Saturday, May 3, 2008

Real Women Deserve a Hero


Wow, how exciting to be part of something new. The blog is new. And the Casablanca imprint is new, the first books were out last October (2007), and I was very proud that No Regrets was one of them. And I am over the moon that the book has been nominated by Foreward Magazine for best book of the year.

Who am I? Well, I am an Englishwoman who immigrated to Canada. I was an administrator at a university. I’m a mum, and a wife, and a sister, and holy smoke! now I am a writer. I think that is the biggest surprise of my life. I admire people who always knew they wanted to write novels. For me, it was sort of sitting in my subconscious waiting for a chance to make itself known.

Oh, I wrote lots... business reports, letters home from Canada, speeches, skits for Christmas parties, but never in my wildest dreams did I think of writing a book. Until I got trapped in a boring round of union negotiations where the parties were not meeting and I had nothing to do for days on end. Bored with the tv I started doodling with something going on in my head. And it turned into a book. A Regency romance, since I love history and historicals. That was in 2000. Since then, I left work to write full-time.

My dog, a Maltese we rescued from the pound called Teaser, sits under my computer, or on the sofa, depending where I am working and loves that I no longer leave him by himself all day.

The first book is under the bed, never to see the light of day. But No Regrets, my first book with Sourcebooks and Casablanca, was an American Title Finalist, in 2006. It went on to place in the top four and you can imagine the thrill when Sourcebooks offered me a contract. All of the American Title 2 ladies have remained very good friends and we blog together regularly over at http://www.titlewave.blogspot.com. I also blog about my research on Regency Rambles.

People often ask where do you get your ideas. And it is a difficult question to answer, except that I will get a scene in my head, something bad happening to one or two characters, and I will follow it wherever it leads. So I write into the blue and see where it takes me. I write every morning, until about two pm, and aim for about fifteen pages, if it is new writing, more if I am editing, and then I do emails and other writing related business until the end of the afternoon. That of course is on a good day. Life gets in the way.

My idea for No Regrets, broke new ground in that the heroine is neither beautiful nor slender, and her conflict probably stems from my own insecurity about self-image. I see so much pressure on women about body image, and yet few women meet the idealized vision we often see in romance. We are even at the point where beautiful young women are not good enough for advertisements and their images are digitally enhanced, become something to which no human woman can aspire. I thought it was time a real woman had a hero! Of course, that is pushing the boundaries, so I was lucky that Sourcebooks went with the idea.

And they liked the idea for a second book. And you are the first (after my amazing critique group) to get a sneak preview of the cover. What do you think? How about a name that dude, contest? If you can come up with the first letter of his name, I will send you a copy of No Regrets. If you already have a copy, then I will send you a copy of a Western Anthology in which I have one of the three stories. Oh, and only one guess each! If there is a tie, or no correct answers, I will have one of my daughters draw the winner from a hat.

It is lovely to meet you here and I look forward to talking with you all and my fellow authors in the weeks and months to come. If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you.

19 comments:

  1. Wow, what a hot looking cover!

    Michele, are you a pantser?
    Is that what I read,
    about you going where the idea takes you?
    Wow, that must be challenging,
    especially with historicals.

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  2. This is a great introduction, Michele. So nice to get to know you! And the story of your introduction to writing was a peach; no one seems to come to writing a book in the same way. One question--if that's the Lord, why on earth would the lady flee him? I wouldn't flee from that. I guess his name begins with a C, because C-names are cool.
    Your pal at Sourcebooks Casablanca,
    Christina

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  3. Kim, Yes a pantser Kim. I fly by the seat of my pants until the end crystalizes, then I go back and fix the beginning and the middle. I have tried plotting, and of course I know it will be a happy ending, but it is a voyage of discovery.
    Michele

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  4. Christina, thanks for the guess. I will keep you posted.

    And a very good question. I guess the answer will be in the book. lol.
    Michele

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  5. GREAT post, Michele!
    And WOO HOO!!! Congrats on a HAWT COVER! We have truly been touched by the lucky cover fairy around here at Sourcebooks Casablanca.

    I too am a pantser, but am trying hard to reform. I mean, if I'm ever going to sell on proposal, I can't very well just say to the editor and her bosses, "Trust me." Remember all those old commercials? Would YOU buy a used car from this woman? Me neither. :-P

    As for the NAME of your very sexy cover man... I'd like to just call him MINE! Yeah, I'm incorrigible. Muahahahahahaha!

    Cindy

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  6. What a great blog Michelle it is so nice to "meet" you the book sounds fantastic right up my alley I love historical romance and I love the cover of your new book.I am with Cindy on calling that Hero mine as well but I am guessing the hero's name starts with G.

    Have Fun
    Helen

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  7. Hi Michele!
    Loved your story about how you became a writer. I too am a pantser. I don't outline, I don't take notes, I don't plan very much and I often don't have to go back and fix anything plot-wise. Not sure how it works, to be honest. That's why I could never teach writing because my way would freak most sane people right on out!

    Also loved what you said about body image. It's so true. I have a daughter who will be 13 in July and is super slim but asks me all the time if she looks fat. I tell her she is lovely and perfect and fabulous, but it's a daily struggle to keep her head screwed on straight when it comes to body image. I'm enjoying No Regrets and I love your new cover!
    Marie

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  8. Hey Michele,

    Very, very hot cover. He's quite a guy and he looks like the kinda guy whose name would start with an M.

    As you know I'm a total plotter. I have no idea how you can sit down and get up fifteen pages later. When I don't know what's going to happen next, I just sit there.

    Your AT2 sis,
    Gina

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  9. Cindy, Helen, Marie and Gina,
    Thanks for dropping by and for your guesses.

    Answer and draw will show up at the end of the day! In the meantime, I am so thrilled you came by to say hello. It is raining buckets here at the moment and you have warmed up my day.
    Michele

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  10. Great post!

    And I think I am in love after seeing that cover...it is gorgeous!

    And I will definitely be on the lookout for your books.

    Hmmm...as for the name...how about an H?

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  11. I forgot to make a name guess... How about an S?

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  12. Hey! Jennifer guessed correctly. His name is Hugo.
    Jennifer, I will contact you off line in the morning-- so we can send you your prize.
    Thanks everyone for dropping by. I had fun today.
    Michele

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  13. Congrats on the new book, Michele, and I have to add my admiration regarding the cover!
    I missed the 'letter' contest, but I was going to pick R so I'd have lost ;)

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  14. Hey! Jennifer guessed correctly. His name is Hugo.

    Really? Very cool!!!! Thank you so much! I look forward to hearing from you.

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  15. Congrats Jennifer

    Have Fun
    Helen

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  16. Hi Michelle!

    I'm definitely going to have to read your book! A REAL woman with a hero! Yay!!!! You GO girl!!!

    Cheryl

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  17. Hey, chiming in really late, but having read both books, I can safely say, the amazing cover almost, but not quite, does the book justice. It's a terrific book, really fun to read and really sensual.

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  18. I absolutely love the cover of No Regrets. In fact, I bought the book based on the cover alone--something I rarely do--even before I knew it was a Casablanca imprint.

    I also loved the book. :-)

    Mary Margret

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  19. Great post Michele! I think it has to be so exciting to have been a part of the launch of Casablanca last Fall and to see where the imprint has gone! I know I have enjoyed watching it grow--and this blog is the perfect place to watch it expand :)

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