*Post Updated: 2/2022: The book mentioned in this author interview has been rereleased under the title Crimson Legacy. The content of the book remains the same, only the title and cover have changed*
Today I am so excited to share you with an author that I feel like I have gotten to know fairly well over the last year and I can – I hope – call her a friend 🙂 Debut author Michelle Bryan released her first book Awaken: New Bloods Trilogy in February of last year and if you haven’t read it, go check it out NOW!
Lillian: Welcome Michelle! Tell everyone at home a little about yourself.
Michelle: I’m a Canadian girl living in the beautiful city of Halifax, Nova Scotia. When I am not at my keyboard I can be found with my nose stuck in a book. And, oh yeah, I also have this thing called a day job where I manage a chocolate shop. Yes, I work with books and chocolate…my jobs are amazing! I also have a wonderfully understanding husband and son who take the little attention I can give them at the moment without complaint. Thanks guys…you are the best!
Lillian: Mmm…chocolate…and books! That’s amazing 😀 How did you go from being the reader to the writer?
Michelle: I think like so many authors writing is just in your blood. It’s inherent and you have to act on it. I’ve been making up stories in my head and jotting them down for as long as I can remember. Even finished a couple of novels over the years but there was always this little voice in my head saying ‘No, not good enough’ so I never really saw it through. Then I discovered the self publishing market and I thought hey, why not give it a try. I published my first novel Awaken: New Bloods Trilogy in Feb. of 2014. I received my fair share of good reviews on it (as well as the bad) but it gave me the confidence to approach publishers again. I was lucky enough to have a publisher sign me for the whole trilogy and thus my career as an author began.
Lillian: Congratulations on being signed! That is so exciting!! Is there an author or specific book you would say has influenced your writing?
Michelle: Stephen King’s The Stand. This was my first introduction to Mr. King’s writing and it started my whole fascination with apocalyptic worlds and good vs evil themes. I must have read it like 4 or 5 times and this is not a tiny book! It just stuck in my head.
Lillian: Awaken is a fresh take on the dystopian genre. Where do you get your ideas from?
Michelle: I may take a little flak for this but I believe every writer is influenced by every book they’ve ever read and every movie or newscast they’ve ever seen. You then take all these bits and pieces of information floating around in your head and you pull ideas and characters out of it and try to make them as unique and original as you can. There are soooo many books in this world that nothing is truly stand alone in it’s genre.
Lillian: That is so true and well said 😀 Is there anything in Awaken that is based on real life experience or was it purely imagination?
Michelle: Believe it or not, Cat in Awaken is based upon my son’s black cat Garbage (and yes that is really his name. He was found in a garbage dumpster and rescued by my kindhearted son). I have never seen a cat with such expressive features and personality. I really believe he understands completely every word my son says to him.
Lillian: I love that! Cat is awesome! One of my favorite parts of the book are the descriptions of things they’ve never seen. I loved trying to figure out what they were talking about! What was your favorite part to write?
Michelle: The Iron Bones chapter in Awaken. That chapter wasn’t even supposed to exist. Don’t even know where it came from. But the whole experience of describing a dead city through the eyes of someone who has never seen it before was a fantastic challenge. This is also the chapter where you are introduced to Beanie and Talbert and for some reason my husband, who is my original beta reader, took a shine to those 2 characters. They were originally written as much darker and expendable, but my husband asked for them to be kept in the book so I did, because hey, I can do that.
Lillian: I loved the Iron Bones, so descriptive! I felt like I was there in that ruined city. If you could go back, is there anything you would change?
Michelle: Yes, the first three chapters of my book. I think my biggest complaint is that the first few chapters drag but after that you can’t put the book down. If I had my time over I would have written that differently.
Lillian: I wouldn’t worry too much about that 😉 I think all first in series do that as well as they establish characters and do a little world-building. So I know the series isn’t finished yet, but is there a character or theme you would like to revisit or expand on?
Michelle: I would love to do a prequel with Tater. Out of all my characters I think he has the most interesting back story. Born as a little person and having to live with adversity his whole life. Add to that being raised in a brothel and then becoming a traveling trader, he has seen a lot in his years. Would make for an interesting story I think.
