All about Michelle . . .
I was born in the town of Warwick in 1981. It is a small historical town in the heart of England, and I was the fifth child born into a family of boys. I developed a huge interest in the written world from a young age, and with more than a little help from Roald Dahl found quite the taste for anything gross and gory. Home now is Limassol, a city on the southern Mediterranean shores of Cyprus. Winters are spent in the mountains, summers are spent at the beach, and pretty much all hours between are sat at a computer where I am writing the next novel, or reading somebody else’s.
1. Tell us about your writing process. Do you outline, or are you more of a seat of your pants type of a writer?
If there is one word that you cannot associate with me as a writer it is planning. Everything about my process as a writer is spontaneous, and as it happens. I always think in advance that I have to dedicate some time to planning, but it never happens. I come up with an idea and run with it, which means inevitably that by the end of the first draft I have to go back and sort out the beginning because it doesn’t fit the adaptations I have made whilst I was writing the later chapters.
In Identity X, my latest book, I have lots of scenes that I really love. Perhaps the best one for me is the scene where Ben Stone, our protagonist, first gets hold of a gun. His reactions are spontaneous, life changing, and beyond whatever he thought possible of himself. It’s where we really get to know Ben and his strength of character, and it is also when we first learn of the complexity of his relationship with his wife.
3. What is your usual writing routine?
Usually I write in the mornings. I write for between one and four hours, totally dependent on how it flows. Usually, if I have lots of other writing related tasks such as interviews and emails to answer then I find it distracting and I end up finishing that first. In this instance I might write later on in the day. I also try and answer emails as they come in, and deal with other requests like this too, which is why I am sat in my PJ’s at 10 pm on a Sunday evening talking to you. But I like it this way! Other days I am so tuned in to whatever story I am writing I might write for eight hours nonstop, but that’s rare, and my hands don’t like it!
4. What is the highest goal that you desire to meet as an author?
I try not to look too far ahead. I think it is impossible not to dream of one day having a bestseller or some other equivalent level of success, but in order to focus I believe you have to train your eyes and ambitions a little closer to home. Right now my aim is to make everything I write better than the last thing I wrote. But I can’t say that I don’t dream about being super-successful. I would love to have a bestseller.
5. What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
It is really important as a writer to practice your craft. By this I mean write consistently, and do it as frequently as you can. Ideally I think you should write each day, even if it’s only for a short while, but sometimes this isn’t practical. Reading is just as important, and I love to do it. It is like research and for me if I am not reading I feel my writing is more sluggish.
From a practical point of view for somebody who wants to test their skills in the world of publishing, the best advice is to polish whatever you want to publish to the point when you cannot possibly stand to read it anymore, and until you believe it is as good as you can possibly make it. Then make a choice between traditional and self publishing, and just go for it. And whichever you choose, make sure you are tough enough to stand rejection and criticism. I have experienced both, and it is essential to ride through it if you want to succeed. Professional writers are after all, the amateurs who didn’t give up. I heard that recently. I can’t remember who said it, but I think it sums up the journey perfectly.
6. What is in your To Read Pile that you are dying to start or upcoming release you can’t wait for?
My cousin just gave me Hanging Hill by Mo Hayder. Besides the story sounding great, I love that it is a used paperback from somebody I love.
7. How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?
I live in Cyprus, so the places I hang out are governed by the seasons. Summer is the beach, winter is the mountains. By this time in the year I am done with the beach and I am currently willing the cool weather to kick in so I can get my hiking boots on and get in the mountains for a hike. It is always followed by a spot in front of the log fire at night with winter food. I am English, so I guess I am always seeking the cold!
8. What do you have in store next for your readers?
I am currently writing a work in progress about a woman who suffers with mental illness, and a rather dismal preoccupation with her father’s death. Doesn’t much sound like a cheery tale when I put it like that, but I am pleased with the first draft so far and it is coming on nicely. It should be finished by now, but I took a holiday to get married! Back to work starts here!
Ben Stone has one aim; discover the cure for genetic disease. He watched his father die and promised himself that it would never happen again, especially to his own son. After his appointment as lead researcher in Bionics Laboratories, he begins his desperate research. It takes four years, but he succeeds. He discovers NEMREC, a serum able to reconstruct DNA and cure the diseases that have driven him. It should be the beginning of a new future, but by changing the face of the world, he has unwittingly destroyed his own.
After arriving at his laboratory to find that it has disappeared, he is sucked into a world of conspiracy and betrayal. The Agency wants NEMREC and will do anything to get it, believing it to be the most powerful scientific discovery in decades. But it wasn’t just NEMREC that they wanted. The Agency wanted Ben dead, but somehow he survived. His best friend, his wife, and Ami, the beautiful scientist who he has fallen for at work all offer to help him, but each has a different version of the truth. They all have their own agenda, only one of them wants what he wants, and in a world where you are already dead, how is it that you are supposed to survive?
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