Michelle Scott, if you've been paying attention to my blog, is the author of the Lilith Straight series. She's a lovely woman and I had the chance to email her a few times, all though embarrassingly I didn't even realise she was the author at first she was so nice and I hadn't had a chance to read the books at that point. However she did answer some of my questions so enjoy.
Me: What inspired you to write such an interesting and unique book series?
Michelle: I wanted to write a series about a woman who, through no fault of her own, is faced with an impossible decision: either she must follow in her mother’s footsteps by becoming the Devil’s handmaiden, or she has to pass the position on to her eight-year-old daughter. I’ve always loved stories in which characters are forced to make extreme choices because I think it’s when those choices are made that the person’s true nature is revealed.
Me: As a Teen/Young Adult who was your favorite author? And would you say that has changed now you're an adult? If so, to whom?
Michelle: I started reading Stephen King when I was in high school, and I still love his work. Even now, he manages to scare the stuffing out of me!
As a teen, I was also very interested in dystopian fiction like George Orwell’s 1984 and Adolous Huxley’s Brave, New World. Although I’m not as much of a horror reader as I used to be (SK spoiled me for all others, lol), I still love a good dystopian novel. The Hunger Games trilogy have been favorites of mine. I also like to read more nonfiction than I used to. I find books like The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean fascinating.
Me: Out of all the characters you have written, which do you prefer most and/or least?
Michelle: Tommy, the bald-headed man with all the tats and piercings, will always be my favorite character. He’s sweet, sensitive, patient, and very spiritual. He’s what I aspire to be. I’m also fond of Mr. Clerk, Miss Spry’s overworked assistant, who has a very interesting history. On the other hand, I really hate Ariel’s mother, Tanya, because of the things she’s put her daughter through. To me, Tanya is like the anti-Lilith Straight. Tanya would have thrown her daughter to the Devil and then gone off to the liquor store without a second thought.
Me: Do you have more ideas for different novels that you will be writing sometime in the future?
Michelle: Always! In fact, I have so many ideas that sometimes it’s difficult to focus on just one. I’ll start a book, then come up with an idea for another book, and then start that one as well. Right now, I’m working on another urban fantasy that involves an actress, a vampire, and a guy who owns a comic book store.
Me: Did you always know you wanted to write or was it just a hobby?
Michelle: I always knew that I wanted to write, but I wasn’t always sure that I wanted to publish. As a kid, I wrote all the time, but for fun. In high school, I wrote as well, but kept my work to myself. College was just a blur. It wasn’t until a few years after I got married and had kids that I knew I was going to try publishing.
Me: Any words of wisdom for people who want to become a published author?
Michelle: Write every day, but don’t let your writing get in the way of your real life. On the one hand, writers needs the discipline to sit down and actually put words on the page. Yet, it can become too easy to let those stories tear you away from your family and friends. I try to keep regular writing hours, so that people know when to not disturb me. Then, after I’ve finished my work, I work to focus on my ‘real’ life.
Me: Do you ever look back on your published work and think 'If only I could have it back, there's things I would like to tweak'?
Michelle: Definitely!! Sometimes, I’ll want to bang my head on the desk. This is why I try not to go back and read what I’ve published before. Oftentimes, it can’t be helped (like in the case of the Straight series because I often have to re-check what went on in past books). On the other hand, I have enough confidence in myself to know that when I was writing those previous books, I had a good reason for writing what I did.
Me: What do you think is so fascinating about heaven and hell?
Michelle: I was raised in a very strict, religious household, and I heard a lot of stories about both God and the devil when I was growing up. When I sat in church, I would read the book of Revelations from the Bible because the stories both scared and intrigued me. I’m also a huge fan of C.S. Lewis, and my favorite book by him, The Great Divorce, tells the story of a man who travels to heaven in a bus. That image has always stuck in my mind. To me, the afterlife represents amazing, unexplored territory, and it allows me to stretch my imagination to the fullest.
Me: If you had to choose, would you be a naughty or nice?
Michelle: Let’s just say my halo is tarnished in spots. When I’m thinking rationally, I’ll always go with nice, but in the heat of the moment (such as when a driver cuts me off on the freeway during rush hour), my horns start to show. I guess that’s the human condition.
Me: What is the most interesting or memorable thing someone ever asked or told you about your books?
Michelle: I once had a reviewer say that she started by book right before she went to bed at 11:00, but she couldn’t put the book down and ended up finishing it at two in the morning. That was the nicest compliment I ever got!
Me: When can we get another installment of your Lilith Straight Series?
Michelle: Book three will be coming out next winter. I’m already excited about it!
As are we.