I’m pleased to welcome Tory Michaels to my blog today. Before we get started on the interview, here’s a brief bio on Tory.
Originally from the Sacramento Valley, Tory packed up and moved all the way to Southwest Florida in 2004 with her husband (a Florida native) under the premise that ‘hurricanes almost never hit that part of the state.’ That year, 4 blasted the area. 4 more came the following year, and her husband blames her for bringing the hurricanes. She now resides in Jacksonville and is relieved that, thus far, no more hurricanes have followed her around.
She began writing in kindergarten when a turnip wished to be human and, other than a hiatus shortly after getting married, has never stopped. Her love of vampires began somewhere in junior high, and combining the two loves didn’t take long. She loves music, considers herself a ‘book slut’ whose reading habits would break her family financially if given free reign, and is (usually) delighted to be a mommy of twin Shrimpettes and a Shrimp.
Hi Tory, Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I hate this question. That little enough? :P Seriously though, I’m an avid reader (book slut might be more accurate), primarily of paranormal and regency romances. Three kids (twin almost-11-month-old girls, 5 y/o boy), hubby, in-laws all live with me, though the in-laws are leaving in a couple of months <gulp>. We have a husky, and I work in a law office during the day, drink too much coffee and pretend to know what I’m doing when it comes to writing. J
Holy moly you sound busy. Young twins, in-laws, a day job, where do you find the time to write?
Lately, I haven’t. It’s getting me down, big time.
What do you do when you are not writing?
Between kids and reading, who has time for much else? I do try to go swimming on a regular basis.
I hear swimming is an amazing exercise.
The best I know of. Works every muscle and burns more calories than running (which I despise).
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I started writing stories early on, but my first ever novel completed was when I was 15. Thankfully (although sometimes I regret it), I tossed it so no one will ever see it again.
Yes, I think all of us have that one manuscript that should never be allowed to see the light of day ever again lol.
Where do you get your ideas?
My current cast of characters were born out of my role-playing days. They aren’t the same as when I played them in chat rooms back in the day (Lord knows Anthony’s not, that’s for sure). The Bureau which is featured in the world I’ve built came out of my Master’s degree program, because I thought it’d be cool to have an actual government agency, and thanks to my public administration degree (mostly complete), I had a better idea of how the bureaucracy worked.
I love that you've used your own world to create a new world.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Frequently. I’m starting to get past my current bout of it, but it’s still slow going for me. Usually, if I’m in the middle of a work and it drags to a halt, it means I’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere. My upcoming release, Blood-Mage Rising (March), ended up like that. I had to backtrack 100 pages at one point, and later another 40, just to get the second draft done. Talk about a nightmare.
A writer's worst nightmare. Yes, I had that happen to me before, my muse is still in hiding because she doesn't want to backtrack lol. I figure she'll come out when she's ready, here's wishing you get past your current bout of it ASAP.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
Strangely, getting an offer to publish wasn’t that difficult. It was having the courage to submit to an e-pub and decide to accept that for my first book that was much harder. All told, I got four offers by e-pubs (2 in 2010, which I turned down because I decided I wasn’t ready – and I’m grateful that I did that because a few things in the world/book series changed and made this MUCH stronger and if I’d accepted the 2010 offers, I couldn’t have made those changes - books and 2 in 2011 when I really was).
Wow that's saying something though, turning down offers because you knew you weren't ready. I mean that shows that you're writing is very strong if publishers wanted it even before you were ready. Great job!
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
No. I’ve had a great experience with Evernight. Now if only I could make sales! That’ll come in time though. I’ll try to be patient (which I’m not generally).
Patience is definitely something I don't have and I don't blame you, but it's still early in your career. You'll get there.
I’ve been asking God for patience right now…for ages.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
Same as other people, I guess. I blog and post on FB. I try to use Twitter, but it’s such a busy medium I don’t know if anyone really sees what I tweet. I used to tweet/talk a lot, but now it seems like all I do is promote, and I feel guilty about that. I’ve just got no time for anything and I’m getting frustrated.
Something to think about it perhaps scheduling your promo tweets ahead of time using something like twuffer.com and then you can use twitter like normal while it automatically posts your promo tweets for you. It's how I've gotten around feeling guilty about always promoting this new review site. But time does go too fast and you with such a busy life, I can see how it can get frustrating. Just keep pushing through though and you'll do great.
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Oh, some of the corpses in the books might be named after people I don’t like (not that I want them dead, mind, just I liked using them as cannon fodder). I used typical government set-ups from reality, but for the most part it’s all imagination.
It's always interesting to see where authors get even the smallest tidbits of their stories from. My lips are sealed on your corpses lol.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
In Rage, I think my favorite part was probably when I redid the very last chapter during the editing phase with Evernight. It definitely gave the final impression a much lighter tone than it was previously. Up until then, as I had written it, something bothered me but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Something the editor said in the first round of edits clicked and when I was going through, kit seemed to make sense to change it.
Ooh I love that when that happens, something isn't working and when it finally clicks, it makes the result so amazing because you are confident with what you did.
What project are you working on now?
Trying to work on the third book in the series (and waiting on edits for Book 2, Blood-Mage Rising), but thus far nothing’s coming together. I poke at a fantasy novel I have in mind as well, but nothing’s flowing and it’s pulling teeth to get words on the page. But…at least it’s words down, which is more than I had been doing up through this week.
Yes very true, something is better than nothing, even if you end up getting rid of all that perhaps just continuing to do that will finally trigger your muse to come out of hiding.
Will you have a new book coming out soon?
