Welcome to the Member Spotlight, Maddison!
Maddison Michaels: Thanks, Minerva! Glad to be here!
Minerva Spencer: First I’d like to talk a bit abut your writing process. Do you write full-time or part-time?
MM: I wish it was full-time! But at the moment I still work as a Police prosecutor, so it is rather hectic fitting in work, family and writing time. But I have a wonderfully supportive husband and daughter, who really do get when I need to have writing time! I have a word count target for each day (when I’m actively writing a manuscript) and obviously the target is a lot less words on days that I work. Weekends are my major writing days when I try to get most of my writing done.
MS: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
MM: When I was eleven and my teacher told us about a state writing contest, it was like a light bulb went off in my head, and I literally knew that I wanted to enter the competition and write. I was awarded second place in the State for that comp too!!
MS: What drew you to write in the historical romance genre?
MM: I love the idea of romance and chivalry, and oh my goodness the gowns… stunning!! Reading and writing historical romance is as close as I can get to travelling back in time and experiencing it all from the comfort of my living room.
MS: If could meet anyone in history, who would it be?
MM: I would love to meet Queen Victoria – such an amazing woman, who would have some equally amazing stories to tell, I bet!
MS: Are there specific books or authors who have influenced you as a writer?
MM: I grew up reading Georgette Heyer, Julie Garwood, Amanda Quick and Jane Austen, to name but a few. All are amazing storytellers and all have definitely influenced me in some aspects.
MS: Give us a brief rundown of your process. Are you a plotter, a pantser, or somewhere in the middle?
MM: I’m definitely a plotter. Every time in the past that I’ve tried just running with an idea, without plotting it out first, I’ll be steaming away at the beginning of the story, but then I hit around 15 to 20-thousand-word mark and I go blank… the story stalls and I’m stuck. So now, I plot out in detail the story’s twists and turns – sure it can change as I write (the characters do tend to have a mind of their own and can be rather stubborn about things at times), but I find that if I sit down to write and I know what is going to happen in that scene, then the writing flows beautifully.
MM: In terms of pre-writing rituals, when I plot my books I create a playlist soundtrack of music and I listen to this while I brainstorm and plot out the story. Then when I’m writing the story itself, I play the playlist too – so it actually gets me back into the mojo of the story I’d plotted. I also love burning some aromatherapy oils in my diffuser, which does seem to send a message to my brain, that ok it’s time to write. Oh and I MUST have my cups of tea and coffee too, while I write, and then lots of chocolate for editing (that’s a no brainer, lol).
MS: Can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication?
MM: Well I started querying agents late October 2016, and by about mid November, I had received around 20 full and partial requests. Also around mid Nov I got the absolute best email of my life, from an editor at Entangled Publishing, Tracy Montoya, saying she loved my manuscript and wanted to take it to her acquisitions board as she wanted Entangled to publish it (I had done a spur of the moment twitter pitch in August that year and the manuscript was requested by an editor at Entangled, Lydia Sharpe. Then in early October I got an email from Lydia, saying that she’d passed it on to her colleague Tracy, as Tracy loved a historical with a twist of suspense. At the time, I didn’t think much of it and actually kind of forgot it was with Entangled). However, when I got the email from Tracy, I was ecstatic!! So I pretty much emailed all of the agents that had the partial or full manuscript (and the ones I hadn’t heard back from), advising them that an offer was possibly on the table. That hurried up most of them, and I also got a few more requests. In the end I was so fortunate to have had four reputable agents offer me representation, as they loved my book. So I went with Pamela Harty and signed a 2 book deal with Entangled Publishing.
MS: Tell us about your latest release and what’s coming next for you.
MM: My debut, The Devilish Duke, is scheduled for release on February 26th 2018. And here’s a short blurb:
Devlin Markham, the “Devil Duke” of Huntington, needs a woman. And not just any woman. If he can’t woo eccentric bluestocking Lady Sophie Wolcott within the month, he can kiss his fortune goodbye. But he finds love a wasted emotion and marriage an inconvenience. And Sophie seems unmoved by his charm…
When Sophie learns her beloved orphanage is in danger, she’ll do anything to save it. Even marry a ruthless rake. Even one targeted by a killer.
MS: What’s the hardest part of writing?
MM: I think for me personally, it’s the plotting. Which might sound odd, because plotting is also my favorite part of the process too!! But because I am a plotter, I love spending a good month really plotting out the story and all of the twists and turns (which is the hard part – ensuring everything is logical, exciting and works).
MS: What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
MM: To keep on going, no matter what. If you keep persevering, even if you get rejections, eventually you will succeed – just look at JK Rowling…
Website address: www.maddisonmichaels.com