Michaela Miles writes. By day she is a mild-mannered copywriter and web designer, but by night she is consumed by the characters in her head and writes to set them free.
In her spare time, she is primary carer and chief wrangler for a husband and three children, the big boss at her web design company and photography studio, and is completing a Bachelor of English Literature.
1.What got you into writing / what made you sit down and actually start something? I have always loved writing and reading, and when I starting moving towards my thirtieth birthday, I decided I’d spent enough time doing things for everyone else, and wanted to do something for me.
2.What is a usual writing day like for you, how is it structured? I don’t really have a “usual” writing day. I run businesses with varying work hours, have weird assignment deadlines, and have primary and secondary school kids so every day of the week my day is divided up by school times, homework, meal times, sports practice, music recitals, meetings, client projects, etc and I have to get things done around all of that. It’s a massive juggling act, and I write anywhere and anytime I can.
3.Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it? Due to my rather overloaded life, I don’t get writer’s block very often at all because I don’t have time to stare at a blank screen! If I do have an issue working out what comes next, I’ll change to a different story I’m working on, do some “real” work, or catch up on social media. And after a good night’s sleep, the answer usually works itself out.
4.Are you a plotter or panster when it comes to writing a story? I’m 99% panster. My stories always start with a character who determines the type of story and the genre, and then I start writing. It’s either towards a word limit or a specific event the character needs to face, so I just keep writing until I get there. The other 1% is when a character won’t stop talking to me, and I feel I have to write it all down or I’ll forget the key elements. I then end up with a few thousand words of bare outline which I can expand from.
5.What was the publishing process like for you,& any advice to aspiring authors? I’m currently only published in an anthology with a mix of self, indie, and traditionally published authors and that process is going to be very different from when I publish a book of my own, so I can’t really give any insight on that yet.
My main advice for aspiring authors is to keep writing to “the end”. You can’t start editing, or querying, or anything else unless you have a completed story. After that my strongest advice is to have other people read your work. Even if you can’t afford an editor, you can’t hope to catch all your own typos. There are great free online communities where you can exchange someone reading your work for you reading theirs, and I can’t recommend my favourite of those (www.scribophile.com) enough.
6.What has been your highlight since becoming a published author? Hearing how much people enjoy my writing. I starting writing just for me, and it’s thrilling and humbling to find out that complete strangers enjoy my characters and their lives as much as I do.
7.Can you share a little of your most recent book with us? And any other books of yours, if you wish.
Excerpt from Keep Calm and Eat Chocolate:
I stood and took a step towards him. I kissed his cheek on my tiptoes, then pulled back quickly, in case anyone saw. He grabbed my arm and held me close.
“Was that for me, or the money?”
“I don’t have any money. Remember?”
He put his free arm around my waist and drew me against him. He was quite slim under his over-sized shirt, and warmer than me. I had to tilt my head back to see his face. He smiled so I closed my eyes and waited for his lips, but they didn’t come. I opened my eyes again and raised an eyebrow.
“I wanted to savour this moment,” he said, and squeezed me a little tighter.
“Why? It’s just a hug.”
“It’s not just a hug. You’re smiling. I haven’t seen you do that before.”
“I smile all the time.”
“Not with your eyes. You get a little crinkle at the corners, and your blue seems to match the sky when you really mean it.”
My face flushed as he gazed at me. No one had ever looked at me like that before. He wasn’t aroused. He wasn’t groping me, or trying to stick his tongue down my throat. He just looked. It was a little uncomfortable, but nice in a strange way.
I opened my mouth and took a breath, so I could tell him to let me go before someone found us. He leaned down and pressed his lips softly to mine.
8.What audience is your book targeted for, and what genre does it come under? This story is for an adult audience, and is a contemporary romance. I hope it will appeal to anyone who loves unlikely love with a bit of a sassy, funny side.
9.Apart from writing, what do you do in your spare time? At the moment, I really don’t have any “spare” time. Whenever I’m not attending to my real life requirements, I’m writing 🙂
10.What tip would you give to new authors when trying to build a fan-base / get followers and market their books? (What to do and what not to do.) My big tip here is to be generous with your time and your own liking and following. Don’t ask people to like you or follow you unless you do the same. And ask them for theirs first, or just connect or share because you can. There’s nothing worse than generic “please buy my book” messages. My first bonus tip is to start now – don’t wait until your book is released to start building your platforms. My second bonus tip is to be yourself – share things you like and find funny, talk about your personal life (to a level you’re comfortable with), but remember to always be professional. You’re not just an author, you’re a business and a brand, and the internet has a long memory.
11.How would you describe your writing style? I like to write in a way that’s easy to read, without too much detail, and revolves around the characters and their actions. When the story is focussed on a relationship between two people, the wall colour doesn’t really matter to me 🙂