Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Terrific Tuesday with Kenzie Michaels!

Welcome! Please introduce yourself and tell us about your latest release.

Hi Molly, thanks for having me! I’m Kenzie Michaels and my first book was published last May. All She Ever Wanted was an amazing story which popped into my head during the Fourth of July weekend, and I was thrilled when Freya’s Bower offered me a contract. My second book, Teacher’s Pet, will be released later this year. I’m waiting for the edits to arrive.

Have you ever had an idea for a story which scared you after you began writing it?

Sort of; I’ve got a current story which is scarily mimicking a friend’s life. I’ll write a few chapters with certain situations, and later, get an email from my friend and discover she’s dealing with similar issues. I’m a little scared to continue with it, but sometimes it just calls to me.

Have you incorporated actual events from your own life into your books?

Of course! I just change some of the details, in order to make it more interesting, lol! For example, the bowling scene in Teacher’s Pet. In actuality, I was bowling with my youngest son. In another book, I incorporated a bar scene from my college years.

How much research do you do? Do you research first and then write, or do you write first, then research as needed?

It depends. Sometimes I’ll be writing along and the characters will throw me a curve ball. In All She Ever Wanted, I had to research Health Department violations, and certain legal issues. In Teacher’s Pet, the issue of sexual harassment reared its ugly head, and I had to interview a lawyer. I’m still rewriting a scene in which I got some of the legal procedures wrong.

Is there any message you want readers to take from reading your work?

Generally, my books are simply to be enjoyed, but as my social work training comes through in my writing, I’m always thrilled if someone recognizes signs in their own life and learns from my characters. If I can help someone avoid some of the painful pitfalls of life, great!

Are you a plotter or a pantser? And have you ever had a story take on a life of its own?

I do both; I’m a ‘plantzer’. Sometimes I just sit down and write what the characters are saying in my head; other times I have a vague outline of the book. And Teacher’s Pet is a great example of a story taking on a life all its own. I certainly did not plan on some of the curve balls Tammy and Kevin have to go through, in order to reach their HEA!

How long did it take for you to be published?

Don’t hate me; I only received one rejection. I wrote All She Ever Wanted in July; subbed it first in September; got rejected; turned right around and subbed it to Freya’s Bower, who offered me first a conditional contract in November, and then the full contract in January. The book was released May 19, 2009. Certainly not typical, but I am eternally grateful they took a chance on me.

If you could go back and tell yourself anything when you first began your writing career, what would you say?

Hop on the e-book train a lot sooner, lol! No, seriously, I’d have paid more attention to my Literature classes.

Laptop or pen and ink? What are your ‘must-haves’ when writing?

I don’t have a laptop (yet!), but I do the majority of my writing at the computer. If my children need the computer and I’m ‘in the zone’, I will write down the last few lines and grab my notebook. I’ve written at Starbucks; at my favorite ice cream parlor; and sprawled across the bed. I’ve also got to have music. I finished All She Ever Wanted by listening to Bon Jovi. And I’ve also got to have a glass of iced tea in the kitchen, so it gives me an excuse to get up and stretch. Wine, when I’m satisfied with the days’ work, or if the wip is finished. And the daily chocolate. My family says it keeps me sweet!

Who are your favorite authors? Who would you say influenced you the most?

I read a LOT. I love Louisa May Alcott, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Lavyrl Spencer, Jude Deveroux, Nora Roberts, James Patterson, Robin Cook, and John Irving. My favorite e-book authors include Anny Cook, Cindy Spencer Pape, Bronwyn Green, Brynn Paulin, Dakota Rebel, Regina Carlysle, Barbara Huffert, Mona Risk, and others too numerous to mention. My TBB list is about 65 titles long and grows with every interview or chat I attend.

Who influenced me? I wrote Teacher's Pet in order to see if I could keep the heat level up, a challenge issued by another author. All of my blogmates have influenced me in one way or the other, from getting used to using certain buzz words to stretching my imagination.

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

I love music, period. With the exception of ‘scream’ metal and too much rap, I’ll listen to anything. Amy Grant, Kenny Rogers, Reba McEntyre, Celine Dion, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Def Leppard, Neil Diamond, Bon Jovi, and the Bee Gees can all be found in my CD collection. I don’t own an MP3 or iPod yet. Oh, and I have a quirky sense of humor. I love Spinal Tap!

For Fun:
What is your favorite love scene to write or read? (ie: First kiss, passion after a fight, reunion)

Definitely the reunion one! The last book I wrote, Class Reunion, is a perfect example. Two people who haven’t seen each other in over twenty years reconnect and discover unfinished business. Since I attended two class reunions this past summer, I got the idea while talking to a few of my old friends, loosely based on two lives.

What is your favorite Valentine’s Day memory?

I typically have bad Valentine’s Days, believe it or not. In both high school and college, I can remember only one time when I still had a boyfriend. The first Valentine’s Day my husband and I shared, he got me one of those solid Hershey Kisses which comes in a kiss-shaped glass container. I think it took me a week to eat the thing!

Sweetest gift ever given to you?

The homemade Valentine I received from my 4th grade sweetheart, lol! Actually, the first Valentine from each of my three kids, around the age of 3 or 4. I still have them in their baby books.

Thanks for having me! I've been blogging once a week at http://kenziemichaels.blogspot.com and as soon as the tax refund arrives, I hope to have the website up and running!


Linda Kage said...

I'm sorry, but I think hating you just might be a MUST. But only ONE rejection? How...how... amazing!! That's totally awesome.

And I love LaVyrle Spencer. It broke my heart when she retired.

Great interview! I love the book cover to Teacher's Pet. Very nice (yum!).

Molly Daniels said...

Thanks for stopping by, Linda! Kenzie's out of town and won't be able to pop in the rest of the day. She'll stop by tomorrow and post her comments:)

Regina Carlysle said...

A plantzer??? I've never heard that one before...tooo funny.

Unknown said...

I love the cover to Teacher's Pet! Very, very nice.
Great interview.
Can't wait until you get Class Reunion published too. I'll bet that's a good one. :)

Kenzie Michaels said...

Thanks everyone:) I'm reeeeaally happy with the new cover also:) Yes, I should go ahead and submit CR; I would like to have two releases this year!