Michelle lives in the Midwest with her husband of twenty-five years and has four amazing and unique children, a great son-in-law, and a beautiful granddaughter. For her, any day that involves family, writing, or reading is a great day, indeed.
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Lacey Jordan is expecting dinner, and hopefully, an engagement announcement. Not her own, of course. After two serious screw-ups, she's all but sworn off relationships. When she arrives at her father's house to celebrate his future happiness though, he's nowhere to be found. As the hours pass, the worst scenarios Lacey's mind can conjure send her rushing into action. However, reality proves even more frightening as she discovers that her father's recent scientific breakthrough is one that people would kill for. To make matters worse, the source of the information is the one person she'd hoped to never see again. Caleb Mansfield, her father's former protege and her former lover, needs Lacey's cooperation, and the very trust he'd stolen years before. But Lacey can't be certain if Caleb's working with her or against her. Running out of time, she has nowhere else to turn. As the trail leading to her father narrows, Lacey becomes a target, risking her life to save him. Too late, she understands that with Caleb back in her life, she's risking her heart as well.
✯ Unspoken Bonds✯
Being summoned to the emergency room to interpret for deaf patients is nothing new for Rachel Mansfield. But finding herself interpreting for a scared, abandoned little girl with nothing but a note pinned to her shirt? Well, that’s a first.
An instant bond forms between them, and Rachel’s protective instincts kick into high gear as Lily’s mysterious past meets an uncertain future. As hours turn into days, Rachel’s biggest worry is that they won’t find Lily’s family. Until she meets Lily’s uncle, Garrett. Then he becomes her biggest worry.
Betrayed by his family, Garrett Staker knows his path. He’s plotted every step. And as he closes in on his most important business goal, one thing is certain -- his plan doesn’t include assuming responsibility for a niece who was presumed dead after his sister’s murder.
Despite the undercurrent of attraction, Rachel and Garrett are at odds over Lily’s future. But as Garrett’s business comes under attack from within, and the questions about Lily’s past loom larger, they must find a way to work together. Their lives, and Lily’s, depend on it.
✯Interview With Michelle✯
Michelle, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview with me. I read BOTH Dangerous Ally & Unspoken Bonds and I absolutely LOVED them!! I loved Lacey & Caleb in Dangerous Ally. Garrett, Rachel, Jack & Lily I absolutely adored in Unspoken Bonds. I'm really excited to read Jack's story next.
Thank you so much for inviting me! I seriously love you guys and appreciate you so much for your support and encouragement toward indie authors.
When you were a little girl, what did you dream of being when you grew up? Did you always aspire to be a writer?
You know, I've always loved to read and fell in love with romance as a middle-schooler reading my mom's Harlequins. I enjoyed writing in high school and was the editor of the newspaper and on the yearbook staff so I figured I'd become a journalist. I didn't. :-) I ended up in sales and marketing. By the time I finished high school, it was a dream of mine to write my own novels, but I never made fulfilling that dream a priority until a few years ago.
How long did it take you to write your first book? Was it Dangerous Ally, or have you written other stories which you did not publish?
Dangerous Ally was my first novel and I began to outline it in 2008. I wrote a rough first draft and knew I needed to get around other like-minded people who would push me to get better so, in 2010, I joined a local writer's group and worked on revising and editing until 2012. I released it in January 2013 after crafting it into a work I was proud to put my name on. Unspoken Bonds came much easier. I began it in 2012 and published in September 2013.
What was your inspiration for writing Dangerous Ally and Unspoken Bonds?
I love romance with a good, healthy dose of mystery and suspense so I was inspired to dive in and create works that would hopefully take the reader along for a great ride. My inspiration for dusting off my dream of becoming an author, however, was my mother's losing battle with cancer in late 2007. I remember wondering at the time if she had any unfulfilled dreams that she regretted not pursuing. I never asked her that question, but I asked myself and the answer was YES. Huge wake-up call for me that someday there wouldn't be any more "somedays".
If either book was made into a movie, who would be your ideal cast?
Hmmm...that's a good question. I'd probably cast Dangerous Ally, because I actually used actor images on my drawing board to remind me of the characters' physical appearance. I pictured Caleb like a young Pierce Brosnan, so if I was casting today I'd probably go with Chris Pine. Lacey's always looked like Sarah Michelle Gellar to me. And even though she's in her 30's, I still think she'd play a great 20-something Lacey. As far as the villian goes, I'd probably go with Tom Hiddleston. He could pull of the perfect amount of unassuming snark.
How did you come up the characters & synopsis?
Usually, there's a single word or thought that sparks an initial plot point. From there, everything grows pretty organically. I often know the basic plot before I know much about the history of my characters. It's really fun now because, since all of my books are related characters, one minor character or another sticks his or her head up and becomes the hero/heroine of the next story. Jack Mathis was introduced in Unspoken Bonds as Garrett's best friend and now, Jack is telling me his story. What's great is, Cam Tate (a young minor character in Jack's story) has already let me know that he's next on the list! :-)
Who or what is your main influence(s) in your writing?
From a technical standpoint, my critique partners (who I met through the writers group) influence my writing and I respect them both immensely. The only other people who I allow to influence the story are my beta readers and my editor. But I have a whole host of talented authors who influence my desire to continue to get better.
What author’s writing do you particularly admire most, and why?
Like any lover of romance novels, I have so many authors that I truly admire - Judith McNaught, Nora Roberts, Susan Elizabeth Phillips to name a few. In addition, I'm so fortunate that two of my favorite authors belong to my writing group - Carla Cassidy and Heather Snow. However, my hands-down all-time favorite is Julie Garwood. She never disappoints - her heroines are fun and feisty and her heroes are amazing. If I ever get close to writing as well as she does, I'll be one happy camper!
What is the one book you could read over and over again without ever growing tired of it?
Really, any of Julie Garwood's books are re-read worthy, but if I had to choose only one it would probably be....oh, dang it. I can't do it. I can't choose just one. I went and looked at her bookshelf in my office and it made me want to re-read them all!
If you get “writers block”, what do you do to help yourself break free from it?
I've figured out that if I'm stuck in a scene, sometimes it's easiest to walk away from it and write a different one. Or try it from the other character's POV. Both have worked to get me "over the hump".
What has been the most difficult part about becoming an author?
I think, for me, the most difficult part is accepting the fact that it's real. :-) I love the creative process and I'm truly proud of my work but it still freaks me out a little to tell someone I'm an author. I keep waiting for someone to tap me on the should and bust me for lying...haha
How do you juggle writing your books & being a mommy and wife everyday?
That's probably my biggest challenge, but I have an amazing family who encourages me to reach for my dreams. Since I work full-time and still have two kids at home, I do my best to structure writing time around "life". I write on my lunch hours as often as possible and sometimes stay after work when things are quiet. If I can get an hour or two a day in, I can generally stay on schedule.
When reading a book. What are your favorite kind of characters to read about?
I love alpha heroes that aren't super macho, but are witty and funny. Even though I tend to read and write mystery and suspense, I love humorous dialogue at just the right moment. I like heroines that tend to take themselves a little too seriously until the right man comes along and messes up their best laid plans.
If you could give just ONE piece of advice for aspiring authors, what would it be?
Fill your life with people who will encourage your dream. You become like the people you hang around most, so do whatever it takes to get around authors who have had success, and be humble. Ask questions and be open to learning from them.
I know we've talked briefly about you getting ready to publish a short story about your journaled experience with ovarian cancer a few years ago. Congratulations, on winning that battle! I'm really looking forward to reading it. Is there anything you can tell me about it?
Thank you! I am so amazingly blessed to even be sitting here doing this interview. Ovarian cancer is such a quiet disease, and most women don't notice the subtle warning signs until the disease is so far advanced it's hard to conquer. However, if caught early, ovarian cancer can almost always be treated successfully.
So in January, I'll be publishing an e-book titled "Are You Listening?" with all the proceeds going to benefit The Vicky Welsh Fund, a local ovarian cancer awareness organization here in Kansas City. I've never been a journaler, but from the date of my initial sonogram (before I even had a diagnosis) to the date I got my final pathology report back, I jotted down my thoughts, feelings and experiences.
My hope is that after women read this quick novella, they'll come away with an increased awareness of the disease and the knowledge of what early detection looks like from a first-hand experience. :-)
I know you have been working very hard on your next projects. (Hopefully Jack's story ;) Hahaha) Can you tell us a little about it, and what we can expect from these upcoming books? How did you come up with the idea for them?
Absolutely! You got it - Jack's story is up next and he certainly has his hands full with Tori Whitlock. She's a storm chaser with a tortured past who doesn't suffer fools easily. Being from the Midwest, I have a morbid fascination with storm chasing, and love the life or death struggle with nature. I've wanted to write this story for quite awhile and I'm so glad it's finally time!
Thanks again for the opportunity to stop by and visit! It's been tons of fun!
1 signed paperback of Dangerous Ally (US Only)
1 signed paperback of Unspoken Bonds (US Only)
1 eBook of Dangerous Ally
1 eBook of Unspoken Bonds