I asked Michelle some questions about her reading preferences.
TSB: You have a great command of language. Do you read a lot?
When I was younger I used to read as many books as I could get ahold of. Unfortunately, growing up and running off to college has offered me many more distractions than I had as a child, so I’ve settled on a few select novels a year.
TSB: If so, who are your favorite authors?
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle- I’ve always admired mystery writers, but I really hold Doyle dear because he knows how to take fantastic characters and combine them with intriguing plot.
Alfred Lord Tennyson- This guy could make stone angels cry with his poetry. Idylls of the King is a masterpiece.
T.H. White- Just read The Once and Future King. If you’re not laughing at every other line, you’re not reading it right.
George Orwell- The man knew how valuable words were and he made sure none of his were ever wasted.
F. Scott Fitzgerald- His stories are like a camera flash- they catch you by surprise but stay with you a long time afterwards.
TSB: You certainly have strong opinions. Our opinions help shape our writing. What are your favorite books?
The Last Tycoon
The Once and Future King
TSB: What advice do you have for other young writers?
Michelle: Read books that came before the 1950s. Modern writers hold no water when it comes to the masters of old. For those who are daring, try Don Quixote. It’s long, admittedly, but hysterically funny. More so than you might first expect.
TSB: Writers have innumerable challenges to getting the story finished: many other things to do, can’t find the time, distraction by another story idea, etc. What is your greatest writing challenge?
Michelle: I am CONSTANTLY distracted by other things in life. I’m sure it’s a world-wide conspiracy to keep me from finishing projects. I think the best advice I can offer is just to look at your work every day. For me, even if I only take five minutes to look over my notes for a story or reread the opening lines of something I’ve written, it makes a world of difference. It gets me back into my story and it makes me want to write. Even if I can’t spare the time to type anything out at that moment, it allows me to think about my story in preparation for the next time I can sit down and work.
TSB: Thank you, Michelle. We all inspire and encourage each other.