Friday, April 17, 2009

Gwen's Extra Special Guest Star

Gwen has treats! Look who I dragged in here...I mean, look who is visiting us today!

In the past four years, Michelle Rowen has sold twelve novels in paranormal romance, futuristic romantic suspense, and young adult fantasy to Grand Central Publishing, Berkley Books, Harlequin, Dorchester Publishing and Walker Books for Young Readers. She has been on the Waldenbooks romance bestsellers list, is the winner of the 2007 Holt Medallion for Best First Book, and her alter ego Michelle Maddox is nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice award. In 2009 she has four releases including the final two books in her Immortality Bites vampire series.

Michelle lives in Southern Ontario, is the 2009 Vice President of the Toronto Romance Writers, and is currently hard at work on her next fantastical novel. Please feel free to contact her at She loves hearing from readers!

Thanks for visiting the Fictionistas. We love guest authors and are super excited you are here.

Thanks Gwen! Great to be here! :)

So you have a book releasing this month, tell our readers about it.....(and is it part of a series etc)

Yup, Stakes & Stilettos, the fourth book in my Immortality Bites vampire series was released at the beginning of April from Grand Central Publishing. It picks up my fledgling vampire, Sarah Dearly's story after 2007's Fanged & Fabulous. (I took a little hiatus with last year's Lady & the Vamp, which was the spin-off story of a supporting character).

Basically, the series is about a "girl next door" who was turned into a vampire by a (really) bad blind date and how she's dealing with life now that she's one of the fanged and...uh, fabulous. Heh. Unfortunately for Sarah, nothing is ever easy for her. Even though she feels the same as she did when human -- as in, not evil -- vampire hunters want to slay her and she seems to attract trouble like crazy. In Stakes & Stilettos she heads to her home town to attend her high school reunion in an attempt to feel normal, as well as to introduce her 600-year-old master vampire boyfriend to her overprotective parents (who don't know she's a vamp yet) and she ends up getting cursed by a vengeful ex-classmate-now-witch. She then starts exhibiting all the (very inconvenient) "vampire myths," including a desire to bite necks and be totally evil. Add to this the appearance of a legendary vampire vigilante and you've got a recipe for disaster. And, hopefully, enjoyable entertainment. ;-)

One of our favorite themes at Fictionistas is "follow your dreams". What is your average day like--do you write everyday? Work on simultaneous books? Do you have to do a lot of research? (you don't have to "answer" formally. The q's are just a jumping off point. Basically, we just try to encourage our young readers to choose what will make them happy in life, and we like to highlight people doing what they love and supporting themselves by doing so--so answer this q however you want)

I'm definitely following my dreams. Since I was a kid I wanted to write books and I'm lucky enough to be doing that full-time at the moment and hope I can continue indefinitely. I mean, how cool is it to be paid to make stuff up all day long? (the answer is: very cool).

I'm not much of a multi-tasker, unfortunately, so I try to work non-stop on each new project until I'm done, and then move on to the next. The busier I get, though, the less convenient this becomes, so I'm finding my projects starting to overlap a bit, therefore I'll work on one on weekdays and another on weekends. I don't write every day. I tend to binge write, which is kind of like an ongoing, sporadic Nanowrimo. LOL. I'll go at the first draft of a new book -- writing 10-20 pages a day -- until it's finished, then let it sit for a few days to a week and jump right into the second draft. I do work from a fairly tight outline and do lots of brainstorming first so I do have lots of direction. I set my personal deadlines at least a month before my official deadline so I have lots of time to polish things up. Sometimes a first draft will be really clean, but it usually needs some work so I want to make sure I don't run out of time and hand something in to my editor that I'm not happy with.

As far as research, I don't do toooo much. However, sometimes I need to look a few things up, mostly online, like stuff from history or specific details about cities. I just got a book on mythology out of the library yesterday that I plan to read -- not for any particular research, but stuff like that is great for triggering new ideas.

What is the most surprising thing one of your characters has done?

I'll use the example from my first published book, Bitten & Smitten. My main character, Sarah Dearly, was supposed to be an introverted bookworm who'd never experienced any adventure or excitement in her life -- which is why her transformation to a vampire was going to be such a shock to her. Well, as soon as I started writing chapter one, Sarah told me very clearly that she was not introverted, not a bookworm, and she liked having fun and loved fashion, so I could go ahead and throw those character sketch notes out the window.

Then I gave her two potential love interests. A super-cute vampire hunter who would later become a vampire and couldn't stay away from her, and a moody, stubborn, suicidal master vampire who didn't want anything to do with her. In my outline, she was supposed to end up with Bachelor #1 but what did she do? Yup. She chose Bachelor #2, even though I'd planned to kill him off. And yes, she is a fictional character. Well aware. Only...I don't think she knows that. ;-)

What are you working on now?

