Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Michelle Piper

I want to introduce to all you readers and writers Michelle Piper! Michelle, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Michelle, and I was born and raised in Colorado. As a kid I loved to read, write, and draw, but as a teenager I was pushed towards STEM… because there’s no money in art, right? I did that for years, and actually am a Merchant Marine working in the engine room. It wasn’t until recently I started revisiting my artistic side. Man do I love it.

I hate to say you’re right about the money thing but…sometimes that’s more than accurate! What genres you do like to write in?

Presently fantasy. However, my next project will be horror, followed by a memoir of sorts. Someday I’d like to also do children’s books. So, I’m not willing to put myself into a one genre box just yet.

I’m with you! I have no idea how some writers are able to limit themselves to mystery only or women’s fiction only. I love to read in so many different genres that I found it hard to stick to writing just one genre. We have similar tastes too it seems! I write YA Fantasy, zombie apocalypse horror, and women’s fiction that is loosely based on my life experiences. So, are you traditionally published or independently published? And what made you choose that publishing path?

My first work will be self published. I’m enjoying it. The idea of pushing and advertising it isn’t scary. I have the energy to do it most days. Plus, I couldn’t handle the rejection, haha. Someday I may seek out a traditional route. 

I agree. The rejection is the worst part of it all. People don’t realize but authors have to have really thick skin to get through that process, despite being emotional basket cases to write such complex characters and good stories! Am I right? So why did you choose to write in Fantasy and horror?

I’ve always been a child of fantasy. However, as an adult, there isn’t anything like what I’ve always wanted to read. It’s always the good guy saving the world. I’ve always wondered about the bad guys. Plus, fantasy needs more female voices. 

I love Fantasy too! When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

Is forever allowed? Totally kidding, of course. But, since about the 3rd grade I remember carrying around a GIANT notebook… a five star, 5 subject one to be exact, and writing in it. I’d get in trouble for doing it during class. I still have the dusty old thing, much to my embarrassment. All through my early education I was also on message boards, including Neopets, role playing. Even had a zine I was putting together that never happened.. I just never thought I could do it.

You were born to be an author! I had a similar start where I wrote little stories for myself since I was ten and then forced my friends to read my short stories in middle school. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about your writing space and processes? I find every author accomplished writing a book in different ways and that’s so interesting to me.

it’s still budding and growing. However, coffee shops are my jam. Really anywhere that isn’t home. Terrible posture, notes scattered in a million places. Even across multiple programs. We make it work over here. 

I admire those who can write in coffee shops! I wish I could just so I have an excuse to get out of the house but then I just end up people watching and get absolutely no writing done! What are you favorite books to read when you’re not writing?

oh goodness… that has been ever evolving. I’m 30 now. I’ve reread some of my old favorites and I facepalm at how bad they are now. As I mentioned, Fantasy isn’t my favorite, even though it is, so I’ve been a lost child for many years. But, I can certainly put this together for an actual interview lol

I have my favorites I like to reread too but I always enjoy them (cough cough, Harry Potter). So what does your marketing strategy look like? I find this is where authors have the biggest trouble. I know I did and it took a long time to develop a method that worked for me.

That’s a work in progress, since this is my first novel due in December! But, social media has been good. It’s hard though, because numbers mean nothing if no one buys it. I have plans for snippets soon. A small little trailer of sorts. I’m at the point of putting together the blurb. I suspect I’ll hire some of it out once the cover is finished and all of that is ready too.

I’ve always wanted to make a book trailer just for the fun of it! I think about spending money on it and then I think “When have I ever even seen a book trailer, let alone bought a book because I saw a trailer?” but I can see how they would be a fun and creative way to promote a book too. I’m torn. Do you do any research for your books? If so, how do you go about that?

I’m embarrassed to admit very little, outside of Google searches. I know a little bit about slaughtering animals now. But, I don’t want my research to bog anything down. It’s just verifying to make sure something makes sense. To make it feel real. There is no rehashing any of it. Hours of Google rabbit holes for one line of text. But, if we are honest, I love NPR for perspectives, and I’ve read a few books. None have been useful, but they’re helpful to make the world dynamic and rich.

I hear you! I can get so lost in Google if I allow it. I never really had to do a ton of research either. I pretty much use Google maps to put myself in a place I’ve never been that I now have to write about. Street view has saved me so many times! What can you tell us about your upcoming release?

The series is called Sonder’s Song, book one titled Price for Innocence. It’s a dark fantasy. Our protagonists are part of the evil queen’s army, and they struggle with the roles they’ve taken on. It’s very character driven. I am calling it NA, regular. It has a soft magic system, and no mythical creatures. Book three has gods, but they’re very passive and briefly present.

That sounds interesting, right up my alley! Of all the characters you’ve created who is your favorite? I know, like picking your favorite kid but come on, we all have a favorite!

Easily Merrick… he’s amazing at doing the work the queen asks of him, yet he’s always primed to undermine her. His relationships with his comrades are rich, too. I mean… who doesn’t love a man who can lay next to a beautiful woman and attempt nothing and nurture their friendship that’s purely platonic? He’s the reason the other MC is a good man, even if Merrick wasn’t the best role model and father figure. 

Cool name! I like him already! You mentioned more female voices in Fantasy. Obviously, you’re the female voice but what made you decide to write your main character as a male?

Gosh, that’s a really great question… longest story short, the idea came to me as a teen. Most of my characters were male, even a lot of my role playing ones… at that time in my life, I honestly wished I was a boy. I’ve always identified most closely with traditionally masculine things. Still to this day do. Heavy hitter having me admit that, hehe. Part of it too, though, was because most books I read were male MCs. 

Do you find it difficult writing from the male perspective as a female? I know I sometimes find myself going “would a guy really say that?” And there’s plenty of times in TV shows my husband says “you can tell this was written by a woman because a man would never do or say that” haha (Outlander!) How do you keep the male characters realistic?

I don’t think so… we’ll see when it comes out what men think but, I will say, I’m writing men who aren’t afraid to be soft. So that makes it easier. 

If you were to group your upcoming releases with other similar authors and books which ones would you pick? A lot of authors use the grab “for fans of…” Or “if you like….then you’ll love this!” 

Gosh, that’s so hard, especially since I’ve moved away from the Fantasy genre. It would be bold to say N.K Jimisen, or Kate Elliot’s Crossroads series, but both inspired me. I go to Game of Thrones, but only for the grittiness. Mine isn’t a light read. C.M Allen’s Blood and Buscuits, because it’s different from others in the genre, and deal with people. 

I’m definitely going to have to check out your book when it comes out in December! Well, readers, if you’d like to check out Michelle Piper’s upcoming release please use the link buttons below to visit her website or follow her on Instagram!

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