I love author interview, so I’m excited to have A.B. Michaels visiting today 🙂 Please help me shout out a welcome and settle in to get to know her better, and also to learn more about her release THE DEPTH OF BEAUTY!
Afterward, check out her giveaway. The link is toward the end of the post.
So, grab a drink, a snack, and a comfortable seat and let’s get started …
Tell us about yourself in 100 words or less:
I’m a mom, spouse, friend, reader, dog lover, history buff, traveler, dreamer, quilter, lousy (but enthusiastic) golfer, okay bocce player, and definite mess maker. I consider myself an American storyteller. I love ideas and ideals, logic and emotions, and finding compelling characters to embody all those qualities. The men in my life and in my fiction are flawed but redeemable, strong and resourceful and vulnerable. The women are similar, but with softer curves. Bringing a story from my head to the page is sometimes magical, often difficult, and so rewarding that I can’t imagine doing anything else.
That was perfect! Love it, and had to laugh at your golfing skills. They sound similar to mind. What’s the one question you’re asked most often when it comes to your writing?
The question is: “How do you come up with your ideas?” It’s a good question that I don’t have a pat answer for. Sometimes they pop into my head; sometimes I have to sift through a lot of dumb ideas to find a decent one. Early on I’ll ask myself “What if” kinds of questions, and as the story unfolds, I’ll follow up with “What happens next?” I think, as with any endeavor, the more you do it, the easier it gets. My series revolves around a legendary artists’ retreat in northern California, and at this point, the ideas are flowing much faster than I can put them down on paper!
What’s the last thing you bought?
I love costume jewelry. A friend of mine sells it, and since I bought some pieces for gifts, I was able to pick out a piece for myself for just ten bucks. It’s a really pretty silvery, crystal and pink necklace. I wrapped it up and told my husband he could give it to me for Christmas, which he was more than happy to do!
There is some beautiful costume jewelry out there. I’m a slight addict too. What was the main goal you accomplished in 2015 and the one main goal you hope to accomplish in 2016?
Writing and publishing my work has been my goal for the past two years and continues to be. In 2015 I completed two novels, a mystery, and a novella. I released The Lair (contemporary romantic suspense) in June, but the others will come out in 2016. The Depth of Beauty, for instance, was just released. It’s a follow-up to my first novel, The Art of Love. I have ambitious goals for 2016: to complete another historical and another mystery … and my third contemporary if I can get my butt in gear and keep it there!
When did you first know you wanted to become an author?
Most writers say they always wanted to write, and I’m no exception. I have wanted to write fiction forever. But like so many others, I let life get in the way (although I did earn a living through promotional writing). I don’t waste time or energy thinking, “If only I had begun writing fiction in my twenties.” Instead, I just keep moving forward. It’s never too late to do something you’ve always wanted to do, except perhaps become a prima ballerina – I think there’s a time limit on that!
Who was the first person you told when you were contracted?
I am an Indie author, so the important moment for me was when I could say, “My book is finished!” My husband was the first person to hear those words.
It’s an amazing accomplishment. I love choosing character names. Tell us how you came up with your characters’ names for The Depth of Beauty.
Names are so important to a story. They must work on many levels (Are they easy to read and pronounce? Do they reflect the character’s attributes? Do they work within the strictures of the story, etc.). I chose “William Arthur Reginald Firestone” because the hero is a blueblood in 1900 San Francisco society. I also liked the nickname “Will.” His counterpart is “Mandy Culpepper,” which I like because it signifies a very homespun young lady. Many Chinese people populate the story, so I had to make sure their names were easily distinguishable to western readers, as well as reflective of their characters. And there are a number of historical figures in the story, so I used their real names.
What inspired you to write The Depth of Beauty?
One of my favorite secondary characters from my first novel, The Art of Love, was Will Firestone. He was likeable and self-confident in his status as an elite member of society. I wanted to shake him up and get him to see beyond the norms of his milieu. I found a great way to do that, as you’ll see when you read the book.
