Interview with Maddison Michaels
Author of, The Devilish Duke
Indoctrinated into a world of dashing rogues and feisty heroines when she was only 14-years-old, Maddison Michaels is a prolific reader and writer of romantic suspense and historical fiction. She gets her daily dose of suspense from working as a Police officer, prosecuting real life villains in the Local Courts of Sydney, Australia.
A member of the Romance Writers of America and Australia, Maddison is as passionate about her writing as she is about her other two loves; her family and her cups of tea. Maddison’s debut novel ‘the Devil Duke’ is due for publication with Entangled Publishing in February 2018, and her second novel ‘The Fiancé Fiasco’ is due for publication with Entangled Publishing in October 2018.
You can find Maddison online at www.maddisonmichaels.com.au
Q: When did you first start writing, and why?
A: On and off since I was a kid really. I remember very vividly that when I was eleven and my school teacher mentioned a writing competition, it was like a light-bulb went off in my head, and these ideas for a story started to flood into my brain (I’d never really written a story before then either). Since that moment though, a part of me has always wanted to be a writer, which is why I have been writing on an off for years… but life always seemed to get in the way – at least it did until I became serious about my writing.
Q: Sophie and Devlin: complete figments of your imagination, or based on people you know?
A: Figments of my imagination… although I did get a lot of inspiration from the character Julian McMahon played when he was on the TV series Charmed. His character was a demon, trying to reform after falling in love, and I just love the idea of a reforming bad boy.
Q: What about the villain?
A: Again I drew him from my imagination, lol. I suppose working in the field of law enforcement, I have interacted with some rather scary individuals, so I daresay my imagination has drawn on all of my years of experience.
Q: Who’s your biggest role model, the one who inspired you?
A: I think my inspiration is taken from a collective, as opposed to just one individual. My family is a huge inspiration to me, every single day. But I think because I’ve been reading romance since I was fourteen, I was initially inspired to write after reading some amazing stories by Amanda Quick (aka Jayne Ann Krentz), Julie Garwood, Julia Quinn, Sabrina Jefferies, just to name a few. I wanted to fill other people with the same sort of reading joy and pleasure that I got reading those amazing ladies books.
Q: Where do you get your inspiration for a story?
A: From anywhere really. Sometimes I could be listening to a soundtrack and an idea for a character or story will pop into my head. Other times I will have a dream that’s like a movie in my head and I know I have to write my dream character’s stories. Then of course I might read a newspaper article about a certain subject and that will spark my imagination for a story idea.
Q: Do you do a lot of research?
A: Yes, I do - it’s one of the parts I love best, and one I get carried away doing (when I should be writing instead). I think in a way researching the past, is kind of like my way of time travelling back there and experiencing it as best as I can (at least until they develop a time-machine), lol!
Q: Do you use real-life events, historical ones, or present, for your stories?
A: I like to use real life events, at least in part, in my stories. Currently my second book is more of an adventure romance (historical of course) but a huge part of the plot revolves around finding the lost treasure of King Aleric, who was a Visigoth King that plundered Rome back in 400 AD. And there truly is a lost treasure of King Aleric rumoured to be buried somewhere in the Cosenza region of Italy.
Q: What made you pick this particular genre?
A: I not only love reading in the historical romance genre, but it truly is my way of travelling back in time, to experience that era. And I adore the gowns the ladies used to wear (not comfortable of course, but oh so beautiful).
Q: What is your writing process? Are you a plotter, or do you go with the flow?
A: I’m definitely a plotter. Every time in the past that I’ve tried just running with an idea, without plotting it out first, I’ll be steaming away at the beginning of the story, but then I hit around 15 to 20-thousand-word mark and I go blank… the story stalls and I’m stuck. So now, I plot out in detail the story’s twists and turns – sure it can change as I write (the characters do tend to have a mind of their own and can be rather stubborn about things at times), but I find that if I sit down to write and I know what is going to happen in that scene, then the writing flows beautifully.
Q: Complete silence, complete chaos…or somewhere in-between?
A: I always have a soundtrack playing in the background when I’m writing. And this starts from when I plot my books, as I create a playlist soundtrack of music and I listen to this while I brainstorm and plot out the story. Then when I’m writing the story itself, I play the playlist too – so it actually gets me back into the mojo of the story I’d plotted.
Q: Your quiet little corner “office” all for yourself, or right in the middle of the hubbub?
A: I have the most amazing writing room at home, that I just love – and I particularly love my sit/stand desk - here’s a picture of it:
But the beauty of listening to a soundtrack while I write, is that as long as I have my headphones with me, I can write anywhere!
Q: What do you like best about writing?
A: That I’m creating a world from scratch, filled with characters and stories… It’s just awesome. I also love getting beautiful and positive reviews. Truly there’s nothing more amazing, then finding out someone you’ve never ever met, has read your book and loved it. One of the best feelings ever!