Today I'm starting the next draft of the second book in my young adult "Demon Princess" series. The first book, Reign or Shine, is out in October from Walker Books for Young Readers. The second book, Reign Check, will be on the shelves next Spring. I'm really excited about this series -- my first specifically for a teen audience. Basically it's about Nikki Donovan, a sixteen year old girl who learns that the father she's never met before is a demon king from another dimension called the Shadowlands. And she's not only half-demon, but heir to his throne. Also she has lots of hard-to-control powers developing and a major crush on the super-cute guy her father sends to the human world to help her out. The books are a lot of fun and I'm having a lot of fun writing them. I hope readers will enjoy them too!

You are on a deserted island with an mp3 player with only three songs. What do you hope those songs are?

I love, love, love music and have a ton of songs on my iPod Touch. But here are three that came to mind:

Paralyzer by Finger Eleven -- it's just such a great song I can listen to it over and over and over.
Crying by kd lang and Roy Orbison -- It's just so raw and emotional and always gets me right here *points at heart*
Holding out for a Hero by Bonnie Tyler (or the Frou Frou version's even better, imho) -- this song is on almost every pseudo-soundtrack I do for my novels -- the songs I listen to for inspiration while I'm writing a particular book -- and I just love the imagery and the tune itself. Very catchy. :)

What were your favorite movies when you were in high school? Has your list changed much since?

Hmmm... in high school I probably would have said my favorite movies were Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club, and The Lost Boys (uh, it was the eighties, okay?). I still love these movies, but my faves seem to mostly include romances like While You Were Sleeping, French Kiss, and Pride and Prejudice. Oh, and I love Twilight right now so much. SO MUCH. Can't wait until New Moon is out in November. *freaks out* Ahem, sorry. I went a little off track there. ;-)

If you could go back and time and have a heart-to-heart with TeenMichelle, what would you tell her?

I'd tell her to have more fun and not sweat the small stuff. I worried a lot, both then and now about everything -- friends, guys, looks, the future. It's part of my nature. But worrying about these things really doesn't do anything except take up time and energy. Oh, and I'd also tell TeenMichelle not to yo-yo diet because that'll come back and get her in the future when her metabolism is shot and she can only lose a pound a week even if she's being super perfect on her mega-expensive diet (Jenny Craig, fyi) and exercising like a maniac. Uh, yeah. That's what I'd tell her. :-)

One lucky commenter will win a free copy of Stakes and Stilettos--we'll draw Sunday night, so make sure to visit Monday morning.


  1. Oooo... I'm the first poster. Kewl.

    Great interview Gwen and Michelle!

  2. Anonymous7:32 AM

    Cute interview. And I love the titles of Michelle's books. Very clever. When walking through a bookstore, her covers and titles always jump out at me.

  3. Great interview, ladies!

  4. 4 books out this year?
    Michelle, you are a writing goddess!
    I can barely squeak out one!

    And yeah, I love Paralyzer also.
    Great, great song!

  5. I'm a space cadet--forgot to mention she's giving away a copy of STAKES AND STILETTOS to one lucky commenter.


    *running to Borders*

  7. Sara M1:22 PM

    I'm definitely going to need to start reading this series ASAP. Sounds fantastic.

  8. Great interview! Please don't enter me in the contest, as I've already happily devoured Stakes & Stilettos. I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for book #5... ;)

  9. I can't wait for the YA series about the demon princess! It sounds awesome!

  10. Great interview!

    I love the cover for your book and cannot wait to read it.

    Have a great weekend.

  11. Great interview! I've been eyeballing this series but unsure. You're a new author for me.

  12. awesome interview. I'm going over to Goodreads now and adding some of Michelle's books to my TBR list.

  13. I most definitely need to start reading the Immortality Bites series-it was on one of the blogs on my Google Reader a while ago, then on one last week, Michelle was on teh RT author list and now here.... time for me to read!!

  14. I left a comment yesterday but don't see it? Hmmm... Maybe I did something wrong.

    I love the snappy titles of Michelle's books and that she's a Canuck like me! :) I'm definitely going to have to read this series. I do have a couple in my TBR pile which are now being moved up to read sooner.

  15. ATTN: Judi--we picked your name. Please email with your contact info. Please put the word "contest" in the subject. Congrats!

  16. Thanks so much!! Woo Hooo!! :)

  17. I'm so late to the party, but FANTASTIC interview!!!