Friday, November 19, 2010

Michelle Styles in The Interrogation Room

First of all, my apologies to Liz Fichera's blog hoppers, My post goes up tomorrow. My Cp and I heart Michelle Styles on so many levels, she gives the best writing advice ever and spends a lot of time answering all our newbie questions over at eHarlequin. Michelle is an American author who lives in England (I used to think she was English) and she has the most amazing call story read it here.  

Joanna: Coffee or Tea? (I just had to ask)
Michelle: It depends on my mood. Mostly tea though and I am very partial to Earl Grey
Joanna: What is the difference between writing a short and a long story?
Michelle: Mostly layers and the complexity of the conflict between the two protagonists when you are writing a romance.
Joanna: Why did you choose to write Historicals?
Michelle: I write historicals because I love history. And I think writing historicals is a lot of fun. History fascinates me.
Joanna: Can you explain your writing process to us?
Michelle: Umm. Sometimes I wish I could explain it to myself. Each time it is a little different. I am somewhere in between the complete pantser and the super plotter. I'd love to be more organised but I am not. I do hate filling out forms and questionaires about my characters and instead I love doing discovery drafts with arough outline as road map.
Joanna: What is the best writing advice you have ever received? and would love to share
Michelle: Dare to suck and be prepared to rewrite. Between you and the blank screen, there is little that can help but afterwards you can work with the material. It is all about not letting your words harden to concrete and staying in love with the story while you examine ways to make it stronger.
Joanna: You obviously do a lot to help out other aspiring authors, why is this so important to you?
Michelle: It is important because without the mentorship and wise words of a few published authors when I first became serious about writing, I would not have done it. Besides, I think generousity does come back to you and you get out of life what what you put in. Ultimately it is up to the individual whether or not they will succeed. And if I have helped someone, then I have helped me. Can you tell that Girl Scouting played an important part in my formative years?
Joanna: If you did not become a writer, what profession would you have been happy in?
Michelle: Hard question. I am a far nicer person when I am writing as I put my drama into my writing rather than into my life. I'd hate to think about not writing. It took me a long time to get to this place in my life. And really anything else would be utterly dull. I suspect it is why I persevere at writing because really if you can find anything else to do, you should do it. There are a lot easier ways to make a living but I can't really think of a better way.

Michelle's Book: A Question of Impropriety
A very improper seduction…
Diana Clare has had enough of London – the balls, the rakes you can never trust… Now, having returned home in disgrace, she is trying to forget what drove her from the ton.
But rake and gambler Brett Farnham, Earl of Coltonby, seems intent on making Diana remember exactly what it was like to be whirled around the ballroom and seduced by the glint in your partner’s eye…
But Brett has ‘mistress’ rather than ‘marriage’ in mind, and Diana is not sure her reputation can stand up to another scandal…

Michelle is also going to be hanging out with us today as well as giving away a copy of her book to one lucky commenter, so if you have any questions she will do her best to get to them.
Michelle Styles can be found at her website, blog, twitter and on eHarlequin and if you sign up for her newsletter there is a contest that runs out on the 21st of November and it is an epic contest too.


  1. My next work is going to be historical, as I unleash the history geek within. Great to hear from writers who are accomplished in that area!

    I love the phrase "discovery draft". That's definitely what works for me - a rough outline, then a draft that lets me get to know the characters and the story as I go.

    Great interrogation, as always!

  2. Interesting answers!

    Thanks for the writing advice! I'll have to keep it in mind.

  3. "Dare to suck and be prepared to rewrite." Love that! Great interview, as usual. Thanks, Ladies! P.S. to Joanna: No problemo about the post. The Hop goes all weekend. I'll read yours tomorrow! :-)

  4. Michelle is just like me. I'm in between a complete pantser and a super plotter. How wonderful! ***Psst Joanna, she does look British***

    Thanks for yet another intriguing interrogation. It's my wish you interview J.K.Rowling and Anne Rice/Rampling.

  5. Loved getting to know Michelle better!
    "dare to suck" made me laugh!

  6. Paying it forward says a lot about a person. You're a gem, Michelle. :)

  7. I love the call story. A great example of how to stick with it and how to take criticism.

  8. I think it was Jessica Andersen who talked to my group about the importance of "paying it forward". It's true! We have a responsibility to share our craft and tools with new writers. :)

  9. Your interrogation room thing is enlightening. I love reading the differences and resemblances of writers of opposed genres.

  10. Michelle, great interview!!! If you get payback for all of the good you do in the writing world, you should be living a charmed life! You are very generous with your helpful advice. Thank you!!!

  11. Dropping by to see if there were any questions.
    I am glad that people found it enlightening.
    I received my latest set of revisions yesterday so I am currently mulling them over and figuring out how to make the story stronger and bring out the romance. Some things I tried didn't work, so they have to be cut...and other more emotionally romantic things added.

  12. Great interview Michelle. Thanks for sharing. Caroline x

  13. Liked how she was direct in that answer, and interesting interview altogether. All the best to her.

  14. Great interview - I love the 'dare to suck' advice, because it just lets you write!

  15. Another great interview! I loved the "dare to suck" advice.

  16. Excellent interview questions, Joanna!
    As always, thanks for your insight, Michelle. My balance between plotting and pantsing is very similar to yours. And the 'dare to suck' advice is so important. Fear of doing something (writing) wrong can be paralyzing. It's so important for writers (especially beginners) to know that it's okay to write a terrible first draft...and fix it later :).

  17. Cool! I love the cover. So Jane Austen-ish. I love this series you're doing, Joanna.


  18. Great interview. Yes I sometimes like tea and sometimes coffee. Hope your hand improves so you don't have to have the op.

  19. "Dare to suck and be prepared to rewrite." What great advice! Love the interview and all of Michelle's insight.

  20. I'm a much nicer person when I write, too. What a great interview.

  21. Thanks for the interview. What a sweet cover.

  22. Great interview. Michelle puts so much of herself out there for new writers, it's awesome. And I personally took her words of wisdom to heart after I was really down and got determined to write and submit again. Thanks Michelle.

  23. Definitely love that. 'Dare to suck and be prepared to rewrite.' So true! Great interview Joanna, and lovely interviewee! I'm going to put Michelle's books on my tbr list. Thanks for sharing!! ;)

  24. A great interview ladies. Always great to hear how authors write. Interesting position -halfway between a pantser and a plotter. I guess we all have a little of both!

  25. Great interview, and thanks for the writing tips :)



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