Lillian: Yes please 😀 I would definitely read it!!! What project are you working on now?
Michelle: Ascension book 2 of the New Bloods Trilogy. Almost complete but stressing a little because I have a deadline now 🙂
Lillian: It’s inevitable that criticism comes with being published. What was the hardest criticism you’ve dealt with? Best compliment?
Michelle: I have had a few editors criticize the slang in my book. They actually said their reason for turning it down was because of the way my character speaks and that it would be too confusing. Had a couple ask me to change it because it wouldn’t be ‘mainstream’ enough to be accepted. But the way Tara speaks defines who she is and I refused to do it. It would have changed the whole dynamic of my book. So I stuck to my guns and it eventually paid off.
Best compliment would have to have been from Red City Literary Magazine and I quote “It’s almost like watching a movie instead of reading a book.” I like that.
Lillian: I agree, it does read like a movie which is awesome! Any advice you’d like to share with aspiring writers?
Michelle: Don’t take everything to heart. Your work will be rejected, criticized, ridiculed, and sometimes ripped apart. But in Taylor Swift’s words ‘Shake it Off” because it will also be complimented, appreciated and anticipated and that’s what makes it worth it. When someone truly enjoys reading what you have slaved over for months there is absolutely nothing like it (and book sales too of course 🙂 ) And above all, NEVER GIVE UP!
Lillian: 😀 Is there anything you would like to share with your fans?
Michelle: Thank you for all the positive feedback, the reviews and for taking the time to read my little novel when there are so many great books out there you could be spending your valuable time on. I am truly appreciative! And for those of you waiting for Ascension, I hope I do not disappoint.
Lillian: So excited for Ascension!!! I’m sure it won’t disappoint 🙂 Now for the hard questions…Favorite color?
Michelle: Purple! And not lilac or mauve…good ol’ Barney the Dinosaur purple! As attested by my purple bedroom, my purple jackets, my purple phone and my purple purses. Yeah I’m a real fashionista…you can tell right?
Lillian: Favorite movie?
Michelle: The Fifth Element. Sci-fi corniest and cheesiest at its best! Absolutely love it!
Lillian: Favorite TV show?
Michelle: That’s a toss up so I’m going to have to go with 2. The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. It’s like having 2 kids…you can’t love 1 more than the other.
Lillian: Favorite place to write?
Michelle: Why my purple bedroom of course 🙂
Lillian: If you had to choose just one book, what would it be and why?
Michelle: I think out of all your questions Lillian, this one has to be the hardest 😆 I can’t just choose one! I love almost everything I read 🙂
Lillian: Yeah, that one gets me too 😉 Last questions…What brand of cereal best describes you and why?
Michelle: Captain Crunch for sure! Because I like to think I am the captain of every situation with this hard crunch of an exterior but underneath I am just a soggy softie!
Lillian: Best. Answer. EVER 😀 Thank you for stopping by today Michelle!
Don’t Miss the New Bloods Trilogy, Book One Available Now!The Crimson Legacy by Michelle Bryan
Series: The Crimson Legacy #1
Published by Aelurus Publishing on 2022-02-28
Length: 332 pages
Sometimes an inheritance can be a curse.
Blood. That’s what Tara sees. Her village destroyed. Her Grada dead. Her friends taken.
Now she’s chasing shadows—a cryptic message to find someone she’s never heard of in a town she’s never visited. But strange things is what Tara will find. Things she can’t explain. People will fear her. Others will want her caught. Powerful people.
Blood. Her blood. That’s what they want. And they’ll do anything to get it.
A previous edition of this work was published as Awaken, part of the New Bloods series
Want a Copy?
Because I happen to LOVE this book and author AND it’s the one year anniversary of the blog, what do you say to a little giveaway 😉 Starting now through 2/18 at 11:59pm, enter below for your chance to win a Kindle copy of Michelle’s Awaken: New Bloods Trilogy. One lucky winner will also have the chance to win a signed paperback copy of the novel! Open internationally 😀