Today as my stop on the 'Celeste' tour for Walker Author Tours, I am interviewing author Michelle Devon. Here she talks about her story, her upcoming works, and writing in general.
~What was your inspiration for Celeste?
The story has been on my mind several years. It's really about questioning the nature of reality perception is reality, for each individual, even if it's not reality for others. Seeing is believing is reality.
I was inspired by a documentary about a woman in a mental institution who saw spiders crawling all over her, but no one else saw them. She frequently had to be sedated to keep herself from scratching and hitting herself to kill the spiders. They were treating her to get to the point she couldn’t see the spiders.
That got me to thinking: What if the stimulus that no one else could see was not unpleasant, was, in fact, pleasant, and the person was self-sufficient and functional? Would they still treat the person to stop seeing the thing no one else could see?
So really, it's questioning that reality and treatment of people who might not necessarily see reality the way the norm does that inspired the story of CELESTE.
~Is it going to turn into a series?
I've thought about it. I've been asked to write 'more' to the story. There's certainly more I could tell that isn't addressed in this book, such as how and why Kyle's parents died. Also, there is still the question of what exactly is going on with Celeste herself. There are many other things that could be told. I'm just not so sure they should be told. The story leaves people with their own ponderings about reality, and I wonder if it's not better that way rather than trying to tie it up in a bow and present it as a neat, final package.
~You have been particularly proud of this story. What is it that makes you so proud?
Of any short story I've written, this is my favorite thus far. Then again, I seem to think each one is my favorite when I'm working with them, so I'm sure ABDUCTED will become my new favorite next month. CELESTE excited me because it's the first story I've written where I really wanted to know what the reader thought, not so much about the story or the quality of the story or my writing, but rather, what they thought about what had happened in the story itself. I just love the interactiveness of what readers are telling me about how they perceived the story, and I find that exciting and interesting at the same time.
~What is your favorite story you have ever written? Favorite character?
You know, I think that every story I'm working on is my favorite at the time I'm working on it and for a short time afterward. Favorite character is even tougher. I love them or hate them all for different reasons. I honestly don't think I have a favorite. I haven't yet found one I couldn't let go, though, and that's why I probably am not writing a series using one lead character. I do have series ideas, but usually it's the universe or the setting that is constant, and not necessarily a character.
~What are you working on right now? What can we expect over the next year or so?
I have a new release coming out the end of this month called ABDUCTED, which is a psychological suspense novella. The cover on this one was recently revealed, and I absolutely love, love, love it. I'll have three more novellas out before the end of this year.
I have various pokers in the fire with literary agents and a novel I'm running through the submission ringer. I have a few shorts out with fiction mags or lit journals, and I have entries into a couple of major literary unpubbed novel contests too. We'll see if anything comes of them.
I plan to have one more novel finished this year, and I’m hoping to land an agent soonish. Mostly, I plan to just keep doing what I'm doing, because I'm loving it.
~How has your health situation molded your writing style?
What it's done for me is to solidify my need to write. It's taken the desire I've always had and made it even more urgent. I could have died—twice—and I think about that and realize there is so much more I want to write, so much more I have left to tell, so I have to do it. I can't keep playing around and say it'll happen some day. I have to do it, now. So I am. Or at least, I'm trying. The concept for ABDUCTED actually came to me the last time I was in the hospital, while they were wheeling me back from surgery to my room. It's been writing itself in my mind ever since.
~What are you reading right now?
The next major publisher's book on my list is CLOUD ATLAS. Just waiting for it to arrive in the mail. Other than that, you can see what's on my reading list by seeing my book reviews website at http://michysbookreviews.com
~Do you prefer ebooks or hard copies?
You know, I used to be a die-hard book lover, stating I would never, ever switch to ebooks. I loved the feel and the smell of a book, etc., but since the advent of ereaders, and getting a Kindle Fire for Christmas, I'm hooked. I'm totally hooked. I read faster, more frequently and better on the ereader than I do a paperback book. I will still get hard copies of my favs for the bookshelf, but I’m a total ebook addict now and take my Kindle Fire with me literally everywhere I go.
~What is the best writing advice you ever received?
The best advice I've ever read or been given is: To be a writer, you have to write. You know, like, actually WRITE.
~What is your favorite bit of writing advice to give to others?
Write in the flow and edit later. It seems so many people are so concerned about writing perfectly the first time out, and that's just not going to happen. Every author—no matter how famous or popular or good—has to edit. Sure, we get better and have to edit less as we practice writing, but we always have to edit. Always. So quit worrying about the editing during the writing process. Just write. Get it out and finish it first.
~What is your biggest pet peeve in the indie publishing world?
Authors who use self-publishing as a means to bypass the process of learning the craft and perfecting their skill. Self-publishing should be a conscious decision, based on logical choices about the process and your part in it. It shouldn't be the first thing an author jumps to when a story is finished. Authors who choose to do the indie route should take the time to perfect their craft, get a professional cover artist and hire a
professional editor who does more than just proofread the document for grammar and spelling. There's so much more to a good story than just being grammatically correct and available to read. I have a lot of respect for indie authors who publish the right way, and the ones who don't really are doing a disservice to all indie authors.
Thank you so much, Michy!
Michelle Devon, sometimes affectionately (and sometimes not so affectionately) known as Michy. That’s pronounced Mickey, like the mouse, and not Mishy, like a fish; not Mitchy like the guy on Baywatch; and no, it doesn’t rhyme with bitchy, though she can sometimes be that too.
Michy has two children, a daughter (24) and a son (18), who refuse to finish baking. Michy is also in love with an identical twin (4?), though she’s not sure which one he is. Her best friend, lovingly known as Buffy (??), rounds out her perfect family of choice, along with three kitty cats, two dogs, and a few invisible friends, along with the people who live inside her head.
Michy was faced with making a choice between her head exploding or becoming successful as a novelist. Determining that the latter would be more painful, she nearly chose the explosion, until she was reminded that the kids were bad at cleaning up messes so she'd just have to do it herself. Novelist it would be.
Diagnosed with congestive heart failure and pulmonary arterial hypertension in 2011, she has spent most of the past two years learning how to live again. If asked what she does for her ‘day job’, she’ll answer, “I’m a full-time professional dreamer…”
Celeste by Michelle Devon
Kyle McRoy doesn't know who to trust. He became a wealthy man after his parents died in a freak accident, but Kyle lost control. A mental breakdown led to hospitalization in what his brother called a Behavior Therapy Center, but something about his brother tugs at the back of his fragile psyche. While at the center, Kyle meets the lovely Celeste but soon discovers there are things about Celeste he doesn't know. Things, perhaps, no one can ever know.
No, Kyle McRoy doesn't know who to trust... least of all, himself. After all, it's hard to know who to trust when you're not even sure what's real.