Thursday, March 31, 2011

Aspiring Author Thursday: Introducing Michelle Merrill

Okay. This lady is pure awesomeness. I met her through the writing crusade I'm a part of, and she really reminds me a lot of myself! Hence, the awesomeness. Totally kidding. I'm not conceited, I swear! :) Anyway, she is so much fun, and I've just loved getting to know her better! Thanks for doing this Michelle! Be sure to stop by her amazing blog as well! :)

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

After having a few kids I kept getting the feeling that I needed to write a book. I just laughed and reminded myself that I didn't even like to read (because I didn't until 2007). I never took it seriously until I got some pretty stubborn character's who wouldn't leave my life alone. So, January 3 2010 I sat down and started their story. Since the only way to get my character's to stop bothering my life was to write about them, I kept going. Most likely, I'll never stop.

Isn't it funny how we both started writing after the kids started coming? Man, we could have gotten a lot more done before we had them! LOL

Do you have a writing schedule, or do you just sit down whenever you get a spare moment?

Every Sunday my hubby and I sit down and pick out two nights during the week that we are going to do our own thing. Those are the only two nights that I get to write. I would write during the baby's nap, but that's when I blog and critique. I wish there were more hours in the day...or more days in a week, but there aren't. Ugh. It's so frustrating to take things so slow. If I have to get something written, though, I do it. When I wrote a book in January, I couldn't do anything else. It was hard, but it was worth it!

Could you tell us a little about yourself? Random facts? Hidden talents?

I participated in a lot of things growing up. I didn't excel in any one of them but did okay in all of them. For instance, I took gymnastics for 3 years, soccer for 1, softball for 8, tried out for basketball with a cast that I got from playing powder puff football, played the flute in Junior High, was in a few different choirs in High School, was in the 9th grade play, made call backs for the high school musical in 10th grade but lost my voice and laughed while I squeaked out the part, I danced off and on growing up, and taught myself how to play the piano. I even took volleyball and bowling in college. Even though I didn't get too far in one area, I like that I tried so much and had a well rounded childhood!

I played soccer and softball for a few years, played the flute in 7th grade, was in our 9th grade play, and was in show choir and stuff in high school! Have you been stalking me?

If you were stranded on a desert island, what is one thing you couldn't live without? (Besides your family and a laptop of course.)

I suppose I should say something practical like a water purifier or some matches, but I'm going to be a little selfish on this one. I'd take my pillow. I wouldn't get any sleep without it. It can't be too flat and it can't be too full. When we were in Mexico, our pillows were too big so we asked the hotel if they'd send up some that were more flat. Well, apparently they didn't have any flat pillows because all we got were three more big ones. I managed somehow :)

What is one book you could read over and over and over?

Pride and Prejudice.

I love that one. I have a hard time getting into classics, but that one I could re-read over and over again.

What book are you dying to read this year?

I'm kind of terrible at looking to see what's coming up in the next year. And since I missed so much from not being a reading guru my whole life, there's still a lot I'm catching up on. Here are a few new ones that come to mind, though: Possession, Supernaturally, Illusions, Hourglass, The Iron Queen, The Royal Treatment, and...well...I totally got carried away. That's SO not just one book. Haha! Sorry :)

Great choices!! :D

What genre do you write and why?

YA fiction. In that genre I write paranormal, fantasy, and contemporary thrillers. Why? Because those are my absolute favorite. Also, every story I write HAS to have a little romance. In fact, I hate reading a book that doesn't have a little love. Clean love, though. I don't like too many details, and I also don't think teens need those details either. Personal opinion :)

I have the same opinion as well. I LOVE cute and clean love stories. Love them.

Do you have any writing rituals? Music, silence, eating, etc.

Absolute silence. No food and no drink. Just me, Janco (my laptop), and a blanket to keep my feet warm.

He he. I need to name my laptop. :)

Do you prefer salty snacks or sugary ones?

Okay, even though everyone who knows me knows that I LOVE LOVE LOVE is so much better when you eat it with something salty. At least if I switch off between the two, I can eat more. I don't get overwhelmed by too much salt or too much sugar! That's not really a good thing for my body, but my taste buds love it. Just given one over the other, though...bring on the sugar!

Any advice for aspiring authors?

Don't give up. If you want it, it will happen. And don't try to walk the path alone. You need to have a support group and you need to have someone else read your work. Sometimes advice is hard to take, but your writing will be so much better from it. I'd get a group of at least three people. It's good to hear what two people have to say. And if you don't want to change something, then don't. You need your writing to stay true to yourself. Just make sure you think about what your crit partners tell you. If you want to be a published writer your story needs to make sense. Even though it might be all figured out in your head, sometimes the point gets lost from your head to your fingers. It happens to me ALL. THE. TIME. The last thing I would tell anyone and everyone is to write for the right reasons. If you are writing just to become famous, most likely that alone isn't going to be enough to get you there. Write because you want to. Because you love it. When you care about your story, others will care about it too.

