5-STAR Fantasy / Sci-Fi

Monday, July 09, 2018

Indie Author Interview: Michelle M. Pillow

Indie Author Interview with Michelle M. Pillow - Author of the Cozy Paranormal Mystery / Romantic Comedy Better Haunts and Garden Gnomes.

NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author Michelle M. Pillow is a romance and cozy mystery writer with over 100 published books over the course of her nearly 15-year career. She is best known for her Quirlixen World including the series: Dragon Lords, Space Lords, Lords of the Var, Galaxy Alien Mail Order Brides, and more. She also writes the award-winning Warlocks MacGregor series.

Interview with Michelle M. Pillow

Author Michelle M. Pillow
Author Michelle M. Pillow
Alan Kealey (Indie Author News): What is your (writing) background?
Michelle M. Pillow: I’ve been a published author for about 15 years now, and have done many romance genres: fantasy, dark paranormal, paranormal, contemporary, historical, futuristic, chick lit, Scottish, sci-fi, suspense, urban fantasy, cozy mystery… One thing became obvious very quickly in my career. For better or worse, I wasn’t a one-genre writer. My muse likes to explore and research, so I let her.
RWA just recognized me for writing over 100 books. I’ve been on numerous bestseller lists, was nominated for the Romantic Times Lifetime Achievement Award 2011, the winner of the 2006 RT Reviewers’ Choice Award, nominated for the 2007 RT Award, a Brava Novella Contest Finalist.

Who are your favorite writers, your favorite books, and who or what are your writing influences?
I love Mandy M. Roth’s Immortal Ops series. I read the first one 15 years ago when we both were publishing our first books. We have been besties almost from the start of our careers. I love getting sneak peeks from her Ops worlds, including the spin off series. It’s like a behind the scenes look each time she writes one.
There are so many talented people in my genres, it’s hard to write a list that does them all justice—Gena Showalter, Kristen Painter, Jill Monroe, Leigh Duncan, Yasmine Galenorn… I tend to read authors who I’ve found to be awesome people.

"[...] writing took off and I’ve never looked back."

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
I have always loved telling stories with words and pictures. I used to do so as a photographer, and thought that was going to be my future, but writing took off and I’ve never looked back. Now photography has taken a backseat to the words.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
In 8th grade we were assigned to write short stories with the theme of Thanksgiving. Most kids did a version of oh-no-the-turkey-is-burnt. I tried to be Edgar Allen Poe. I honestly can’t tell you if I succeeded because I never got it back, but I’m pretty sure it was an epic fail with notes of a 1980-90s bad horror movies thrown in.

"Working as a professional author means deadlines."

Tell us about your writing process. Do you have a writing routine?
Working as a professional author means deadlines. Lots and lots of deadlines. So normally I’ll have one book being promoted, another in writing/edits, another in planning stages, and then there is the admin and marketing. It’s a never-ending cycle.
When I write, I tend to build the world and the characters first. Once I know those, I know how those characters will react when placed in various situations. I might not always know the ending when I start, but I know the characters trying to get there.

Please, describe your desk/workplace.
I can pretty much work anywhere. Not because I’ve wanted to over the years, but because I had to learn to—waiting rooms, parking lots, airports, hotels. I even finished a book in the passenger seat of a car while driving halfway across the country. It wasn’t a fun 10 hours for the driver. Luckily for me, he still married me.
My actual office has lovely view of the back yard and a bulldog taking residence under the desk. She guards my rows of bookshelves and keeps them safe.

"[...] seeing the computer screen but a scene in your head."

What do you find easiest about writing? What the hardest?

There is nothing like that perfect moment when you’re no longer seeing the computer screen but a scene in your head. When I first started, getting to that place was easy because I had less things to consider. Now I have marketing, publishing, deadlines, and it can be harder to find that place. But fighting to get there is worth it.
The easiest part is coming up with ideas. They’re always flowing around me. Whether or not I have time to do those ideas, that’s another story. I also enjoy world building. I love taking all my research, experiences, and imagination and making something out of it.

"[...] hearing from readers who loved reading it as much as I loved writing it."

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
There are two. First, the feeling when I complete a book, knowing that everything in front of me is because I did something, I created that world. The second is when the book releases and I start hearing from readers who loved reading it as much as I loved writing it.

Michelle, please tell us a little about your Paranormal Cozy Mystery Romantic Comedy Novel Better Haunts and Garden Gnomes.
(Un)Lucky Valley has it all—werewolves, witches, ghosts, other supernatural creatures, mystery, and a run of really bad luck.
Lily Goode has come to Lucky Valley to claim her inheritance—one she is not sure she wants. She had a rough childhood and isn’t thrilled about what her estranged mother left her. The Goode family has a lot of secrets, some they don’t even know they have. When Lily arrives with her brother, they have to untangle the past before someone in the present does them in. The town is also blaming them for the run of bad luck it’s been experiencing.
Luckily, Lily has help in the form of an eccentric Aunt Polly, a handsome home inspector, and an army of garden gnomes who are so much more than they first appear.

Better Haunts and Garden Gnomes (Michelle M. Pillow)
Click to Read an Excerpt

What inspired you to write the book?
My first cozy mystery was in The Happily Everlasting Series project with Mandy M. Roth, Kirsten Painter, and Jana DeLeon. We all came up with the shared world, and we each wrote different books within the town. In my first book, Fooled Around and Spelled in Love, Aunt Polly quickly became a fan favorite. She started as the loveable, quirky aunt to Fooled Around and Spelled in Love’s heroine. My new series is called (Un)Lucky Valley where I bring Polly with me to a new town.
So why did I write Better Haunts and Garden Gnomes? For Aunt Polly. Readers love her. I love her. She’s too much fun to stop.

