1. When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer/author?
I’ve always loved to write, and I’ve always written – since the moment I learned how – both poems and short stories, but for my eyes only. I never thought I’d be good enough to be published, and truth? I never had the confidence to try. So I didn’t for a very long time.
It wasn’t until I waved my last child off to kinder that I thought to give writing a go. That was seven years ago. My first book – a contemporary romance – took six weeks to write … and it will never see the light of day. I did everything wrong, broke all the rules I didn’t know existed, but through that process I learned one valuable fact – I could start and finish an entire book. Over the next couple of years I joined writers groups – both the Melbourne Romance Writers Guild and Romance Writers of Australia – read craft books, attended workshops, conferences, formed a critique group. I learned the craft and practised what I learned. Five books later I reached a very valuable realization – I was targeting the wrong genre. It was then I moved from contemporary romance to romantic suspense, and it was then that my first published novel, Lethal in Love, was born.
2. Where do you get your ideas for your book?
Great question! I get my ideas from everywhere. What I see, what I hear, life experiences – mine, other people’s. And just life in general. Everything can be a story, it really depends on which slant you give it and how far your imagination takes you.
3. What kind of things do you enjoy when not writing?
Family time with my boys, three small, one big. We go on outings, camping trips, have movie nights and game nights and general fun just being together.
4. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve written five unpublished and two published novels. It’s so hard to pick a favourite, although if pushed I’d choose my debut, Lethal in Love. Mainly because this story was my a-ha moment – the first time I let passion lead me into a genre I thought I could never write. It was also the first time I wrote for my own enjoyment and stopped worrying what other people might like. I guess you’d say it’s the first time I was true to myself and my story.
5. Do you have any suggestions to help others who have a passion for writing?
Yes. Give it a go. Don’t worry about what people will think or what stories you think they’ll like. Write something you love, a book you’d want to pick up and lose yourself in, and be true to your story. Read books in your genre, lots of them. Learn the craft, never stop reading, never stop writing. Dig deep, write true, and pour emotion onto every page. Find a like-minded group and surround yourself with people who will support and cheer you on.
But most important? Just write. You’ll never create a story if you don’t put pen to paper and … JUST WRITE.
6. What do you think makes a great story?
Interesting, engaging, believable characters.
Yes, plot is important, but without the characters to drive that plot forward all you have is an empty story with no heart.
7. Which Writer/Authors inspire you?
Agatha Christie is one of my very early favorites. Along with Carolyn Keene, C.S.Lewis, Louisa May Alcott and Judy Blume, she helped shape my modern day reading choices. These days I read and admire so many fabulous authors, but the ones that immediately spring to mind are Harlan Coben and Mary Higgins Clark for their danger and suspense, and Janet Elizabeth Henderson, Amy Andrews and Christie Craig for their quirky, laugh-out-loud romance.
8. What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on a great new series set in Chicago, a kind of Stephanie Plum meets James Bond. Something quirky, mysterious, sexy and surprising. And I’m also working on a series of ‘how to’ books for aspiring authors called The Simply Writing Series. The first in this series, Simply Synopsis, is due for release next month, in May.
9. What genre are your books?
Romantic suspense. I always try to inject a dash of humor, tempered with the chill of suspense. And, of course, the romance is sizzling hot. These are the books I love to read, so it stands to reason I just have to write them J
10. What drew you to the genre you write?
I’ve always loved crime, mystery, thrillers and suspense. And, of course, romance. And what I love more than all of these genres alone is a story with all these genres melded together in perfect harmony. There are very few books out there with equal components of romance and suspense, so I’ve made it my mission to change this. I love how the highs and lows of both genres complement each other, and I love knowing that I can put my characters through a hell of a journey, yet they will always find their way back to each other. And they’ll always find their happy ever after.
11. Which Actor/Actress would you like to see portraying the lead characters from one of your books?
I’ll choose my first novel, Lethal in Love. In this story, homicide detective Jayda Thomasz is hunting the sadistic Night Terror serial killer and reporter Seth Friedin is hunting a story.
Scarlett Johansson would be great for Jayda. With her red hair and stunning green eyes, as she was in the movie, Iron Man, not only does she look like my image of Jayda, but her character is a perfect match. Jayda has sass and attitude. A hard exterior, but once you break through that shell and gain her trust, she’ll walk barefoot over hot coals for you. Her loyalty will be as solid as diamond. And just as valuable.
As for Seth, Chris Hemsworth just fits. He’s sexy, brooding, and when he smiles, women swoon. He can be ruthless the way a hard-headed reporter must be, but underneath he has a charm and caring that is irresistible. Jayda won’t be able to resist him. I know I couldn’t.
12. Do you write full-time or part-time?
I write full-time. I’m lucky to have an incredible, supportive husband who believes I should do everything I can to follow my dream. And my dream is writing.
13. What is the hardest thing about writing?
The solitude. Sitting alone in a room, in front of a computer, day after day, with no one to talk to. Thank goodness for the friends I’ve met through Melbourne Romance Writers Guild and Romance Writers of Australia. These wonderful people keep me grounded, they keep me sane and, most of all, they keep me from striking up conversations with strange and random coconuts (that’s a weird Tom Hanks, Cast Away reference, for those who haven’t seen the movie).
14. Any tips on how to get through the dreaded Writer’s block?
Take a break and refill the well. Go for a walk, read a book, watch a movie, catch up with friends. If I have a block, rather than pushing through solid rock, I take time out and give my subconscious time to figure out what happens next.
15. Do you read much, and if so, who are your favorite Authors or genres?
I love reading! As I mentioned earlier, I love romance and anything suspense/murder/crime-related. I have so many favorite authors – Helene Young, Janet Elizabeth Henderson, Stefanie London, Christie Craig, Mary Higgins Clark, Harlan Coben, and I could go on ... At the moment I’m on a Nalini Singh reading binge. I’m embarrassed to admit, I’ve only just discovered how much I love her writing style and stories.
16. How can Readers discover more about you and your work?
My website www.michelle-somers.com is currently under reconstruction, but bear with me – it’s going to be awesome when it’s done. And when it is, you can sign up to my monthly newsletter to get updates, exclusive news, excerpts and heaps of other fun stuff. In the meantime, if you’re interested in signing up, email me firstname.lastname@example.org and I can add you to the list.
Other places you can find me are:
And my publisher’s website: http://www.randomhouse.com.au/
I have an interview that aired on Channel 31 a few months back, and it’s still available for viewing on their website at http://www.c31.org.au/series/
I also have a teaser of Lethal in Love available on YouTube. Take a look and see what you think https://www.youtube.com/watch?
I love to hear from readers, especially readers who enjoy the romantic suspense genre as much as I do, and I’m always ready to have a chat, so definitely find me and friend me on your choice of social media.