Michelle: I’m more of a ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ type of writing. When I get inspired I sit down and pour my soul out. I discovered that a daily ritual in writing didn’t work for me. Forcing the muse never gave me the results I wanted.
Paul: What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?
Michelle: I read what I write. Romance. Occasionally I’ll pick up another type of book, but it isn’t very often. I really enjoy reading books that I know have an HEA [Paul: Happily Ever After].
Paul: If someone had the power to step into your creative mind what would they see?
Michelle: I think they would be confused. A majority of my creativeness comes from dreams. Those dreams rarely are carbon copies of how the story turns out. My mind can generate several stories at once and I have to filter them out by what inspires me the most.
Paul: What is a typical day for you?
Michelle: I start my day early, as in break of dawn. As a mother of young children I normally get the kids fed and involved in some activity together then check all my social media. Depending on what’s going on in emails or online, I’ll plan activities around that.
Paul: Do you have a favorite character in each of your series, aside from the lead? If so, which one and why?
Michelle: There is one character that I adore above all I’ve ever written. I consider him my muse because he fuels my dreams at night. When I wrote the Tears of Crimson Vampire series, it was from a series of dreams that I had over a period of fifteen years. Rafe was the lead. In that dream I traveled to another world and saw many beautiful things. To date he still finds his way into my dreams.
Paul: In all the years you’ve been publishing your work, what is the biggest mistake you made that you could share so others can avoid making it?
Michelle: There are so many! My first book I had no idea how things were supposed to be formatted. I just had a story I wanted to tell. It looked like a blooming mess and in my eyes it was perfection. It took a reviewer slicing my work for me to understand formatting was an important part of the process.
Paul: How do you find the time to write?
Michelle: As the mom of five kids it should be impossible, but I like a challenge. My youngest started school this year which gave me hours of freedom I hadn’t known before. I don’t work outside the home. I have an enormous respect for authors that hold down other jobs while pursuing a career in writing. I have no idea how that’s possible.
Paul: What is one thing you hope I do not tell the readers?
Michelle: I’m an open book so there’s very little you could tell a reader I wouldn’t offer up on my own. I think many readers are surprised to learn I’m older than what they assume. At 44 it’s a great joy to write about college aged females.
Paul: If you are self-published, what led to you going your own way?
Michelle: I was a singer/songwriter in the past who was accustomed to being an independent artist. I have friends that worked with the major labels and being told what to perform and such was a huge turn off. I see the publishing world in the same light. I wanted to be able to write my visions the way I saw them and not be on a deadline to turn in work.
Paul: Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Michelle: My ideas tell me what to do. I can’t say that I’ve ever plotted a book. To me the creative spirit demands that the story come to me and not that I run after it.
Paul: Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Michelle: Being from the south I do tend to over edit. Many of my normal phrases would confuse readers from other locales. Ya’ll and sweety pie tend to make reviewers cringe.
Paul: Do you have to do much research for your stories?
Michelle: It depends on the story. I enjoy writing about places and things I’ve experienced or already know. There have been story ideas that I’ve turned away from because of the massive amounts of research they would require.
Michelle: Sin is my recent release. It was a book that I wrote for my own enjoyment. It centers around a young college student who goes to work in a strip club when she’s down on her luck. The club owner is a real piece of work and has commitment issues, not to mention raw and uncensored. I wanted to play around with the idea of a young innocent being thrown into a world of sensual dancing.
Paul: What inspired you to write this book?
Michelle: I hate to say it, but my teenage daughter. We were having a discussion on moral issues and strippers came up as a topic of conversation. The thought wouldn’t leave my mind and Sin was born.
Paul: Do you also write any poetry, non-fiction or short stories?
Michelle: I wrote poetry in my younger days, but turned them into song lyrics. These days I focus strictly on fiction writing.
Paul: Do you have any pieces of work that will never see the light of day?
Michelle: I have a few hidden away in notebooks. I kept a diary of my life that ended up becoming a story. Those are secrets about my life that I don’t feel like sharing.
Paul: Do you enter competitions? Are there any you could recommend?
Michelle: I don’t do writing competitions. Writing to me is not about winning approval from my peers. I write because it makes me happy and hopefully readers pick up my books and it makes them smile for a moment.
Paul: How much marketing do you do for your published works or for your ‘brand’?
Michelle: In the past I spent countless hours on marketing, these days, not so much. A valuable lesson I was taught with my newest release was that marketing didn’t really help. I’ve released three books this year and two of them thousands of dollars were spent toward publicizing. The one that took off? The one I didn’t spend a dime on marketing for. My new motto is write, put it out there, if it sells great, if it doesn’t move on.
Paul: What’s your favorite / least favorite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
Michelle: My favorite aspect is getting great reviews from people that really enjoyed my work. The thing I dislike is dealing with writers who like to tell you how much better they are than you. My granny always said there was a chair for every butt, which translated into different people liking opposite things. I don’t see this as a competition. I’m writing what makes me happy and if that doesn’t work for some, well it works for others.
Paul: What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have any hobbies or party tricks?
Michelle: Outside of raising kids and being a good wife, which by the way is a full-time job on its own, I enjoy life in the country. I love going fishing for catfish. Cookouts every weekend with family and/or friends, are part of my life during the spring and summer. During the fall we enjoy Alabama Football [Paul: Roll Tide!!]. There’s something new for every season in Alabama.
Paul: That was wonderful, Michelle. I loved your honesty and I wish you every success for the future.
Bestselling author, Michelle Hughes calls Alabama home. She loves writing stories about the darker side of romance, and tempting readers to step outside their comfort zones. Mother to five, and wife of self-proclaimed greatest fisherman, when she's not writing her family can be found enjoying all the simple pleasures of country living.
Prior to her career in publishing, Michelle was a singer/songwriter. Life on the road was not her cup of tea, and she loves being able to entertain while still staying home. Hughes also worked in respiratory therapy for several years. She believes that all the wonderful people she's met over the years in different career choices have expanded her ability to write about a world outside of the small town she calls home.
Michelle's Website: Tears Of Crimson
Michelle on Twitter: @michellehughes_
Michelle on Facebook: Michelle Hughes
Michelles latest book: Sin (Amazon)