BIOGRAPHY: Author Michelle Rowen has sold sixteen novels in paranormal romance, futuristic romantic suspense, and young adult fantasy to some of the top publishing houses. She has been on the Waldenbooks romance bestsellers list, is the winner of the 2007 Holt Medallion for Best First Book, and her alter ego Michelle Maddox was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award. Other titles include: Stakes & Stilettos, Angel With Attitude, Bitten & Smitten, Lady & the Vamp, and Fanged & Fabulous. Michelle resides in Southern Ontario, where she is the Vice President of the Toronto Romance Writers.
Thanks for being here, Michelle. It’s a pleasure.
Thanks for having me, Kelly. Great to be here!
#1- Tell us a little about yourself outside of your writing career…
Gosh. Thanks, Kelly. We’re starting off with a question that will make me seem incredibly boring. ;-) At the moment, I don’t have much of a life outside of my writing. I’m a writeaholic averaging four titles a year since I quit my day job two years ago and right now am focused pretty much 24/7 on writing and growing my career. I love to go out to the movies, love spending time with friends and family, and I enjoy my local RWA chapter meetings, but other than that -- I’ve got my blinders on. I did embark at the beginning of this year on focusing on my health more and have lost 32 pounds thanks to Jenny Craig and general perseverance. Writing a lot tends to be a very sedentary occupation and I want to be healthy too, so that is a huge focus of mine as well right now.
#2- We are both members of the Romance Writers of America and you are VP of the Toronto chapter. What can fellow aspiring romance writers gain from joining RWA?
You know, I didn’t actually join RWA until after I was contracted, so I don’t have very good insight on what it’s like to be a pre-published member. However, I can tell you that if I had it to do all over again I would definitely have joined long before I did. The majority of my friends these days are from RWA and members of my local chapter. Writing can be a very isolating and friends and family don’t always “get it.” So it’s so wonderful to be able to hang out and commiserate with kindred spirits who understand the writing life. Also, the tips and tricks one can learn from monthly workshops as well as online are incredibly valuable.
#3- As you know, I reviewed your title TALL, DARK, & FANGSOME for Bookpleasures and loved it. But how do you handle the negative reviews and critiques you receive?
I’d love to say that they don’t bother me anymore, but that would be a lie. I believe if you really care about something it’s next to impossible not to be affected when people don’t also like it. However, after almost four years of being in print I’ve learned a few things and one of them is that you can’t please everybody. Nobody can. There will be people who absolutely adore your books and there will be somebody who absolutely hate them. It’s just a fact. I deal with my fragile ego and thin skin by trying my best not to read these reviews at all, and reminding myself that multiple editors liked sixteen of my books enough to pay me money for them and my agent likes my work enough to keep representing me. Also, when I do read a less than flattering review I try to see what I can take away from it. What did the reader feel the book was lacking? What were their expectations? This is sometimes very valuable information to keep in mind when crafting new plots and characters, especially if it seems to be a common complaint in reviews.
#4- What inspired you to become an author and where do you feel you get your inspiration from?
I always say watching Romancing the Stone was an inspiration - the scene at the beginning where she’s finishing a book and then celebrating made me want to have that kind of life. And now I do! Only I don’t live in NYC or use a typewriter. But I do have a cat. Does that count? But even before that I knew I had a lot of stories in my head and I just thought everybody did. Apparently, they don’t. The idea of “being a writer” stuck with me for a long time until I realized that to be a writer one must actually, uh, write. This only took another fifteen years before I started devoting myself to making pages.
Lately I get my inspiration from pretty much everywhere. Newspaper articles, movies, TV, snippets of conversations I hear. Anything can work to get the muse’s attention and spark an idea. In the middle of a book, though, when inspiration is fleeting and it becomes a daily grind of getting pages done, I get my inspiration from the characters themselves. My characters tend to take on a life of their own at a certain part of writing (usually the 100 page point) and they’re very interested in getting to the end of the story.
#5- Assuming you get any time to read, what authors do you like to read, and were there any books that stand out from your childhood as favorites?
As a kid I devoured Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High, and I loved the cheesy teen horror novels that were out in the 80’s.
Lately, I’m a big Stephenie Meyer fan, love Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series, worship Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy, and used to really be into Laurell K. Hamilton’s books in a big way. There are many more authors and books I adore, but those are the stand-outs right now.
#6- Are there any upcoming releases we would like to know about, and could you give us your web site so readers can check it out?
In October, my first YA release Demon Princess: Reign or Shine, the first book in a new series, was released. November brings my first Harlequin Blaze, Hot Spell. I know, YA and Blaze within a month of each other, right? What are the odds? LOL.
2010 will bring the launch of my fun, new paranormal romance series with Berkley Books in May with The Demon in Me and the second book in October. In 2011, I’ll have two more Blazes hitting the shelves as well as an urban fantasy duology, Nightshade, that I’m writing under the name Rachel Connor. You can find out more about my upcoming releases at www.michellerowen.com.
#7- This about concludes it. Thank you again for joining us. Is there anything else you would like to share?
Just the chance to thank my readers for being so awesome and to thank you again, Kelly, for letting me come and visit! You rock!