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T.J. Michaels Interview
Posted By admin On August 1, 2007 @ 10:07 pm In | No Comments
Publication Date: August 1, 2007
Serati's Flame: Vampire Council of Ethics Series, Book 2
Release Date: August 29, 2007
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Give us an update on yourself. What's your latest news?
Latest news? Geez, where to start? Well, I'm totally excited that my sixth and seventh books since June 2006 will be released this August. I'm currently working on Book 3 of the Vampire Council of Ethics series and hoping-and-a-prayin' that my editor will like. I have a day job that keeps me pretty busy, but luckily I have two really cool kids that encourage me to write in the evenings. I have to brag on them – they're awesome. They cook, clean, and rub my neck when it's sore – all in support of my writing. My teens rock!
What's your upcoming or latest book/story about?
SERATI'S FLAME, V.C.O.E. Book 2 is the following up to CARINIAN'S SEEKER, released this May in print and digital. In this story, Alaan Serati, a Seeker for the Council has to work with his fellow Seeker, Tameth Serati-Cole. The goal – apprehend one of the notorious villains on the V.C.O.E. Most Wanted list. That villain also happens to be the one who killed Alaan's mate years before. Suspense and intrigue are woven into the story along with a hot romance.
How did you come up with the title?
The attraction between our hero, Alaan Serati (introduced in Book 1) and the new mate he discovers during the hunt is exactly what the titles says – it's HOT!
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer, and what inspired you to start writing?
My daughter was probably four or five years old when I started reading romance novels. My favorite was a book called Summer Storm. I can't remember the author off the top of my head, but I think it was Connie Mason. It was at least ten years ago. I was sitting talking with a girlfriend about the books I was getting into. We looked at each other and said, "Hell, if they can write a romance novel, certainly we can." So I started working on a book. Picked it up, put it down forever. I've never submitted it anywhere. Last year I decided I wanted to get published. I wrote Primed To Pounce, submitted it to a few pubs and Ellora's Cave picked it up. It was my debut in June of 2006.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
When I was a kid? I wanted to marry Michael Jackson like every other eight year old. After I grew out of that I figured I'd marry John Travolta after seeing Saturday Night Fever. LOL! Then I wanted to be an architect, a doctor, and on it went. I'm still not sure how I ended up in systems and database analysis!
What projects are you working on now?
Vampire Council of Ethics Book 3 is in progress. But the book I wrote all those years ago is back on the radar. The thing ended up around 250,000 words so I'm working on cutting it down and breaking it up into a series. It's a book set on an alternate earth sometime in the future. As with all the books I write, the heroine's are kick ass and the heroes are strong, yet vulnerable.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
When I'm not writing I like to play racquetball with my kids. And since I work so much, when I'm not at work or writing, I just LOVE to do nothing at all, read or catch a good movie. Anything where I can just relax.
What does your family think of your writing?
Totally supportive! In fact my mom-in-law, the feistiest 74-year-old white-haired Southern lady you'd ever meet, gives me ideas sometimes. Even my ex chips in when I need information in his area of expertise. It's pretty frickin' cool.
How long does it take you to write a book?
Depends on if I really have an idea just bursting to get out of my head. Once I wrote a book in three weeks. I was tired as hell afterward, but it was a damned good book and is actually my favorite. Another book took me several months but it was also twice as long with a much more intricate plot.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
My work schedule? Is there such a thing?
Do you have an interesting writing quirk?
Nah. My writing quirk is pretty boring. I like to write to movies that I've seen a million times that are a similar genre to what I'm writing – like the Blade and Underworld movies when I'm writing vamps or shapeshifters, or the Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter movies when I'm working on magic-type stuff.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
All over the place. But I can say one thing – God bless the internet! I've also got friends who've been in the military and have experience living in the jungle, experts at hand-to-hand combat and stuff like that. Comes in handy since most of my heroines can fight.
What do you think makes a good story?
Plot, plot, plot. I write hot, but if there's no zing between the hero and heroine, no connection, or plot/sub-plots, it doesn't hold my interest. Sex for the sake of sex doesn't float my boat. There's got to be a reason to bring them together, make me feel what they're dealing with, and make me want to care.
What was one of the most surprising things you've learned in creating your books?
You mean other than the fact that somebody actually wanted to buy them? LOL! I think one thing that surprises me is the difference in the voices of authors. Every one is different and some of the ideas others come up with are amazing.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I used to just write as it came to me, but now I do an entire scene-by-scene outline. It keeps me on track and actually allows me to write faster because I know exactly where the book is going. My editors love it.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Finding time to write as much as I'd like is a challenge, but as for writing itself, it's a challenge to come up with new and innovative ideas. For example, my vampires in the V.C.O.E. series are very different from the typical vamps I've read. Trying to do something fresh is a challenge in itself.
How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite?
So far I've written eight, and seven of them are published or will be published this month. My favorites are the books in the V.C.O.E. series. My second favorite is JAGUAR'S RULE, a shapeshifter erotic romance.
Who or what has influenced your writing?
The original authors of steamy romance influenced my writing big time. For example, Ms. Thea Devine actually took the time to correspond with me when I told her I w
as really interested in getting published after reading so many of her books. She gave me some good advice and was supportive. She was absolutely fabulous. So I wanna be just like her when I grow up.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Right now, my favorite author happens to be a lady I'm in an author group with – Lauren Dane. What strikes me about her work is her ability to create really compelling series, books that make you want to read every novel in the series.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
That's a hard one. I'd have to say Lauren again. She's a straight up honest woman who will answer any question I have. She gives good solid advice on the BUSINESS of writing, especially when unexpected situations arise. She's got awesome mentors and doesn't mind sharing her experience and theirs with a newbie like me.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Not really. There are so many new books coming out so fast I just can't keep up. And since I'm not seeing the new authors names around (you know what they say, this business is about name recognition) I tend to gravitate toward the authors I'm familiar with.
Who designs the covers of your books?
The publishers I write for have absolutely AWESOME artists on their teams. I give them the concepts I'd like the book cover to relay and they manage to capture it every time.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Actually, I do. Both my newsletter and blogs are pretty active. The newsletter is where contests and such are announced only for readers in appreciation of the fact that they could be spending their time doing something other than reading my works. They give me feedback on what works for them and what doesn't.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Yes – you are appreciated. I personally, deeply really appreciate readers. Without you, I wouldn't have anyone to share my stories with. And without you, my publishers would have no reason to contract my ideas.
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