Blood Sisters, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.
DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Blood Sisters?
MICHELLE SCOTT: I like to call Blood Sisters is a YA vampire romance with bite. Set in the dark corners of a large city, the book is a little edgier than a typical YA vampire romance. In it Starla, the main character, has longed to become a vampire so that she can be powerful and immortal. But she soon finds out that being a vampire sucks. And when Starla falls in love, she knows she in trouble because she’s a vampire, and he’s a vampire killer.
DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?
MICHELLE SCOTT: When I develop my characters, I listen very hard to their inner voices even if I’m not writing in first person. I pay attention to such things as what makes them angry, and what draws their attention. For example, Starla is an artist, and so she notices things like graffiti on the walls of abandoned buildings. Her best friend Jordan, however, would walk right past the graffiti without even seeing it.
DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?
MICHELLE SCOTT: I actually wrote this book with my teen-aged daughter in mind. She’s a self-proclaimed Goth girl who likes to act older than she is. But I think that anyone who’s ever felt like an outsider, especially in high school, would appreciate the story.
DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?
MICHELLE SCOTT: It has been a long journey! I wrote a great deal in high school, and after college, I went on to get an MA in creative writing. Almost twenty years have passed since then! I started out writing short stories and was able to publish over two dozen of them. One of the great things about writing so many short stories is that, as a writer, you have to do a lot within very tight limits. Every word must count. After the years I spent writing short stories, I moved on to longer pieces and have published three novels with a small press. Although my journey has been long, I really don’t think I’ve seen the end of it yet.
DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?
MICHELLE SCOTT: I’m not sure I have a process exactly. At least, not one that I rely on over and over again. I try to write every day, and get at least an hour or a thousand words down (whichever comes last). I begin writing about an idea without making notes or creating an outline. It’s kind of a free-thought process; more like brainstorming than anything else. About midway through a book, I’ll start to make an outline in order to give the story a place to go. But these are very general guidelines.
DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?
MICHELLE SCOTT: There are so many! I like Margaret Atwood, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, and A. S. Byatt. Basically, I’ll read anything!
DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?
MICHELLE SCOTT: Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. But then again, the story is so amazing, that I couldn’t do half as well as she did.
DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?
MICHELLE SCOTT: Right now, I’m focusing in on Good Reads because it’s a great place to meet readers (as well as writers). Being active in the forums (both on Kindle and Good Reads) is very important—not just to hawk my book, but to become involved in topics that are of interest to readers. I’m not a very good salesperson, but I am very chatty. I have a website (www.mscottfiction.com) where I post excerpts from my books, and a blog (http://holy-terrors.blogspot.com/) where I discuss issues of fantasy, sci fi, and horror, and how they relate to religion. I’ve also been very lucky to connect with a few book review blogs and Kindle author blogs. Networking with authors is very important because it builds connections within the writing community.
DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?
MICHELLE SCOTT: Publishing on Kindle is new for me, but what I like the ability to reach readers directly without having to go through a publisher. Having a publisher is wonderful, but publishing a book can be a very slow process that takes years. I’m also a gadget girl, and I love my own e-reader. Personally, I think that the digital revolution in publishing is only just beginning, and I like to think that Kindle writers are on the cutting edge of this phenomenon.
DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?
MICHELLE SCOTT: Make sure you are putting out the best product you can. Even if you are happy with your work, have someone else read it and give you advice before you publish it. I am always amazed at how many typos and other glitches I find even after reading my manuscripts over and over again. When you put your book out on Kindle, you are building your own brand name, as it were. You want people reading your books to be impressed by what they read, not put off because if they don’t like the first book, they’ll probably avoid the next one you write. Also, be patient with your progress and celebrate your successes. If you’ve sat down and written every day, that’s a success! If you’ve sold a book this week or this month, that’s a success!
DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michelle has been a fiction junkie all of her life, but she didn’t start writing until junior high. Over the next decade, she wrote many (really awful) poems, short stories, and limericks.
A native Michigander, she attended Calvin College in Grand Rapids, earning her BA in psychology and meeting the guy of her dreams. After marrying said guy and spending two years doing nothing of great importance, she went on to earn an MFA at Wayne State University in Detroit. Fortunately, her writing improved considerably, and since that time she has published nearly a dozen short stories in a variety of magazines. The Dragons of Hazlett is her first novel.
Currently, she teaches English at a community college in southeastern Michigan and lives with her husband and three terrific children, all of whom are addicted to fiction as much as she.
Visit her website and read her blog.
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