Blood-Mage Rising is supposed to come out next month. No specific date yet though, and haven’t (as of the time I write this) gotten edits yet. I know the fabulous red-pen/track-changes lady has the book and is working on it. Just haven’t gotten them back yet.
Are they as bad as they it is say when you get those edits back?
Yes and no. I wasn’t happy initially about one of the comments, but when I went back and considered it, the editor was absolutely right (I’d written a scene in someone else’s POV – not a main character – because I was afraid to let it happen in Dara’s. I switched the POV and BLAM, that scene went from being good to being phenomenal.
Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
The awesome part of doing a series is I get to revisit my characters constantly. Rising is almost certainly urban fantasy, in that the main characters (Chris and Jordan) didn’t get a happily ever after. I suspect book 3 will feature them as well, as they’re the logical choices to confront the dream-walker menace. And, eventually, they’ll get a happily for now ending. They just haven’t deigned to share it with me yet.
So I know series’ aren't always the same so does your series feature the same two main characters in each book or is it a different set of characters each time just continuing the story?
First book was Dara & Anthony’s story. Second is Chris & Jordan’s. Third, at the moment, is also meant to star Chris & Jordan. They have unresolved issues after Rising that still need to be attended to. Rage is a romance, Rising isn’t.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
Best compliment came from someone reading the excerpt up on my blog: I burned the meatballs for dinner because I couldn’t stop reading until I got to the end.
Toughest criticism: Hrmm, Probably when I had a prologue in Rage. I got several comments that it made both hero and heroine unsympathetic. That was painful because I liked the prologue. It showed what exactly Anthony told Dara in the church, and just why she believed he did what he claimed to have done. But in the end, since I was hearing it from multiple people, I yanked it out.
Sometimes the best advice we get isn't the advice we want and it's doing it anyway that makes you a strong writer, especially when you know deep down that the criticism is right.
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Thank you so much for taking a chance on Blood Rage and me. J
Have you ever gone out in public with your shirt on backwards, or your slippers on, and when realizing it, just said screw it?
I have twin infants. Going out with my shirt on backwards is the least of my problems. It’s much more likely to be spit-up that I say screw it on.
Yes, that does seem like it would be kind of hectic. I don't know how you do it.
Neither do I.
Are you a person who makes their bed in the morning, or do you not see much point?
Not much point, considering my husband’s still asleep when I leave for work. <g> When he was living apart (employment, not marital issues) the first time, I did religiously. I liked having a nicely made bed to come home to. Second time, I was 5-8 months pregnant with twins and pretty much said “screw it”. I was sleeping more on the couch those days anyway.
Don't blame you on that. When you're that pregnant it seems like making the bed would be the least of your concerns and that you would focus on getting comfortable for a change lol.
Do you go out of your way to kill bugs? Are there any that make you screech and hide?
Generally, I don’t go out of my WAY to kill them, but if they show up, they better believe they’re going down! Spiders are not my favorite creatures.
Mine either. Bleck.
Have you ever secretly wished you were a character in a book? If so, which character did you wish you were and why?
<fidget> Umm…yeah. Especially in my books. Let’s just say, once she tames him, I’d switch places with Christine in a heartbeat. I lika me some Jordan – go figure. <sigh> It’s the whole bad-boy thing. Though, Anthony works too. Hubba hubba.
I love that you love your characters so much, that's awesome.
At least you don’t think I’m too crazy.
I think we have to be somewhat “attracted” to our characters in order to write them…
What's your favorite color to paint your nails?
If it’s my nails, green or dark blue. If it’s a bedroom or other room in the house, I stick with pale tan or mauve or things like that.
I can never do the dark thing on my nails, I like light colors, french manicures, light pinks sparkles etc. as for the house, I'm the same way.
I like the bolder colors. If I’m gonna go to the trouble of doing it (with all the blasted touch-ups that come with it), people are gonna notice!
What beauty product do you refuse to leave the house without?
What’s a beauty product? :P I don’t wear makeup and only just recently starting painting my nails, though I’m rather addicted to the nail thing now.
Wish I was brave enough to do the no makeup thing. Sadly, I am not, even though my husband says I should.
Whereas mine wishes I would, just because while I’m pretty without it, he thinks I look even better with it.
Do you have a smart phone? If so exactly how addicted to it are you? Be honest :-)
Incredibly addicted, no doubt about it. I check it constantly. You know you got it bad when, in the middle of the night, since I use it as a flashlight when I go pacify the twins, I check my email while stumbling between their room and mine.
I use mine as a flashlight too! lol. And I always have emails, it got to the point that my husband and I leave our phones off or in the car when we go to dinner just so there is no distractions.
What are you're must haves and do's before you sit down to write? Ie coffee, tea, favorite blanket, exercise etc.
The only thing I must have is my computer, pretty much. In the morning, I need to have drunk some coffee, or be in the midst of drinking some, but the rest of the day it’s not such a big deal. I usually have Facebook up and running in the background (feel free to check me out there – authortorymichaels is me personally, and thedreamwalkerwar is my series page!)
Very cool, I'll be sure to do that. If I'm writing I have to disconnect my Internet or I get nothing done. lol.
I think I’m gonna have to do that. I’m not getting stuff done anymore.
Are you an early bird or a night owl?
I am a night owl turned early bird. It’s disgusting. :P
That would wreck all kinds of havoc with my system if I had to do that (which some day I will I'm sure when I have kids lol)
Yeah. They definitely make me get up, even on days when I’d rather not.
Well, thanks again for being a guest today I’ve enjoyed having you.
If you’re interested in learning more about Tory Michaels you can find her on:
Also, stay tuned for my review of Blood Rage which will be posted on February 19, 2012.
Until Next Time,