Monday, February 16, 2015

Interview with Author Michelle Mankin ~ Plus Giveaway

As y'all have probably noticed, I'm a big fan of Michelle Mankin. I re-read her Black Cat Records/Brutal Strength trilogy when she released it as a box set - Love Rock'ollection - back in December. (If you missed my reviews, you can find them here.) The trilogy was released previously but Michelle released it as a boxset that included new content. After finishing, I had a few questions for Michelle. And she was kind enough to answer them. :) Here's our conversation. I hope you enjoy it!

Also, once you've finished reading our chat, you can enter the giveaway for a Michelle Mankin ebook of your choice! Yep, that's how much I want to share her awesome talent with y'all. Good luck!


1. What made you decide to use Shakespeare as an inspiration for this series? 

I had the idea for a girl who dressed up like a guy to get into a rock band. Originally Justin was going to die, but my youngest was reading Wednesday Wars in English and when I told him my story idea he said that sounds like Shakespeare and I remembered 12th night (I have some theatre background) and went with that instead.

2. I adore Mary's matchmaking antics. Will she (or Beth) get her own book? 

A real life friend is my inspiration for Mary. She is a high school english teacher. She said no love scenes for her character BUT in the back of my mind I have an idea for a series of books using the 'older' characters like mary, brandee aprils mom, and bryan's mom--so I won't rule it out for sure.

3. Which guy, girl, or couple is/are your favorite in the series?

War and Shaina. Dizzy and April close 2nd

4. Obviously music is a big influence in your life. Do you have any personal experience which inspired the Love series?

I have always loved music. It has such transcendent power. lt is art just like a beautiful painting or a very good story. It can entertain, change your mood, and in some cases maybe even change your life.

5. Along those same lines, the scenes where you describe music, particularly playing it, are so well written. And your lyrics are amazing. Do you play an instrument and/or write music or do you have help with those elements?

My husband plays guitar, bass, and piano as a hobby. I am his biggest fan. 
One of my biggest thrills as a writer has been my audio team bringing my books to life. They even wrote signature music for each Tempest guy. I swooned.

6. Which character(s) are most like you?

There is bits of my life in every single story. I think it brings some realism to put it there. Plus its definitely cathartic. Most recently we lost our George like April did in Relentless. When I heard the audio team act out some of those scenes it really made me cry.

7. Why did you change how Chris pursued/felt about Avery from the original Love Evolution?

Not intentionally. I just wanted to make the transition points smoother in my first have fewer points of when I rewrote it I gave Avery's take on him and his actions. He still wanted a sweet young thing, but you know Avery she thinks the best of people...

8. "Stories with subtext" - I love this element. Why did you decide to include those subtexts in your stories?

I was already doing it and Jay Crownover coined the term for me after reading Love Evolution. I like having layers in a story. I read for entertainment myself. I LOVE to read, and I like when there is just a little something extra to think about. I don't want to hit people over the head with subjects like teen pregnancy or depression but I think it's interesting to have them there in the context of the story.

9. When I met you at RT 2013, you said that Love Resolution was your favorite to write. Is it still?

No. Like any artist or writer I think my current project is always my favorite. So right now it is Strange Magic :)  <--Which is awesome!

Thanks, Michelle!!

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  1. Great interview, Brandee! I am always in awe that you can come up with such interesting questions, and it's always fun to read the answers, too. This is a series I haven't had a chance to start yet, and I'm wondering when I'll have time for it, frankly.
    I finished my paper yesterday, only to have my professor tell me it will have to be counted in the next exam session, as the deadline for her to give the exam service feedback was on Wednesday of last week. And I got my results from my exams today, I passed both :) so I'm very happy.
    Mr. Lex and youngest boy are in Quebec this week and part of next for a hockey tournament, so things are quite busy for me at home, and my classes at Uni start up again tomorrow. I look forward to that, they look very interesting based on the reading material.
    I have also prepared the first test for my students... I hope it won't be too hard to grade them afterwards :)
    Have a fantastic week, my dear! 85 days!! *BIG HUGS*

  2. Great interview! I never heard of these books but now I would like to check them out :)

    Thanks for sharing this was great!!!

  3. Fantastic interview Brandee. This author is new to me, but I love Shakespeare and now need to check out her books. Thanks for letting us get to know one of your favorite authors.

  4. I entered and did it all..but I have a probably stupid question-for follow my blog-did that mean your blog, not the author? If it was the author then I did that wrong. Thanks for the chance to win!

  5. Great interview! That whole plot with a girl dressed up as a guy to get into a boy band sounds interesting. I remember your review of Strange Magic, I might have to check out one of this author her books, they sound fun. I've never been a music person, but I like reading books that bring me into contact with things I normally don't seek out in real life.

  6. You did it right, Lorna. Sorry I wasn't more clear in my instructions. I'll remember that for my next giveaway. :) Good Luck!!

  7. Thanks, Lexxie! I really just had all these questions for Michelle after reading the box set. :) I'm glad you like the interview! And yeah, I don't know when you're going to have time for Mankin but I'm hoping you make time eventually. :)

    Are you missing two of your troops?? I bet you're running your legs off trying to get everyone everywhere on top of school, teaching, etc. How was school? I hope you'll love this term's classes. Oh, and how was it administering your first exam? Have you started grading them yet?

    I hope you're having a great week! Only 83 days!! *BIG HUGS*

  8. Thank you, Kimba! I was attracted to Love Evolution initially because of the Shakespeare angle. I have a degree in Eng Lit (thus my question to her about using Shakespeare) and it was fun figuring out which characters played which roles...although it is only inspired by Shakespeare - not a retelling. They're sooo good though! :)

  9. Thanks, Lola! The Brutal Strength trilogy are all inspired by Shakespearean plays. And Strange Magic incorporates mythology. Mankin is a very creative storyteller. :) If you do decide to pick up one of her books (or win one ;) I'd love to hear your thoughts. :)

  10. Loved the interview!! It is great to see that Michelle's husband helped to inspire the music elements!

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal

  11. Great interview! I love a woman who still swoons over her hubby's stuff, because you can trust a woman like that! And the bonus? She can write too!!! I mean, talk about perfection...

  12. Thanks, Naomi! I enjoyed learning more about her, especially where the musical influence came from. It's something I'd wondered ever since I started reading her books. She really can write a song! And I've always felt she's pretty accurate at describing what it's like to be up on a stage playing as well. Have you read her?

  13. Thank you, Ramona! It was really neat learning the answers to questions I'd had since I started reading her. And yeah, it's neat that she still swoons over her hubby! ;)


Now you know what I think...what are your thoughts??