Briana Michaels joins us today to talk about her favorite author-moments, what it feels like when her books go live, and how taking breaks helps her stay balanced.
Her Sins of the Sidhe Series is available now and FREE on Kindle Unlimited!
Book One, Shatter, is FREE TO ALL today and tomorrow only!
Tell us about you! Can you share some interesting tidbits we may not know?
I’m a paranormal romance writer and former events planner. Both are lovely careers, by the way.
I love being outside and hate having bees fly in my hair, which they do more than you’d think. I love scary movies, even though I only watch them in the daytime and I can eat my weight in bear claws.
I live on the side of a mountain with my husband, two children, a cat, and a lot of chickens. Since we’re smack dab in the woods, wildlife around here makes me feel like I’m living in a National Geographic show and I absolutely love it. Where I live now is very different from the small town I grew up in just outside of Baltimore (which my parents still live in nearly 40 years later!) but I still have a tremendous love for that city, and the town that was my stomping ground, which is why they are in my books.
“Writing is the food for my soul. Well, that and red wine.”
What inspired you to start writing?
I’d start by saying, “I had a dream” but it’s so cliché even if it’s the truth. I saw a guy in my head. He waited. I kept seeing him. He kept waiting.
Nearly six years of this vision and one night while driving home from dinner I announced I was going to write a book. And once I say I’m doing something, I do it. Two weeks later, voila! My first draft was done.
Little did I know it at the time, but whatever small fire I had in me then turned into a five-alarm blaze. A passion for writing exploded within me, folks. It wasn’t as messy as I’d have imagined it being, but it was rewarding, exciting, and slightly scary and I’m down with all three of those things =-)
Once I started writing, I wasn’t able to stop. Still can’t. Sometimes I look at my notes and see how far my vision is going with my stories and I shake my head thinking, “How on earth did I have all this in me?”
I’ve finally found my true passion in life. I may enjoy doing a lot of other things, but writing is the food for my soul. Well, that and red wine.
Other than writing, what are some of your passions in life?
Books: Reading is my hobby. I have books everywhere – every room, three in my car, and one in my purse, plus a library off the living room. I love to read. The bigger the book, the bigger my smile.
Being Creative: Besides event planning, I also taught preschool for a few years as well as an art class to little ones. That art class brought out the best in not only the four-year-olds, but in me as well. Painting, it turns out, is a very calming thing for me. Everyone should pick up a brush and bust out some paints from time to time.
Food: I love gardening – specifically food. I like to eat. A lot. And I’m forever in my kitchen working on a recipe. Growing my own food is a fun and rewarding experience that my husband and I enjoy doing together. Plus, the kids like eating what they grow. Got them to eat Bok Choy and Kale that way. =-)
What was your debut novel, and how has your writing process changed since your debut?
SHATTER is book 1 in my Sins of the Sidhe series. It was a thrill to write, but a nightmare to publish. As an Indie Author, my funds were limited then and still are now. I had mistakes in SHATTER that weren’t caught and therefore, the novel was sent out to the universe a wee bit ugly. Since then, I’ve done all I could to correct those mistakes and was able to send out a revised version, but that first year was tough. Not gonna lie. Thank God I’ve got some great readers who saw past my editing issues and loved the story anyway. For them, I will always be grateful. (Annnnnd now I’m about to cry). Since that first book, I have a small but mighty team of red pen queens who go through my stories very carefully. You ladies are amazing!!!!
I think the biggest thing I’ve been able to change since that first book was the way I separate Points of View (POV) because I have several in each book. In the first book, they blend a bit, just because of the natural way my characters come together, but in the other books, I’ve tried my best to separate the POVs for better readability.
I have a unique writing style. I hear that a lot. It’s because I write how I think and talk. It’s not all beautiful prose and satire. Sometimes it’s distraction, rage, and giggles. I like that about my writing. You’re in the head of many and their personalities come out in each paragraph. For me, it doesn’t get any better than that.
What is your favorite part of the writing/publishing process and why?
Getting that first great review.
When I publish a book, my nerves are shot, I’m nauseous, shaking, and dizzy. Seriously! Maybe it’s PTSD from that first edition of book 1, but I get so sick over it I can barely breathe.
Here’s how it goes:
I’ve just poured my heart and soul into a book. It’s been revised at least six times. It’s been put through the ringer with the red pens. Formatted, approved and…Then it goes LIVE! (gasp!)
Folks have pre-ordered it, so I know when they wake up, my novel is already on their Kindles. It’s out there. (breathe, breathe, breathe). People are reading it! (breathe, breathe, BREATHE)
Annnnnnd by the end of that first day, I’ll almost always have a review. Not only that, but by the end of the week, I’ll have a few messages in my inbox.
That’s the good stuff, man. The “it was worth bleeding my soul dry for” goodness.
What is your most challenging part of the writing/publishing process and what do you do to make it easier?
Staying focused on the current story is tough because my mind is racing all the time with what’s ahead. It’s the typical affliction of all writers: New characters are knockin’ on my door while the others who’ve been there a while start growling and snarling that they’ve waited long enough and want their turn.
It’s awful, really.
With the Sins of the Sidhe being a series, I have to always look for loopholes and cliffhangers that will keep readers interested and wanting the next story, but also bring closure in some way. I battle the urge to add more than necessary to “keep the story going” because I know where it IS going and I get all excited with my evil genius self. Saving those goodies and sprinkling them in each book is my big challenge. It will probably always be that way, too.
“Taking breaks keeps my head in the game.”
What does a typical day look like for you? How do you find balance?