What five words best describe your hero? Your heroine?
Will Firestone is passionate, introspective, control-driven, handsome and wealthy
Mandy Culpepper is other-worldly, wise, nurturing, vulnerable and beautiful.
Love those names. What’s the one scene from your book that stands out in your mind as being your favorite to write?
I have at least two: the scene in which Will shows his respect and love for the widow Tam Shee, and the scene in which he confronts his family toward the end of the book.
Do you have a writing ritual – as in do you wear a lucky pair of socks, drink a certain drink, light a candle, play music?
Wow, if any one of those rituals (or others) worked, I’d follow them in a heartbeat! I don’t do anything special except that I feel most comfortable writing in my office, away from most distractions. I’m not one of those who can write in the company of others, say, in a coffee house. I’m like a dog—squirrel!
When writing do you try and reach a certain word count each day, or do you write for a certain amount of time, or do you just write and don’t worry about either?
It depends on whether I’m on a deadline. If I am, I’ll go for a certain word count. If not, I’ll put in whatever time I can and not worry about the count. Like most things in my life, I’m “sort of disciplined,” which sounds like an oxymoron if ever there was one!
Tell us about your book in tweet form.
Wealthy businessman Will Firestone encounters lust, danger and tragedy before finding true love in old San Francisco. A great read! #BYNR
Wonderful tweet! Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?
I’m just finishing a novella called “The Promise,” which takes place during and just after the Great Quake and Fire of 1906. It’s a companion story to The Depth of Beauty. I love it. I’m also embarking on a new project which will provide a third track, along with my historical and contemporary novels, to my Sinner’s Grove series. It’s the first of several romantic mysteries which will include just a little bit of magic. I’m very excited about it!
Random Fun: Finish this sentence …
The best vacation I ever went on … was to the Amazon and Machu Picchu in Peru. I had so much fun that twenty years later I took my husband and sons back to do it all over again.
My house … has a great backyard that looks like a Kentucky horse farm, except that it’s just a common area behind the split rail fence, so I don’t have to take care of it!
Someday I hope … to have grandkids … but not too soon, please, boys—you aren’t ready yet!
When I was a kid I wanted to … be a writer. Ta da!
My favorite television show is … Modern Family. The writers are superb and every character is funny.
My toothbrush … vibrates a lot.
I’ve never … skydived … and I never will, at least by choice.
depth. Other titles in the series include the contemporary suspense novels Sinner’s Grove and The Lair.
The parade was boisterous and joyful. Mandy delighted in being part of it, even though she was disappointed that Gus and Lia were too busy at The Grove to make it this year. Despite her resolve, she found herself thinking about Will and couldn’t help but look for him in the crowd. He had probably seen the parade countless times. He no doubt knew the mission girls were marching, but would he care enough to watch them?
Mandy continued to scan both sides of the street until, near the corner of Dupont and Commercial Street, she actually saw him. She couldn’t believe her luck. She started to wave, but stopped herself just in time.
He was not alone.
He was standing next to a pretty blond woman, his head tilted down so that he could hear what she was saying over all the noise in the street. The lady was smiling up at him and pushed playfully against his chest. They looked perfectly matched standing there so close together. Mandy’s heart contracted. She’d met the woman at the Firestones’ New Year’s Eve party. What was her name—Beatrice? Bea?
She was so discouraged to see Will with the blond that she didn’t notice the first rotten tomatoes being lobbed toward her group. Only when one of them hit Chin Moon, causing the girl to stumble, did she cry out, “Hey!” She quickly scanned the sidelines and saw to her dismay that spoiled fruit was being lobbed at them from both sides. She heard shouts and winced. The angry voices were hurling insults in Cantonese.
“Whores!” they cried, and “Hundred Mens’ Wives!”
She was so busy searching for the source of the hatred that she didn’t realize the fruit had been replaced with rocks … until one struck her in the head.