We are delighted to feature Michele Drier, author of the Amy Hobbes Newspaper Mysteries, the standalone Ashes of Memories, and The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, a Paranormal Romance series, as our September Author of the Month.
Q: How did you get started writing paranormal romance?
A: It’s all my son-in-law’s fault! After I contracted with a publisher for my first book, a mystery, my son-in-law asked why I didn’t write about vampires because they sold so well. I’d never read any vampire books. So I read some Charlaine Harris, some Kelly Armstrong, some Karen Monig and realized they all had a strong romantic plot line, so I made up a 500-year-old sexy as all get out Hungarian vampire family, mixed them with contemporary Southern Californian women in the media and …whoa… magic happened! Now I’m finishing up Book 10 in The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles.
Q: What would you advise writers to do in order to complete an engaging mystery?
A: Read, read, read!! That’s somewhat trite, but a writer must read in order to learn. Engaging mysteries hang on engaging characters with quirks, flaws and probably bad judgment. Ultimately, there are only three reasons murders happen; sex, money or revenge…usually revenge over sex or money! The reader must relate to your character, either positively or negatively and have a strong emotional reaction to him or her.
Q: You’ve mentored many writers by your volunteer work with Sisters in Crime and other groups; how do you manage your time in order to get so much accomplished?
A: Not well. Because I was in the print media for so long, I’m used to working against deadlines, so I do things when they’re due and don’t worry about them otherwise. I also learned early on to switch hats. I still use a paper calendar and I make lists. Not every day, but several a week. I have to be mindful not to fill up every hour so as to leave time for writing each day or week. And, my daughter threatens to call the TV show “Hoarders.” I don’t clean my house, LOL.
Q: What can readers and writers look forward to in 2020 when Bouchercon comes to Sacramento?
A: A sterling conference experience! We’ve been going to conferences for the past few years with notebooks, recording goods, bads and uglies. In St. Petersburg FL last week at Bouchercon 2018, I asked people in panels, in the elevator, walking to dinner what they liked and what they didn’t like about the conference. We have some Guests of Honor who haven’t been seen at other conferences and plan to give fans an experience they haven’t had before: Scott Turow, Walter Mosely. And fans of Anne Perry are legion. Rae James and I are co-chairs and between us have attended and produced probably hundreds of statewide conferences over the years.
Q: How do your writing classes work?
A: I’m not an academician, I try to teach people how to communicate, to get their point across. My classes are very much hands-on and require students to write an assignment for every class. I think it’s from years in print media, but I’m pushing for clarity in thought and in writing. We discuss dialogue, description, plotting, pacing, active writing, showing and some of the vagaries of the English language, including similes, metaphors, homonyms.
Q: Describe two or three things from your life experience that have been most useful for you as a writer of fiction.
A: In the beginning, my grandmother read to me every night and my mother was an avid reader, so I’ve read all my life. It’s probably a legal addiction and form of escapism. And after spending many years in the newsroom of daily newspapers, I love interesting stories well told and am in awe of writers, many of them from the UK, who use the language in ways that make me think I’m not even fluent in English, let alone any other language. But I think the biggest impact has been my curiosity, my trying to figure out the why and how things happen, the “what ifs.” A trip to Hungary, while it was still in the Eastern Bloc, was the genesis of the setting for the Kandesky’s stories and I’d love to go back again.
Q: How does your Facebook Fan Club work?
A: I’m not entirely sure…! I have a small but wonderful fan club for my Kandesky books and correspond with them, now intermittently. One of the first fans set it up for me and she contacted others she knew who read paranormal and vampire romances. This is one of the most important ways to get discovered, find someone who loves your work and will talk to his or her friends about you. It’s been about two years since a Kandesky book was published, so I need to devote time to getting it back up to speed, posting about what I’m doing, getting in touch with them.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I’m closing in on the end of Book 10 of the Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, SNAP: Red Bear Rising (I have the cover design!) and doing the final edits and proof reading of the first in a new mystery series, The Stained Glass Murders, with the working title Stain on the Soul. Both of those are slated to be published this fall.
Q: How can people get in touch with you to discuss having you as a speaker at writers meetings?
A: I have two email addresses, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, am on facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and my website MicheleDrier.com, although it’s out of date and is being updated. And you can find my books at my Amazon site.
Please Leave a Reply if you have a follow-up question for Michele and/or visit her at http://micheledrier.com/