Thursday 7 November 2013

Twenty Questions with... Michelle Scott

I am delighted to welcome Michelle Scott onto my blog today, author of Straight to Hell, recently released by Carina (Harlequin UK).

So grab yourself a brew, pull up a chair, and make yourself comfy as Michelle prepares to face a round of twenty questions...

ACT ONE – all about you…

Maybe it’s because of my Halloween birthday, but I’ve always been attracted to scary stories. On the other hand, I love romances as well. Once I discovered that these two genres existed side-by-side in urban fantasy novels, I was in heaven! Urban fantasy is like chocolate and peanut butter: a perfect, to-die-for combination that I can never get enough of.

I’ve been writing since childhood, but earned my bachelor’s degree in psychology and my master’s in English literature. When I’m not writing, I’m a straight-laced English teacher at a two-year college in Detroit. I’ve been married to Mr. Right for over twenty-five years. I also have three teenaged children: a boy and two girls, all of whom have threatened to never speak to me again if I turn them into characters and put them into my books.

1) Have you always been a writer or is it something you fell into? 

I actually started out as an illustrator…when I was three or so. Before I could write, I drew picture books about fairies with broken wings and so forth. Once I learned how to write, however, I never stopped making up stories.

2) Do you have a particular writing style or ritual? 

Because I’m an early riser, I get up write before anyone else in the house is awake. That’s when my brain is working the hardest. I grab a glass of iced tea and head into my office and write until my family gets up. Then I call it quits until the evening. When everyone is settling down with homework and TV, I go back to writing.

3) Is there a book or an author that has influenced you in your writing? 

Stephen King was (and is) a huge influence on me. He was the first ‘adult’ writer I read, and his stories captivated me. He’s an expert at characterization (I always felt as though I knew his characters personally), and at creating tension.

4) Is there one piece of writing (or life?) advice that has stuck with you, or that you would like to share? 

Be patient! Take time to learn how to write well and be willing to put in the time. Writing a novel doesn’t happen overnight, but steady progress will get you there.

5) Can you tell us three things about yourself that we probably don’t already know?

- I’m a cat lover, but ever since my daughter got a leopard gecko, I’m becoming a reptile lover as well.

- Camping is one of my favourite activities. My family and I have spent our summers traveling across the United States. We’ve been very lucky in that my husband and I both have summers off, so we can take very long car trips.

- I’m a sucker for reality TV. I watch *way* too much of it.

6) What five luxury items or gadgets would you hate to be without?

- My smart phone and my iPad mini. Those are essentials

ACT TWO – all about your new release…

The Devil Never Forgets a Deal
I, Lilith Straight, was the woman you always wanted to be. I was married to someone better looking than your husband, we lived in that house you always wanted. Within a year, however, all of that changed. My marriage dissolved, my house burned down, and my job hardly paid the bills. So when I was hit by a car and died, I thought my life couldn’t get any worse. Boy, was I wrong.
Hell was not the place I imagined. It was worse. During my brief stay, I learned some disturbing truths about my family. Most worryingly, my ancestor’s deal with the devil promising him every female descendent as a succubus.
So these were my options: Life on earth as a soul-sucking seductress. Or death and pass the succubus baton to my sweet little daughter. There was no choice. Welcome to hell on earth, Lilith. Mother, teacher, wanton she-demon.

7) Congratulations on your recent release of Straight to Hell, what was your inspiration for writing Lilith's story? 

I wanted to write a story about a wealthy, arrogant woman who got her comeuppance by becoming the Devil’s handmaiden. I never thought I’d get as close to Lilith as I have. I have more respect for her with each new book in the series.

8) Did the story flow from your finger tips or did some scenes take a bit of cajoling?

Scenes aren’t bad to write, but it’s the bits in-between that need cajoling. Setting up a scene has always been difficult for me. I probably overthink it. I can spend three days sweating out a couple of sentences that introduce a scene change. After that, the words flow fairly well.

9) How long did it take for the initial spark of the story to make it onto the page and then onto the publisher’s desk?

Hmm…about two years give or take a month. I’ve actually gotten much faster as I continue on with the series. World building takes time, but once the world and characters are established, it’s much easier for me to write.

10) Do you have a favourite paragraph or sentence from your story that you would like to tantalise us with?

I’ve always enjoyed the opening to this book:

A year ago I, Lilith Straight, was the woman you always wanted to be.
I was married to someone better looking than your husband, and his salary climbed into figures so high that you’d have to be married to six men before their incomes equaled his. We lived in that house you always wanted but never could have afforded, and drove cars that would have made you ashamed of yours. My husband and I went to those exclusive parties you read about in the newspapers – yes, those parties – and we rubbed elbows and other body parts with actors and politicians and professional athletes – yes, those athletes, the ones you also read about in newspapers. My daughter attended a small, very exclusive, private school where your child would not have been allowed even if you could have afforded the tuition.
Within the span of twelve months, however, all of that changed. My marriage dissolved, my house burned down, and the only job I could find, substitute teaching, hardly paid for a week’s worth of bills. On top of that, I’d suddenly gained custody of my antisocial, eleven-year-old niece Ariel when her mother dropped her off at my doorstep and drove off without a backward glance. A week later, my bent-for-hell stepsister Jasmine moved in after her mother kicked her out of the house.
So when I was hit by a car and died for the first time, I thought that my life couldn’t get any worse.
Boy, was I wrong.

11) Over to you, what can you tell us about Straight to Hell, to make us rush out and buy it?

It’s funny, it’s sexy, and it’s suspenseful. I like to think it’s escapism at its best.

12) What can we expect from you next? Is there something you are working on right now?

The sequel, Straight to Heaven, will be published by Carina early next year. I’m also working on a sequel for my other urban fantasy series, Bit Parts. Right now the first book in the series, Stage Fright, has just been released on Amazon.

QUICK FIRE ROUND – it’s pop quiz time…

13) Plotter or pantser?


14) Secret Seven or Famous Five? (please tell me you know them!?)

Um…sorry, no idea what you mean…*blushes to the roots of her hair*

15) Digital books or print books?

Digital all the way.

16) Tea or coffee?

Tea – iced only. Coffee – hot only.

17) Cats or dogs?


18) Extrovert or introvert?

Extreme introvert

19) Save or spend?

Save is a four-letter word.

20) Facebook or Twitter?


And that’s a wrap!

Thank you so much for taking part, Michelle, I wish you every success with your new release.

To discover even more about Michelle Scott, and to keep up with her latest projects, you can visit her at:

Website     Twitter     Facebook     Pinterest     Tumblr     Goodreads     Instagram     Google+

Buy it now…

Add to Goodreads
ISBN: 9781472054739
Release date: 18 October 2013
Publisher: Carina (Harlequin UK)

Amazon UK / Amazon
Nook UK
Google Books

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