Mason Cooley said, “Reading gives us some place to go when we have to stay where we are.”
A Center Stage Moment shines a spotlight on writers who give us great places to visit with the characters we love and want to call friends.
Today, I have the pleasure of introducing to you Jo Michaels!
Jo Michaels is…
Hi, I’m Jo. Let’s forget all the “Jo Michaels is blah, blah, blah” stuff and just go with it. I’m a voracious reader (often reading more than one book at a time), a writer, a book reviewer, a mom, a wife, and one of the EICs at INDIE Books Gone Wild. I have an almost photographic memory and tend to make people cringe at the number of details I can recall about them and/or their book(s). My imagination follows me around like a conjoined twin and causes me to space out pretty often or laugh out loud randomly in completely inappropriate situations.
One of my favorite things is hearing from fans! You can find me on social media most any day of the week. Connect! I’d love to hear from you.
Without further ado, here’s her interview.
I love reading the bios of authors. Many of them did not start out as writers. Sometimes people stumble upon the craft. Did you always want to be a writer? I’ve been writing since I can remember, and I’ve always been drawn to the written word. Can I say I always wanted to be a writer? Well, no. There was a time when I wanted to teach literature, and I got my graphic design degree in the hopes of becoming a book cover designer, but I didn’t think back then I could write a whole book (or that anyone would give two nickels worth of a crap to read anything I wrote). When self-publishing started to grow, I looked a little more seriously at my ability to write. I never got less than an A on any essay I penned in college. That alone gave me the courage to put words on the page and hand them over to the world. [And we’re so glad you did!]
Why did you choose to write young adult and new adult fiction? Which genre is that? *grin* Seriously, I love all books, so I could no sooner choose just one genre to write in than I could a favorite star in the heavens.
What is the strangest subject or topic you’ve ever written? Zombies. Where they came from, the actual definition, and all the little quirky things about them were odd to research. Since my z-poc novel is written from the zombie’s POV, I had to do a lot of soul searching to get there.
What are you currently working on? I’m currently writing a paranormal dystopian romance that’ll go in a boxed set slated to release late 2016. The title of the collection is The Othala Witch Collection, and my little book is Faye Magic and will be a clash of Hunger Games meets The Selection. Releases begin in September, but mine won’t hit the shelf until December. I’m working really far ahead because I’ll have another collaborative with the Ferocious Five (authors of Fractured Glass and 7) due at the end of the year, too. [I can’t wait to read these!]
What motivated the plot of your latest book? Well, this is one for the books. Emancipation (my psychological thriller) is slated for a March 22 release. That’s the one I can really get into where the idea came from. I’m sitting on the couch with The Best Husband in the World, and we’re watching “20/20”. There’s a story on about a woman who married a man on death row. As we watched, we find out the guy swears he’s innocent (don’t they all?), and that he was convicted of murdering a number of young women. What if questions start flying out of my mouth, and Emancipation was born. I knew exactly how it began and where it was going. All the other stuff was gravy. *grin* [Oh, and it’s way better than just plain gravy!]
What was the hardest story for you to write? As of right now, it’s Emancipation. My main character isn’t a good guy. He’s not the kind of fellow you’re secretly rooting for, and he manipulates you into believing he actually cares about someone other than himself. It was difficult to keep him in line. There were several places I had to go back and edit heavily. I realized he was manipulating me, too. There was this urge to write in compassion and caring, and it took me a minute to realize what was happening when I caught it. He was showing the world what a good guy he was—despite the thoughts in his head—and I bought into it. Plus, keeping the twists and turns straight was a challenge. All the loose ends had to be tied up. *grin* [Talk about letting your character drive the story!]
What process do you use to plan your novels? I always, always know where a story will start and where it will end. I let the characters guide me through the process. The Bird took a twist I didn’t see coming at the end, but when I saw it, I gasped and chuckled. Only one reader saw it coming, and I always laugh again when I read that review. My thought: How did you see it coming when I didn’t? But, perhaps they’re more sensitive to those things.
Who has been your favorite character to write and why? They’re ALL my favorite characters for different reasons. Let’s go down the list, shall we? Yassa – Genghis Khan because he was a fierce warrior who was betrayed by his best friend yet still managed to listen to—and love—his wife. Abigale Chronicles – Abigale because she’s feisty and has a wonderful imagination. Mystic series – Bronya because she’s strong in the face of adversity, Lily because she’s beautiful on the inside, Shelia because she’s so tender and caring toward everyone, Melody because she’s sweet and timid, Coralie because she’s a survivor, and Markaza because she’s a freaking badass. The Bird – Stormy because she’s not afraid of anything. I, Zombie – Trixie and Jack because their friendship is so very pure. The Frivolity Fairies – Shirley because she has a clear definition of right and wrong. Fractured Glass – Harley and Sloan because the love they share as sisters is something I admire. M – Griffin because he learns a lesson too late, but is smart enough to embrace love for a moment before it’s ripped away. 7 – Thomas because he’s beautifully flawed and ever so human. Emancipation – Tobias because he’s crafty and twisted.
Do any of your characters reflect facets of your personality? Absolutely. Either they have traits I admire and strive for, or they have traits I know I succumb to and work on to better in myself. [Mmmm… I wonder how Tobias fits in?]
Have you ever experienced writer’s block? If so, how did you overcome it? There is no such thing as writer’s block. I’ll say that again, just in case someone missed it: There is no such thing as writer’s block. Rather, there are places in the story where you aren’t sure what’s supposed to happen next so you get stuck. This is either because of lack of knowledge about the subject matter or a plot gap. Two things to fix it: 1) Quickly sketch out the story as it’s written so far and write the end you already know to see how to get there. 2) Read and watch YouTube on whatever topic you’ve come up against. Once you’ve learned what you need to know, your writing will flow once again. [Totally agree! Writer’s block has become a catchall phrase, I believe. It’s nice to see who believes in it, and who doesn’t.]
If you were to choose another genre to write in, what would it be? ALL THE GENRES except romance. While there’s a heavy romantic element in Faye Magic, that’s just the driving force behind the storyline. I love blowing minds, making people sit back and think about things differently, and keeping folks entertained. No way can I do that with just one genre.
Which authors inspire you? There are too many to list.
What novel would you read multiple times? There are a couple I read over and over again: Pride and Prejudice – the language in that book always makes me swoon, Chronicles of Narnia – because *ahem* C. S. Lewis is a genius, and anything by the lovely Fern Michaels (she writes badass women, too).
If you could meet anyone in the world, alive or deceased, who would it be and why? Queen Elizabeth I. Let’s just be real here for a moment, shall we? That woman was well educated, brought a country that was falling into despair back to its feet in a glorious whirlwind of change, and a mastermind of all things humane. Not to mention she did all the things without a man by her side or in her way. She’s my hero.
What is your favorite quote? “For if you suffer your people to be ill-educated, and their manners to be corrupted from their infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded from this, but that you first make thieves and then punish them.” – Sir Thomas Moore – Utopia (also Drew Barrymore – “Ever After”)
What is your favorite animal, real or imaginary? Harpy Eagle. They’re majestic, powerful, and rare.
What is your favorite color? Blue. All shades and tints. [My all-time favorite color!]
Jo is a full-time writer. She also runs an editing company, INDIE Books Gone Wild, on a part-time basis.
Catch up with Jo online at:
Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/jomichaels
This has been fun, my friend! Thank you for participating in A Center Stage of Moment! Join me next week as we feature Stacie Wilson.