I’ve grown in this area tremendously over the past year. In the beginning of my writing career I literally sat in front of the computer for ten solid hours a day. Longer if I could get away with it. The laundry piled up, I hissed at my empty coffee cup, and I lost a lot of weight because who the heck has time to eat when there’s a tall, dark, and dangerous caressing his woman? Seriously! Who can get up and make a PB&J at a time like that?!
This way of writing wasn’t good though. I was exhausted all the time and nothing else was ever done, which meant weekends became a cleaning/errand running marathon.
Now, I write for a couple hours in the morning, then get up and get things done. I ponder over what magnificence I’d written earlier, then go back to it and add more brilliance in the afternoon. When the kids and hubs get home, I stop, save, and start being a mom and wife again.
Stepping away in the middle of the day allows me to stop writing on a high note, and I jump right back into it immediately. When I was writing non-stop for hours and hours (sometimes up to sixteen hours in a day) I’d go back to see what I’d written, and I’d stare at the screen like “What the heck was this all about?”
Taking breaks keeps my head in the game, oddly enough. And during those breaks, I go back to being human again. That’s how I keep my balance now.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
FOR THE LOVE OF PETE THE DRAGON, READ THAT BOOK ONE MORE TIME AND FIND YOUR ERRORS!!!!
I had no expectations going into this. Never once did I say, “I want to be rich and famous.” Although I will admit, that would be pretty sweet.
My goal has always been the same: Give the world a piece of me. I’ve done that. I’m going to continue to do that. I wanted to write books that had all my favorite things in it: highlanders, fae, witches, demons, steamy sex, rage, heartbreak, misunderstandings, more steamy sex… you know, all the things.
I didn’t care if I made a million bucks or just made a million smiles. My old writing self and my current writing self are still happy with that goal. And happiness is what this writer life is all about, eh?
What do you love about writing romance?
I get to fall in love every single day. Over and over and over. I swear, that song by Hozier, “Someone New” is the perfect theme song for a Romance Writer.
What kinds of things do you find romantic in real life? Can you share a story?
My husband still comes up behind me while I’m doing something and wraps his arms around me and tells me I’m beautiful before he nibbles on my ear.
Well, what if I said I had a cold, hadn’t showered yet, and was wearing reindeer pajama pants with a stained hoodie and socks with octopus juggling cocktails on them?
ha ha ha ha!!!! Love is blind my friends. It must be. =-)
I also think my parents are incredibly romantic sometimes. I hated it as a kid, but now I love it when they are in the grocery store together and they sneak in a kiss while standing in the cereal section. They’ll also slow dance if a good song is playing in a boutique, which is cute and weird and probably slightly dangerous if you go with the “you break it you buy it” rule. ha ha!
Do you read your book reviews? If so, how do they affect your writing (if at all)?
I hold onto the good ones for the days I need a pick-me-up and I give myself one solid day of crying in the fetal position for all the bad reviews.
I certainly take what they all say to heart. Good and bad. I can’t change who my characters are, they are who they were born to be. But as for any issues that are in my power to change, I always listen to the thoughts of others. I want to grow as a writer. I want readers to like what I write. If I can deliver a better story then I will.
What is the craziest, funniest, or most surprising thing that has happened to you since publishing your first book?
Awesome: I’ve met some amazing authors. Writing is a lonely process, and being around other authors reminds me that I’m not really alone. We push each other. Booo the bad reviews together. High five and celebrate the milestones together. It’s a beautiful thing.
Exciting: I had my first book signing about a month ago. I went to it with zero expectations other than knowing I would have fun sitting with other authors. To my surprise, someone actually bought one of my books and I got to sign it. Like a REAL AUTHOR. With one of my favorite pens. It was so wonderful I almost cried. I’m going to fly high on that feeling forever I think.
My favorite WTF moment: I went to a book club about a year ago. One of the women there came up to me and said, “You’re the writer.” It wasn’t a question. It was pure disappointment. I replied, “Yup, this is me!” with my happy-happy-joy-joy self. Her response? “Oh. I thought you’d look different.”
My pic was on the back of the book. To this day, I still don’t know how to respond to that one…
Tell us about your most recent (or upcoming) release!
Every book in the series is my twisted version of a fairy tale. And when I say twisted, I mean TWISTED. This next one is my take on Alice in Wonderland. It’s quirky, funny, sad, scary, and trippy.
It’s also the breaking point. I’m about to bust open a box of OH SH*TS and WTFs! After this novel, the rest of the series is set up for longevity. I love me a series with stamina.
Readers will be introduced to a new cast of characters as well as see my vision for the rest of the series. I’ve only been warming them up with teasers so far. So think about THAT, Sin Fans!! What you’ve seen so far is a drop in the bucket. I won’t say more on the subject, other than I’m excited.. <insert evil laugh>
Is there any other news you would like to share?
I feel like I should have some extraordinary news to say here, but I don’t. Ummmmm I’m having Pad Thai for dinner tonight! Does that count as exciting?
For the rest of this year, I’m truly just keeping my head in the writing game and have no plans to be at any major events coming up soon. (wahhhhh).
Well, now I feel like a total party pooper.
SINS OF THE SIDHE SERIES READING ORDER
Book One, Shatter, is FREE TO ALL today and tomorrow only!
All books are FREE with Kindle Unlimited.
Five Facts Just for Fun!
1. What’s your favorite ’90s jam?
All things Metallica.
2. What was the last gift you gave someone?
A bag of coffee and some wine.
3. What were you like as a kid?
4. What was the last thing you binge-watched & what did you think of it?
Penny Dreadful. I loved it! About to start Season 3 later today!
5. What is the one thing (other than your loved ones) that you cannot live without?
SINS OF THE SIDHE SERIES
FREE ON KINDLE UNLIMITED!
Paperback copies are also available at BarnesandNoble.com!
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