July 6, 2008

Author Michele Hart

Today's guest blogger is Michele Hart. Thanks so much for being with us today, Michele. Please jump right in and say hi!

1. So, tell us a little about yourself? What is your typical day like?

I rise with the sun, and if I don’t, I just might get a big, wet nose stuck in my face. We have a new 45 lb baby in the house, a black LabraDoodle named Stealth Killer. She’s a sneak attacker, completely invisible on the black sofa. Then I’m in the chair before the One-Eyed Time Machine, my computer, for a few hours of e-mail. (yech) It’s amazing the amount of e-mail you’ll receive as a writer active in the industry. It’s taken me months to get back to writing! Promo takes up a great deal of my time. I work until I collapse each day.

2. When did you start to write and how long did it take you get published? How many stories did you finish before you were published?

I started experimenting with writing around 1990, wrote a huge story before joined RWA and learned how to write like a writer. Then the Real World stepped in for a while, and I went back to writing in 2005, didn’t start submitting until 2006.

3. What influenced you to write?

I can thank my close friend Torch for encouraging me to write. He passed on some Piers Anthony, some Roger Zelazny, and I was intrigued by the idea of writing a story that handled so many characters at once. So I tried it as a raw and inexperienced writer and ended up with a 270,000 word story, which is unsalably huge, three times a realistic size.

4. What inspired you to write romance?

Writing this unsalable mega-story, I’d decided writing Romance was a weakness of mine, so I joined Romance Writers of America, and RWA completely redirected me, pointed in all the right directions. I learned much more about writing relationships, a huge necessity for managing a roll call of characters.

5. What genre or sub-genre do you write? Why did you choose this genre?

I write Sci-Fi/Fantasy Romance and Contemporary Erotic Romantic Suspense. I was a kid raised on Star Trek, Bewitched, and The Night Stalker.

6. What difficulties does writing this genre present?

Paranormal concepts require a bit different world-building that can get tedious to the reader, everyone at different rates. It’s not easy to decide what’s enough and what’s too much. I tend to over-explain and have to cut back.

7. What motivated you to write your current book?

One day I went to the grocery store looking atrocious, and it occurred to me to explore the idea of finding romance shopping in a store, looking one’s worst. Okay, that made it sound like going to the store looking atrocious was a rare thing. I do it twice a week.

8. How much time do you devote to writing each day?

Much less since before I sold. I’m just now writing something new and short, then I’ll get back to a Sci-Fi Romance Adventure. I really want six more hours in every day.

9. Tell us about your other works, books, stories, etc.

Looks Are Deceiving just came out with Siren Publishing. It’s an Erotic Romantic Suspense set in the Florida Heat featuring Elissa Baker and her hardcore secret plans involving the Scum of the Earth, and Greg Moretti, the steamy Latin lover who melts her ice. Shadows of the Mob lurk unseen, and someone’s about to get a bullet. ANOTHER someone. You Never See Everything.

Then, my Fantasy novella, No Funny Stuff!, comes out August 15th from The Wild Rose Press. No Funny Stuff! is part of a 9-novella anthology of the Greek Muses of Inspiration titled SONG OF THE MUSES, releasing all through June, July, and August. The stories are wonderful. Pick your favorite Muse and buy her story. My fellow Muse writers are talented story-tellers. I’m honored to be a part of the project. Anyone who loves mythology should read them all. You’re bound to love all 9 Tales of Inspiration.

No Funny Stuff! is the tale of Thalia, the Muse of Comedy, whose messenger messes up her mission and accidentally sets off a magical blessing from Aphrodite, the Goddess of Passion and Beauty. Thalia’s messenger and target are now in love, but the target is fated to die in days. The Muse just face Ares, the God of War, on his own battlefield to trick him into lifting an ancient family curse. Ares loves only one thing more than he loves bloodshed. And Thalia has to make it funny because that’s how she rolls!

10. What are you working on now?

Right now, I’m doing a short story set in space based on my puppy-love crush on my high school best friend, a real cutie with big bright blue eyes and a stunning playful smile. Saw him a few years later and he turned out so incredibly model-gorgeous, drop-dead hot and 100% married. Oh, heart-break. It’s gotta go the other way this time.
Gosh, I’d blush, if he found this on the Net!  No names, no names.

