We are excited to welcome author, Michelle Pennington, to the nest today. Giveaway details can be found at the end of this post. The Giveaway is open Internationally but is for KINDLE only.
Andrea @ Reading Lark: How long have you been writing?
Michelle: Like most authors, I have been writing most of my life. It’s only been since June of 2011 that I actually decided it was time to start living my dream. This meant actually finishing a project. I believed in what I was doing so much that I dug deep and found that elusive quality called discipline. That first story was my refiner’s fire. Luckily I learned a lot that can only come with experience – mostly what not to do. I’ve spent most of my life learning about writing and I don’t expect that to ever change. Getting to actually write and publish something for people to read is worth all the effort, tears, frustration, and despair that I’ve gone through. I can’t lie though…I enjoy the writing process even with its trials. I know we’re supposed to suffer for our art, but I think creative people kind of enjoy suffering a little. You see, when you know something is right, it just feels so incredibly euphoric that the contrast in emotion is addicting. I guess that’s ok since I’m not addicted to anything else - except maybe dark chocolate.
Andrea @ Reading Lark: Can you describe Candid in five words?
Michelle: Honest. Real. Fresh. Inspiring. Shivery. (You’ll get the last one when you read the book.)
Andrea @ Reading Lark: Where did you get the idea for Candid?
Michelle: Candid began as a dream when I was a junior in high school. Most dreams stem from something in our lives and this one came from the hundreds of photos that I had to go through as a yearbook editor. I was surrounded by them because this was before digital photography. We had to have actual prints from film that we sorted and cropped with a slide tool and a special red cropping pencil. This meant hours of work. It’s no wonder that I dreamed about photos when I went to sleep at night. The main character, Sienna, was a photographer and she had a room that was covered with her work. She was always extremely passionate and driven in her dream to be a photographer, even before she had a name. Then the idea evolved to include her love interest – a new guy that would see her differently than other people did, and perhaps differently than she saw herself. The story actually changed quite a bit when I actually wrote it - especially since I was writing it 15 years later and technology had changed so much - but the haunting image of that dream has remained to inspire the story.
Michelle: I should probably say Sienna, but it’s actually Lee. If you write romances and aren’t secretly crushing on the love interest along with your heroine, you’ve gone wrong somewhere. Lee’s personality is a little elusive and I’m still figuring him out, but I know he’s strong, observant, and extremely loyal. He’s also got an enthusiasm for life that is a seemingly at odds with his maturity, but it makes sense when you know him better. I’m looking forward to doing just that in the next book in the series, Focused.
Andrea @ Reading Lark: What was the road to publication like for you?
Michelle: When I thought about making writing a career, I always thought of it in terms of the long struggle to find a publisher. The more I studied the process and realized how much marketing, deadlines, and time away from home it entailed, I put my dream on the back burner until my children were older. I wasn’t ready to sacrifice their childhood for my dream. Then I got a Kindle for Christmas in 2010. I began to realize that some of the books I was buying were written by self-published authors. I began to research the process and realized that I could shape my career around the needs of my family. For now, I can write, edit, publish, and market from my kitchen table. I’m up and down constantly changing laundry loads, wiping noses, and changing diapers, but it works. I haven’t found the perfect balance yet, but I’m happy with where this is going. It was amazing to see my seven year old daughter so excited that I had written a book. Now she knows that if you have a dream, you can make it happen. I love being an example of that to her.
Andrea @ Reading Lark: Why did you choose to write YA?
Michelle: I’ve always been fascinated by all the important decisions that are crammed into this stage in a person’s life. Education, career, love, and happiness are so often in embryo at this point, and everything you do affects the outcome. Along with that, there’s all the confusion of finding your place in this world and the storm of emotions that are so new and complex. Besides, who doesn’t wish they could have done something differently in high school? This is one way I can make that happen.
Andrea @ Reading Lark: What are three books you are excited to read this summer?
Michelle: Honestly? I’m drawing a blank. I’ve had my head down for so long that I don’t have a clue. If I let myself even think about reading, I don’t get any work done so I haven’t got a list of books to read. There are quite a few new books out that I’m really interested in, but I don’t know where I’m going to start. Probably with the Hunger Games (not that they’re new) if my book club friends have anything to do with it. That’s right – it’s out there. I haven’t read the Hunger Games. Before I go slink under a rock and hide, I have to say in my defense that several people told me they hated the way the third book ended. I have a hard time dealing with not perfectly “happily ever after” endings, so I’ve put it off. But one reviewer compared my character Sienna to Katniss, so I guess I need to figure out what she was talking about. Now where’s the nearest rock?
Andrea @ Reading Lark: What is your favorite bird?
Michelle: Maybe it’s boring, but I’d have to say a robin. In one of my baby books, I am a Bunny, there was a page illustrated with robins that I loved. Then when I read The Secret Garden, I loved it when the angry and friendless Mary made friends with a robin that eventually led her to the secret garden. To this day, I like to think that I can make friends with the robins slurping fat worms around my front lawn in the early dew of the morning.