Such good advice. Thanks so much for sharing!

Random writing question: If your current main character were to run into Edward Cullen at school, how would they react?

They pass each other by the back window and Mella stops. Edward nearly runs into her, distracted by what she's thinking.

Edward: "How do you know I want to eat you?"

Mella: "How do you know I know you want to eat me?"

Edward: "Uh, I don't."

Mella: "Wait. You want to eat me?"

Edward: "I need to go."

Sun comes out and the diamond skin sends a million sparkles through the air.

Mella: "Well, that's a new one. Does that attract the girls or scare them away?"

Edward: "Uh..."

Mella: "No worries. It has no affect on me."

Edward goes to take a step past Mella but he stops when he sees the look on her face. She's staring at his eyes.

Mella: "Nice eyes. I've seen better, though. Just sayin'."

Mella struts away and never looks back.

Thanks so much Michelle!! :D


Trisha said...

HAHA, I love the chat between Edward and Mella ;)

Great interview!

Michelle Merrill said...

Holy cow! Am I long winded or what? Sorry everyone for taking up so much of your time ;)

Chantele, we are so much alike! Isn't it awesome? (This is where you nod your head and say yes. Hehe.)

Thanks for having me. I loved your questions. Obviously, right? I couldn't stop talking!

KM Nalle said...

Hi Chantele and Michelle - nice interview. Michelle, I love how you started writing, my own story is similar. And, you Edward story was so funny. I love your MC already.

Jess said...

Great interview, Chantele~ I found out some new things about one of my favorite bloggers! (Michelle~ I'm an unabashed pillow snob too).

Heather Hellmann said...

Great interview!

Sierra Gardner said...

You're right Chantele - Michelle is pretty awesome and her blog is awesome as well! Thanks for posting the fun interview. I also could (and have) read P&P over and over and over again.

Shallee said...

BA HA HA HA HA! The conversation between Mella and Edward is hilarious-- even more so because I've read a portion of Michelle's awesome book. :) Thanks for the interview, Chantele! Michelle is a good friend and crit partner, and I agree-- she's totally awesome.

Taffy said...

Loved the Mella/Edward conversation! I'll have to try that one with my characters.
Nice interview!

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Fun interview, Michelle and Chantele! I, too, enjoyed Mella's conversation with Edward. Much more true-to-life:)

(Now you just need to interview Suzanne Collins, Chantele, so we can find out how Katniss would react to Edward. I'm thinking it will have something to do with that those new flame-throwing arrows Beetee made her...)

Michelle Merrill said...

Trisha-I'm glad you liked it! I had a great time writing it.

Kari-Thanks. I'll have to hear your story sometime...maybe for an interview on my blog ;)

Jess-The right pillow makes all the difference!

Heather-Thanks for coming by to read it.

Sierra-No matter how many times I read about Darcy he NEVER gets old :) And Elizabeth's complimenting character makes it all that much better. I could also watch the movie every day and never tire of it. (The Colin Firth version...even if it is longer :))

Shallee-Oh, I love that you've read part of my book and got the secrecy behind the exchange. I was so excited when Chantele asked that question!

Taffy-I'd never done the conversation thing before but it was fun. You should definitely try it :)

Chantele Sedgwick said...

Michelle, I did nod my head and say yes! We are like twins from different mothers! :D And probably fathers too... ;)

Caryn Caldwell said...

That was great! I love your advice for writers. It's always fun to read about someone else who is trying to write while raising kids. I'm doing the same thing, and it can be so hard to get those pages in sometimes!

Susan Fields said...

I just love that last question about running into Edward Cullen - what fun! I love that you named your laptop, Michelle!

Michelle Merrill said...


Chantele-Yeah's cool, though. I love that we have a lot in common!

Caryn-Thanks. Yes, the kids can be a big set back but I try to put them first. As much as I love writing they come first for me :)

Susan-I forgot to mention that my lapdesk has a name too. Ari. Confused? Read The Poison Study Series by Maria V. Snyder. Love those books!

ali cross said...

LOL! I love Mella! That was a totally fun interview. Thanks girls!

Anonymous said...

Haha, thanks for sharing this interview! Michelle is pretty cool. I should name my laptop, too. For some reason, a bit of the paint on my laptop scratched off onto my ceiling, so he (or is it a she?) definitely needs a name. :)

Carol Riggs said...

Hi, Michelle and Chantele (or is it Chantele and Michelle? LOL), and thanks for the fun interview! I had to read it, since I hope to meet Michelle next month in the Portland area. Rah! :)

Chantele Sedgwick said...

@Madeline Bartos How in the world did your laptop touch your ceiling? LOL Or do I want to know? ;)

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