Please welcome Michelle Lauren, my first interview after a brief hiatus.
Q: What were your feelings when your first novel was accepted/when you first saw the cover of the finished product?
When I got the email from Liquid Silver Books offering a contract for my multicultural urban fantasy Starstruck: Hunter, I think I read the message five times before it really sank in. I was beyond thrilled. I could wait to tell my family the news.
My novel is about Miranda Snow, a fallen star on the run from ruthless hunters after her life-giving energy. She finds protection – and passion-in the arms of unlikely ally Noah Benson, an ex-star hunter seeking redemption for past wrongs. Cris Griffin, my cover artist, did a fantastic job bringing this cover to life.
I’m such a fan girl of hers. Seeing Noah and Miranda in such vivid detail felt surreal. Cris took my suggestions and thoughts into consideration and created something I never get tired of looking at, so here’s another thanks to her for the hard work.
Q: Do you have a favorite hero in all your books? For any particular reason?
That’s a tough call. I love all of my guys! Hmm, I’d have to say my favorite is Noah Benson from Starstruck: Hunter. I’m a sucker for bad boys. Noah is jaded and dangerous, but he has a good heart. He’s willing to protect Miranda at any cost—and he has the muscle to do it!
But I also love his vulnerability. He isn’t used to relying on anyone else, but that is exactly what he needs, and he finds that in Miranda.
Q: Who are some of your favorite authors?
There are so many! I’m a fan of Mary Janice Davidson’s paranormal fiction (the Undead & Unwed series); Beverly Jenkins’s historical romance (The Taming of Jessi Rose & Topaz); Francis Ray’s contemporary romance (Heart of the Falcon and Until There Was You); Jennifer Crusie’s romantic comedy (Agnes and the Hitman and Bet Me); and Marjorie M. Liu’s fiction (“Hunter’s Kiss,” a novella in the Wild Things anthology, and her Marvel comic book set in the X-Men universe, NYX: No Way Home).
Q: What is your favorite quote and why?
I have two actually; both come from Oscar Wilde and embody my feelings about the craft of writing. The first Wilde quote is my favorite: “Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.” In fiction, predictability is a dirty word. In the past, I’ve stopped reading certain authors that I once enjoyed because I started to feel like each book was just a retread of their older work. While there are no new stories, I challenge myself with each project to find a creative way to tell a familiar tale, one that surprises readers and provides a satisfying ending.
Wilde also said, “I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.” I laughed at this because it’s so true of my writing process. I’ve spent days trying to perfect an opening scene because I want it to grab and hold a reader’s attention.
Q: How hard is it to keep sex/love scenes fresh and interesting?
It’s a challenge that I enjoy. A great love scene isn’t just about scintillation; it should reveal an emotional connection between the characters. Many of my characters are paranormal creatures, so I like to use their powers in creative ways to enhance these scenes. I also have a dark sense of humor that often comes into play during these moments.
For example, in Starstruck: Hunter, the heroine (Miranda, a celestial star) gets frisky in the bathroom with “electrifying” results. It’s definitely a hot scene, but the humor gives readers some necessary insight into what makes her tick.
Q: To date which of your books was the hardest to write and why?
Definitely How to Tame a Harpy. This was my first urban fantasy and my third completed novel. It received a lot of publicity when Dorchester chose it as a finalist for their American Title V contest (a competition for unpublished manuscripts), co-sponsored by Romantic Times magazine.
This book is definitely my baby. J I’ve invested so much in those characters that the hardest part of writing that book was finishing it! For those of you who read excerpts of the book and fell in love with the characters, first: my deepest thanks for your support. Second, you can expect to see more from them in the future.
Q: How many works in progress (wip) have you got going?
I have three projects in the works: two short stories (around 6k each), and a novella about an unlucky in love siren trying to find her Mr. Right.
Q: On average how long does it take you to write a book?
I have a pretty quick turnaround on novellas. They usually take me about 1 ½ — 2 months to write.
Novels take anywhere from six to eight months depending on my work load (I’m a freelance writer, as well as a contributing writer and columnist for Romance Writers Report).
Q: What influenced you to get e-published?
Electronic publishers are more willing to take a chance on unconventional romantic stories, which are the kind I love writing: stories that test the imagination and draw readers into different worlds. My stories often include non-traditional characters. For instance, How to Tame a Harpy features a harpy as the heroine while the hero is a “gargoyle,” a shape shifter with the ability to shift into stone form; the heroine of Starstruck: Hunter is a celestial star fallen to Earth.
Q: Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Readers can find me at the following places:
www.michellelaurenbooks.com (my main site) http://groups.yahoo.com/group/michellelaurenbooks/join (My Yahoo group)
http://thenaughtygirlsnextdoor.blogspot.com (This is a blog I share with the fantastic authors Minx Malone, Meagan Hatfield, Kyann Waters and Savannah Chase)
Join me Saturday when Michelle shares a SEXcerpt from Starstruck.
See you then,