Monday, August 20, 2012

Spencer Hill Press Summer Blog Run--Michelle Pickett

Spencer Hill Press Summer Blog Run is still going, and the next writer to visit us is... Michelle Pickett. 

Michelle’s debut young adult, PODS is set for release, June 2013 (a whole month after mine). But, if you're curious to see what she has now, CONCILIUM, adult urban fantasy, is already out. Check out CONCILIUM here.

PODS is an absolute must read, and I hope I'm on the list to get the ARC. Can I be any more subtle?  

As always, I'm going to provide you a bunch of links so that you can go stalk writer extraordinaire, Ms. Pickett: twitter, facebook, website and blog.

Now, let's get to know Michelle!!!!

*rockets red glare*

Thank you so much for visiting, Michelle.  

Thank you for having me. I'm really excited to be here!

What type of content do you focus on on your blog?

I really don't have a focus.  Isn't that terrible?  LOL!  It's basically whatever I find interesting, but I lean heavily toward reading and writing and I'm trying to incorporate more author interviews, blog tours, cover reveals and things of that nature.

Which author is your hero?

LoL!  Oh, no.  As soon as people read her name they're going to groan and roll their eyes.  But stick with me…I have a whole story for this one.  My author hero is Stephenie Meyer.  Yes, that one.  The one that had a dream of sparkly vampires and shirtless werewolves and turned it into a multi-million dollar book/movie/merchandise deal.  But that's not why she's my hero.  Here's the short version of my story:

I'd always wanted to be an author.  I don't really remember a time when I didn't want to write.  But I got married, graduated college with an accounting degree (not the most creative career choice), had kids, and as time ticked by I was sure my opportunity of becoming an author was going right along with it.  I thought I'd missed my chance.  So I never tried. 

Then one day my daughter started bugging me to read this book about vampires.  Ick.  I wasn't into it and told her to forget it.  So she made a deal with me: If I read her favorite book she'd read mine (Olivia and Jai, by Rebecca Ryman).  So, of course, I said yes.  I read Twilight and actually enjoyed it…go figure. I read all four books in a week.  So I did a little cyber snooping on the author.  Turns out we had a few things in common.  She was married.  I was married.  She was XX years old—I was just a few years older.  We both had young children and we were both stay-at-home moms.  The big difference was she was actually going after her dream of becoming an author.  I was sitting on my ever expanding tush. I started writing Concilium that year.  It was 2010.  That's why Stephenie Meyer is my author hero.  She showed me that no matter what our age or stage in life, we can still go after our dream.

What time of day do you do your best writing?

I used to do all my writing at night because I was homeschooling my twin daughters and that was the only time of day that it was quiet.  Now that all my children are in school all day I'm slowly teaching my brain to switch from nights to days.  I still find that a lot of my best ideas hit just as I'm falling asleep and I have to jump up and jot them down before I forget them, but that is happening less and less.

When you wrote PODS, what song was your biggest inspiration and why?

Only one? I have an entire playlist I listened to while writing PODs.  You can find it on my website if anyone would like to check it out.  If forced to pick just one song I'd probably go with End Of The World by Blake Lewis.  I don't have a reason why, really, other than it does a good job summing up Eva and David's relationship after the PODs are opened.

Who is your number one fan (a little Annie Wilkes there)? By that, I mean your biggest supporter.

Wow, that's a hard one.  My family is definitely my biggest set of supporters.  It's almost impossible to pick just one of them as my biggest.  They each support me in different ways.  But if I have to pick one, I'd say my eleven-year-old son, Evan.  He told all his teachers that I'm an author and took them all PODs bookmarks and stickers.  He also made sure I was a speaker on career day.  So I guess you could say he got me my first "gig."  He drew photos of all the creatures in Concilium and the infected in PODs so I could visualize them and he comes to me weekly with at least one story idea.  He also writes short stories and seems to love the possibility that he and I might share a talent.  

