Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Meet Michelle Zink

Today, I have a well known author visiting my blog. SQUEEE!!

*Trumpets blaring.* Michelle Zink!

*Applause and shouts of praise.*

I met Michelle through YALITCHAT. And of course I started to follow her website and twitter. I also follow Prophecy Press on twitter.

Michelle is the author of PROPHECY OF THE SISTERS and newly released GUARDIAN OF THE GATE.

I haven't read GUARDIAN OF THE GATE, yet (yes, I know, shame on me), but PROPHECY OF THE SISTERS is wonderful and I waaaaay highly recommend it. Don't take my word for it though...take all the praise it's received: Booklist, Publishers Weekly, The Bulletin--just to name a few. Not to mention PROPHECY was named in Booklist's Top 10 First Novels for Youth.

Let's meet Michelle now....

Tell us a little about yourself.....

I'm a single mother of four who loves music, film, traveling and spending time with my kids. I'm not big on stuff! I'd rather spend my time and money on experiences - especially sharing them with people I love - than on accumulating possessions.

Who inspired you to take up the craft of writing?

I've been inspired by everything I've ever read including Stephen King, Janet Fitch, Sarah Waters, Madeline L'Engle, and Lois Duncan. I'm a firm believer that everything you read as a writer contributes to your knowledge of the craft.

We know you read, because all authors/writers read, but tell us the one book that you just absolutely love.

White Oleander by Janet Fitch, though it IS almost impossible to choose just one!

What was the very first book you remember loving as a child?

Oh, wow... tough one! I'm going to say Where The Wild Things Are.

Did you write a novel before PROPHECY? Did you query it? What do you think about it now?

I wrote four of them! LOL! I queried novel #1 and couldn't land an agent, secured an agent with novel #2 but couldn't sell it, and then jumped ahead to query Prophecy which was novel #5. That first novel was admittedly pretty bad, but that's not really the point. It taught me two important things; 1) I could do it, and 2) Writing completed me in a way I hadn't expected.

I know authors get asked this all the time, and I think it is a hard question to answer, but where did you come up with the idea for PROPHECY? Did something happen that made the beginnings of the story weave together?

I get a lot of my ideas from ancient myths and legends. Angels and demons are kind of my thing (as you can probably tell from Prophecy), so I read a lot about them. Sometimes nothing happens and I just keep reading, but every now and then, something will spark an idea, and I’ll think, “Waaaaaait a minute!”

The initial seed of the story came from the biblical legend of the Watchers, a legion of angels who were said to have been sent to Earth to watch over mankind. In the legend, the angels fell in love with mortal women and were banished from Heaven, after which they were referred to as the Lost Souls. Hearing that phrase – the Lost Souls – was my dun-dun DUN! moment.

Did you use any real life influences to shape your characters?

Well, I think EVERYTHING in our lives influences our writing in some ways, but there were no real life people that influences the characters in Prophecy, As with most of my writing, the main characters just seemed to come with the story!

Quick and fun. You have to tell us the first thing that pops into your mind...

Favorite food? Pad Thai.

Dessert? Our homemade red velvet cake.

Best kiss you ever received? ha! It's been awhile... Ask me again in a couple of years. ;)

The one guy that makes you drool? Jason Statham. He only dates model-types from the looks of it, but what a man! :D

Favorite paranormal being? angels and demons.

Favorite season? Fall!

Your dream vacation? India or Africa.

Okay, just a little for us unpublished writers...

What sources did you use to write the winning query letter?

I looked at the queries posted on sites like www.writersnet.com and lurked to see which ones had a good hit rate. I also watched as others gave advice about what to change and kept it in mind when writing my own query. Other than that, I think my sales and marketing background really helped! I was used to constructing short, to-the-point sales letters that would intrigue potential clients. Not so different from a query when you think about it!

Do you remember how many times you had to revise your query?

More times than I can count!

What was the one thing you saw in your query that made you think..."This is it. This is the one to send off."

I don't remember back that far, but I do suggest trying out your query on a small number of agents before mass-sending it. That way if you don't get any requests, you can always tweak it before blowing your whole list.

Did you compose a list of dream agents?

I did, and I think everyone should. Do your homework for sure!

Can you tell us how many revisions you had to do before your books were ready for submission?

Again, more than I can count. I'd guess six serious sets of revisions on Prophecy, though thankfully, that's gotten to be a lot less as time has passed.

How long did it take for a publisher to show interest?

I was very fortunate. Prophecy sold in a three-day pre-empt to Little Brown.

Any advice you'd like to share for us aspiring writers?

Try to finish something. If your goal is to publish a novel, force yourself to write one, complete novel. Don't think about how crappy it is or all the things you want to change while you're writing it. Just FINISH it. You'll learn more from that process than from anything else you''ll ever do or read.

And there you have it. Some excellent advice right from a published author.

Thank you so much for visiting my little blog and I hope you visit again soon.

To my readers, please leave Michelle comments to thank her for her time.


  1. You are the single mother of four, Michelle? I didn't know that. I have four, too. Geez...you just gave me a boost to keep writing. Thanks. And Pad Thai....yeah!! Thanks for sharing yourself with us.

    Great interview, Ebyss.

  2. I'm impressed with the fact that she is a single mother of 4. Congratulations both on your writing success and the amazing accomplishment of motherhood.

    Good luck in the future. Another great writing interview, Ebyss. :)

  3. Congratulations on your success, and thank you for hanging in there, Michelle. Your writing and tenacity are an inspiration.