For the original interview, please visit With Love For Books
1. Could you tell our readers a bit about yourself?
I’m a Kiwi, born and raised in Wellington, New Zealand, who now calls Australia home. Sounds very song-like, doesn’t it?
That, however, is where the song ends. I studied microbiology and genetics at Massey University, then after gaining my Bachelor of Science, I took off for overseas. After an amazing three years of travelling, I moved and settled in Melbourne, Australia, where I met an amazing man I am proud to call my husband. That was twenty years ago.
Now I live in this wonderful cosmopolitan city and I can’t imagine calling anywhere else home.
My writing career has been an incredible journey. I’m lucky to have four beautiful, loving and supportive men in my life.
They understand there are times I need to sit at my keyboard and write. But there are times when I close my laptop, mostly switch off my internal writer and enjoy some quality family time. That might be a movie night or one of our board-game bonanza nights. It might be watching the boys at piano, taekwondo, footy or cricket, or supporting them in their endeavors in Cubs and Scouts. Or maybe we just take time out one afternoon and go for a family run. Those down-times recharge me so that when I open my laptop once again I’m fresh and the words and ideas flow.
Danny has been my greatest champion, buffering me up in those downtimes and cheering me on through the highs.
My three boys, Josh, Nathan and Gabriel, have watched their Mummy put her heart and soul into her dream. I hope that through all of this I’ve been able to show them that dreams really do come true. All you need to do is believe and then go out there and make it happen.
It’s a lesson I wish I learned much earlier. If you’re passionate enough about something, success can’t help but come your way.
2. Of course I have visited your website. You speak about your boys with so much love. How old are they?
Danny and I are blessed with three beautiful boys: Joshua (11), Nathan (10) and Gabriel (8).
They are incredible kids – of course I’m not in the least bit biased! They are fun and loving and so very talented. I’m proud of the fearless way they embrace the world and put 110% of their heart into everything they do. They keep me grounded and sane, and well stocked with a never-ending supply of hugs and kisses.
Along with my husband, they are my greatest gift.
3. If your sons had a chance to describe their mother what would they say?
After receiving your email, rather than guessing, I decided to ask them your question.
I have to admit, their answers made me more than a little teary.
Nathan was the first and most eager to answer, and the other two pretty much echoed his sentiments.
These are Nathan’s words.
I’m really proud of Mummy for finding something that she really loves. She wanted to write books, so she did. And she kept on writing until her book got published. She worked hard and believed in herself, and it worked.
4. On your blog you have Words of Wisdom (which I absolutely love).
You use a quote from Walt Disney. What’s your favorite Disney character and why?
I love Disney. He’s such an icon. A true inspiration. A man who had a vision and just went for it. It’s as simple as that.
Here’s that quote.
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
Of all the things Disney has said in his lifetime, this quote especially moves me. It’s become my mantra and a mindset I try to follow, every single day.
As far as a favorite Disney character, I have so many, but if I were to pick one it would have to be Aladdin.
I love a story when the underdog rises up and realises a dream. I’m a great advocate of believing in oneself, of not listening to any voice other than the one that says you can do anything, be anything, as long as you believe.
“All you need is faith, trust and a little bit of fairy dust.”
To the soldiers in the city of Agrabah, Aladdin was a street rat. But their opinion wasn’t what defined him. It was his belief that they were right.
He thought he needed the genie’s magic to be someone. What he didn’t realize was that all the magic he needed was inside him all along.
His journey to discovery was a heart-wrenching one, but in the end he dug deep and found the courage to release the genie. At this stage, he has no thought of failure, just the knowledge that he must succeed, to save the Princess. To save Agrabah. To save himself. By focusing on the positive, he achieves what no one else could. He defeats the evil Jafar, saves the city and wins the girl.
Aladdin may be a fictional character, but the principles driving his success are real.
I like to think that we all have that ability in us, to succeed in whatever we desire, if only we believe.
5. On your website it says you are a matchmaker. What is the best match you have ever made happen?
Haha! I wish my answer here was more interesting. I can’t claim credit for any real life matches, more’s the pity.
I am, however, very proud to have matched several unlikely characters in the pages of my books. To date, my favorites are Chase and Stacey – a homicide detective and a romantic suspense author. One lives amidst the horrors of the real world and one creates them for fun. I loved throwing these two very different people into the same mixing pot, stirring, and watching for their reaction.
Funny what we writers do for entertainment, isn’t it?
6. I loved your character Jayda. What inspired you to create her?
I had very little hand in creating Jayda. Consciously, that is.
Jayda and Seth’s story percolated in the back of my mind for years. I’d always dreamed of being a writer. I love a great romance and equal contenders for that love are crime and suspense. As my youngest baby toddled off to kinder five years ago, I was left with time and a sudden urge to put my lifelong dream into action.
I embarked on a writing journey that lead me to explore the idea of romantic suspense. As soon as I started typing, Jayda leapt onto my pages and I enjoyed every moment of getting to know her as the story of Lethal in Love developed.
I started with a photo as inspiration. Then, slowly, brick by brick, experience by experience, a two-dimensional image developed into the multi-dimensional character that became Jayda Thomasz.
