Michelle Hiscox is a career counselor who hails from Drumheller, Alberta. The dinosaur bones buried in the hills of her hometown inspired the first stories she ever wrote. Michelle holds a degree in psychology and is a member of the Romance Writers of America, as well as an avid paranormal romance fan. One night, she pulled her nose from a book to start working on her own and has been writing ever since.
NG: How did you become a writer?
MH: I was a reader first. My grandma introduced me to Stephen King when I was about twelve and I was hooked. In my twenties, I found the paranormal romance genre and that’s mostly what I’ve been reading ever since. I always read but hadn’t written since high school. Over time, the urge to write grew until I had no choice but to create a story of my own. That was about six years ago. My commitment to writing has grown over time.
NG: Why do you read and write paranormal romance?
MH: I get lost in the stories and love the characters. When they are well done, I get to live through their experiences, feel their feelings. I can’t wait to turn the page to see what happens next and will neglect sleep to find out. It likely relates to my interest in both horror and romance. Where else could I find such a perfect match?
NG: True! Tell us more about your novel on the site, A NEW DAY AT MIDNIGHT. Why should the Book Country members check it out?
MH: Can I say because it’s worth it? I put all of my heart, and head, into writing something that I hope invokes emotion in the reader. Merik and Hannah, the main characters, are flawed, passionate, and conflicted. Their lives come through the pages.
NG: A romance novel needs to tell a good love story. How did you go about crafting yours?
MH: It didn’t start out as much, just a picture I conjured in my head and then jotted down on paper. I had Merik in my mind first with Hannah soon to follow. I can honestly say that who the characters are allowed me to develop much of the plot. The more I work on it, the more it has become about learning the elements of fiction. Grammar, plot development, and executing proper point of view are just the start of a long list of areas I had to learn more about. I think the best tool I found is being open to the idea that I can always improve.
NG: Let’s talk about your process. Do you keep a strict writing schedule?
MH: My strict writing schedule consists of writing every spare moment I have. At night, on my lunch break, in the passenger seat of the car. When I’m not writing, I’m reading, either studying the craft or looking at examples in the work of popular authors.
NG: How do you go about learning more about the craft and the business of writing? Do you have favorite resources you can share with us?
MH: When I get constructive feedback on Book Country, I research it, try to build my understanding, and then try to put it into practice. The last item is the one I struggle with the most. I like to have a good grasp of one concept, such as breaking out of the passive voice, and can execute it before I move on to the next area I need to work on.
I’ve also learned from some of the more experienced writers on Book Country, such as Elizabeth Moon. I read her entries because she gives insight into writing in terms I understand. Romance Writers of America has been helpful, providing access to free workshop content on anything from writing a synopsis to creating believable characters. Miss Snark’s blog and Query Shark are also great for picking up valuable pieces of information.
NG: Thanks for the tips! Who are your literary role models?
MH: Stephen King is probably the first. I’ve read every book he’s written with the exception of the Dark Tower series. Many of his euphemisms about the life of a writer really resonate with me. J.R. Ward is another. Everything she writes invokes emotion and every character is original. When I need inspiration or to see an example of how I think romance should be written, I read passages from her books.
NG: Why are you on Book Country?
MH: I joined Book Country because I wanted objective feedback on my work, but it definitely evolved into more. It gives me the chance to learn about the craft of writing from those willing to share what they know. It’s also good to be connected to people who can relate to other aspiring writers.
NG: Do you want to give a shout out to any of your friends on Book Country?
MH: I would like to say thanks to a few people. Is four still a few? David Downer, Michael Hagan, Rosie Ward and Kathleen Shaputis all helped me to identify areas I needed to work on in my writing. They also stuck with me until I understood what they were talking about. Their honesty and encouragement still means a lot to me.
NG: A round of applause for them!
What is something fun that we don’t know about you?
MH: I’m hooked on made for TV movies. Show me a good Danielle Steel special and I’ll show you an attentive aspiring writer. For some reason, my husband doesn’t think I should share that with others.
NG: Haha, we all have our guilty pleasures! Thank you so much for being our guest. It’s been a pleasure.