That is great!!

When you stop clacking across the keyboard, what do you enjoy doing?

Anything that involves my family. My husband, Larry, and I love to play board and card games with our kids.  We also can play a mean game of Wii bowling. 
We are new residents of Texas so we like to explore the state.  (Another Texan, SQUEE!)

I love to dabble in photography, although I don't do as much of it as I'd like.  My family will tell you that I torture them with the camera.  I love taking close-ups of faces, especially eyes.

Would you like to share a favorite recipe you like cooking with us?

This is a recipe my entire family loves.  With four children it's hard to find something they all like.  They ask for this on a regular basis.  And I love it because it's so easy!

            Pizza Pasta Salad

3 cups penne pasta, cooked, cooled
4 tomatoes, chopped
Small package turkey pepperoni, chopped
1 cup finely Shredded Italian Five Cheese Blend
½ cup sliced fresh basil
½ cup grated Parmesan Cheese
½ cup reduced fat Italian Dressing

Combine ingredients.  Refrigerate one hour and serve.

First thing to pop into your head….

Double cheeseburgers or filet mignon? Burgers

Virus infected humans or vampires? Virus Infected Humans  (LOL! I had to toss that one in)

Hot, sunny weather or cold, grey skies? Cold, grey skies (I'm still a Michigander at heart).

Bike riding or hiking? Hiking

Cake or pie? Cake

Pepsi or coke? Coke

Hugh Jackman or Chris Helmsworth (I know. Right? Almost impossible to choose)
Neither. I have a gorgeous guy with dark hair and blue eyes who opens car doors for me, does the laundry and brings me flowers for no reason.  I'll stick with him.  Okay, Chris Hemsworth.

Most embarrassing moment in your life? (Like everyone else, you have to share...mua ha ha)

When I was dating Larry…I can't believe I'm actually going to tell this story.  I've NEVER shared it with anyone and Larry, being the smart man he is, never mentions it.  Anyway, we were dating and I had this monster of a head cold.  Larry told me a joke.  I laughed, but my head was all kinds of congested and when I laughed it was like Mount St. Helens erupting.  Let's just say more than giggles were coming out of me and Larry got sprayed.  Gross, but true.  I'm still amazed that he hung around after that.  Most guys would have bolted after getting sprayed with snot. But he stuck it out.

So, where did the idea for PODS come from? 

A small portion of the original idea for PODs came from a conversation between me and my daughter.  Other than that, I really have no idea.  My stories just sneak up on me.  I can't pinpoint where they come from or when they appear. 

How did you develop the voice of your characters?

I start by creating character studies for the main characters, from there the characters kind of take on a life of their own.  After I write a scene or two I find that it's rather easy to get inside their heads.

You write both adult and young adult, do you find it hard switching between the audiences?

Not really.  I wrote my adult series first.  And my main character's came very easily to me.  I'd actually started writing another adult book before PODs, but when the idea for PODs hit I couldn't concentrate on that book.  The idea for PODs was too strong and those characters came fairly easily to me, as well.  So I shelved the other adult novel and wrote PODs.  I think the ease of switching between the two had more to do with the storyline than it did the age of the character.

Tell us a little bit about your writing journey from the first word to publication.

The first sentence is always the hardest for me.  Once I get that down I can usually get moving fairly quickly.  PODs came easily to me. It is by far the most enjoyable book I've written.  That doesn't mean easiest, however.

It took me about six weeks to write PODs and another six to edit, revise and polish it so I could start querying it.  Then it sat on my computer for another eight months while I worked up the nerve to submit it to agents. I never did.

I heard of a little press that was taking submissions for young adult work.  I got it together and sent it to them.  It was the best decision I've ever made.  SHP is where PODs was meant to be.
I know from the many, many denials I received for my other work that my publication journey for PODs is not the norm.  It is very, very, very rare that an author gets an offer from the first publisher they send their work to.  I realize how very blessed I am. 
Tell us about CONCILIUM.

