An Interview with Michelle Lynn

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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.

Connect with Michelle on her website, http://www.michellelynnauthor.com, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Read more about Michelle’s author group, YAAR, on their website and blog, http://yaarendezvous.com.

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A Book Review of Dawn of the Rebellion, by Michelle Lynn

 

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Buy it on Amazon HERE. Visit the author’s website HERE.

Dawn Nolan is not someone you would think of as heroine material. She’s scared of thunder, scared of boys, shy and mousy. Her sister Gabby really doesn’t fit the bill either. She get’s pinched for lifting a bracelet within the first couple chapters. Drew is a spoiled rich kid, too good looking to trust or believe in. But author Michelle Lynn gets her dystopian world up and running in record time. Her characters act just as fast, and we get to know them through their choices and reactions to an unforgiving environment.

We quickly realize the world as we know it has all but shut down, civilization hanging on by the thread of strict military control. America is nothing but a legend, ruined by draught, famine, disease and war. England is a brutal empire and punishes its citizens by sending them to slave colonies. Remember that stolen bracelet? I’m sure you can guess what happens to Gabby, and why Dawn decides to become her unlikely savior. The story is quickly transplanted to the mysterious colonies, and it doesn’t take long to understand where those are located. Turns out there are a few Americans left after all.

Lynn delivers what could seem like a complicated backstory with efficiency, only giving us the information we need, then letting our imaginations fill in the rest. I mean, who could really be too shocked that this scenario could one day be our fates? All that’s needed is the term “global warming” at this point for us to understand quite a lot of backstory on our own. I’m so thankful that, instead of dwelling on the details, Lynn dives right into her own reality, and we’re ready for it. Characters’ personalities bloom and details of this new world trickle out steadily, as Dawn and Drew get on with the business of rescuing Gabby.

This author is not afraid to throw in a twist you never expected, and it’s a harsh world she’s created–just when you really connect with your favorite character, you might have cause to worry about his or her fate! By the conclusion, the theme of an incredible bond between sisters comes to the fore, a development I liked as much as I came to like the two sisters. Layers of revelation and an emerging deeper plot make this book an excellent start to a promising series. I’ll definitely continue with book two–I’m not sure I have a choice!

–Sarah Wathen

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Michelle loves connecting with readers. Check out her social media outlets and blog on her website, http://www.michellelynnauthor.com. Click HERE to read our interview about her new release, Choices, due out this month!

Michelle is a contributing member of YAAR, Young Adult Author Rendezvous. Find out more: http://yaarendezvous.com

Author Spotlight: Sarah Wathen

This re-awakens a desire to continue my Happy To Share column. Look for the next installment soon. There is nothing like bonding with a group of likeminded authors.

YA Author Rendezvous

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Written by L J Higgins

It’s time again to meet one of YAAR’s talented authors! Today we interviewed Sarah Wathen, author of the Catchpenny Series.

  1. Tell us about your Catchpenny Series.

Catchpenny is an offbeat romance—one novel released in 4 serial parts. The original title was Wicked Lover, and that’s exactly what Meg Shannon is…in all of the ways you might interpret such a phrase. She’s in her senior year of high school, so imagine the consequences of playing that role. Meg has plenty of enemies and slut shame is a big theme. She does find love, yet finding her true worth as a human being is the ultimate quest. In that way, it’s also a coming of age story.

  1. Why did you release it as a serial?

I had intended it to be a pretty short read in the beginning. My first book, The Tramp, is part of a…

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New Year Resolutions

Talk about reading books in person? With people, actual people. Why don’t I do more of this? Jeffrey Collyer has an excellent New Year Resolution…

YA Author Rendezvous

Pile of Books

Written by
Jeffrey Collyer

Okay. So it’s the New Year, and everyone is making resolutions, right? Goals for the year ahead.

Well, not me!

That’s always been me, anyway: the scrooge of New Year. Why make a resolution I’m only going to break in a few weeks? Two weeks, that’s how long most people make it before they’ve given up on their resolutions. Ever heard of Blue Monday? It’s officially the most depressing day of the year, and it’s about two weeks into January. The failure of our resolutions is a contributing factor.

Bah, humbug. So there.

The trouble is, most of the goals we set ourselves are things we don’t really like doing. Or, at least, there are other things we like doing more. That’s why we have to set them as specific goals, right? To try and force ourselves to do something we don’t really want to…

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My Wicked Lover Finally Gets a Trailer

Not that Meg hasn’t deserved YouTube for a while, but darn it I had to learn to use Adobe Premiere before I could make a trailer! I guess you could say I was a video virgin, but now that I’ve popped my own cherry, how did I do? Sorry, just keeping to the book theme here and feeling a bit exhausted. Indie authors are super heroes.

So now I’m an artist, and author, and a videographer. Thanks again to Her Last Boyfriend for doing the music. Take a look and get the book, HERE on Amazon. If you have no idea what Wicked Lover is, go HERE.

 

 

Sugar and Eggs

Fresh flash fiction! I haven’t written any in a while, and I’m trying something new. For those of you who have liked my little micro stories in the past, please check it out and let me know what you think!

YA Author Rendezvous

SugarAndEggs

Written by
Sarah Wathen

Brown sugar, packed. Thump.

White sugar, heaping. Ssssss.

A teaspoon of vanilla. Splash.

Two eggs. Crack. Splat. Crack. Splat.

I lift the metal bowl to my face, lips a hairsbreadth from slimy golden yolk, and breathe. Glorious.

“What is it about sugary eggs and vanilla?”

Now that other ingredient. I wrinkle my nose and scoop the pungent stuff, spoonful by hated spoonful. The whir of a hand mixer reminds me that humming helps. But there is nothing soothing about a random tune—my grandmother did that and she never hit a note—so I choose something. Fast.

“Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer…” I hate when people just can’t let Christmas go. Damn if that song isn’t still stuck in my brain. “Mmm mmm mmm mmm mmm, huh huh.”

Dough rolled and ready, exactly one quarter-inch thick. I sift through cutters. Heart? Suspicious. Star? Ironic. Four-leafed clover? Just hateful…

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How To Design Book Covers That Rock #1: Photo Fragments

My contribution to the YAAR (Young Adult Author Rendezvous) blog for October!

YA Author Rendezvous

Written by
Sarah Wathen

Readers do judge books by their covers. Everyone knows that. But indie authors also know that this book publishing business can be expensive, hiring good artists and designers particularly so. Yes, we have to wear a lot of hats—author, marketer, social media guru. Some things you have to farm out, like editing (please, please, please don’t do that yourself). But you’re probably creative, since writing is an art form after all, so you may want to give cover design a try.

If you’d like to make your own book covers, the best place to start is by looking at some excellent ones to get your creative juices flowing and understanding how you might try a similar design technique.

Lately, I’ve been loving book covers that use fragments of photos. What is left out is the most important part of the image. It’s not so much a…

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Lessons Learned from Authors

YA Author Rendezvous

2410-153219Written by
Paul Briggs

Most of what I know about writing I learned from other writers. Sometimes they were literal teachers — my creative writing instructor at Washington College was a novelist named Robert Day — but usually I learned from reading their works and seeing what they did right or wrong.

One lesson came from a writer at alternatehistory.com: Never put the same tragedy in the backstories of two different characters, or it will turn into a running joke. (The writers of Avatar: The Legend of Korra could have profited from this.)

From Orson Scott Card (yes, really): This is something Card learned from a teacher named Francois Camoin: “When you have a word embodied in a story, the word itself should never appear.” Card applied this to his short story “Eumenides in the Fourth Floor Lavatory.” To pick an example everyone’s likely to be more familiar with…

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