Q: And the least?
A: Writing the synopsis (a one to two page outline of the whole book, that has to be written in your writer’s voice and entice an editor and publishing house to buy it). Also getting edits back… I don’t mind so much when I get stuck into the edits, but getting the first round of edits back and seeing all of the comments, is daunting to say the least.
Q: Have you ever had writer’s block, and if so, what did you do to overcome it?
A: Yes, when I don’t have an outline, lol. So when I’m blocked, it’s usually because I haven’t fleshed out the scene beforehand. To overcome this, I just go back and plot the scene out in more detail.
Q: If you could write anything, success guaranteed, what would you like to write about?
A: Exactly what I am, and I’d like to throw a bit of contemporary suspense, sci-fi and YA into the mix too!
Q: Given up anything for your writing dreams?
A: Time with my family – though they’re the best with being supportive and understanding. And when I’m not actively writing I make sure to spend quality time with them.
Q: Did you ever think about giving up on writing? And if so, why?
A: I don’t think I could, as I just love telling stories (not to mention I’d be hounded by my unwritten characters demanding I write their book, lol).
Q: What’s “the dream”, the thing that drives you in everything? Your writing, but life in general, too?
A: Joy and freedom. I would love to be able to write full-time and have the weekends to devote to my family.
Q: Tells us what Maddison’s average day looks like.
A: I work in my full time job Monday to Thursdays from 6am to 4pm. Then I spend time after helping my daughter with her homework, then it’s time to cook dinner, then time to get her to bed, then my husband and I have a cup of tea together and chat about our day, then I usually try to get in an hour of writing. Then on the Friday through to Sunday, I again try to get some blocks of writing done, and of course spend time with my family.
Q: If you have one, who is your “first reader” the person you always go to when you have something new?
A: I have the best critique partner and of course my husband, mum and sister are my story/plot/character sounding boards.
Q: When did you come up with the idea for your debut novel, The Devilish Duke?
A: I actually started to write ‘The Devilish Duke’ back in 2010 (and then I had to finish the novel, as I was selected to take part in the inaugural RWA of Australia 5 day manuscript intensive workshop, and you needed a completed manuscript for that). That’s where I met the lovely Annie Featherstone, who writes historical romance under the pen name Sophia James, and was my mentor for the live-in workshop. She was the first professional to believe in my writing and in my characters Devlin and Sophie. However, the subplot of the book needed major re-work, and after the workshop I basically put the novel in a draw (so to speak) and didn’t touch it again until the end of 2015, when I finally made the decision, that enough was enough, and it was time to get serious with my writing and actually write! So I dusted off the pages and edited it. Took me a good six months to edit and then write the synopsis and query letter – then it took me several months to gain the courage to start submitting it.
Q: How long did it take you to write it?
A: Probably about six months (not including edits).
Q: Will there be a sequel?
A: Book 2 is the heroine Sophie’s brother Daniel’s story. But at this stage, there’s no actually sequel in the works for Dev and Sophie.
Q: What’s next in writing, any big plans?
A: I’m currently about to go on submission with my agent, who is looking to sell a new 3 book series of mine… and I’m really excited about this series, as it’s still set in Victorian England, but it’s full of strong heroines who want to change the status quo.
Q: Tell us something about you. Who IS Maddison Michaels?
A: Depends on who you ask, lol. But I do believe in being true to myself and treating others how I would like to be treated. I’m definitely a glass half full kind of girl, and I love laughing (particularly at myself!) and I love my family more than anything.
Q: Any special hobbies you’d like to share?
A: I’ve dabbled in the art of lock picking (not on live locks of course, only on locks bought from the hardware stores) – which is actually quite challenging and fun.
Q: And your future? What do you see on the road ahead?
A: I’d love to be a full time writer, with an aim to publish four books a year!
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Curious to learn more about this debut author? Below here are the majority of her links, go and check her out, she is very nice. You won't be disappointed.
Amazon Author Page : https://www.amazon.com/Maddison-Michaels/e/B079LXRLQ7
Book Purchase Links:
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079LF6NTV
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B079LF6NTV
Amazon Aus: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B079LF6NTV
Amazon Can: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B079LF6NTV
By S.T. Young
Undercover with the Nanny
DEA agent Sawyer Hayes came to California in search of a drug cartel leader who slipped through his fingers in El Paso. The link to finding him is Kate Munroe, a nanny for one of his henchmen. The problem? He didn’t expect to be so drawn to a possible suspect. How is he supposed to do his job when his growing feelings for her are clouding his judgment?
