Reading in the Sun – Interview with Michelle Somers & Giveaway

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1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m an ex-Kiwi, now Aussie. A mother of three. A chocoholic. Read-a-holic. Romance-a-holic. Runner. Photographer. Crime show addict. Rom com movie buff. And last, but nowhere near least, a writer. I make people fall in love, kill a character or two along the way, but there’s always a happy ending (my husband’s words, not mine).

I’ve worked in an Austrian ski resort, on a six star cruise ship which just happened to be the biggest twin-hulled vessel ever built and in an English pub. I’ve lived in London for a year, oh, too many years ago. Cleaned Marks and Spencers and grouted bathrooms in a large Marble Arch hotel. I’ve travelled through Europe, South America and parts of the Caribbean, and yet it wasn’t until I moved to Melbourne, Australia that I met my own real life hero.

Danny and I are approaching our sixteenth wedding anniversary this March. With him and my three heroes in the making I am living my own happy ever after.

2. What kind of books do you bring with you when you go on holiday?
Anything engaging, enthralling and exciting – can you tell I love alliteration? Lol!

For me, those three e’s mean romance in some form or another. Whether it be contemporary romance, romantic comedy, romantic suspense or something crimish/thrillerish with romantic elements.

3. If you could spend a sunny day anywhere how would your perfect day look like?
A sparkling pool, brilliant blue sky, a sun lounger, silence, a cosmopolitan cocktail or two, and either a book to read or my laptop to write.

4. Could you tell us about your hobbies (when you are not writing or reading)?

One of my biggest hobbies – and joys – is my family. I love spending time with the four special men in my life – Danny and my 3 boys, Josh, Nathan and Gabriel. We have fabulous movie nights and game nights most weekends, as well as regularly during school holidays. We’re on a massive Merlin binge at the moment, but we also love Big Bang Theory and The Simpsons. Our favourite choices for game nights are rummy tiles, Uno, Cashflow, Jungle Speed and Shout.

My other hobbies include running (usually as a family), photography and scrapbooking.

5. Where do you find the inspiration for your stories?

I find everyday life a constant supply of ideas and light-bulb moments. As a writer, my brain seldom switches off. Every moment is an opportunity for new direction and inspiration in either existing or new stories. Whether inspiration comes from a strange combination of groceries in someone’s shopping basket or someone acting suspiciously on the streets or an unusual expression on the face of a passenger in a passing car.

I might hear a noise, catch an aroma, spot a flash of something, and my imagination takes over. It’s one of the things I love about being an author – behind everything I see and hear lies a story. Fabulous when I’m looking for inspiration, unless it’s 2am and my mind is hurtling at full speed instead of allowing me to sleep!

6. If you could be any leading character from a bestselling book, who would you be and why?
Wow, this is so hard. Of all the questions, this threw me the most to the point where I found myself thinking and rethinking my answer.

There are so many strong female characters that I could choose here, but funnily enough, the first that comes to mind is Lucy from C.S.Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.

Apart from this being a favorite childhood story, I’ve always loved Lucy as a character, even before I understood the importance of character arc and growth.

Lucy was such a rounded character, such an inspiration. Her journey toward self-realization was one of strength and courage, and at the end of her story, I saw a young girl realize her true ability, her true worth. She saved a world and its people, became a hero and a queen, without once losing her humility or her humanity.

How could I possibly choose another character to aspire to be?

7. What’s your favorite reading spot?
Anywhere warm and comfy with my cat, Emerald, purring by my side.

8. What is your favorite holiday destination and what do you like so much about it?
I don’t really have a favourite holiday destination, as such. We don’t tend to go on many fancy family holidays (much as I love the laze-around-the-pool-with-cocktails-and-a-good-book getaways). When we do go away, we pack up our camper trailer, pile into our car and drive.

Danny and the boys love camping, and I have to admit, now we have the camper trailer, I love it too. The fun and quality family-time makes up for the lack of luxury and lazy-pool-lying. And I still get to take my kindle, my laptop and the odd cocktail ingredients along with us.

9. Do you have any advice for authors who would like to write a sunny story?
Haha! You’re asking an author who features suspense and serial killers in most of her stories.

But seriously, I believe sunny stories are stories that come from the heart.

I’d say, think of the things you love, the things that make you feel good, and put them into your story. Delve into your soul and dig deep into your characters. Find out what makes them unique, what makes them who they are on the page, then challenge them and make them grow. Throw trouble their way, but let them triumph.

And if you’re a romance lover like me, let them win their happy ever after at their journey’s end. A story that hauls the characters through hell before delivering heaven is one that will enthral and enrich your reader’s experience. They’ll turn page after page, unable to stop until the very last word. Only then will they close that book, with satisfaction and a smile, and walk away having made a new friend.

Stories that do all this… well, I reckon they’re the sunniest stories of all.

10. What can we expect from you in the future?

Chase’s story, Murder Most Unusual, is undergoing its final draft stage. I’m hoping this story will be released late-2016.

Here’s a 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?

Exciting, right?

I’m also working on an anthology of psychological thriller short stories, as well as a series of non-fiction ‘how to’ books for authors.

And in terms of big projects, I have a totally new series that I can’t wait to sink my teeth into. 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 once I start writing later this year. What I can tell you is it’s going to be a blast!

Thank you visiting and taking the time to find out more about both me and my writing.

Please stay a little longer and leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

In Murder Most Unusual, my heroine Stacey has a green tree python and a black sphinx cat. She’s pretty wacky, but I’m sure there are wackier pet owners out there. What’s the wackiest animal you’ve ever heard of someone having as a pet? Or maybe you have a wacky pet yourself? I had a friend once who had a worm-farm near his bed and I was so envious. I was eight at the time. Must admit, I no longer have that envy.

For those of you who haven’t had a chance to check out Lethal in Love, here’s the blurb:

Homicide detective, Jayda Thomasz, never lets her emotions get in the way of a case. So when a serial killer re-emerges after 25 years, the last thing she expects is to catch herself fantasising over the hot, smooth-talking stranger who crosses the path of her investigation.

Reporter Seth Friedin is chasing the story that’ll make his career. When he enters the world of swinging for research, he never imagines he’ll be distracted by a hard-talking female detective whose kiss plagues his mind long after she’s gone.

Past experience has shown Jayda that reporters are ruthless and unscrupulous. But when the murders get personal and danger closes in, will she make a deal with the devil to catch the killer? How far will she and Seth have to go? And do you ever really know who you can trust?

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