Friday, February 14, 2014

WHEN DAILY LIFE TURNS INTO FICTION



My guest is romance author, Elizabeth Michels. Her topic today is using bits of life and experiences in our writing.


First of all, thank you for having me here to celebrate the release of Must Love Dukes.  I feel as if I've been wandering aimlessly toward this moment for years and I’m happy to share it with you! Why was I wandering aimlessly?  Let me explain… There are little shards of my life, people I've met, experiences I've encountered sprinkled throughout this book, and really any book I write.  I started writing during nap times just after I had my little boy.  Before that, I was a small business owner sentenced to bed rest during pregnancy and given piles of romance novels for company—not too shabby a sentence, right?  *grins* My point is that I haven’t always been a writer, but I have always been a reader and an observer of life.  And often that surrounding life shows up in the fiction I write.

There is one scene in Must Love Dukes that practically wrote itself after visiting my in-laws for the weekend.  It had been a difficult week for various reasons I won’t get into here and to compensate for the unfortunate turn of events my mother-in-law decided to fuss over my husband and me while we were crawling into bed at night.  It was absurd.  I remember her piling more and more and more blankets on us while we looked at each other, shaking our heads as we wondered what was happening.  She claimed that the guest bedroom was drafty and we were cold—even though we were comfortable.  She would leave the room and then minutes later return with another layer of blankets... 

In Must Love Dukes this turned into Devon’s mother calling for food to be brought in and checking the windows for drafts when she knew her son was in emotional turmoil.  He is protesting while she flits around the room in a frenzy of activity, calling in maids as she attempts to fix things that aren’t broken because she can’t fix what is truly wrong in her son’s life.  Sound familiar?
 
And then sometimes inspiration is more abstract and yet still based in daily life all the same.  At the heart of Must Love Dukes is Lily’s struggle to hold on to her family heirlooms while her brothers seek to auction off everything to the highest bidder—including her.  Disagreements over inheritance seem to plague every family at one time or another, causing rifts between siblings, driving proper ladies into a life of crime.  Alright, so maybe not all ladies at war with their brothers turn to thievery to solve their problems, but Lily does just that.  Only unlike real life inheritance battles, Lily’s journey leads her into peril when she steals from the wrong man—the Mad Duke of Thornwood.

Many of the family dynamics I enjoy writing about in my books occur today just as frequently as they did in Regency England.  Must Love Dukes does have twirling ball gowns and a swoon-worthy mad duke bent on revenge, but it also has people trying to navigate the path to happiness and love in life.  Finding one’s way down this path often requires sacrifice, hard decisions, and occasionally, it requires setting hunting dogs on unwanted suitors in a ballroom…Oh, you’ve never been in that situation?  Well, maybe not everything in my stories is based in the life I see around me, but I think that’s the enchanting part of reading a book—never knowing what adventure will be on the next page. 

  • What inspires you in your daily life?


                                                                                                                                                      

BUY: AmazonB&Noble,Chapters/IndigoB-a-MIndieBound
MUST LOVE DUKES

The Mad Duke leaned in closer, his lips gently brushing her ear, and whispered, "I dare you."

She Can't Resist the Dare…
Lillian Phillips could not imagine how her quiet, simple life had come to this. Blackmailed by the Mad Duke of Thornwood into accepting one wild dare after another...all because of a pocket watch. Desperate to recover her beloved father's pawned timepiece, Lily did something reckless and dangerous and delicious—something that led to a night she'd never forget.

He has a Reputation for Scandal…
When Devon Grey, Duke of Thornwood, runs into a mesmerizing, intoxicating, thieving woman who literally stole from his bedchamber—with his new pocket watch—Devon plots his revenge. If the daring wench likes to play games, he's happy to oblige. After all, what's the ruse of being the Mad Duke if you can't have some fun? But the last laugh might just be on him...

                                                                                                        

 
Elizabeth Michels grew up on a Christmas tree farm in rural South Carolina. After tip-toeing her way through school with her focus on ballet steps and her nose in a book, she met a boy and followed him a thousand miles away from home to Kansas City, Missouri, before settling down in North Carolina. She attended Park University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA in Interior Design. Elizabeth is a lover of happily-ever-afters; she invites you to read her stories, get lost, and enjoy. For more information, please visit http://www.elizabethmichels.com/ and http://www.badgirlzwrite.com/.


23 comments:

Kat Sheridan said...

Good morning, and welcome ELizabeth! This books sounds like so much fun! Laughing at the hunting dogs thing. And the fussy mother!

I put real life into my work, as well, but usually because the punishment is less severe for killing a character than a realy life annoying person!