I wanted a strong female heroine. Tough, sassy, but with an underlying softness and vulnerability that she hides from all but those she trusts. I’ve read countless stories where the hero wields the gun, so I thought it time to turn the tables and hand the weapon to a woman.
Enter Jayda Thomasz.
Jayda is a homicide detective foremost and a woman last. Then she enters a swinger’s club undercover and meets Seth. One kiss and he turns her every preconceived notion about sex and love to dust.
I love the thought of a sexy hero challenging everything she’s ever believed in.
Her only dilemma? What fuels Seth’s interest in her? Does he want her for the story or herself?
I love this conflict, and even more, I love deep, dark secrets of the past clawing their way into the present.
I often get asked the question, did I inject much of myself into Jayda?
The answer? Not even a little. She’s brave and courageous, a coffee snob and connoisseur. I drink my coffee weak and skinny and sweet. Jayda would be horrified.
One thing we do have in common though – we both searched for and found our own real life happy ever after.
7. You’ll be introducing us to Chase’s story. When will that be?
Chase’s story, working title Murder Most Unusual, is almost finished the first draft stage. I’m hoping this story will be released mid next year.
Here’s a little teaser of what to expect:
Author Stacey Holland lives in a fictitious world where the mortality of her characters is governed by a tap on her keyboard. Homicide detective Chase Durant’s cases are real and gritty, where one wrong move could be your last. When their two worlds collide, and fiction melds with fact, can they fight the attraction raging between them, all-the-while fighting the killer determined to destroy them both?
If you want to be kept up-to-date with any new releases, including updates on Murder Most Unusual, the best way to do this is to sign up for my newsletter. I only send one out when I have news, so I promise you won’t get inundated with emails.
Here’s the link: http://www.michelle-somers.com/
8. If you could introduce a new author to us who would that be?
Wow, that’s such a difficult task. I know so many wonderful new writers, but saying that, one person immediately springs to mind.
She’s a friend and inspiration, a fabulous new author and winner of AusRom Today’s Reader’s Choice Award 2015 – Tess Woods. Her debut novel, Love at First Flight, is a brave and honest look at infidelity. It’s a story of love, of betrayal, of growth and forgiveness. And it’s well worth a read.
Here’s a little rundown I grabbed from Tess’s website:
Looking back on it now, I can see it was instant. The second we locked eyes. Boom. Just like that. The me I had spent a lifetime perfecting began its disintegration from that moment. And despite the carnage it brought to all our lives, I still don’t regret it.
What would you risk to be with the love of your life? And what if your soul mate is the one who will destroy you?
Mel is living the dream. She’s a successful GP, married to a charming anesthetist and raising a beautiful family in their plush home in Perth. But when she boards a flight to Melbourne, she meets Matt and her picture perfect Stepford life unravels as she falls in love for the first time ever.
What begins as a flirty conversation between strangers quickly develops into a hot and obsessive affair with disastrous consequences neither Mel nor Matt could have ever seen coming. Mel’s dream life turns into her worst nightmare.
Love at First Flight will take everything you believe about what true love is and spin it on its head. Once I started reading, I just couldn’t stop.
9. Could you give us one thing that we should all do today?
It’s so easy to get caught up in life’s crazy hustle and bustle. Often we look around and see the things we don’t have, the things we want, and we often forget to take stock of all that we already have.
A couple of years ago I saw a post on Facebook about a lady who started up a gratitude box, and every or most days she’d acknowledge the good stuff that happened in her life by writing it on a piece of paper and then putting it into a little box. On New Year’s Eve, at the end of that year, she opened the box and relived all those wonderful things again. I thought it was such a great idea, I decided to try it out.
The five of us each found an old money box and I cut up a whole lot of paper. We didn’t end up writing every day, but we did write something every few days. The kids embraced the practice in a way that completely surprised me.
It’s amazing when you begin to change your mindset, how easy it becomes to find the positives in your life. And then, how many more positives tumble on in as a consequence.
This past year we didn’t do a gratitude box, but we’d often chat about the good stuff that happened that day or week. Just before Christmas this year, we sat down as a family and each listed 10 things we were grateful for in 2015 – 10 things that made us happy or proud or just plain grateful. Then we listed 5 things we are looking forward to doing or achieving in 2016.
I hope this is something the boys will do long after they leave home and create families of their own.
I am grateful for so many things. My family, my friends, the freedom to be able to live my life as I do and spend my days doing what I love. The writing that gives me so much pleasure, and hopefully gives just as much pleasure to my readers.
And you, Anniek, for giving me the opportunity to talk about one of my favorite topics. Writing. Once I start, I just don’t want to stop! ☺
10. What more do you have in store for your readers?
After Murder Most Unusual, I have a totally new series that I can’t wait to share. A kind of Stephanie Plum meets James Bond scenario set in the US. It’s full of suspense and tension, and some weird, wacky and wonderful characters. And more than a few surprises.
I’ll be able to share a lot more in 2016. What I can tell you is it’s going to be a blast!
Review by Anniek
Jayda struggles with her family tragedy and finds an ally in Seth who helps her with her quest to track down the Night Terror Killer.