This week we have a new Author, Michelle C. Reilly. She writes SciFi Romance. I believe some of us people like this kind of stuff and I hope you will like the Interview. Don't forget to check her first book out, Variants (Anathergians Book 1) on Amazon.
Me: Tell us about yourself
Michelle: I’m a single mom of two (grown!) boys. I live in Las Vegas, which is where I lived for most of my life, except for the time I was in the military. I was in the Navy for ten years, and I pretty much loved every minute of it. I have a Masters in Science in Public Health, though I’ve never really had a job in that field (other than being a Hospital Corpsman Preventive Medicine Technician in the Navy). I love IT stuff. I’ve been a web developer since the late 90s. Going to the movies is one of my favorite things to do (other than writing, of course), especially midnight premieres. Although I’m a bit of an introvert, I love being with the fans who are just as excited as I am to see an awesome new movie – especially the superhero or fantasy movies.
Me: Tell us about your new book?
Michelle: Variants, the first book in the Anathergians Trilogy, is a science fiction fantasy romance. Well, it has a lot of genres, even paranormal. This is the reason I self-published it.
Leah is the heroine. The story starts off on her sixteenth birthday, a day that ends up being one of the worst in Leah’s life. It begins with a strange older woman staring at her, and, later that night she has a horrible argument with her foster-father. When he threatens her brother—who she loves with all her heart—the argument escalates and she somehow hurts him. Frightened, she runs away right into a group of witches. They tell her she’s a witch and that she has to go with them to begin her training. Leah doesn’t want to leave her brother, but she realizes she can never go back to her home again. Four years later, she uses a power witches don’t have, but her teacher recognizes it as Anathergian. She informs Auden, the hero in this trilogy.
Auden is the king of the Anathergians, extremely powerful, and immortal. He came to Earth, along with the rest of his people, over five thousand years ago when their planet was destroyed. Since he hasn’t yet taken a Lifemate, he’s starting to lose control of his thoughts and powers. He needs to find a Lifemate, and fast, but he has too many other things to do.
The Anathergians investigate and/or take care of threats against humans, whom they’ve sworn to protect. When dead humans start turning up with gnarled bite wounds, they investigate the matter. Auden discovers some of the beings responsible for this. They’re humans who have received a variant strain of Anathergian DNA. Which means an Anathergian is providing DNA to change these humans.
When Auden gets the phone call about Leah, he’s curious and intrigued. When he meets her, he’s rather blown away. He takes her back to his complex so she can begin her training. His curiosity and interest about her grows. When she goes through her transition to become a full Anathergian and immortal, Auden believes he’s the only one who can help her through it. In the process, they become Lifemates. Auden is angry and confused after this happens. But, when Leah is threatened, he realizes what she means to him.
Me: When you write, does your real life spill over into your book at any time?
Michelle: There are certain aspects where I draw upon my own personal history. But, most of the time, it’s like the characters are real people, and I’m just their messenger telling their story.
Me: Do you think about a book of yours, being made into a movie, or not when writing?
Michelle: Not really. I do see the story as a movie in my mind. A lot of authors look up pictures of how they imagine their characters to look like before they start writing. I don’t do this. I have an idea of what they look like, but there’s been only one character where I found someone that looks nearly exactly how I imagine him. That’s Gunner and the actor is Sebastian Stan in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I nearly choked when I saw him. Especially because Gunner (like all the Alphas in my book) is super-hot, just like Sebastian Stan.
Me: When naming your characters, do you give any thought to the actual meaning?
Michelle: In nearly every single character, I investigate the meanings of their names. I really like to get a good sense of who they are. So, I will sometimes spend hours trying to find just the right name.
Me: What made you want to write and also what made you want to write the genre you are writing?
Michelle: I started writing many years ago, but I was so busy taking care of the kids, that I had to put it to the side. Now that they’re older, it makes it much easier. I’ve always been a huge romance fan, but I tended to like books that were different (at that time) than many of the hugely popular books. Within the last ten years, that’s changed, and people have come more and more towards the type of books I like (mainly, what is now considered the paranormal style). My first book, which I have yet to finish, is a time travel book.
With Variants, I wrote it believing it was an Urban Fantasy. When I pitched it, I was told by numerous editors and agents that the book was, in fact, science fiction. I was completely baffled. I hadn’t read science fiction in years, but I’m a huge science fiction movie and TV show buff. They also told me it could be paranormal… Or urban fantasy. Well, needless to say, I was very confused. So, I decided to self-publish so I wouldn’t have to necessarily worry about what genre my book would be placed. Though, it is certainly considered science fiction since the Anathergians are from another planet.
Me: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Michelle: JK Rowling has been my hero for many years. I’d love to stand over her shoulder while she’s writing to discover her plotting methods. She’s amazing.
Me: Do you have any tips for our readers that might dream of writing?
Michelle: Dreaming is great, but writing is better. Go online and find local groups to help you and guide you. Make sure these people are published authors with experience. Get a critique group. I can’t tell you how helpful my critique group is. But the main thing: Just write it. You can’t get anywhere if you don’t sit down and write.
