Today’s author spotlight is focused on the blonde bombshell Michelle Lynn. This hockey loving author knows how to keep her head up when on the offensive. She has stick handled her way through the defenses of traditional publishing and scored a hat trick of books on Amazon. Careful now, Michelle, I hear an agent or two is in the crowd tonight! Without further ado…here’s Michelle!
Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi *waves* I’m Michelle. I write both YA dystopian and romance. I enjoy it because I’m not that far removed from being a young adult myself, so it just feels natural. I live in Tampa, Florida, but grew up in the cold of Ohio and lived there through college. When I’m not writing, I’m either with my family, reading, or watching a hockey game. Keeping life simple.
How did you get started on your writing journey?
My writing journey is a bit more unusual than most. I didn’t start because I had a story that just had to get out. I haven’t always loved to write. I’ve been sick my entire life, but it got worse after college. There were long stretches of time where I couldn’t get out of bed and working has been out of the question since. So, I had all this time on my hands with nothing but my computer. I never expected to finish a story. Then I didn’t expect to publish. Nor did I think I had so many other books in me. I surprised myself and surpassed any and all expectations of what I was capable of. Now I just can’t stop. Haha.
Are there any poets or writers who influence you? How so?
All of them a good answer? I read a lot and get something from every book. I get particular inspiration from some of my fellow indies that are succeeding despite the odds stacked in favor of traditional authors.
Let’s talk about your novel! What is it about?
Dawn of Rebellion, my dystopian series, follows two British sisters. One of them is arrested and sent to the colonies in what was once America. The other is on a mission to get her sister back. England has become a militaristic society that keeps their citizens in the dark about a lot of things. One of those being what the former America is truly like. The sisters discover it’s a different and harsher place than they could have ever imagined.
How is the title significant?
Dawn is the name of the younger sister. Her decision to go against her government to rescue her sister, throws her into a rebellion that’s been brewing for quite some time. Only now, it finally has a chance to succeed.
Where did inspiration for this come from?
This is a boring answer, but I’ve always been fascinated and a bit horrified by global warming and the possible problems it could create in the future. So I wanted to develop a world that was shaped by the various catastrophic consequences of today’s actions. Drought, famine, disease, war. Like a domino effect. One after the other, until what was left was a broken world that set the backdrop for Dawn and Gabby’s adventure.
Tell us a little bit about the characters? What are they like and how did you come up with them?
Dawn and Gabby are sisters. Gabby, the eldest, is rash, sometimes aggressive, and likes to take charge. She’s taken care of Dawn since they lost their parents as young kids. Dawn begins the story as the weaker of the two. She’s quiet and unsure of herself. Both of them make very different kinds of rebels.
I have two sisters. Neither of my characters are fully based off of them, but their relationship is. Dawn and Gabby will do anything for each other. They look out for each other. They fight and they forgive. They don’t always agree on the way to do things, but they are fighting for the same thing. It’s a special relationship, one that I think many people who have sisters can relate to.
Who do you think would like your story and what kind of readership are you aiming for?
The trilogy is classified as young adult, which means teens, but it has been enjoyed by people of all ages. I have a fourteen-year-old superfan that I love talking to as well as a sixty-seven-year-old superfan.
But, teens are the goal.
What is the message you are trying to get across in your book?
The bonds of family are stronger than just about anything, but also that family doesn’t only include the people you share blood with. You can choose who your family is.
What is your writing process like?
I’d be lying if I said I had much of a process. I don’t outline. I basically just sit at my computer and see what spills out. I always write chronologically, and don’t typically go back over already written parts until the second draft. I’m definitely a pantser.
How do you go about editing your story?
I just do a few read throughs for continuity and plot holes as well as grammar before sending it do beta readers.
Where did you find your cover artist and what was the process like?
My artist was recommended to me and I’ll never use anyone else. She’s completed all my book covers and is brilliant. I give her a general idea of what the book is about and some style ideas for the cover, then let her run with it. I trust her completely. She shoots me back a version and then we go back and forth with changes until it’s perfect. For this series, the hard part was finding the right girls to represent Dawn and Gabby. They needed to be just right and it took a lot of time flipping through model’s pictures.
How did you go about getting published?
I never explore the traditional route. Once my books were edited and formatted, I used Amazon’s kindle direct publishing as well as Createspace for paperback.
What was your self-publishing experience like?
Simple. Easy. Fun. I’ve truly enjoyed it.
What are the pros and cons of self-publishing?
The biggest pro is that I control everything – from cover approval to formatting to price. I can run promos whenever I want because I can change the price. I don’t have to get approval for anything I was to do.
The biggest con is having to do everything myself or paying to have it done. I don’t mind paying an editor or cover artist, but I do my own formatting and that is no fun at all. It’d also be nice to have help from marketing experts. That is not my forte.
What were the surprises? Good or bad? If so, what were they?
Before I published, I had no clue how many people were doing the same – making it that much harder to get your book noticed.
How do you go about promoting your book as a self-published author?
I use email services like eReader news today and all. Other than that, it’s word of mouth. I am taking Dawn to the Decatur Festival Of Books this year, so I’m hoping to sell a few books there.
Is there something about the whole process you wish someone had told you before? Good or bad?
Never to look at your own reviews. Even when there are way more good ones than bad, the bad ones will eat at you. We all want to be perfect in a profession where perfection isn’t just unattainable, the pursuit of it will drive you nuts.
Do you have any advice for writers who want to self-publish?
Read, read, read. The best writers are avid readers. It helps to hone your craft and expand your vocabulary.
Also, never do this because you want to make money or quite your day job, most authors never can. The only way writing will make you happy is if you do it simply to create, to imagine. Think of everything else that comes with publishing as a bonus.
What plans do you have for the future of your writing?
Too many plans. Haha. The third book in my romance series releases in July and there’ll be one more. I’ve also planned a trip into fantasy sometime in the near future as well as a journey back into Young Adult.
What are your social accounts if people want to connect with you?
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