Thursday, July 07, 2011
FEATURED AUTHOR: Michelle Richardson
A wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, writer, life coach and marketing director, the roles of her life provided the inspiration behind this work, but none more so than those of wife, mother, sister and friend. Michelle Richardson born in Brooklyn, New York, now lives in Long Island with her husband, their two kids, and a prissy powder puff pomeranian named Madison.
How did you start out your writing career?
Writing has always been a part of my life; infused in my DNA perhaps. However, I never gave much thought to writing as a career. After all, I enjoyed it entirely too much and it didn’t feel like work. All of the “necessary elements” I was taught to expect when it comes to carving out my niche in the world were never present when a pen or pencil touched a blank sheet of paper for me. Writing was and still is my deep breathe—my cleansing moments. My perception of a career in writing changed subtly, yet significantly. Somewhere in the stillness of an unexpected moment the passion of my youth reconnected me with a purpose I had long since forgotten.
What did you learn while writing this book?
With writing this book I learned, yet again, that I am not in control; not even of the characters found within the pages. The moment I tried to control a scene instead of allowing it room to grow, organically, I suffocated the beauty of not only the characters, but also the story. I learned I had to let go and allow the characters the freedom to be their authentic selves. I couldn’t clean them up and stuff words into their imaginary mouths. The characters knew how they wanted to be portrayed, and it was my responsibility to be true to the process.
What did you hope to accomplish with this book?
Around just about every corner, we’ve been slammed with so much depravity we now tend to believe it the norm. Well, it’s not. This is the norm. While it may not be yours, work to make it so. I hope the reader walks away from this first book in the series with a belief that love exists in our community. It is not all drama; not all negativity. It is real. See it! Believe it! And most of all, want it for yourself. Be unrealistically positive about the relationships you can and will have, moving in a manner that allows greatness to manifest itself in all areas of your life. It’s time; you just need to wake up and step into it, embracing it.
Which character did you have the most fun writing about?
I enjoyed writing each character; getting to see how they handled various scenarios and interacted with the other players in the novel. Obviously, I have my favorite but shall refrain from divulging that bit of information since it speaks volumes. Suffice it to say, you’d be surprised.
What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
I was surprised at how much I would love the process—every step of it. Each time one step was completed, the next two steps instantly appeared, pushing me forward until finally, here I am. But mind you, I haven’t arrived; I’m still very much on the journey.
What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?
I love the creative process; when the visual in my head is screaming to be written down; when the characters are engaged in some discussion and a scene plays before me. Accurately capturing and breathing life into this world is an indescribable feeling. I love it. Love adding chunks to their personalities that make them as real as a dear friend or someone you would say you know.
Hate is such a strong, negative word and couldn’t be used to describe any aspect of a craft I love so passionately. One of the most tedious and potentially never ending part of being a writer is the editing process. However, the beauty of your piece rests in how well you edit or polish the draft. The long hours of editing, easily doubling the time it took to write the piece, is the essential part that takes a book and turns into a masterpiece. Editing is where the story comes to life and if you venture outside your door, you actually believe you might walk right into it.
What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?
The joy that accompanies you in the idea phase is still present while you’re editing your work for the bazillionth time and remains even when your published baby has left the nest and seeks its own place in the literary world.
The butterflies / self-doubt never eases up. You fight yourself against the greatness pushing to be released from you into the universe. When your inner voice, usually the loud negative one, is reminding you of the impossibility in this feat, say thank you and proceed anyway. Amazing how in the doing you render the negative to the realm of insignificant ... for a time.
Pride cometh at the end! To have written a piece and hold it in your hands. The sense that I can accomplish all things with a higher power and the universe aligning your thoughts, ideas and best intentions to your pursuit is a remarkably humbling experience.
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
Think of yourself as an artist. You are in the business of creating a masterpiece. Your canvas, like all artists, is a blank page. Where others use colors and diagrams, you wield the word to construct your masterpiece. If you’ve painted with your heart, you can be certain you will have left your masterpiece on the canvas of many a mind.
Don’t follow what someone else has done. Do not become a copycat of the great American story. Set out to tell a story in your own voice, be authentic. Write a story that you would read multiple times over.