Concilium is an urban fantasy romance. It centers on a young woman, Leslee, who stumbles across an ancient secret centering on some…not so friendly visitors.  They aren't happy that Leslee has learned about them and decide to silence her.  Enter the hot and sexy Miller and his team of Concilium workers to protect Leslee from the creatures.

Concilium is my first novel. It was released in July through MuseItUp Publishing, a small e-publisher.  Concilium: The Departure is the sequel and will be released through the same publisher in November of this year.

POD's blurb.

Seventeen-year-old Eva is a chosen one. Chosen to live, while others meet a swift and painful death from an incurable virus so lethal, a person is dead within days of symptoms emerging. In the POD system, a series of underground habitats built by the government, she waits with the other chosen for the deadly virus to claim those above. Separated from family and friends, it’s in the PODs she meets David. And while true love might not conquer all, it’s a balm for the broken soul. 

After a year, scientists believe the population has died, and without living hosts, so has the virus. That’s the theory, anyway. But when the PODs are opened, survivors find the surface holds a vicious secret. The virus mutated, infecting those left top-side and creating... monsters. 

Eva and David hide from the infected in the abandoned PODs. Together they try to build a life--a new beginning. But the infected follow and are relentless in their attacks. Leaving Eva and David to fight for survival, and pray for a cure.
PODs will be released through Spencer Hill Press June 4, 2013—my son's 12th birthday.

Time for the Tantalizing Teaser Temptation (200 to 250 words)

I shuffled into the brick building, guided by the same guardsman who'd ripped me away from my parents hours earlier…  

“I love you,” my mom said through her tears, her voice thick and trembling.

“I want to stay with you,” I pleaded.

“Come here, kiddo.” My dad, his face distorted with grief, folded me in a tight hug. 
He kissed the top of my head and told me he loved me and how proud he was of me. “I know when this is over you are going to do great things, Eva. You’re a fighter. I love you so much.” 

A rough hand grabbed my arm, pulling me away from my dad. “Get on the bus,” the male voice ordered, yelling to be heard over the crying of parents and children saying their final goodbyes.

“I’m not done saying goodbye…” I yelled. He didn’t let go, pulling me with him. My heels digging into the dirt, I tried to pull away. I needed one more hug, to hear them tell me they loved me and to tell them I loved them, too. 

“MOM!” I screamed. “DAD!” tears stained my face. The man thrust me toward the steps of the old, yellow school bus. I screamed one more time for my parents, telling them I loved them, reaching my arms out to them. 

I could see my mom’s body rock with the force of her cries. Tears ran down my father’s face. “We love you, Evangelina,” I heard them call just before the bus door closed.
It was the last thing I’d hear my parents say. It was the last image I’d have of them. I pressed my hand to the window of the bus, my head bowed as I sobbed. I didn’t try to hide my tears. Everyone on the bus was crying for their families. We knew what waited for them. 


Both books can be found on Goodreads, here

For all the lucky people who stopped by, Michelle is kind enough to give away…
One lucky winner will receive PODs bookmarks, stickers, keychain and an Amazon gift card to use when PODs is released to buy a copy.


Just two things to enter:

1)      You have to follow my blog.  Need directions---scroll back up closer to the top, right hand side and click follow 
2)      You have to tell me your favorite sci-fi movie and why.

Contest ends Saturday, Aug 25th.
Winners will be announced Sunday, Aug 26th.

Oh, and don’t forget, everyone who comments is automatically entered to win the grand prize of a Barnes and Noble gift card at the end of whole summer run. 

Thank you all for stopping by and saying hi.  Please leave Michelle a comment thanking her for her time and for the cool prize.  


  1. Michelle, I love that you told that embarrassing story. Kudos. I love to embarrass myself. ;) And yay for PODs!

    1. Oh, Ick, Kelly! LOL! I almost didn't tell it. When I had Larry read over my answers to make sure they didn't have a ton of type-os he just laughed when he read it and said it definitely made the top ten embarrassing moments list.

