My MC D’Alton
Michelle Somers is a bookworm from way back. An ex-Kiwi who now calls Australia home, she’s a professional killer and matchmaker, a storyteller and a romantic. Words are her power and her passion. Her heroes and heroines always get their happy ever after, but she’ll put them through one hell of a journey to get there.
Michelle lives in Melbourne, Australia, with her real life hero and three not-so-little heroes in the making. And her writing companion, a black cat named Emerald who thinks she’s a dog. Her debut novel, Lethal in Love won the Romance Writers of Australia’s 2016 Romantic Book of the Year (RuBY) and the 2013 Valerie Parv Award. The second book in her Melbourne Murder Series, Murder Most Unusual, was released in 2017, along with Simply Synopsis, the first book in her non-fiction Simply Writing Series.
Q. What got you interested in writing?
I’d have to say my parents. I’ve listened to and loved stories for as long as I can remember. Pretty much from birth, I’d say. Mum and Dad read to both my brother and I until we were old enough to read to ourselves. I was three. That was the moment the world opened up for me.
Books have always been such a huge part of my life that writing seemed a natural progression. When I first started writing – or more accurately, typing on my Mum’s old Olivetti typewriter – my words were more about identifying my thoughts and feelings. Writing was a way for my teen self to manage and process my emotions. I wrote about how I felt, about how the world was, and about how I wanted it to be.
Now I write about the light and dark side of life. Yes, I do murder more than a few characters in each of my books, but don’t worry, there’s almost always a happy ever after.
Q. How long have you been writing?
In a general sense, since I was old enough to hold pen to paper. But in terms of full length novels, I started the day my youngest toddled off to kinder. I’d toyed with the idea of ‘writing for real’ for so long. I could even use that old cliché term, it was ‘my dream’. But it wasn’t until that moment, after I’d waved my little boy goodbye and wondered how I’d fill my very first day without him, that I dredged up the courage to move my dreams from the wishing well to reality.
I borrowed hubby’s old, only-just-still-working laptop, sat down with a coffee and a whole lot of ideas rolling around in my head, and started my first book. 80,000 words later I had a whole story, one which will never know the light of day – not in its current form, that is. After finishing that book, I discovered three very important facts: 1. Romance wasn’t as easy to write as I’d first imagined. 2. I didn’t know the first thing about writing well. 3. There were people out there who did – and they had formed writing groups such as the Melbourne Romance Writers Guild and Romance Writers of Australia.
I promptly joined both, and haven’t looked back since. 🙂
Q. Do you have any goals/projects in the pipeline?
Yes, too many!
I’m working on a new series set in Chicago. A sassy heroine, a secret agent, and lies that span a nation. The project has proven to be bigger than not only Ben Hur, but the entire Roman dynasty. 🙂
I’ve always got a couple of novellas and short stories on the go. Some contain romance or romantic elements, others venture down the psychological suspense path.
I’m also working on books 2 and 3 in my Simply Writing Series. One on characterisation and one on submissions and the tools we need to sell our stories. Watch this space . . .
And then there’s the re-release of my debut novel, Lethal in Love. I’m so excited about rebranding this story and sending it back out into the world.
Q. What do you like most about writing?
Oh, so many things. But mostly, the escape. And perhaps a little murderous intent…. Lol! I love the freedom writing provides, to create characters and situations that are far from my reality. I also love the opportunity to delve into the human psyche and the ever elusive question, ‘why?’ Why do people fall in love? What makes one person decide to stalk and kill another? What brings people together and what tears them apart?
Then I make sure I do all of the above in my stories <rubs hands with glee>
Q. What genre do you write?
Mostly romantic suspense. Occasionally I dabble in something darker, like psychological suspense.
Q. What draws you to this genre?
My all-time favourite genres to read have always been romance, along with a mix of mysteries, crimes and psychological thrillers. Romantic suspense gives me the opportunity to meld the all of these, and enjoy them equally in the same story.
And, of course, love and murder are similar in so many ways. Both are driven by the same force – human emotion. Whether that be passion, hunger, jealousy or greed. Or simply the need to be noticed, accepted or loved. It’s such a challenge to explore both, and still have that wonderful happy every after regardless of what comes before.
Q. Where do you get your ideas?
Everywhere, really. Life provides an abundance of inspiration if only we pay attention.
Sometimes it’s a thought or something someone says. It might be something in the media, or something I see when I’m out and about. Or sometimes it’s a ‘what if?’ moment, a point in time where I picture a situation and question what would happen if I threw a curveball and some human emotion into the mix.
One day, a few years back, I pictured a woman in the middle of a cow paddock, in the early hours of the morning, on the first dry night after a week of solid rainfall. Then came the questions. What was she doing there? I could see her struggling with something. What was it? She falls over. What was she thinking? The area is dark, secluded, eerie. Is she alone?
Turns out she wasn’t.
And this ‘vision’ formed the opening scene to Murder Most Unusual.
Q. Tell us about your process, how do you get into a writing mindset?
As writers, I think we’re always ‘writing’ in some format or another. Whether it be just thinking about our story, our characters, how we can torment them just a little bit more J
But when I’m ready to write, all I really need is an idea, my laptop, and no distractions. It helps if hubby and the kids are out, and only me and Emmie, my writing companion, are home.
Q. What are you working on at the moment?
As I mentioned above, I’ve a few projects on the boil. But primarily, I’m working on the re-release of Lethal in Love and the second book in my Simply Writing Series called Simply Characters.
Q. Which writers inspire/influence you?
There are so many writers that I both love and aspire to match in terms of success and writing prowess: Harlan Coben, Jeffrey Archer, Louisa May Alcott (love, love, loved Little Women), Charlotte Bronte (Jane Eyre was my first real ‘grown-up’ romance novel) and Jane Austen.
I guess a modern day inspiration is JK Rowling. I love her determination, her humility, and her contributions both inside and out of the writing community. I loved her Harry Potter series, and how it inspired so many young people who may not have read before, to read. And I love the fact that she’s fallen off the Forbes billionaire list because she’s more interested in helping people than sticking with a group of people who have more money than an entire small nation needs.
In her words: ‘You have a moral responsibility when you’ve been given far more than you need, to do wise things with it and give intelligently.’
This isn’t just about monetary wealth. It’s about knowledge. About sharing information and ideas to help others who are less advanced in their journey. That’s one of the many reasons I love RWA. Within this group, there are so many writers who give back. Who I admire immensely. Who share and inspire, and make a difference. All under the radar, and not for any other reason but they can.
Q. What else about your writing journey should we know?
I guess if there’s one thing I’d like to say, it’s that although writing can be a solitary business, we’re never truly alone. I feel blessed to be part of a bigger community – my writing groups, Melbourne Romance Writers Guild and the Romance Roomies, and RWA of course.
Through these groups I’ve formed amazing friendships, and found love and support in the most surprising of places.
The romance writing community is amazing, and I can’t help but acknowledge that I wouldn’t be where I am now without it. So many people have shared their knowledge and art with this once newbie writer who didn’t have a clue what ‘show, don’t tell’ and ‘GMC’ was. If not for these amazing people, my journey would have been so different.
It’s to them, and all the wonderful writers who fill and enrich my life, that I want to say ‘thank you’ for giving so selflessly and freely. You guys rock.
Q. Where can we find you?
I’m everywhere man! 🙂
My website www.michelle-somers.com where you can sign up for my newsletter and keep up-to-date with any news.
Also on social media:
To find out more about Murder Most Unusual, you can also click here! http://www.books2read.com/MurderMostUnusual
Michelle, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today!