15 August 2007

Author Answers with Michelle Rowen

This week's author is Michelle Rowen, author of the "Immortality Bites" series. Her second book in the series, "Fanged and Fabulous" just hit shelves in July.

For more on Rowen, check out her website.

WN: Your second book in the "Immortality Bites" series came out last month. With lots of vampire books on the market, how is yours different?

ROWEN: Vampires are very popular right now, and I’m so glad because I love stories about them. The good thing about writing stories with characters who have fangs, is there’s so many different directions you can go.
When I got the idea for my first book, BITTEN & SMITTEN, I had decided I wanted to do the opposite of what seemed to be the normal conception of vampires:make my main character a non-evil one who thought drinking blood was gross. The slayers in my books are the evil (or mostly misguided) ones and the vampires are the good guys. While in paranormal romance there are a lot of romantic vampire heroes, at the time there weren’t too many everygal vampires that readers could relate to.

WN: What can readers expect in the rest of this series?
ROWEN: The Immortality Bites series will be five books. Four of those will be from my heroine, Sarah Dearly’s point of view as she comes to terms with what it means to be a vampire and still try to lead a "normal life,"including the second book, FANGED & FABULOUS, that was just released in July. The third book, LADY AND THE VAMP, which will be out next April is more of a spin-off and takes a character who has been in the first two books – Quinn, the vampire-hunter-turned-vampire – and gives him a chance to be the hero. When we return to Sarah in Book 4: STAKES & STILETTOS, she will be attending her ten year high school reunion (with her 600-year-old boyfriend in tow) and realizing she’s not the only one who has changed drastically during the last decade.

WN: And you are also writing a suspense-type book that comes out next summer? What is that one about?
ROWEN: Under the pen name Michelle Maddox I am writing a speculative romance (which is basically a futuristicthriller) called COUNTDOWN (June ’08). It takes place in the near, dystopic future, and revolves around a street thief who finds herself on a reality TV show where death is the consolation prize with a hardened criminal as her partner. It’s much darker and sexier than my Michelle Rowen titles and I’m having a ton of fun writing it!

WN: What's your writing process like?
ROWEN: Back when I was an aspiring writer I would take lots of time to write. My first book took me two years from beginning to end, so I would write when I felt inspired. Now that I’m published and I have deadlines to deal with, I’m finding that I’m writing every day – even when I have writer’s block! Luckily I do write from an outline...I know what’s going to happen for the most part in the book. I admire writers who can sit down with no plan and tap away at a book. I used to try to write that way but felt that I definitely need a map. Sometimes characters or situations in the plot will take me in different directions, but a loose outline definitely helps make the trip easier.

WN: Were you a reader as a kid... what turned you on to reading/writing books?
ROWEN: I read voraciously as a kid. I loved Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High, Judy Blume. I never read much until I was in fourth grade and our teacher would read us a chapter a day. I found that I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next and I can attribute that to sparking my interest in reading. I was probably most influenced to be a writer early on by Enid Blyton’s Adventure series because they were about normal kids having wild and exciting adventures.

WN: What's the best part of being a writer to you?
ROWEN: I love writing "The End." No, really. It’s the best part, and you get such an incredible rush from it. All of your imagination, all of your hard work is down on paper, and being publsihed I know that eventually (it usually takes a full year from that point until the book is available in book stores) somebody will read what came out of my crazy imagination. I have the coolest readers, too. They write me lovely notes telling me how much they enjoyed my books. What isn’t to love about that?

WN: What's the most challenging part of writing for you?
ROWEN: Getting to "The End." Ha ha. It goes without saying that a book has a lot of pages. And within those pages you have to have everything make sense. It has to have a beginning, middle, and end. Characters need to grow and change and fall in love. And sometimes, even if you know where you’re going with the story, there are some HARD days along the way getting to the end. And the doubt sets in – maybe this isn’t a good story, maybe I’m not such a good writer – but you need to push through that, because once you finish, there’s no other feeling in the world. For a while, anyhow, because then you have to start revising the thing to make it better!

WN: What's next for you as a writer?
ROWEN: I am contracted for two more books in my Immortality Bites series to finish the five books off. I’m still writing my futuristic romance. I have a couple of young adult novels written that I want to revise because I’d love to branch out in that direction.
Luckily I have about a hundred ideas for books I’d like to write, so the well isn’t going to run dry any time soon.

WN: What is the best/most influential book you have ever read and why did it inspire you?
ROWEN: Wow, tough question! Two great books about writing that come immediately to mind are ON WRITING by Stephen King, and BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott. Very inspirational and every writer, either published or aspiring, should have them, well dog-earred, on their book shelf. As far as a novel that has inspired me, it would have to be a really lousy novel that I read once, that after I threw it at the wall I decided that I could do better. Sometimes we don’t have to be inspired by great art. Sometimes something lousy can kick that muse into action, because if they could do it then so could I. And better! At least, I’m giving it my best shot.

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