Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Michele Shriver. Michele is a Mystery & Fantasy Writer. She is noted for her Real Life Women’s Fiction novels.
Michele Shriver - Author of Real Life Women's Fiction
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I was born in Iowa and raised in Texas and now live in Iowa again. I am proud to consider both states to be home, and therefore poke fun at both of them, but it's always meant in the nicest way possible. I am a practicing attorney with a focus on juvenile law and have also worked as an educator, and some of my experiences have found their way into my writing. My dream is to someday pay the bills as a writer and be able to spend winters in the Dallas area going to Dallas Stars hockey games. In my free time, when I'm not writing, I am probably at a Zumba class, riding my bike, watching a football, hockey or soccer game on TV, or enjoying a glass of wine while I lose myself in a good book written by someone else.
SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author
Let’s start with what’s next. Rumor has it that you have a couple books on the horizon. One called Finding Forever and the other called Best Interests. Can you tell us the timeline for their releases and give us a little tease?
Yes, I do have two new projects I am working on, and they're very different from each other. Finding Forever is a traditional, contemporary romance. It's actually a follow-up to my first book, picking up Jordan's story and finally giving her a chance at love and a happy ending.
Best Interests is a story about a divorcing couple engaged in a custody battle, who end up forced into mandatory counseling and having to do some soul searching.
My plan was to release Best Interests this fall, and Finding Forever early next year, but now I am considering changing the order around and releasing Finding Forever first. I'm not sure about that, but one of them will definitely be out this year.
How important have your social media relationships been? Do you see a carry over to your writing success?
At this point, I'm not convinced that social media has played any significant role in book sales, but I'm also not sure I am using it the right away. It's something I need to work on. I'm trying to get better. I do enjoy the connections I've made over social media, though.
Do you do book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?
I haven't done any personal appearances or signings, no. I would consider it in the future if the opportunity presented itself. I have done quite a few interviews that have been featured on various blogs, and I have a blog tour coming up this June to promote my newest release, Aggravated Circumstances, which will feature some guest blog posts and book excerpts. The tour schedule is listed on my website.
How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?
My last two covers have been designed by a friend of mine whom I have known for a number of years, so I'm very comfortable working with her. I usually tell her a bit about the book, and if I have anything specific in mind for what I want on the cover, then let her come up with a concept and we work from there to get it right. I often solicit some feedback from my critique partners at that stage, because they know the book and can tell me if the concept we're working on captures the book.
What kinds of writer support groups do you belong too? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?
I'm a member of Critique Circle, which is an online writing and critique site. I submit my books there for the critique process. I've formed some good friendships there, and the feedback I've received has been invaluable.
Last year, I attended the DFW Writers' Conference for the first time, and am now going back for this year's, which is the first weekend in May. That's a fabulous opportunity to attend workshops and connect with other writers as well as agents and editors. I had so much positive energy and motivation after I returned from last year's conference and I can't wait to go back and experience that again.
Between your book writing, blogging about other authors, marketing, family and all the other things that can get in your way, how do you manage your time? Do you have a set schedule or do your sort of play it by ear?
I play it by ear, because it's hard to really know what a day is going to bring. I try to work in at least an hour of writing time a day at the end of the day after other obligations are taken care of, but sometimes end up using that to work on the blog or critiquing other writers. It kind of depends on what kind of day it's been and how creative I feel. I try to get as much writing done on weekends as I can, when I have the opportunity to carve out a a block of a few hours at a time. If the weather's nice, I like to take my laptop outside to write.
Has the advent of ebooks changed anything in your writing, your marketing and the relationship with your readers and fans?
I think eBooks have absolutely changed publishing and opened doors for many writers that would not otherwise published. The potential downside to that is how many books are being released every single day, which can make it very hard for authors to be noticed. I think marketing is going to become even more important to try to keep books from getting lost in cyberspace with no one knowing they exist.
What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?
