Romance novelists are the lucky ones who get to put good looking, bare chested, long hair guys on their covers! So, I asked Michelle Miles to stop by and fill me in on the writing life of a romance novelist who gets to create such characters as knights and princesses.
HH: You became a writer in 2006...how have all of the industry changes impacted your role as a writer?
MM: Well I think it’s certainly given me more choices. I was lucky—I got published with Samhain when they were a new company looking for new writers. I think it was an excellent way to break in and dip my toe in publishing. I still look back on that first book and am amazed at all the sales it’s done. Talk Dirty To Me is still my best-seller. Now, I think there are so many opportunities for writers out there, so many different ways a writer could take his/her career. I love seeing all the indie folks out there who are successful.
HH: It's evident that you love princesses and knights! Did this carry over from childhood?
MM: I guess you could say that. :) I think it carried over from a love of movies! LOL I’ve always been a huge fan of princesses (I mean, who doesn’t love Princess Leia! She was smart and strong). I think the fascination with knights came from me watching the 1970s version of Excalibur. I thought Arthur was sexy as hell and Guinevere was an idiot for wanting that troll, Lancelot. What was wrong with her?
HH: With your two novels, ONE KNIGHT ONLY and ONLY FOR A KNIGHT, did you have to do a lot of research? Is a third in the works?
MM: Actually, yes. I spent a lot of time researching for ONE KNIGHT ONLY. Since it’s set during the 14th century at a jousting tournament, I had to get all the details right. I wanted to know what they ate at banquet and everything. I even found a great online research for “ren speech”. (Have I mentioned I love Renaissance festivals? No? That’s another post…) I had a blast researching about medieval jousting knights and loved that I could incorporate that into the novel. Since my hero, Finn, has a gambling problem, I also researched medieval card games and dice games. Hazard was a popular one of the day (which eventually became what we know today as Craps). I also learned all about the suits of cards and how the evolved over the years. It was fascinating reading.
For ONLY FOR A KNIGHT, I didn’t research as much. The entire book is set in the Otherworld, the Fae land where Derron and Elyne live (the two Fae characters from the first book). Their world is in danger of being destroyed. This book features Elven characters as well as a few dragons. I loved writing this book. I loved living in that world.
And yes, I have a third in the very early stages, tentatively titled A KNIGHT TO REMEMBER. I have the idea but I haven’t fleshed out the full story yet. I can tell you it will be about Maggie’s dad (Maggie was the heroine in ONE KNIGHT ONLY) and Queen Maeve, Elyne’s mother, who has been a recurring character in the other two books.
HH: I love learning about where people write! What is your writing space like? (I don't dare call creative spaces "offices"!)
MM: This is a hard question for me to answer, because I’m new at this writing full-time thing. I currently write in a home office at a desk that is falling apart. I have some inspirational things above my desk and on it that keeps me motivated. A couple of Celtic candles, a knight, Lord of the Rings book ends that are replicas of the statues from the first movie and a mini Minis Tirith from the second. I also have a pewter dragon and a pewter fairy. Above that, lots of inspirational signs (I’m attaching a photo).
I try to keep my favorite reference books handy. I use the Character Naming Sourcebook, Building Believable Characters, and The Romance Writers’ Phrase Book a lot. Behind me, I have a bookshelf crammed full of reference books, magazines, etc. All stuff a writer needs.
My view is the front yard and my commute is about ten seconds. ;) Plus I have easy access to the snack machine (pantry) and soda fountain (refrigerator).
HH: Writers can be quirky people: what is a typical Friday night like for you?
MM: LOL! It is totally NOT exciting. My husband is ready to start relaxing by Friday night. We usually have dinner out, especially if I’ve been cooking all week. If there’s baseball or hockey on, you can guarantee that’s on the TV. (We love the Texas Rangers and the Dallas Stars.) If not, then we watch hours of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Sometimes we play cards, if the mood strikes us.
HH: Thanks so much for stopping by! Where can readers find you?
MM: Thank you so much for having me today, Heather! I had a blast.
Readers can find me:
A Native Texan, she loves hockey, baseball, drinking coffee, cross-stitching, and shopping for shoes and Coach handbags. Follow her daily writings and weekly guest features at her blog, Ye Olde Inkwell. Michelle is also a regular contributor to Pop Culture Divas and Plotting Princesses.