M. Leighton is a native of Ohio, but she relocated to the warmer climates of the South where she can be near the water all summer and miss the snow all winter. Possessed of an overactive imagination from early in her childhood, Michelle finally found an acceptable outlet for her fantastical visions: writing fiction. Four of Michelle’s novels can now be found on Amazon, as well as several other sites. She’s currently working on sequels, though her mind continues to churn out new ideas, exciting plots and quirky characters. Pick one of her books up and enjoy a wild ride through the twists and turns of her vivid imagination.
TSR: Michelle, a very warm welcome to you and very big thank-you from us all, for taking some time out of your busy schedule to talk to us today. Today is also extra special for me, as Michelle has chosen to officially launch her latest new novel on my site today as well!
Michelle,can I start our interview by asking what do you like best about where you are living now, and why?
Probably, the mild weather. I can still have a taste of all four seasons, but winter doesn't last forever and neither does summer. I do miss snow, though. I've lived around cold, snowy winters all my life and I miss that beautiful fluffy stuff.
TSR: What sort of books did you enjoy reading as a child?
I loved Golden Books, especially Poky Little Puppy and Cinderella. Even then, I was shaping up to love magic, romance and animals. I grew physically bigger, but otherwise, not much has changed since then. J
TSR: Do you think the books that you read as a child influenced your current writing in any way?
I would say absolutely, and most specifically in one way in particular. I love happy endings, and you’ll find one in all of my books. That’s not to say that every ending is sown up neatly, without any cliff hangers or continuing problems, but there’s always the hope of what’s to come in the next book, the promise of happiness when all is said and done. I never close a story on a sad note.
TSR: Did you always want to become a writer?
Truthfully, I always loved to write—short stories, biographies, research papers—but I never once considered actually becoming a writer. I always viewed writers as almost mythical creatures, not human at all. Sort of like movie stars. Like any other fantasy, I thought that becoming an honest to goodness, bona fide writer was something that one might dream of, but never actually be able to accomplish. I suppose I grouped all writers in with the likes of Edgar Allan Poe and J.R.R. Tolkien, and with poets such as Walt Whitman and T.S. Eliot. To me, writers were those people who write something so profound, so epic, so enchanting that the entire world has no choice but to read it in awestruck silence as their lives are forever changed by it.
TSR: Do you have a set routine when you are working on a new novel?
Heavens no! I wish I did, but I seem to end up with a mess on my desk no matter how much I try to do it differently. By the time I'm finished with a novel, I have the beginnings organized nicely in a notebook and, on top of that, a huge pile of post-its and notes that constitute the vast majority of the book. My process is very spontaneous and haphazard, much like me *sigh*.
TSR: Where do you do your writing best?
In my bright, quiet office.
TSR: What advice would you give to someone who was starting to write a book for the first time?
Write like you mean it. Write everything like it’s happening to you. Describe it vividly and, hopefully, readers will feel it, too.
TSR: In relation to your recently released YA book ‘The Reaping’, what made you decide to base this story on the paranormal?
My love of all things paranormal! I've actually started to pen a “regular” book more than once, but somehow the paranormal works its way in there. It’s the way I think, what I like, where my mind goes naturally (or supernaturally) I suppose. I might conquer it one day and write something different, but for right now, that seems to be my niche.
TSR: ‘The Reaping’ has a cleverly thought out story line, how did you manage to keep track of the many ‘high level’ threads that run throughout this story when you were writing it?
Copious notes! After I’d finished writing the first draft, I went through ‘The Reaping’ and I made notes about any thread that I dropped or didn't explain to my satisfaction (considering that I wanted some questions left unanswered for the benefit of the second book) and I went back and added what needed to be added. Then I went back through all my “novel notes” and made sure I had included all the things that I wanted to include and then I read and edited it again. I think your only real choice is to do that over and over again, until it comes out the way you want it.
TSR: If ‘The Reaping’ was to be made into a film, which actors would you like to play the lead roles?
Honestly, that is one of the hardest questions I ever get asked. I usually say Amanda Seyfried and Chace Crawford and that has more to do with their youth than anything. It would be hard to cast and I have the utmost respect for casting directors who manage to, in their infinite wisdom, make the right choices.
TSR: What is your favourite book and why?
‘The Wolf and the Dove’ by Kathleen Woodiwiss. It’s amazing. It’s all things that a romance should be. A classic, in my opinion.
TSR: What is your favourite pass time and does it play a role in your writing?
Movies, I love movies and, yes, I think they have a huge impact on my writing. I see scenes and characters like they are playing out in my head, just like a movie. I hope that, in turn, I am able to bring the story to life for my readers just like I see it in my head, that maybe they’ll see it, too.
TSR: We are officially launching your latest novel ‘Blood like Poison’ on this site today? Can you introduce us to your new book without giving too much away?
Right off I can say that this book is much more of a romance. If you can imagine, I have that dreamy look on my face just thinking of it. It’s the story of love, love between a girl named Ridley and a vampire named Bo. Their story, their love, is, at times, both powerfully painful and deeply satisfying. There are things about Bo, disturbing things, dangerous things that Ridley finds out as the story progresses, things that might’ve deterred her from becoming involved with him at one point. Unfortunately, by the time she discovers those dark secrets, Ridley’s heart is already lost to Bo and at that point, her only choice—the only one that she can live with—is to love Bo, to give her-self to him heart and soul, whatever the consequences.
TSR: Michelle, I am delighted and very honoured that you agreed to be interviewed and chose to launch your new book on my literary site! I would like to thank-you again for taking the time to speak to us today and also in supporting us by providing an e-book copy of your latest novel ‘Blood like Poison’, for an International giveaway draw!
Thank you so much for having me and for the incredible support that you’ve shown not only me, but writers of all backgrounds and genres across the globe. I am truly grateful!
If you would like to find out more about M. Leighton and her writing, just click on the direct link to her website below:
International e-book Giveaway Draw!
Michelle has very kindly provided an e-book copy of her brand new book 'Blood like Poison' for an International Giveaway Draw to go with this interview and Official Book Release, here at 'The Secret Writer'!
It is very simple to participate in this draw . If you visit this blog and have joined as a 'Google Friend Connect' follower, leave a comment on this post (also include your e-mail address in your comment so I can contact you if you are a winner), you will be entered into a draw for the e-book copy of Michelle's latest novel 'Blood like Poison'!
There will be one winner of this draw. Each entrant to the draw will be allocated a sequential number. After the closing date for this draw (Friday 6th May 2011 at 23.59GMT), the winning number for this draw will be chosen by random.org. This is an International Giveaway for all my GFC Followers! Thank-you to Michelle for providing this great prize for a draw and for choosing to launch her latest novel with us here today!
Good Luck Everyone!