Monday, February 27, 2012

Guest Author Michelle Beattie

My guest  today is western romance author Michelle Beattie, here to share a little bit about herself and her books. Let’s jump right in.

How old are you?
Where do you live?
 Alberta, Canada

What is your average day like, Michelle?
 I get up, make a cappuccino, wake up the kids.  As they are getting ready I prepare their breakfasts and make their lunches.  I get dressed.  Once the bus comes for them about 8:25am, I make another cappuccino, go to my office and check Facebook, Twitter and Emails while I drink the coffee.  When the coffee is done, it's writing time.  For the most part I write from 9-3:30, taking time to make hubby lunch and eat with him.

When did you start writing?
 Shortly after returning from our honeymoon.  Fall of 1995

What was your very first story about?
 My first story is the one I independently published last year, that finalled in a contest.  My historical western, Another Chance.  It's about a female vet in the 1800's.

Have you written anything that you were too afraid to let anyone read?
 No.  I did write a short story once about my mom, who has passed away.  But I really wrote it for healing purposes, and other than a cousin, nobody has read it.  It's not that I'm scared, but it's personal and was never written with the intent of it selling.

Did you experience anything you’ve written yourself?
 Oh my goodness, yes.  I live near a small town now and have experienced the small-mindedness of some folks the way Jillian did in Another Chance.  I've lost loved ones the way Lauren did in Love by Accident and I know what it's like to have the last words be something you'd give anything to take back.  I do that a lot, actually.  More than most realize.

Who are several of your greatest literary inspirations?
 It began with Sandra Brown, Roseanne Bittner and Patricia Potter.  Those women wrote fantastic historical westerns!  As I came to love contemporary romance as much as historicals, I now consider Nora Roberts, Robyn Carr, Susan Mallery, Cindy Gerard and Cherry Adair as my inspirations.

What kind of education have you received, and how has that affected your writing?
 I did my entire schooling until graduation in French Immersion.  I also have a college diploma in Environmental Sciences with a major in Conservation and Reclamation.  I don't think it's affected my writing at all.  I think life has.  The experiences, the people I've met, the people I've lost, the things I've lived through.  That affects my writing, but I can't say my education has. 

How much research time customarily goes into your projects?
 With my pirate series I researched for a few months before I could even start.    For Love by Accident I was in contact with a park warden for a few years as I wrote and revised.   But mostly, I research as I go and the time it takes depends on how in-depth the scene is or what the research is for.

Who is your favorite literary character?
 As a kid I loved Encyclopedia Brown.  I always wanted to be that clever!  If I had to pick one now, the one that stands out most is Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter books.  I think it's because I can relate to him.  He's from a big family, he doesn't come from money, he's insecure at times and goofy.  He's loyal and fun.  And he's brilliant with one liners!

Who is your favorite character that you’ve created?
 It's gotta be Luke Bradley from my pirate series.  I love Luke because knows what he wants and who he is.  He doesn't put on airs, he's sassy and smart, he's sexy as hell.  

What would be the title of your autobiography?
 wow, that's a tough one.  Maybe, "I did things my way."  I've never done anything the easy or conventional way.  I was writing historical westerns when the market on them fell.   I wrote pirate books when hardly anyone else was and despite the fact that I was told, multiple times, that they wouldn't sell, I sold three: un-agented off the slush pile.  Then, when I wanted to go back to historical westerns, I was told it was "career suicide."  I'm not a writer you can slot in a box.  I'm not a paranormal writer, or a thriller writer.  I've written pirate books, and will write two more.    I've written a historical western, and will write more of those too.  I've written a contemporary and I have many more of those stories to tell.  I remain un-agented and I don't write what's "hot".  But I write what's in my heart and I trust my readers to follow me.   So, yes.  I think "I did things my way" would be a good title.

Tell us about your current book.
 My next story, to be released April 15th, is actually a novella.  I'm part of 32 writers from my local chapter who have created a series of books called "Bandit Creek Books."  Each of us write our own stories, they are not collaborations, and the genres vary from erotic, to christian, to historical, to paranormal.  They all take place in the fictional town of Bandit Creek, Montana.  My novella, Heart of Mine, is a historical western.