Then I’ll go back to Alien Whip, a Sci-Fi Romance Adventure. I can hardly wait! There are excerpts on my Web site for anyone who’d like to read.

11. How do you write? Are you a pantser or a plotter? Is it your characters or your plot that influences you the most?

I was 100% pantser until the anthology, which took some organization with eight other authors. I’m a combo now.
I love developing the relationship. I believe in spending time motivating the characters. I don’t easily fall in love and I don’t let my characters do it either.

12. What was the most usual way you came up with a story idea? I mean, I’ve gotten a plot idea from a song I heard, from brainstorming with a classmate. What unusual thing caused you to think, ‘hey, I could make that into a story?’

I got a story idea from a news story, not an unusual way to get a story, but I brain-stormed a story aloud, and I’d talked out a great opening in about 10 minutes. It was a fun exercise and I’d surprised myself by the challenge. That’s how Alien Whip was born.

13. If you could spend an hour talking to anyone from any time in history, who
would it be? And Why?

Can I warn them of future events? Being a huge history freak, it would probably be John Kennedy. Just to meet them and learn who they are, that would be Alexander the Great. He fascinates me.

14. Tell us some of the things interviewers are saying about your story or stories.

Looks Are Deceiving’s getting great reviews, 4s and 5s. It’s still on the Best Sellers List right now almost a month after release. Several reviews are coming due soon, so LAD is really just blasting off. I’m very proud of the story’s success.

15. What is your all time favorite book?

Tough question. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley comes to mind first. Wings of the Storm by Susan Sizemore, A Moment In Time by Bertice Small, You Slay Me by Katie Macalister, Karma Girl by Jennifer Estep.

16. How do you do research for your books? What’s the most interesting bit of research you’ve come across?

I study pre-1st draft and all the way through. Coolest thing I ever learned was about a Tesla super-weapon called HAARP that can be used to take over the world. And it’s very real. You can learn about it in any search engine.

17. What advice would you give aspiring writers today?

Oh, dear God, be determined if you really want publication. If you thought the writing was tough, prepare yourself for nonstop work after signing a contract, way beyond just writing. Do yourself a huge favor and learn as many graphics and website-building programs as you can, so you’ll not have to pay for those services. Teach yourself to be a marketing machine on a shoestring budget. You’ll not be sorry.

18. How do you like your fans to contact you?

I’ll always be found at: http://www.ILoveShapeShifters.Com/

Thanks so much for the interview, Anna!


Zulmara said...

Kudos to you...I love how you got started...the HUGE unsellable manuscript...part of the process, I think...



blessedheart said...

Hello Anna and Michele,
Great interview! I'm looking forward to reading some of your books!

Rhonda :-)

LuAnn said...

Great interview! You also offer some good advice for aspiring writers.
(By the way, I love the name of your dog!)

Laura K said...

Very interesting interview, Michele. I like that you are branching out in a variety of genres. I don't stick to one while reading, either!

Anonymous said...

Hi Michele,
Looks are deceiving is a great book. I can understand why it get great reviews. I really look forward to reading your coming boks, what you are telling about them sounds really interesting.

Michele Hart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michele Hart said...

Hi, Tessa,
Thanks so much for the glowing compliments. It's so nice to meet nice people who end up liking your work. So many times, authors are surrounded by nonreaders! Och! The ultimate curse!

Michelle said...

Hey, I also love Katie Macalister books...if you haven't tried Corset Diaries and like to really laugh please give them a try. I couldn't go more than a page without a chuckle or uncontrollable giggle.

Michele Hart said...

Hi, Laura,
I actually stumbled into writing other genres. It was scary to step out of my comfortable depth, but I'm very glad I did it. It's important to test your boundaries. You usually find out you can do more than you thought.

Anonymous said...

Do you often get comments about your books from people, who you realize haven't read your books? I mean, often the people who really haven't read a book give comments about them, especially negative.

Michele Hart said...

Welcome, Luann,
I love Killer's name and she fits it to the tee. She ambushes me in the hallway, steals food the second I turn my head, grabs papers and runs when I'm working. She's a riot.