Who do you see as your target audience?
The majority of my readers are adult women, though I do receive fan mail from men readers as well. The romances are sexier, and intended for adults, but the cozy mysteries are lighter in nature and do not contain intimate adult-only scenes.

What makes your book special?
The Goode family mythos. It takes a lot of elements from history, folklore, and superstitions. Throw in a ghost town, supernatural creatures, and a ton of gnomes and you have yourself a wild time.

"I love my career, and my readers."

How would you describe the success of your self-published books so far?
I love my career, and my readers. They’ve followed me on my author journey and are the best. Success can mean many things, but I’ve hit a lot of the goals I’ve set out for myself, and have replaced them with new ones. I get to make things up for a living. What could be better than that?

"Write the best book you can."

Can you give some advice for other Authors regarding the writing process?
There is no magic pill, so you just have to do the research and the work. Oh, and I find coffee helps. Lots and lots of coffee.
Write the best book you can. No book, no reason to go through the trouble of everything else. The book is the fun part! I know so many people who want to be authors, but they haven’t written a chapter of anything.

Are you working on another book project? Can you tell us a little about it?
I love new challenges. I have several new projects and series coming up, including more in the Qurilixen World collection. As long as readers want them, I’ll keep writing them.
The Qurilixen World is an extensive collection of science fiction and futuristic romance novels that started nearly 15 years ago with the original Dragon Lords series and has since grown into a massive collection with 34 books within 7 series installments and growing. Each book in each series is a standalone story.
The series are interconnected with the other series, as well as set in the same universe. It gets a little confusing, so I have several handy guides on my website to help new readers navigate, but really they can jump in anywhere.

Qurilixen World: https://michellepillow.com/dragonlords/
Qurilixen World Collection of Series:
Dragon Lords
Lords of the Var
Space Lords
Captured by a Dragon-shifter
Galaxy Alien Mail Order Brides
Dynasty Lords
Galaxy Mates (Reissues coming soon)
More Coming Soon!

I also have a new Warlocks MacGregor (magical Scottish warlocks living in Wisconsin) toward the end of this year.
I’ve also toyed around with horror novels, thrillers, photography books, haunted histories. I am a photographer and history major. I had an offer to do a haunted history book, but it wasn’t the right time in my career. I couldn’t do the project justice and had to turn it down. Unless it went against my moral code, I don’t like to say never. I don’t like limiting my options.

"Things change in the indie world so fast and working authors have to keep on top of those changes."

Where do you see the book market in 5 or 10 years? Will there be only eBooks and will book stores disappear like record stores disappeared?
I am both traditionally published, and indie, so I’ve seen the industry from many angles. There is one thing I’ve learned over the course of my career…everything changes.
You have to be flexible. Things change in the indie world so fast and working authors have to keep on top of those changes. As events happen or opportunities come up, you have to be willing to toss an entire marketing and publishing plan out of the window and start over, again and again. It’s the same for bookstores and publishers. They have to move with the changes and adapt.

What is your e-reading device of choice?
I normally read on my laptop or phone. I do own a Kindle and iPad, but the phone and laptop are always with me.

"Nothing says romance like hanging with zombies in a greenroom."

Do you write full-time or do you have a day job? When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I’ve been a full-time writer for about a decade. I have side-projects, upon side-projects, but no other job. As a creative, I’m always on the lookout for what comes next.
I love new adventures and try to keep an open mind to opportunities that might come up. My husband and I enjoy traveling, meeting new people and hearing their stories. We were able to work as extras on SyFy Channel’s Z Nation a couple years ago. Nothing says romance like hanging with zombies in a greenroom.
In another life I was a photographer, and I still enjoy picking up my camera when I get a chance.

How can readers connect with you?
I love hearing from my readers. They can find me online:
Website: www.michellepillow.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMichellePillow/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MichellePillow
Instagram: https://instagram.com/michellempillow/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/Michelle_Pillow

Thank you very much for the Interview, Michelle.

About the Book Better Haunts and Garden Gnomes

Better Haunts and Garden Gnomes (Michelle M. Pillow)
Click to Read an Excerpt
Welcome to Lucky Valley where nothing is quite what it seems.

Lily Goode wasn't aware she had an inheritance waiting for her in the form of a huge Victorian house in Lucky Valley, Colorado. Life might finally be coming together for her. That is if you don't count the endless home repairs, dealing with eccentric Aunt Polly who claims they're both witches, and Nolan Dawson the handsome home inspector who seems to have it out for her, then, sure, life is grand. Oh and not to mention the strange hallucinations and garden gnomes who are far more than lawn ornaments.

If mysterious accidents don't do her in, then the rebellious gnomes just might. With the help of Aunt Polly, it's up to Lily to discover who's sabotaging her new home and trying to drive the Goodes out of Lucky Valley once and for all.

"I loved the characters and the story was excellent. It sucked me right in from the very beginning and held on tight. Aunt Polly kept me laughing the whole way through, while the 'who done it' kept me guessing. Loved this book, I can't wait for more!" - Reader Review (5-Stars)

Links to the Book

Link to the Paperback Better Haunts and Garden Gnomes on Amazon

Link to the eBook Better Haunts and Garden Gnomes on Amazon

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