You can find her on:
Bored, Leah shot a disdainful look at Mrs. Randolph and returned to her doodle on the lined paper. The AP history teacher continued to drone on about some forgotten war fought for some forgotten cause. Leah had read the assigned chapter the week before, and her photographic memory made the current presentation redundant as far as she was concerned. Top grades came easy to her, and she had to remind herself that others weren’t as lucky. She added a bow to her skull and roses sketch, her foot bouncing on the book rack of the desk in front of her.
A yawn stretched her jaw wide. She blinked to clear the liquid from her eyes and peered out the window. Blinking again, she squinted to get a better view.
An elderly woman wearing a long rain jacket stood outside the window. She wore a wide-brimmed flowered hat—what antique shop did she get that thing from?—crammed down around her gray curls. And she stared right back at Leah. Her body shivered as goose bumps came alive down her arms.
The Barbie wanna-be sitting at the desk in front of Leah turned in her seat. Her blonde tresses, such the opposite of Leah’s black hair, whipped through the air. She gave Leah a sneer. “Will you stop already?”
Leah stared back, gave her a hard smile, and bounced her foot harder.
“Loser,” the girl scoffed and swiveled back to the front of the class.
Leah brought her attention back to the window, but the woman in the gaudy flower hat was gone. “Holy sh—,” she said as the end of day bell rang.
Leah sat on a low brick wall that ran along the edge of her foster brother’s elementary school. Ceadan, wearing his old winter jacket, jogged up beside her, his book bag flopping against his back.
“Hey there!” Leah reached to scruff his head, but he ducked away. “How was your day?” They made their way around screaming kids darting back and forth.
Ceadan lifted a hand to block the sun’s glare, one light green eye squinting at her through his long, dark bangs. Even though it was winter, the sun could still burn their skin to a crisp. She loved the crazy mixed-up Las Vegas weather. At least it isn’t windy.
“Good,” he said.
“Good? Not great? Not awesome? Not the best day ever?”
He rubbed the tip of his nose with the palm of his hand. “No.”
“Okay… so, what then?” she asked, pushing it. He’d rubbed his nose, so she knew he was hiding something. She didn’t want to push him too hard knowing he didn’t like to bother her with all of his issues, preferring to handle things on his own.
He shrugged. “Eric thought it’d be funny to push my face down into the drinking fountain when I was getting some water.” His gaze was glued to his scuffed tennis shoes as they crossed the street.
“Oh, I see,” she said, not letting him notice how the little jerk of a bully named Eric pissed her off. “And what did you do?”
“Spit the water in his face.” He looked up at her and grinned.
His good mood was infectious and, though she knew she shouldn’t, she smiled too. “No way!”
“Uh huh.” He nodded his head.
“Very cool!” She raised her hand for a high-five, and he smacked it as hard as he could. Shaking her fingers to get the sting out, she laughed. It scared her sometimes how much she loved this kid.
Half a block ahead of them, a mom and daughter strode along the sidewalk. The mom held on tight to the small hand, and the little girl half-swung in her grip, giggling. Leah’s chest tightened, and she swallowed the familiar lump in her throat. Mom. Whatever anybody said, even good foster-moms didn’t replace a real mom. And Judith, her foster-mother and Ceadan’s real mom, wasn’t even half-good. Leah huffed internally and made herself stop moping. Ceadan was all the family she needed.
“What about you?” he asked, still smiling.
Leah considered telling him about the old woman she thought she saw, but knew he’d think she was crazy, and decided against it. “Ah, you know, flunked my geometry test, got in a fight in chemistry, and flipped off the oh-so-exciting Mrs. Randolph in history.”
“Nuh-uh,” he insisted, shaking his head. “You’re, like, the most smartest person ever. So, I know you didn’t fail anything. But I bet Mrs. Randolph”—he emphasized the and in Mrs. Randolph’s name, pronouncing it with a British accent, while expanding his arms—“loved the new bird you gave her.”
“Yup, it was her favorite!” They laughed together, continuing their trek home.
When they reached their old, run down house, Leah eyed the area with distaste. A previous owner had attempted to make the yard desert friendly by filling it with white rocks, but they had yellowed with age, and weeds shot up at sporadic intervals. They passed the oil-stained driveway to pink steps leading to the beat-up white door. Leah put her ear against the chipped paint and listened for signs of life. Hearing nothing, she inserted her key, opened the door, and peeked in.
She sighed in relief when she noticed the empty, dark living room. Entering, she used the light provided by the sliding glass door to make her way through the room.
Rays of sunshine shone through dust motes and upon the dull brown shag carpet. Stacks of glasses half filled with amber-colored alcohol and floating cigarette butts covered the coffee table. The pea green couch, where she usually found her foster dad, Merle, was empty, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t in the house. The large TV facing the couch lay dark. Judith worked swing shifts at the gas station down the road and had already gone for the day.