Someone asked me why I named her such a negative name as Killer, as in someone who takes a life. I said, "I named her Killer after the exclamation, Killer!"

Michele Hart said...

Hi, Michelle,
Katie McAllister's my hero. I've got a great sense of humor, but I learned putting that down into a story is a very special talent. Being a good writer and a funny writer is very difficult.

I've a few more of her books sitting by my bed, and I'm looking forward to the time to read them. I hope Katie's filthy rich.

Patti Shenberger said...

Michelle, great interview and I love the name of your dog! I'm a dog nut, though we do have a cat in the house as well.


Michele Hart said...

Hello, everyone!

Take a stroll through my Web site:

Looks Are Deceiving's specific page is:
There you'll find reviews, excerpts, and a book trailer for LAD.

On LAD's MySpace page:
you'll find Elissa's Diary and Greg's Journal, and some gorgeous pictures.
I hope you enjoy them.

Michele Hart said...

Greetings, Rhonda,
Thank you so much for the time you spent reading Anna's interview with me. Please visit my Web site and join my mailing list. I'd love to keep in touch.

Michele Hart said...

Hello, Zulmara,
Yes, writing the unsaleable story is part of the process. It helps to teach you the elements of the selling story, for sure.

I'd actually done a pretty darned good job on that story for a beginner. I credit decades of TV watching. The only unsaleable aspect of it is that size. What a shame. In many aspects, it's my best work. I hope to publish it one day, but publishers and readers will have to fall in love with big stories first.

My kingdom for a reader for that project!

Debby said...

I loved reading the interview. Congrats on your success

Michele Hart said...

Do you often get comments about your books from people, who you realize haven't read your books?

Michele: I've received only good comments so far. I haven't had a lousy review yet. I don't know if an author could ever tell the commentor hasn't read it unless they mention something as being in the book and it's not. I guess that's their little secret.

I hadn't heard of people commenting on books they hadn't read, but I'm sure there are some who would do such a dumb thing. I can't imagine what they'd get from slamming some author and book they've never read. Simply a mean-natured person getting their cruel jollies.

I'm so far surfing good reviews and comments on the book, but I expect I'll get a bad review along the way. In fact, bad reviews and comments being par for the course, I'm surprised I haven't received one yet. I figure no one bats a thousand, except for Nora Roberts. :-)

I guess what they said would make a difference. If they hated the character, I guess I'd blow it off as personal taste. If they called the plot implausible, I'd be down. If they told me I didn't research and said something blatantly wrong, I'd have myself flogged.
I'm telling myself I'm bullet-proof for the moment something bad is said. An author needs to be ready for it. A steel spine and leather skin come in handy.
Someone's going to hate your baby. Someone's going to love it.

Michele Hart said...

Hi Patti!

I love animals, manage to put one in every story. I even wrote one where the dog was the instigator of the entire story with a few scenes in his point-of-view. Hey! That's the best story I have ready for a contract! I'll be delirious when I sell that one!

To me, life is hard without a dog. I just can't keep from putting them into stories. They make awesome, pure-hearted sidekicks!

Michele Hart said...

Thank you, Debby, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Debby and everyone,
Please stop by my Website and click the box on the main page that invites you to my mailing list. That way I can keep in touch with you!

Jane said...

Hi Michele,
I was just browsing your website. Your favorite saying from The Tick really cracked me up.

Steve said...

Dear Michele -

What an interesting interview! And you're such an engaging writer, I love your work. You have a very intelligent style, it's not pretentious though, it's just smart writing, and it's easy to get lost in your stories, they're very creative. The way your develop your characters is very realistic and believable, when I was reading Looks Are Deceiving I found myself getting lost in it, and I'm just amazed that I hadn't heard of you before. Where have you been hiding all this time?

A question: can I get your books in audio form? I'd love to play them on my iPod.

- Steve

Gemini said...

Miss Hart,

I think you should pose for your own covers, you're absolutely gorgeous. I guess authors never do that. But you could though if you wanted to.


Michele Hart said...

Do you like Mythology?