As most regular readers know, Sia is off for some surgery early this morning (and has been fasting and is handling it with greater patience than I would!) She asked me to stop in and make sure everyone has their beverage of choice and to make sure you get a muffin. Sending Sia prayers and good luck and a strawberry chocolate chip muffin for after surgery!

Elizabeth Michels said...

Good morning, Kat! I've got my own blend of coffee in my cup and I'm ready to chat! I'm so sorry to hear about Sia and I wish her a speedy recovery. I agree with you, it's so nice to take out your irritation with a real life annoying person on fictional characters! Very therapeutic! Thanks for the warm welcome. *sips coffee*

Unknown said...

Isn't it funny how those real life things can be so maddening and inspiring all at the same time? That pillow story was a crackup! Speaking of things that are cracked that mad duke sounds like quite a tasty morsel!

saraleee said...

Mad Dukes and hunting dogs invading the ballroom -- oh, my! I really love a romance with a little touch of humor, and your story sounds like just the ticket!

I think my love for my husband inspires my writing. Although we're better dressed in my fantasies than we ever are in real life!

Elizabeth Michels said...

Mad Dukes are so much fun! Real life can be crazy but at least it leads to fun stories!

Saralee, I agree, I wouldn't be able to write about love without experiencing it in my life. And aren't we all better dressed in out fantasies? LOL I hope you enjoy Must Love Dukes! :)

sherilynwinrose said...

Congratulations on the release of your tantalizing book. Thank you for having coffee with us.

Elizabeth Michels said...

Thanks, Sherilyn! I'm excited to be here! And the coffee is delicious! :)

Mason Canyon said...

Elizabeth, the elements you blend into your story are what makes them so realistic and fun to read. We can see ourselves in your characters. Wishing you much success. Must Love Dukes sounds like a terrific read.

Kat, please tell Sia I'm sending prayers for a speedy recovery and healing thoughts. Wishing you all three a Happy Valentine's Day.

shelly said...

Real life events are the best to add into our stories.

Kat Sheridan said...

Mason, I'm hoping she's up and comfortable enough to stop by herself this evening. I know we're all sending good thoughts her way!

Elizabeth Michels said...

Thanks Mason and Shelly! I'm so glad something good can come from real life drama. There are so many times I just stand there thinking, this has to go into a book, because you can't make this stuff up! LOL ;)

Kat Sheridan said...

Elizabeth, I know exactly what you mean! I've been known to take a tumble and lay on the ground thinking "OK, make note of how this feels so when my heroine gets shoved down the stairs I can get it exactly right!" Yes, this writing thing is sometimes weird. It's always comforting to know I'm not the only one!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Thank you Kat for being a great blog hostess. I do appreciate it.

Thanks everyone for your well wishes. Things went very well. Yay!

Mike Nelson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elizabeth Michels said...

Kat, you're not the only one! At least once a week I make a mental note to remember some quirky interaction with a stranger or how it felt to walk into that door frame--true story. I guess this is the part of writing no one talks about. :)

Sia, I'm so glad you're recuperating. Rest and get well soon. ...Also, I see that you are a member of clan MacKay according to the crest on the screen as I type this. I'm a member of clan MacGregor. I hope long ago our ancestors weren't at war with one another, because I love your blog and coffee...and your blog with coffee. ;)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sia and Elizabeth - I used to love reading these sorts of novels - and perhaps I should go back to reading them so I can get a feel through others' research into the Regency times .. now I have a little better understanding of the historical period.

Cheers and good luck .. sounds a delightful read - Hilary

Robin said...

It's always so interesting to hear about how real life impacts writing. I love the twist on your real life story in your fictional one. The motivations were the same... the actions were a bit different. Excellent!

And your book sounds like so much fun...:D

Carol Kilgore said...

Real life impacts my writing, too. Adventures go in one way, meet up with others, and come out on the page in a different way. But they're present in the story one way or another.

Great to meet you, Elizabeth.

Hi, Sia!

Jo said...

After all, truth is stranger than fiction.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Life provides unending fodder for our writing, doesn't it? Congratulations and much success to Elizabeth.

Thank you, Sia. Be well, and keep a smile.
xoRobyn

Slamdunk said...

Welcome Elizabeth and sorry that I am late. Thanks for sharing.

Certainly, the curiosity of our kids inspires me daily. I enjoy hearing their perspective--sometimes trying to figure out when I lost mine as I take the easier safe route.

Yolanda Renee said...

So true about life inspiring and influencing what we write. I know it does for me. Love the sound of your book!

Elizabeth Michels said...

Thanks, everyone! I appreciate the congrats and thoughts on writer inspiration. I love this crazy business of creating characters and writing stories! It's so much fun! :)