works. But it's also rather worrisome that the market is being flooded with writers that — just like me, I'll freely admit — pushed that "PUBLISH" button a bit too quickly. Take the time and spend the money to have your work professionally edited.
SD: Is there anything else that you'd like to share?
I love Michelle's advice to authors on taking the time to write well. Everyone out there thinks of themselves a critic but there's nothing worse than reading a book that read as if the words were just thrown together. I do believe that everyone has a story to tell, it's just a matter of how that story is told.
Michelle Mogil is a fresh old face in the publishing field. She self-published her first novel, The Gentle Man, in June of 2013 and is making evil plans for a sequel, to be published in November of 2013. She is also the author of two short stories in the upcoming ThemeThology series, to be published in the fall of 2013 by HDWP Books.
Michelle lives in the wilds of Upstate New York with an arbitrary number of chickens, three cats, one neurotic greyhound, and a very tolerant husband. She has three daughters; one of which has retaliated with three grandsons.
Michelle's secret identity involves torturing network and computer systems and bending database mining tools to her will. Someday, she hopes to retire to the simpler life of part-time bar tending.
You can find Michelle at her author page on Facebook.