What made you write that particular story?
 I thought I'd do a contemporary western, but couldn't come up with a plot.  Once I gave myself permission to do a historical, the story just came to me.  

Is there anything special you would like your potential readers to know?
 I write what I love to read.  I write strong women, usually in untraditional roles.   I write action and adventure.  I write real people you can relate to and usually there's a villain to add a sense of urgency.   I'd like to think I'm about the story and not about a gimmick.  I may not have fancy hooks, or "high concept" as is the buzz word these days, but my stories are solid and my characters are real.  If you like stories where the characters linger in your mind after the book is finished, then I hope they give mine a chance.

What is your favorite vacation spot?
 Vancouver Island.  Love the scenery and the pace of the island.

Other than write, what other activities do you enjoy?
 golf, reading, playing games, travelling, being with family and friends

How do you treat people you’re not fond of?
 I try to be civil, and I try to stay clear of them

What is hiding under your bed right now?
 a few extra copies of A Pirate's Possession and a whole pile of dust bunnies

What do you see as your greatest achievement?
 first and foremost, my two beautiful daughters.  My 16 year marriage and the three published books on my desk that have my name on the covers!

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
 "dig deeper".  Before I sold my first book, a colleague and friend said she couldn't figure out why I wasn't published other than I needed to "dig deeper" into my scenes.  I tended to skim the surface.  Now when a scene isn't working, I tell myself to dig deeper and usually that's all that's missing to make it work.

If you could have one pet, what would it be?
I've owned llamas before and loved them, so I'd say a llama.  They are quiet, docile and, unlike the preconceived notions about them, they don't spit on people! 
What do you classify as an “Adventure?”
 something that pushes  you out of your comfort zone, that kicks your heart rate up a bit and leaves you smiling at the end.

If you could learn one new thing this year, what would it be?
 how to reach a broader audience 

Finish this sentence. “I sometimes find it hard to…”
 forgive.  I usually trust everyone from the get-go.  But if they betray that, they rarely get a second chance.  Not that I'll hate them forever, but I won't give them the chance to get that close to me again.

Where can we find you and your books online?

New Releases  The links and the blurbs for both Love by Accident and Another Chance are on this page.

Michelle is giving away one ebook copy of each of her two latest titles. All you have to do is leave a comment, or ask Michelle a question, and you are entered in the drawing!


  1. Wow! Fabulous interview. Llamas? Who knew?

    So, here are my questions. Have you ever reached a point in one of your stories when you have no idea what to do next. If so, how do you work past that?

    Having read both of your prize e-books, I know the winner is in for a treat.

  2. Roxy, thanks for the lovely compliment. And llamas, yes, they are sweet. Mine was named Andy and I had him trained and I showed him too.

    As to your question, yes I've reached that point many times. Usually I'll try to figure out why it's not working. Best advice I ever got was "if it's not where you're going, it's where you've been." Often times I'll go back, see if that's my problem. Did I write myself into a corner. If I can't fix it on my own, usually getting a fresh pair of eyes helps so I rely on colleagues. They've bailed me out more than once!

  3. Terrific interview, Michelle. I have to echo Roxy - llamas, who knew?! Looking forward to your next pirate book. :)

  4. Sorry I'm late to the party, Michelle! It's nice to have you here today!
    I loved some of your answers to my questions, and can so relate to a lot of them! Thanks for taking the time to tell everyone a little about yourself!

    I love llamas! Where I used to live, our neighbors had a whole herd. They pulled carts and would go for walks down the street.


  5. Ms Westerling, thanks so much! and Peggy, aren't they cute? I love those big brown eyes!

  6. Hi Michelle,

    I love all of your books and am so glad that you've decided to write them "your way". Do you have an idea yet of when your next release will be? And will it be another pirate book or a contemporary?

  7. Sheila, other than my Bandit Creek novella which comes out April 15th, the next book out should be my 4th pirate novel, but I've only just started it, so it'll be a while yet!