Right now, The Wild Rose Press is releasing 9 stories of Inspiration called SONG OF THE MUSES. Each story is a wonderful tale of romantic adventure for one of the 9 Muses of Inspiration. Pick your Muse and go on an adventure with her!
Available right now:
-ANCIENT MUSINGS the tale of Calliope, the Muse of Epic Poetry, by Skhye Moncrief
-HIGHLAND MUSE, the tale of Melpomene, the Muse of Tragedy, by Sky Purington
-DESTINY'S LIGHT, the tale of Euterpe, the Muse of Music, by Robyn Wren

Upcoming in July:
-THE BRIGHTEST HEAVEN, the tale of Urania, the Muse of Astronomy, by Masha Holl
-ERATO'S TEARS, the tale of Erato, the Muse of Erotic Love, by Reece Herring
-DANCING WITH FATE, the tale of Terpsichore, the Muse of Dance, by Hywela Lyn

Upcoming in August:
-A LOVE BEYOND TIME, the tale of Clio, the Muse of History, by Alisha Paige
-NO FUNNY STUFF!, the tale of Thalia, the Muse of Comedy, by Yours Truly
-THE VICTORY OF LUGH, the tale of Polyhymnia, the Muse of Hymns, by Valerie Everhart

Don't miss these stories. You'll love them!

Michele Hart said...

Hi Jane!

I'm a huge Tick fan, got all the cartoons and the live-action show, most of it memorized! Terrible!

How sad the live-action show was a victim of 9/11. It kills me every time I think of it.

Michele Hart said...

Hey, Tessa!
See the entry of the guy named Steve?

That's the first time someone commented who never read the book.HA!

To his credit, I know Steve. He's awfully cute, so I won't kill him for it.

Michele Hart said...

Alright, Gemini, who are you? Did my mother send you?

I only know one Gemini and he's already in trouble.
:-) Someone, call the poilce.

Sienna said...

The book cover where the girl's reflection shows her without makeup is really interesting. And your book trailer video at your MySpace page ROCKS! Where did that music come from?

Gemini said...

Miss Hart -

I think you're going to be a big success. Seriously, I have a sense about these things. And I have that sense about you. Your style is outstanding and I think it has broad appeal. You'll go very far in this business if you want to.

- Gemini

Anonymous said...

Yes, Michele. I read the comment. LOts of discussion today.

Michele Hart said...

The joke's on Gemini. Those pictures are 35 years old.

Michele Hart said...

The picture of the dog dressed up as Batman ROCKS!

Cindy said...

Do you ever write under any other names? Can I leave a comment without a Google ID? What's a URL?

Michele Hart said...

Welcome, Sienna,
I'm so glad you like the cover. Jinger Heaston did it and she has great instincts. I'm very lucky.

The music came from Kevin MacLeod. www.incompetech.com I really like it too. Every now and then, I'll play it for a smile, and then think, "Dang, I like that music!"

gemini said...

Miss Hart -

That's not a dog, that's really me! Arf!

- Gemini

Estella said...

Enjoyed the interview very much. Am looking forward to reading your books.

Michele Hart said...

Hi Cindy,

I did publish LOOKS ARE DECEIVING with a publisher who closed and I'd used the name Crystal Drake, which was the name of the very first character I wrote.

Michele Hart said...

You should have the option to post anonymously under the "Choose an Identity" under the Leave a Comment box.

Michele Hart said...

Thank you, Estella.
Please keep in touch.

Michele Hart said...

I've got a nice warm lap for Gemini!
Here, boy!

If you click Gemini's name link, you'll see the cutest doggy dressed like Batman!

Lyn said...

Fascinating review, Michele. It's so interesting to learn what makes other writers 'tick' and how they write. What a brilliant name for ayour dog too!


Michele Hart said...

Thanks, Lyn.

Lyn is one of my Muse sisters and the brilliant author of DANCING WITH FATE, coming out 3rd week of July--YIPPEE!--and the Sci-Fi Romance STARQUEST. Don't miss either of them.

As a bellydancer (long out of practice), I've a special love for Terpsichore, the Muse of Dancing.

Drea said...

What a fun interview. Can't wait to check out some of your work.

Michele Hart said...

Drea showed up!

Your name always catches my eye because I named one of my favorite heroines Drea, short for Selandreia.
Now there's a story I read for inner soul therapy, part of the huge epic I'd written that's way too big for publication. Darn.

