Author Michelle Lynn has a new novel out this month called Choices. It’s a romance and I am really looking forward to reading it, since I greatly enjoyed her dystopian Dawn of the Rebellion. Read my review HERE.
SW: Michelle, thank you for taking the time to chat with me today. Tell me a little about Choices and your inspiration in writing it.
ML: Choices is about the idea that certain worlds need to be kept separate because they can’t possibly mesh without negative consequences. We’ve got Michaela, a young woman who has never had many options in her life. She is from a prominent family that has certain expectations. They’ve pushed her to date the right boy, to associate with the right people, and even to go to law school. She’s reached a point in her life where she wants to choose anything that is not that life. When she gets the opportunity to live her own life, she forsakes everything from before. The book is about her journey to discover that she may not have to choose between the two lives.
My family is very close. We love each other but we are also very different people. I have one sister in particular who everyone always tells her how she should live her life – at least those outside our immediate family do. I guess I wanted to write a story about becoming independent from the expectations of others without leaving the person you used to be behind.
SW: What are some fun things to know about your characters? Do you ever fall in love with your own fictional love interests (I do!)?
ML: I fall in love with my characters all the time. It’s one of the fun things about writing. In my main character, Jason, I was able to create my ideal man. He’s sweet and loyal. He takes care of the people around him. Plus, he’s a hockey fan. He isn’t perfect but where would the fun be in that?
SW: No fun at all, I agree. You’re used to writing about less than perfect worlds, though, right? Your last series of books was Dystopian, but this new release is Romance. Why did you decide to switch genres, and do you think that’s a risky thing to do as an author?
ML: It can be risky, yes. I have no clue how my readers are going to react to this book. When an author switches genres it’s almost like starting over. You have to go after a completely new set of readers. This book is a bit older so that will be a new challenge for me when it comes to marketing.
The third book in my dystopian trilogy was very heavy. Between the action, the deaths, and finding a perfect ending, it was so emotionally taxing to write that I had a hard time writing anything for months. I would start them and then not be able to go on, feeling drained. I needed something light, which I thought this would be. It ended up being a little more complex than I planned, but books tend to take on a mind of their own.
SW: So, what is it about the Romance genre in particular that interests you?
ML: It’s very pleasant to write. Some of the characters have troubled backstories, but there’s nothing truly dark. I’m used to writing about the end of the world. That takes something out of you. The romance genre as a whole is more about hope.
SW: You’ve talked about your books having some New Adult themes, yet you classify them as Young Adult. Why is that?
ML: The term ‘New Adult’ has come to mean something more than just the age of the characters. It used to be that YA characters were teenagers and NA characters were twenty-somethings. That was the distinction. Now NA is more R rated than PG-13. There’s nothing wrong with that, I read smut, but it just isn’t my book. My characters are in their twenties but the more adult themes are implied rather than spelled out.
SW: Yes, I wish we had a little more control of the changing distinctions as authors. Genre choosing is already such a slippery slope.
You’ve written quite a few books at this point! Do you have any tips for writers just getting started? What was the most helpful thing you learned along the way, and what was the biggest pitfall?
ML: The most helpful thing I’ve learned is to not do it alone. Where’s the fun in that? It truly takes a village – editors, cover artists, beta readers. I’m a writer, I leave the rest of it to the people who can do it better than I can. It’s one of the mistakes I made when I initially published my first book. Since then, I have found amazing people to work with and an incredible writer’s group that I can’t imagine what I ever did without.
SW: I believe you’re speaking of YAAR? Yes, Young Adult Author Rendezvous is an excellent, diverse group of authors.
Family is a big theme in your books. Why is that? Does your own family enter into your novels?
ML: I love my family. We’re very close. But, they aren’t really represented in this book as much as my trilogy. Michaela is close to her brother, but her family is a bit messed up – as is Jason’s. My family would do anything for me and they’d accept me no matter what I did. Michaela’s family is learning to be a bit more like that, but they have a long way to go.
SW: What has been the hardest criticism to take about your work? Did it help or hinder your writing? How about your favorite praise?
ML: The hardest criticism is when someone doesn’t like your book but fails to tell you why. Those pesky one star ratings. Even if it isn’t fun to hear, I like to know why someone didn’t like my work. I realize it isn’t for everyone. Criticism teaches us a lot more than praise does.
SW: Have you ever experienced writer’s block. If so, how did it hit and how did you get over it?
ML: Yeah (laughs), how about right now? It’s less about not being able to write, and more about actually making myself sit down and do it. It’s a discipline. It usually hits me when I reach a relatively slow part in my book. I’m excited to write actions scenes, less so for the mundane stuff that has to go in a book for it to make sense. Sometimes, I just have to force myself away from any distractions and pound it out.
SW: That’s funny. I feel the same way about writer’s block and experience it in much the same way. I could do it…but I really don’t feel like it right now.
Tell us something weird about yourself that very few people know.
ML: I have one of those weird memories that forgets important, every day stuff, but remembers random things. As you can tell by my book, I’m a hockey fan. Just call me the stats master. I might remember certain players shooting percentage while forgetting to feed my bird. Or, I can remember exactly what someone said to me two weeks ago but forget an appointment for that day.
SW: Well, then I must read Choices, because I know absolutely nothing about hockey. It’s settled! Thanks so much again, Michelle, and good luck with your new release.
Find Choices on Amazon HERE.
Read more about Michelle’s author group, YAAR, on their website and blog, http://yaarendezvous.com.