Monday, September 15, 2008

Interview with Michelle Sutton

I first met Michelle Sutton in person when I picked her up at a mall. Okay, so there’s more to the story and to be honest, we’d seen each other before, but not had as much time to talk as we did that day when we left Metro Center and drove to our CWOW (Christian Writers of the West) meeting. It was a chance to really hear what was going on in her life, and I can tell you, there was a lot. But that’s normal for Michelle, whose new YA novel, It’s Not About Me, is now available. So, I thought you might like to get a taste of what this busy gal is like. Please welcome, Michelle Sutton!

AB: Hey, Michelle! Glad you could drop by. First, let me ask you the normal stuff—how long have you been writing? How did you get started?

MS: I’ve been writing five years and got started by just sitting down and doing it.

AB: How many stories had you completed before you got “the call”?

MS: Publishable stories? 9. Total number? 11.

AB: How did you end up settling on your genre YA?

MS: I love to write drama and romance so YA fits the profile. My book is a YA romance.

AB: You use the word “edgy” in describing your work. How would you define edgy in the context of Christian fiction? Where do we as Christian writers draw the line?

MS: I define it within the context of Christian fiction as daring to tell the truth about human hearts and our natural rebellion against God. Put simply, my characters think bad thoughts and make bad choices despite often being “saved”, and they always learn from that because God redeems every situation. For example, in one scene I have Tony telling everyone at Teen Challenge about how he found the Lord and the difference He made in his life, then he finds out his brother was seeing his girlfriend behind his back and he kicks his butt in front of the same people he just told about his new faith. That is real life.

AB: How did you get connected up with your publisher? What do you see as the strengths of going with a young house?

MS: I hooked up with my publisher back in 2004 at the Denver conference. She was my roommate and was impressed with the stories I told her I’d written. She said some day when she opened a publishing house of her own, she’d buy my stuff. Who’d a thought it would really happen? I sure didn’t. The strength of going with a young house is I have the chance to spark success for the company. I want to be the Tracie Peterson or Lori Wick of Sheaf House, contributing a large part to its success. Plus, I had input into the cover and my voice wasn’t “taken out” in the editing process. The story is fully “me”.

AB: Besides your new release It’s Not About Me, you’ve been wearing several hats in the writing world. Please tell us more about your other writing ventures.

MS: I can’t remember them all. Hehehe. I started out reviewing books as an influencer, then that grew exponentially, leading into me starting several social sites which are highly trafficked. Then I was asked to be Editor in Chief of an online magazine. And yes, it’s a paying position.

AB: What is a normal writing day like for you?

MS: Get up at five thirty, read my email, eat breakfast and drink coffee, then hop in the shower and race to drive my son to the bus stop. I call writer friends as I drive to work, then try to read or do writing stuff at lunch time and on breaks, then I go home. At night I eat and dive into email again before working on the magazine columns. Then if there is time left (usually there is NOT) I do some editing or writing. When I go to bed I read for awhile before I fall asleep. I play catch-up on the weekends and Wednesdays (my day off) between appointments.

AB: Where do you see your writing career in five years?

MS: I’ll either be a rich magazine mogul, or I’ll have many more books published (my preference), however, I suspect I’ll still have to work a government job for the insurance benefits. I hope to be published in more than one publishing house, too. I doubt I’ll be reviewing as many books as I am now.

AB: What was the one best thing you did to help yourself on this journey?

MS: Read several good books about how to write fiction and listened to my mentors when they gave me advice.

AB: What was your biggest writing mistake that you’d like to keep others from making?

MS: Don’t listen to too many people when they give you opinions or it’ll make your head swim and discourage you. Pick a few good critiquers and stick with them.

AB: Who are your favorite authors? What about them is the most appealing?

MS: Anyone who writes edgy stuff. Francine Rivers, Julie Lessman, Deanne Gist, etc.

AB: Julie is one of my crit partners and a dear friend—I agree that she is terrific! One of the most important questions I must ask: White, milk, or dark?

MS: Dark first, followed by milk and last is white.

AB: Where can readers get copies of It’s Not About Me?

MS: CBD, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble online and can go into any Barnes and Noble store and order a copy. However, right now just about every place is out of stock. I hope to do a book signing in Phoenix in October the weekend of the CWOW (October 4th) meeting and will be selling books there.

AB: How can readers learn more about you and your writing?

MS: Subscribe to my edgy inspirational author blogspot blog or check my website

AB: It was good catching up with you. Thanks for dropping by Michelle!

Abundant blessings!

1 comment:

Paula said...

Great interview. Thank you! And a BEAUTIFUL picture of Michelle, BTW!