**AUTHOR PEEK** Interview with Author, MICHELLE MAJOR
Before we get started talking about your writing, tell us a little about yourself, where you’re from, what you do for a living (if you’re not a fulltime writer) what hobbies you have, etc. Whatever you’d like to share.
Thanks so much for having me on the blog! I’m originally from Cincinnati, Ohio but for almost twenty years have lived in Colorado (although I still miss the local food from Cincinnati!). My family camped quite a bit when I was young and I always knew I wanted to live near the mountains. After college, I came west and had a variety of jobs–including a stint on a dude ranch–before settling into a career as an HR Manager. I quit working full time when my kids were babies and now ‘mom’ is my primary occupation. I’m grateful everyday for that and to be raising them in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. I love to hike, especially with my dogs. Actually, I love all kinds of animals and we have quite the menagerie–from fish, snakes, geckos, a guinea pig, cat, a dog and most recently a new puppy. I do a lot of poop scooping!
1. How did you get started writing?
When I worked in HR, I traveled quite a bit and developed a fear of flying. One day I picked up a romance novel in an airport on a whim (Romancing Mr. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn). I was so engrossed that I forgot to be terrified during the flight and I was hooked. I also realized that the stories I made up in my head were actually romance plots. That’s when I knew that writing romance was my dream job. I went to my first writers’ meeting when my oldest was two months old. Now ten years later I’m thrilled that my first book is out.
2. What genre(s) do you write in and why?
I write contemporary series. I started with historical but the demands of the research and the amount of time I had to write just didn’t mesh. Once I switched to contemporary, characters and story ideas really blossomed for me. I think the genre fits my voice and I love it!
3. What is your favorite part of writing?
My very favorite is the pre-writing brainstorming. I do a ‘soundtrack’ for each manuscript and I love to take a walk, get into the emotion of the songs and come up with story ideas. I’m also pretty good at turning off my internal editor and when that works it makes the first draft so fun. I’m a big list maker so I love to check off writing sessions that are super productive.
4. What is your least favorite part of writing?
Revisions. Such a necessary evil but they give me fits. Once I start, I question everything about the story which can be good but also can make me a little paralyzed. My critique partners know that if I’m posting too much on Facebook it’s because I’m procrastinating!
5. Where do you get the ideas for your stories?
My ideas usually start with a character and that can come from a song lyric, something I’ve read in a magazine or someone I see. I develop the story from there. A few weeks ago we were at a college hockey game and this tiny twenty-something woman was driving the Zamboni. I immediately started thinking of potential plots for her. My family is used to me spacing out a bit!
6. What is your typical day like?
My husband leaves early for work so I get up most days at 5:30 to get an hour of writing in before the kids wake up. Once they’re off to school, my day varies depending on other commitments (I’m a volunteer-oholic) so I’m good an compartmentalizing the writing. I almost always use a timer to force myself to turn off email, social media, etc. and just write or edit. I try to get as much in as I can before 3pm. A lot of the networking, etc. is done at night. Like many writers, my biggest challenge is balancing everything but it’s so worth it.
7. What is most difficult for you to write? Characters, conflict or emotions? Why?
Definitely conflict – or at least external conflict. I tend to focus more on internal conflict because I love figuring out what makes characters tick and why they do certain things and how they need to grow to get their happily every after. But external conflict drives the plot so that has to be big and believable which I think can be a challenge in contemporaries.
8. Tell us about your next book & when is it being published?
I’m so excited to tell you about my debut Harlequin Special Edition, Still The One, which was released this month.
In the book, Lainey Morgan, a world-weary photojournalist must return to her small southern hometown and repair the broken pieces of her life to find love again.
Links to Michelle’s website, blog, books, etc.
Barnes and Noble: http://tinyurl.com/bv2b2dd
BE SURE TO COME BACK to read more about Michelle and her Harlequin Special Edition novel, STILL THE ONE, on Wednesday’s Karen’s Killer Book Bench!
**SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Michelle will give away a copy of her book, STILL THE ONE, to one lucky reader!! Comment on either her Monday Interview and/or Wednesday’s Karen’s Killer Book Bench blogs for a chance to win. Winner will be randomly selected and announced Monday, February 25, 2013. Thanks, Michelle, for sharing your story with us!