Thursday 31 July 2014

Twenty Questions with... A.L. Michael

I am delighted to welcome fellow Carina UK chum, A.L. Michael, onto my blog today, author of The Last Word.

You can read even more about her and her London roots here.

ACT ONE – all about you…

A.L. Michael is a twenty something writer from London. She works as a creative facilitator, running workshops in creative writing, writing for wellbeing, and children's lessons. She has a BA in English Literature with Creative Writing, an MA in Creative Entrepreneurship, and is working towards an MsC in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes. She is not at all reliant on her student discount card.

When she's not writing or talking about writing, she bakes, runs, plays with her puppy, and gets continually distracted by shiny things on Pinterest.

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

Always, absolutely always. I decided at 11 that it was what I wanted to do, and I never wavered.

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

When I was younger I’d make a black coffee, have a cigarette and sit down to write. The only thing missing from the cliche was a beret and some bongos. Now I just sit and get on with it. Usually I do admin in the morning, and by early afternoon I’ve worked my way into it.

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

I think the books you read when you’re younger really influence you, and Sarra Manning always had a big effect. I read her column and her books through reading J17 Magazine as a kid, and just was absorbed. I still read her books now. It was the first time I thought ‘there are authors out there, who do this as their job, who are real people’. It was an exciting thought!

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

It’s my main one, and it’s sort of a pet peeve: if you’re talking about writing, you’re not writing. Don’t waste time telling people about your characters or that line in chapter 12 that’s just genius- WRITE! I feel like talking dilutes your story, and it stops it being about you. The writers I know who want to talk about their work all the time never seem to finish a book.

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

I’m half Greek Cypriot.
I can only sing ‘How Much Is That Doggy In The Window’ backwards, because Mum thought it would be funny.
I am obsessed with Corgis.

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

My Mac! Do everything on it to the point where it may as well be attached.
My Iphone- ditto.
Benefit make-up, because it’s magical and the designs are all really cool.
Wine! That’s a luxury, right?
My Kindle- I’m a convert. Plus I have less back pain from lugging around books in my bag all the time.

ACT TWO – all about your new release…

Tabby Riley’s online life was a roaring success. Her blog had hundreds of followers, and legions of young fans ardently awaited her every Tweet. Her real life was a bit more of a disappointment. Living in a shared flat in North London, scratching a living writing magazine articles on ‘How To Please Your Man in Bed’ wasn’t where she thought she’d be at twenty-six – especially when there was a serious lack of action in her own bedroom.
Although that might all be about to change when she’s offered a position at online newspaper The Type as a real journalist – and gains a sexy new editor, Harry Shulman, to work with. Harry’s confident, smooth talking, and completely aware that he drives Tabby mad. Which is fine, because Tabby’s dated an editor before, and it’s never happening again. Ever. But as her reputation at the paper grows, Tabby has to wonder: is it time to get out from behind the screen and live her life in the real world?

7) Congratulations on your recent release of The Last Word, what was your inspiration for writing Tabby’s story?

I felt a lot like Tabby at the time of writing it- I was mid-twenties, in a bit of a career slump, and nothing seemed to be changing. I wanted to write about what it felt like to be a graduate, in one of the greatest cities in the world, and feeling stagnant and irritated that these big dreams weren’t happening.

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

It happened pretty naturally, but I think that’s because I was writing it just for me. I’d never planned to even show it to anybody!

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?

I wrote it over a few months, maybe five or so? Then I left it until I saw Carina accepting submissions, did some editing, and sent it off. I think they got back about six weeks later. So in total it was just under a year from creation to being accepted.

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

‘So, how are you, Tabby? Good weekend?’ 
Tabby thought back to the five am trip back on the nightbus, and how she’d narrowly avoided throwing up in a rubbish bin on the side of the road, ‘I’d call it a success. You?’
‘Oh, absolutely a success.’ How did he get his eyes to twinkle like that? And his voice had lowered to a deliciously dirty level. Her lips quirked up, and then she shook it off, trying to get back to professionalism. If there was anything she’d learnt since her journalistic fall from grace all those years ago, it was ‘Do not trust your editor’. And whilst Harry was cute, he was also an arsehole. An arsehole who was there to make money from her. So there was no point playing nice.

11) Over to you, what can you tell us about The Last Word, to make us rush out and buy it?

There’s lots of snarky, sarcastic banter between the characters, lots of sexual tension and great friendships. I let me characters actually have the right comebacks at the right time, because I never do!

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

My next novel, Without You To Hold, comes out in the autumn, and it’s Christmassy and lovely, and I’m really excited about it. After that a return to snarky, angry girls of London in The Young and Bitter Club, which will be out in the new year.

QUICK FIRE ROUND – it’s pop quiz time…

13) Plotter or pantser?

Tiny bit of plotter, mostly pantser

14) Digital books or print books?

Both! Digital mostly, print for beautiful editions.

15) Tea or coffee?

Tea, unless I need a massive boost.

16) Extrovert or introvert?

Highly functioning introvert

17) Facebook or Twitter?


18) Christmas or birthday? 


19) Morning person or night owl?


20) Sweet or savoury?


And that’s a wrap!

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

To discover even more about A.L. Michael, and to keep up with her latest projects, you can visit her at:

Website     Twitter     Facebook

Buy it now…

Add to Goodreads
ISBN: 9781472095237
Release date: 27th May 2014

Carina UK / Mills & Boon
Amazon UK / US
Nook UK / B&N
Google Play
Blinkbox (Tesco)

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