Erotic Romance Author
I have the pleasure of introducing you to a writing team who write under the name Michele Hope. They live in Louisiana so I'm sending prayers down their way this week that they don't get washed out to sea with the tropical storm that hit land the other day. Please join me in welcoming these two this week!
Tonya: Tell us a bit about yourself. I understand you have a writing partner.
Michele: Okay, let me see here. About eight years ago, I had become accustomed to Midwestern winters and scraping ice off my windshield. Then suddenly and without notice, this Southern boy, possessed of fabulous looks and entirely too much charm fell out of the sky like a piece of space junk. He landed smack dab in the middle of my life. He did what he does best, charmed me and then swept me away to this green-gold banana republique de Louisiane. Oh how I suffer *holds hand to forehead and sighs* these warmer temps! I now reside beside this beautiful, lazy bayou and surround myself in wildflowers, my wonderful and devoted animal companions and yes, that Southern man. I write, fish, and make, as my sweet Mother-in-Law would say in her deepest drawl, exquiiiiiiisite stained glass pendants and jewelry. And I contemplate. Or just daydream. Occasionally we go to town. A girl needs to dress-up and wear heels from time to time. We write together and separately, collaborating on the stories.
Tonya: Your lives sound fun and relaxing! Do you have a day job?
Michele: Yes, yes I do. Well, kinda', sorta'. I'm a BIG BASS FISHWOMAN! HA! Honestly, we have this absolutely beautiful bayou right down the walk at the back yard's edge. It flows in time continuum. Wish I could post you a jpg. Michael, au natural Louisiana boy, is a great guide and gets a big kick out of putting me in great places to catch big fish. Hmm...that's not really a job is it? Okay, I already told you, I make stained glass jewelry, pendants mostly, using the many native wild flowers that grow in our woods and around our bayou. The pieces are marketed nationally. My husband is a very accomplished and successful illustrator, recipient of numerous prestigious grants and has a teaching position at a university in town. We do pretty well. I'm a lucky girl.
Tonya: Well congrats on the luck and it sounds like things are working out for you! Some of us have things we do to get into the writing frame of mind like music, or drinks. Do you have anything special you do to get into the writing mood
Michele: I'd like to say there is, but honestly I can't think of a single thing other than the mood simply striking me. I (we) write kinda' in spurts. Very prolific for a few days and nights and then, the urge or necessity to do so just slips away. I suppose some would question our commitment, and that's okay. I don't ever want it to feel like a job. I work hard at it and then I don't. We're new to this business and much to our amazement, have had every story contracted so far. See here, I'm digressing, "Oh. . . look at the kitty!" I do know this; when either of us write, no matter what it may be, we like as few of distractions as possible. I'm guessing most writers are that way, so we're no different. That's why we write at night. The house is quiet and our animals are down for evening. No TV or phone calls. I love listening to some jazz. No lyrics, just the rhythm and syncopation. Before I'm even aware, it's 3AM!
Tonya: Well I can certainly relate to writing at 3 AM! Hubby understand how my brain works too, so that's good. Do you have a card file where you keep story ideas? Where do they come from?
Michele: I should have warned you about asking me tough questions! Tonya, please, I prefer the easy ones. Nope, no card file other than in my little pea brain. We talk about a story, you know setting, season, situations, all that stuff. In the few stories we've had published, we have used the same two protagonists and spin sexy, provocative scenarios around them and their adventures. Ideas are out there by the zillions, it's simply a matter of capturing one. The initial notion or concept may end up being in the middle or even the end of a story and we create the balance to fit around the original idea. My husband is an excellent wordsmith; his ability for description is the perfect balance for my ideas. I'm the creative genius behind all these fantasies. HAhaha again! He would tell you that he doesn't have all that many ideas or concepts (BS!), that it's me who is the dreamer and conceives the story line and he helps, adds so much to description. Several years ago, we decided to write a true romance novel. And we did, it's over 100K and still unedited. For the life of me, I can't really remember what prompted us to begin writing erotica, but I do know this. It was a business decision; thinking that, since neither of us were published (other than dissertations Michael has written and bien sur, all his grant writing) that getting some erotic shorts published would be a good first step to the publication of our novel.
Tonya: Can you tell us a bit about how things are going for you with your publisher?
Michele: Writing seems like a full time job with promo and marketing added in! The two publishers we've been fortunate to have so far, have held our hands, done some excellent editing, handled all the cover art and most the promotional aspects. We take it seriously, but mostly we've just had fun with the erotica *wink* We're still on the ascending part of the learning curve. It's been a great adventure, even the alter-ego aspect of it. With the exception of a few close friends and family, very few people have made the connection to just who Michele Hope is. All in due time, but it's entertaining
Tonya: Are you a daytime writer, night time writer, and do you have to be alone to write?