Interior designer Kate Munroe’s life is a train wreck. Her parents’ deaths left her with their mounds of debt, she can’t get a job designing even a cubicle, and she’s bunking in her best friend’s spare bedroom. To make ends meet, she’s a nanny to a lonely little boy whose rich father works all the time. Romance is not on her radar. But her hot new neighbor could change her mind, with his broad shoulders and Southern charm. Too bad his secrets could destroy her.
Interview Cathy Skendrovich
Q: How many books have you written?
A: I’ve written four. I’m working on the fifth.
Q: What was the very first story you took to paper? Was it the one you first published?
A: My very first book is one entitled Six and Counting. It isn’t published, because it needs a lot of reworking. Think of every writing no-no, and I swear, I committed it in that book.
Q: Undercover with the Nanny, your latest release, where did the idea come from?
A: Actually, Entangled wanted a nanny romantic suspense, and I jumped on the idea.
Q: Kate and Sawyer: completely fictional or based on people you know.
A: Kate’s looks and personality are based on the Blindspot actress, Jaimie Alexander. I love a strong woman. Sawyer’s looks and personality are based on Chris Pratt, with a little of my husband thrown in.
Q: How about your villain?
A: Oh, he’s purely from my imagination. His vileness grew as the story progressed.
Q: Do you recognize anything of yourself in your characters?
A: Yes. There is a little bit of me in every heroine. The good parts, ha ha.
Q: Your settings. Do you prefer them to be in places you know, or can they be anywhere?
A: I always write about settings I know. I mean, how can I write about Spain, if I’ve never been there? I think first hand knowledge adds to believability.
Q: What’s first, the plot or the characters?
A: I usually come up with the plot first. Some idea hits me, and the gears start turning.
Q: What’s your writing MO? Plotting or going with the flow?
A: I always thought of myself as a go with the flow type of writer, but now I’m starting to become a plotter. I have a fantastic editor now who really is guiding me toward success.
Q: On average, how long does it take you to write a story from start to finish?
A: It’s about nine months, which is too long. I want to cut that to six months, tops. I’m a great procrastinator. The publishing process is long enough without my dawdling added to it.
Q: Complete silence, or right in the middle of things?
A: I like quiet when I write. I get up earlier than my husband, get my tea, and sit down to work before he starts moving around. I’m a nosy person; when things start happening around me, I lose my concentration.
Q: Who is/are your greatest inspiration when it comes to writing?
A: I love Nora Roberts’ writing style. I love her descriptions, but most of all, I love her snappy dialogue. Her men have humor, her women are fearless yet vulnerable. I would love someday to have my writing compared to hers.
Q: What is your favorite genre to read?
A: I have two favorite genres to read, romantic suspense and historical romance.
Q: Your favorite classic?
A: There are a lot, really. Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, Gone with the Wind, to name a few.
Q: Do you get to do a lot of reading?
A: Not as much as I’d like. I’m two books behind in my Goodreads reading challenge! I read about a book a month, mainly because I write, and I play Words with Friends when I should be reading.
Q: Favorite movie, ever?
A: It’s not on anybody else’s list, guaranteed: The Cutting Edge, the original one. A romantic comedy on the ice. I never grow tired of watching it. A close second would be Leap Year.
Q: Besides writing, what’s the dream of the future?
A: I want to travel around the U.S. I want to see Niagra Falls, the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore. I also want to see my older son happily married (the younger one already is), and grandchildren from both of them.
Q: And, the thing we all want to know, what’s next in writing?
A: I’m in the first stages of my next book: the plotting. It’s another romantic suspense for Entangled, with a vengeful killer, a military hero, and a heroine who’s sure she can protect herself.
Q: Anything else you’d like to share?
A: Only that this writing gig has been a dream come true for me. I’ve wanted to be a published writer since I was twelve years old, but real life got in the way, as well as self-doubt. Now I’m fulfilling that dream, and I just want to encourage everyone not to be afraid to follow their own. I wasted a lot of time when I could have been writing.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Cathy Skendrovich has always loved a good story, and spent her formative years scribbling what is now called Fan Fiction. The current heartthrob of the time featured heavily in all her stories. Unfortunately, once she went to college, her writing took the form of term papers, written on typewriters instead of computer keyboards.
Upon graduation, Cathy took a job as an English teacher in a middle school. Along the way, she married her husband of now thirty-three years, had two sons, and moved to southern Orange County, California. She chose to work part-time in the school system there.
Now she has returned to writing. Prisoner of Love is her first published novel, followed closely by The Pirate's Bride. The sequel to The Pirate's Bride, The Pirate Bride’s Holiday Masquerade, came out Oct. 1, 2017. Undercover with the Nanny, came out on April 23, 2018.
She likes writing romance because she feels it's lacking in today's technological world. While she enjoys writing contemporary stories, creating romance in bygone times fascinates her. She hopes her ability to write in both genres will be the beginning of a long and satisfying writing career.
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Where to find Cathy: