It’s Michele Drier’s birthday today. I got her a wonderful present. It involves flames, intimidation and possible third degree burns. Yes, that’s right. I got her a spot in the HOT SEAT!
Let’s get started. What genre(s) do you write, Michele?
Well, that would have been easy a year ago…mysteries! But I began writing a vampire romance, just to see if I could do it, and I did! So now I write traditional mysteries AND paranormal romance.
[CJ: Nice combination. I love both those genres.]
SNAP is the holy grail for Maxie. She’s looking for fame, fortune and Jimmy Choos, but when she meets vampire Jean Louis, she’s a goner.
[CJ: 25 words exactly. Nice work! And the plot sounds like fun too.]
Thanks. SNAP: The World Unfolds was completed and published in July. I’ve begun the next in the Kandesky vampire series, SNAP: New Talent.
Most of us write part time. How do you spend your time when you’re not writing?
Marketing! I always thought that the hard part of writing a book was writing a book! Not! Now that I have two books published in two different genres (my traditional mystery, Edited for Death, came out Oct. 1), I spend hours every day with social media. I also write grant applications on a contract basis, do some consulting work and spend time taking care of two granddaughters.
[CJ: Sounds like a busy, satisfying life. :-)]
Tell us a little about your writing process.
I’m more of a pantser writer. I have stories in my head and I sit down and start with Chapter One. Every day, I read the previous five or ten pages to immerse myself in the story and then continue. My characters will sometimes take the story line and bolt off into the blue. This usually adds interest and fleshes them out, but I sometimes have to rein them in. It makes for occasional rewriting.
[CJ: Rewriting can be painful but usually the story becomes much better for it. Thank goodness! Wouldn't be much point to it if it didn't, right?]
Who or what are your biggest writing inspirations?
Primarily, women writers. I’ve always been amazed that women overrode the barriers they faced and just wrote, because they had to. Not only the 18th and 19th century women like Jane Austen or the Brontes, but early 20th century like Kate Chopin or Charlotte Perkins Gilman. And I’m astounded at the English like Doris Lessing and Iris Murdoch. Their use of language makes me realize that we speak different languages…well VERY different dialects.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a writer?
Hoo, sales? Kidding! The biggest challenge I’ve faced in fiction writing is trying to cram way too much information in. My first couple of drafts of Edited for Death were liberally sprinkled with information dumps and my daughter finally said, “Just write one story. You’ve got two of them here.” When I realized she was right, I slashed and burned and a better book and story emerged from the forest of words I’d created.
[CJ: I love the image you've created there. Makes me think I'd probably love your novels too!]
Right. Enough of the niceties. Time for the HOT SEAT questions!
A well-reputed publisher offers you a major contract but requires you change something about your plot that completely goes against what you want for the book. What do you do?
Oh…moan and groan. [CJ: :D] I’d want to make sure I understood why they wanted to make these changes, probably try to negotiate to keep my ideas intact and then, when all else fails, go away. It’s much more cavalier and easier to say this in these days of self-publishing!
[CJ: Brave lady!]
What fictional character are you most like and why?
Some people used to call me Murphy Brown! I guess I’m more outspoken than I think I am. But in literary fiction, hummmmm. Probably Lisa Scottoline’s Bennie Rosato. A little brash, in control (read: control freak), outwardly sure of myself. I sure wish I could afford Manolo Blahniks or Jimmy Choos. My daughter and I left our finger- and nose-prints on the window of a Ferregamo store in Paris once, but that’s probably as close as I’ll ever come!
If you could only read one genre for the rest of your life, what genre would you choose?
That’s like being put in solitary! All in all, I think I’d have to say mysteries.
[CJ: Makes sense! And yes I agree. It's a tricky question. Glad I'm the one asking and not answering! :-D]
Well, that was fun. For me at least! If you’d like to hear more from Michele, check out her website.
If you’d like a turn in the HOT SEAT, let me know in the comments and I’ll schedule you in for a buttocks burning.