Michele: Night time mostly and absolutely have to be alone. Or, I can go sit on the dock with dogs and work contendedly. We live on our farm, about 25 miles from town. As peaceful and compelling as this place is, what with being surrounded by lush Louisiana woods and all the water, water, water everywhere, it's sometimes difficult to stay indoors. As I mentioned, a bayou runs at the yard's edge. Michael retired from farming some years back, but there is still and always something that needs tending around here. And . . . I have to pic les fleurs savage!
Tonya: You property sounds wonderful for writing! Do you write better when you first have an idea of what your characters look like or do you write, then add character looks?
Michele: So far we've only used our two protagonists and a few 'incidental' characters. We have a well defined sense of who they are, as do the characters themselves, what they look like and how they will act and react in most any situation.
Tonya: We’re dying to hear about your latest book. What can you tell us without spoiling the storyline?
Michele: Well okay. We just got contracted the other day. Our adventurous and happily married young couple with devastatingly good looks and an abundance of that aforementioned Southern charm attend a charity ball at a fabulous antebellum home and everybody gets lucky. And not just our very handsome couple. They find an unsuspecting victim or...a fortunate recipient of all that charm. The reader can decide.
Tonya: Congratulations on the new contract! That’s wonderful news. Where can our readers find you and your books?
Michele: Summerhouse Publishing took a chance on us first. We will forever be indebted to them for having taught us so much. Most recently, Rebel Ink Press contracted our latest story. As any good publisher and this is why we seek them out, they have handled all the publicity, reviews and distribution. The stories are available on Amazon, B&N, BookStrand, ARe, most the usual e-line distributors. We are in the process of developing a website. Those who know more than we, and that's just about everybody, informs us that it’s a must. As soon as I get back from fishing, I'm gonna' work on that. We did develop a FaceBook page for Michele Hope because any slow thinker can do that. I cannot tell you how many wonderful people in this industry that we have met. I simply had NO idea there were that many people, groups, writers, publishers & editors, not to mention fans. Many have become good friend and we've never actually met a single one. They live all over the world. We sought out many successful writers to begin with and continue adding those professional type personalities. I suspect none to be strangers to you, and each and everyone has been so enormously supportive of two beginners like us.
Tonya: We wish you luck in your writing career and our readers are always on the lookout for new authors. Is there anything else you want to tell our readers?
Michele: Thank you for taking a chance on us, two (or one) unknown writers. Stick with us and we hope (no play on words) that it'll only get better.
Tonya: Let’s do a few fun questions. What is your favorite night time snack?
Michele: I don't eat much after supper. I might have a glass of wine. Michael will eat anything, anytime. He's quite amazing and I'm quite envious. Still the ex-jock, calories away from him. He works at staying fit . . . an it shows! Did I mention, I'm a lucky girl?
Tonya: You’re lucky that your husband writes with you! Michael, we’re glad you’re lurking in the background! *wink* Do you like toppings on your ice cream?
Michele: Why yes I do! Chocolate and nuts mostly
Tonya: What’s your favorite meal - Italian, Mexican, Thai, etc?
Michele: Tonya, are you kidding? Why Louisiana cuisine of course. Where we live, the very best food en tout le monde is served everyday on any plate or any bowl at any café. Remember, I'm from the Midwest and it was all so new to me. I never ate so much good food! It's not any particular restaurant or dish. Michael says there's really no secret to it, "Just cook it slow and season it rightly." Here . . . eating is a culture!
Tonya: Michele…and Michael, I’m glad you could be with us this week and we hope things don’t get too messy for you in Louisiana!
Excerpt - From "Service Rendered: A handsome, charming and adventurous couple depart their plantation home for an evening of elegant partying. Our prettiest of Southern belles has given thoughtful consideration, not only to her ensemble, but to the many possibilities the evening may hold. After arriving at the grand antebellum home for a charity ball, their evening progresses with friendly, warm and gracious hospitality. Our lovely chatelaine decides to heat up the night, first with an unexpected flirtatious encounter with an equally beautiful woman in the lady's room. Then finding her handsome and commanding husband at the bar, she insists on playtime. Their moment leads to seduction and a guest room with an antique vanity . . . all with a young bartender in tow.
Bio: Just refer back to the very first question. That pretty much says it all for the part of my life that counts the most.