Michelle Zink is the author of the Prophecy of the Sisters series and a very dear friend of mine. (I wrote a post about her for Author Appreciation Week, and you can find that blog post here.) I seriously cannot thank her enough for what she's done for me personally and for the YA community. Michelle was kind enough to agree to be interviewed for my blog! Let's get started!
Me: Where did you grow up? What was your childhood/high school years like?
Michelle:I moved a lot as a kid, living in Utah (twice), Washington (once), and California (twice) by the time I was fifteen. In fact, I only realized after I'd lived in my current house for about four years and felt so at HOME here that I'd never lived in a place more than three years until now. At the time, I hated moving so much. I wanted to be one of those people who graduated high school with my kindergarten class. But as time has gone on I've realized I was very well-suited to moving a lot. I'm sill a bit of a nomad. I love change, new things, new places, travel, and like all the things that happen to us in our lives, I don't think I'd be the same person if not for the childhood I had.
Me: Favorite book as a child?
Michelle: I don't remember my favorite book as a child, but as a teenager I loved Wuthering Heights! I also read a lot of horror by Stephen King and trashy novels like those by Judith Krantz and VC Andrews.
Me: Favorite recently read book?
Michelle: I'd have to say it's a tie between Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchette or Incarceron by Catherine Fisher. Both are incredible.
Me: What are some of the previous jobs you've had?
Michelle: Before I started writing I was pretty much always in sales or marketing. As a young professional, I worked for an electronics company and a travel company before settling into the technology consulting field where I stayed until I ditched my life to move to NY and write full time. Even in the business world, I was always writing! I'd beg for the task of writing marketing and sales letters even after I had a staff who could have done it.
Me: If writing weren't a possibility, what profession do you think you would have chosen?
Michelle: I would have loved to be an actress, but I think I'd be sick all the time because I get so nervous in front of people! Maybe I would have gone into some other aspect of film or music industries since I love both so much. But I really think writing really is my one and only.
Me:How much research do you do before (or during) you write a book?
Michelle: Not as much as you might think. I do enough to get started, and then I do the rest as I go. Even Prophecy of the Sisters, which is set in 1890, was to me always a fantasy that happened to be set in the Victorian era rather than historical fiction. I researched enough to get pertinent details right, but really didn't want to go overboard on that stuff because I didn't want to story to be bogged down in descriptions of the furniture, the gowns, stilted dialog, etc.
Me: What will you work on once the Prophecy series is done?
Michelle: Well, I'm always writing. I work hard at my writing, treating it just like a job where I can't sit back and rest on my laurels. I've never had a time when I've thought, "Okay, I'm done! I can take a break for awhile!" I finish one thing, revise it, and start something new. Consequently, I have six other books sitting on my hard drive right now. The book that I'm hoping will be the first in my next series, though, is a contemporary fantasy that I think of as Twilight meet The Dark Knight without vampires.
Me: Any pets?
Michelle:I do! I have a dog named Jessie. We adopted her from our local animal shelter after falling in love with her on the spot. Someone had abandoned her as a puppy with a broken leg, and by the time she was rescued, the leg couldn't be reset. It's bent at an awkward angle (she does get around okay, though) and she had been at the shelter for three months when we found her. No one would adopt her because of her leg, but we just adored her right away. Anyway, we took her to the vet to see if they could fix her leg surgically, but it's been too long. She'll have to live with the leg, but she has a great, happy disposition and we try to make it up to her with plenty of peanut butter treats. We also have a moody, aloof cat named Blue (because we had a dog named Red for 10 years)!
Me: If you could spend a day with any fictional character, who would it be?
Michelle: It would have to be one of the main characters from a Hemingway book, probably because so many of his were semi-autobiographical. I'd love to hang out with all the writers from the 1920s in a glamorous place like Paris.
Me: If I were to open your fridge, what would I find in there?
Michelle: Depending on the day of the week, it would be full (Mondays) of fresh veggies, salad stuff, fruit, yogurt, milk, bread, and lots to leftovers (I cook a lot). If it was Sunday, it would be empty. I only shop on Mondays and I have three teenagers. My boys, especially, demolish the contents of our fridge at an alarming rate!
Me: Any particularly embarrassing moments?
Michelle: I don't have a lot of these (probably because I just block them out!), but I did once tell Nicholas Sparks (in re: to writing) that "you just can't give up", not realizing that he was, in fact, Nicholas Sparks.
Me: What's your writing style like? Do you outline extensively?
Michelle: I don't outline AT ALL. I hate it. It makes me feel like I'm writing an essay, and then, when I inevitably hit "the Wall", I turn to the outline instead of stepping away and letting the story tell me where it needs to go. I just feel like good stories have a life of their own, and I can't listen to them well when I have an outline looming over my shoulder.
Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy writing schedule to answer my silly interview questions, Michelle!
Here's Michelle's info in case you aren't following her:
Website and Blog
This contest is now closed!
And now on to the giveaway portion of this blogpost. Heather from Fire and Ice Photos has donated this beautiful photograph for me to give away!
I *love* this photo. Doesn't it remind you of the first cover of Prophecy of the Sisters?
Check out Heather's Blog, Twitter, Etsy, Facebook, and Flickr pages!!! Be sure to start following her and give her a big THANK YOU for donating our prize this go-around. :)
* Simply leave a comment on this post (WITH YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS!!!!) to be entered! While I'd love for you to follow my blog or Twitter, I want you to follow me because you think I'm cool, not because I give away prizes and make following a requirement.
* Contest ends in one week on April 7, 2010 at Midnight CST.
* I will put everyone's comment in a hat/bowl/box and pick a winner.
* If you're picked, I will email you giving you the good news. If you do not respond to my email within 48 hours, I will have to pick another winner.
* This contest will be US only. :( I'll have more international contests in the future so keep checking back!
Good luck! Happy posting, everyone! :)