I love how your name brings it back. Thanks for showing up,Drea.

Michele Hart said...

Here's the blurb for my Erotic Romantic Suspense, LOOKS ARE DECEIVING

You Never See Everything.

All shadows and mystery, Elissa Baker’s in hot pursuit
of something bigger, uglier, and meaner than Greg Moretti,
and she keeps her destiny with the scum of the Earth a closely guarded confidence.
Only Greg--muscles, brains, and passion—
can wreck her long-laid path by being Mister Right and refusing to let her go.

How can she resist her Latin lover’s dark-chocolate eyes
always arresting her, his hypnotic lure stealing her soul,
and dealing lusty persuasion like trump cards in a fixed bet?

Restauranteur Greg Moretti is crazy for a woman
who leads a smoke-and-mirrors life.
He’ll fix that by cooking up some heat, triggering a little hunger,
and melting the ice-wall protecting her soul.
Elissa will need to choose between Greg and the criminal world.
What keeps her from his total consumption? Why does Elissa keep so many secrets?

Greg will take no hostages nor will he back down from his chase
until he identifies his competition and makes Elissa
want him more than her other distractions.
Good boys can be bad too … and lethal to the heart.

The serendipitous solution to the cold-case murder of Greg’s father
leads to a gun battle that changes everything. Who invited the Mob?

Someone’s going to lose, and someone’s going to die. Another someone.
Everything changes with the pull of a trigger. Nothing looks the same after this....

Available NOW in e-book!
Read Hot Excerpts and Fabulous Reviews!:
Visit Me @ * http://www.ILoveShapeShifters.Com/

Don’t you love mystery?  I do.

Michele Hart said...

Here's the blurb from my upcoming novella, NO FUNNY STUFF!, a tale of Thalia, the Greek Muse of Comedy.
NO FUNNY STUFF! will be available Mid-August as an e-book and included in the anthology from The Wild Rose Press, SONG OF THE MUSES, 9 Tales of Romance for the 9 Muses of Inspiration.

Something's Rotten at the Gates of Heaven

Under conspiratorial inspiration of Olympian thrones, Thalia, the Muse of Comedy, sends a blessing of love and laughter to Drew Murphy, a young man cursed to a short and miserable life.
But when her favorite messenger Daisy Sullivan accidentally launches the magic
--wrong time, wrong place, wrong method, wrong everything!-- Thalia must force to light buried secrets of a millennia-old family curse and face down a most vengeful Immortal on his own bloody stage if she wishes to free both Drew and Daisy from an unJust fate.
Ares, the ruthless God of War, loves only one thing as much as he loves bloodshed....
How's Thalia supposed to make THAT funny?
At least, she's wearing her best sandals!

Keep an eye out mid-August for NO FUNNY STUFF! from The Wild Rose Press

Ruth C. said...

LOOK ARE DECEIVING appears to be a great story.

I really enjoyed reading the interview and think that I just might have to watch for the 9 stories about the Muses. I love mythology and history.

Having a time machine and being able to "interview" anyone I would like to would be very nice.

Even being limited to "20 questions" type of interview would be great.!!

"Killer" sounds adorable.!!

Michele Hart said...

Hi Ruth,
3 of the Muse stories are available at The Wild Rose Press now.

Killer is wonderful, full of puppy energy, and wearing us out. I love her.
Thanks so much for blogging with me.

Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

Congratulations to Ruth C. for winning Michele's drawing. You'll recieve a copy of her book "Looks Are Deceiving."

Please e-mail me at annaklanier@aol.com so I can get you the copy.

And THANKS again, Michele for guest blogging for me. It was a great day!

Anna Kathryn

Drea said...

Hey, thanks! I like Drea too! Mine is short for Andrea. Maybe some day that super long story will find it's way out to us!

Michele Hart said...

Congratulations, Ruth!
I hope you enjoy Looks Are Deceiving! Please keep in touch.

If anyone would like to receive a goody bag from BookWorm Bags filled with bookmarks, 1st Chapters, and assorted goodies from authors looking for you, please e-mail me at:

Everyone, read happy!
Your friend,
Michele Hart