I'm not really a big fan of giving my books away. I dislike exclusivity, so I have never participated in the KDP select program. When I have given books away, it's been through a giveaway either through Library Thing or Goodreads. With Library Thing, I did it with the hope that people would provide reviews in exchange for the book. Some do, but I found that most don't. Goodreads giveaways are a way to get people to add your book to their want to read shelf, but I don't know how many of those people actually do end up buying or reading it. I do plan to give away a signed paperback copy of my latest release as part of the blog tour coming up, just to help create a little more buzz about the tour.
You have a great blog. You do a great job keeping readers informed, marketing your books and interviewing other authors. What is your primary goal? And where in the world do you find the time to create great novels and maintain your blog?
Thanks. I actually just made a lot of changes to the blog and website a few days ago, so this is good timing. I want it to be a place where readers can come and learn a bit about me and about my books, but I enjoy featuring other authors on the blog as well. Lately I've had the chance to feature some new releases of other authors, and also some interesting guest posts. I like to do that because it's a way to keep the blog active even when I may not have much interesting to say or I've been to busy writing on my books to write new blog posts. I'll be blogging quite a bit about my conference coming up. As for time- it's just something else that has to be squeezed in.
In my research I noticed you out on the ice. Are a real live hockey mom?
No. I've never played hockey and don't have any family members that do. I'm just a big fan of the sport. That picture was actually taken during a trip to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Canada. It's a shot simulator, and I had to try to stop a simulated shot from Mark Messier. I wasn't very good, but it was a fun experience. One of my characters in my books is a reluctant hockey mom, though. Does that count?
Author's Book List
A family can be torn apart in an instant. Putting it back together is a harder task.
A relapsed addict opens the door to find a cop with a search warrant, setting off a chain of events that will cause four lives to intersect.
Devin Lenox has already lost one child to the system and this time she vows it will be different. If she’s going to make it, though, she’ll need something she’s never had before- someone on her side.
Her battle with depression behind her, Elisa Cahill looks forward to resuming her legal career. Devin’s case seems like the perfect opportunity to do that, and bury her own past demons in the process, at least if old grudges don’t prove to be her undoing.
Child protection worker Taylor Ross struggles to balance a social life with her demanding job and has little sympathy for people like Devin, at least at first. When Taylor starts to see Devin in a new light, she finds herself at odds with her superiors. Will she be willing to go to bat for Devin, and what price will she pay if she does?
Sarah Canfield is a compassionate judge who is not afraid to make difficult decisions, but will her past link to Devin undermine her objectivity and cause her to put her own family at risk?
A look inside the child welfare system, the people who work in it and the lives it impacts, Aggravated Circumstances is a story of despair, hope and recovery.
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When the things she holds closest are suddenly threatened, Kelsey needs her best friend more than ever. But can Joni be there for her, or will her discovery of a shocking secret force her to choose between their friendship and her marriage? After fleeing an abusive past, Megan looks forward to a new future, but suddenly finds herself at risk of being a victim again. Their recently widowed friend and colleague, Olivia, wants to help them through the tough times with a freshly baked dessert, but when a surprise gift prompts her try online dating, she finds herself embarking on an adventure she never expected. A story about friendship, relationships, trust, betrayal, letting go of the past and facing the future, this will be a year like no other for the women of Sixth South.
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Four women, once best friends, have not spoken to each other in ten years. A drunken, decade old promise and a class reunion will bring them together again.
For Jordan, her lofty dreams now a distant memory and her life at a crossroads, a reunion with her one-time friends offers a chance to make amends and start anew, but only if she can avoid falling back into self-destructive habits.
After years of struggling with her identity, Sarah has found personal and professional contentment. Will she finally have the courage to reveal the secret she hid from her friends?
Beth thought she was on the verge of having at all, but after a personal crisis now risks losing it all. In order to face her future, she must first find a way to face the past.
Tracey is still searching for happiness and approval. Will she find what she is looking for at the reunion, or leave stronger because she doesn't?
A story of forgiveness, acceptance, the bonds of friendship and the age old question of whether you can go home again.
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