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
The non-writer is the writer’s best friend. If you love the piece, talk about it, leave a review on a blog or online retail website, walk up to a random person on the street and tell them, “Two words. It’s Simple. Look it up.” And don’t be afraid to reach out to the author letting them know the impact their piece made in your life. The non-writer has power, in my opinion, in the literary world. Put your mouth behind your dollars and let others hear your voice, your choices, your interests. You are only ever limited by your lack of ability or insouciance to make a difference.
If you could be a character from any book you've read, who would you be?
Edmond Dantes from Alexandre Dumas’ unabridged edition of The Count of Monte Cristo.
When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Spare time? What does that look like? Every minute of most days are spoken for. The things I enjoy would be working out, spending time hanging out and relaxing with family and friends. Can’t forget baking any and all things chocolate.
What do you do to interact with your readers?
We have Facebook and Twitter accounts where readers can leave comments or ask questions. Eventually, my website will host bi-weekly chat sessions to discuss various topics of interests to its members; a place for honest exchange. The idea is to share, not talk at, but to listen and exchange. There are also plans to schedule a number of book readings and signings at any bookstore in any city where there is interest. Drop us a line or visit your local bookstore and request a book signing / reading event.
Interaction with the reader is essential for me. I can be a pest when someone I know reads my material. I want them to give me access to their every thought, good, bad or indifferent. Sometimes the exchange sparks a discussion of one’s beliefs. What I’ve come to understand is the reader wants to be heard. Hopefully, I’ll be able to give them a platform where they will be.
Our theme for this month is INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS. Have you ever considered self publishing your work? Why or Why not?
Independent publishing was the initial thought that entered my head when was I lead to pursue publishing this book. However, I quickly pushed that thought aside. I wanted my manuscript published via conventional means, after all there had been interest. I wanted the gatekeepers of the tightly guarded industry to select my piece and champion it for me. Yet somewhere in the midst of those thoughts and query letter submissions, the splinter in my mind grew louder through the voice of my husband and my sister-in-law. After much research, I decided to self-publish. I loved the autonomy and the opportunity to learn something new. The publishing industry was undergoing a major change, just as the movie, music and communication industry experienced years ago. The way writers were getting their material to their audience was nothing short of a revolution. They went directly to the people, not through the gatekeepers. This was in keeping with the splinter in my spirit and it was settled with the decision to more forward with self-publishing. Today a number of major authors are self-publishing because of higher royalties, autonomy, established fan base and their ability to reach a larger segment through unconventional methods.
Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?
The journey never ends. You never arrive; you must always continue to press forward, listening to your heart, having faith in your dreams and being aware that of all the universe is conspiring to aid you in your quest for greatness. Remember the child of your youth and the dreams you held dear and endeavor to pursue them. Chase them down; slow and methodical or fast and frenzied. Just be sure to chase them.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
It’s Simple continued. Many readers felt slighted when It’s Simple ended. They wanted more and there is more ... much more. So the next book picks up from where It’s Simple left off.
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
Readers can visit my website http://www.michellerichardson.co/
or link up with me on http://www.facebook.com/ItsSimpleMR.
The general consensus is that relationships are easy to start but challenging to maintain. Although we may not think so, our choices ultimately determine the types of relationships we have. It's truly funny how after we've contributed to the chaotic state of the relationship, we hire therapists to fix us, to tell us it's not our fault when it typically is. The truth? Therapists don't fix us; they provide tools that guide us. Ultimately, we find the solutions ourselves and, for the most part, we really need to forget what we've heard. Relationships can be complicated, littered with challenges and that preventable thing called drama. Just ask Tia and Chase.
They met as teenagers. Upon graduation from college, things got complicated. Chase was drafted to the Los Angeles Lakers; Tia was offered a position in the Obama administration. Despite the geographical distance, Tia and Chase stayed together.
But how easy is it to make love last? It's simple-if we can be honest, forgiving, and patient with each other. Here's a unique look at a progressive couple and how their choices impact their journey; providing a truthful and sometimes painful look at real life scenarios and how two fiercely driven and stubborn lovers choose to handle them. Experience life from a different perspective.
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