  2. Great interview! I honestly love reading the most embarrassing moments the most on these interviews!

    1. I think the stories make everyone seem like real people, not just someone on the other end of a computer, you know? That's why I like to read them. And they make me less embarrassed about my embarrassing stories! LOL!

      Michelle :)

  3. I am now following your blog. Yeah. My favorite sci-fi movie? That's tough. I'm not really into sci-fi. I guess I'd have to say Star Wars. I was a big Han Solo fan when I was a kid.

    1. Han Solo was my favorite, too.

      Michelle :)

  4. PODs sounds like a great read. Congrats!

    1. Thank you so much! I hope you get a chance to read it.

      Michelle :)

  5. Hey, Michelle, so excited for PODS. Can't wait to read it!

    1. Thanks, Darby. My son is excited about Finn Finnegan!

      Michelle :)

  6. I'm with Michelle, definitely Chris Hemsworth! I loved the interview - great post. :-)

    1. He is all kinds of gorgeous...just don't tell the one I live with I said that. LOL!

      Michelle :)

  7. Hmmm I do not have a fav. Sci-fi movie. I am more into thriller, horror type movies.
    Great interview and I love the recipe, I do believe I am going to try it this weekend and see what the hubs and son say. Thanks for sharing.

    1. My Son loves the salad and he is VERY picky. Usually just Mac and Cheese for breakfast, lunch and dinner is what he wants!

      Michelle :)

  8. PODS sounds fantastic!! Thanks for introducing us :). Favorite sci-fi movie is Serenity.

    It sounds like you are repped by a publisher that knows how to pick some winners. It's almost May!

    1. Thank so much! SHP is fantastic and has some of the best authors. Every author I've read, I've loved.

      I've never seen Serenity. I'll have to put that on my list.

      Michelle :)

  9. Yay for Michelle!! I am so excited for her book. :)

    1. Thank you, Emily! I can't wait for Fae's release--and I have cover envy! LOL!

  10. First off, congratulations for living your dream! Secondly,I love books like Pods and I'll definitely put it on my list when it comes out!

    1. Hi, Jessicca, thank you for the congrats and I'm glad you'll give PODs a look when it comes out!

      Michelle :)

  11. This is so awesome Michelle! Congrats on your success :D
    I actually signed up on the ARC list for PODs awhile ago.
    The synopsis really grabbed me and I can not wait for it to come out!
    Thank you so much for sharing with us and for such a great prize!

    I would have to agree with Bethany up there. Serenity is an amazing movie as is the TV show it goes with. You definitely should give it a watch.
    I think I have seen it like 20 times now.
    Second to that would of course be Search for Spock. I am a devoted Treky ^^
    Happy Writing!

    1. Hi, Jill, I hope you get an ARC for PODs. I'm glad the synopsis got your attention. They are SO hard to write!

      I've seen Search for Spock. My hubby is a huge Treky. :) I'll have to rent Serenity. Now I'm really curious about it.

      Michelle :)

  12. I already added PODs to my to-read list a few months ago and very impatiently waiting for release day :)
    My favorite sci-fi movie is Gattaca.

    1. Hi Giedre,

      I loved Gattaca. Great movie. Thanks for adding PODs to your TBR list. You and I are both waiting impatiently for the release. LOL!

      Michelle :)

  13. Great interview. I love your reasoning behind Meyer being your author hero and it's brilliant you've chased and caught your dream, Michelle.

    1. Hi, Lynda, thank you so much!

      Michelle :)

  14. Great Interview, your, Meyer and I sound the same, lol. SAHM, small kids, deaming about writing. Love the interview and looking forward to PODs

  15. I am so excited to this book! and i LOVE starwars!!!

  16. It's too hard to say embarrassments but you had said it lightly. But that something to share which everyone to remember that we do experience embarrassments.