Welcome to a Halu-Halo series: Author-ish. Halu-halo, as a blog, has always focused on inspiration, and our interviews will ask authors about theirs. Author-ish is named as such because these interviews won't be about the craft of writing, but all the feelings behind it.
FEATURED AUTHOR :: NICOLE MICHAELS
Nicole resides in a small town outside of Kansas City with her husband and three sons. When she isn't writing, she's a wedding and portrait photographer, loves to cook, read, and watch historical dramas or documentaries.
START ME UP :: Publication Date - March 3, 2015, St. Martins Press/Macmillan
(Ooo! So close!)
Why do Do-It-Yourself...
Single mom Anne Edmond can handle—and hand-make—just about anything. From table settings to party favors, floral arrangements to nursery décor, there is no project her creativity and a glue gun can’t tackle. But dating? That’s a whole ’nother story. Case in point: Mike Everett. He’s a gorgeous mechanic and known car-whisperer, a man who can work with auto parts like nobody’s business. And he has thrown a monkey wrench into Anne’s carefully-crafted life...
When you can do it together?
One look at Anne is enough for Mike to know that she’s no fixer-upper. She’s perfect just the way she is—and the chemistry between them works like a charm. Mike’s always been a no-strings kind of guy, but Anne’s impressive self-reliance—and gorgeous exterior—gives him pause. This time, a fast joyride just doesn’t seem like enough. But first he has to convince Anne that he means to take her all the way...
Tif (HaluHalo) - I'm thrilled to have Nicole Michaels here with us to talk about HER DEBUT! Sorry, I was excited just writing it. The cover and the blurb are swoon-worthy, and the main character as a DIY-er is just something I just love because crafty people are my people. Bring on the glue, the yarn, the fabric!
Nicole, I know you are a photographer, but are you a crafter too? What was your inspiration for START ME UP?
Nicole Michaels - I’ve certainly done my share of crafting. Scrapbooking, cake decorating, jewelry making, cross stitch. Unfortunately I don’t have much time for it these days. Those experiences certainly helped inspire, but much of it came from a friend of mine who happens to be amazing at throwing parties. Every detail is intentional and lovely, from the décor, to the invites to the goodie bags. She invited me to a Favorite Things party one evening- where you all swap and leave with one of everyone's favorite things. I brought everyone romance novels. (Of course!) It led to some great discussion about adult romance books and the ladies all encouraged me to take my lovely agent's advice and try my hand at one. (At the time I was focusing on young adult novels.) I left my friend's lovely party inspired and the overall premise for START ME UP came together in my mind on the drive home. I started that night and had the first several chapters done by the end of the weekend. I was also inspired by the many amazing crafting/scrapbooking/décor/lifestyle blogs I’ve stalked over the years. Those women blow my mind with their creativity and spirit.
Tif - I love to surround myself with people who inspire me. It helps me with my own inspiration, and boy, are we glad you decided to "try your hand" at an adult book...HELLO! That was a fantastic move! How did you keep this inspiration forefront while you worked?
Nicole - Writing SMU was an amazing time (the initial draft took about three months), and I now know that to be truer than ever. Writing is hard, but sometimes it flows effortlessly. That’s how this book was for me. It didn’t hurt that I’d been coming off kind of a low point in my writing journey and had just decided to let it all go and have fun with it. I also listened to some great music. Two favs were Just Say Yes by Snow Patrol and My Blue Sky by Jessica Campbell.
Tif - SMU was meant to be, I am convinced. You mentioned that this time, writing was effortless. When do you do your best work? Do you have a routine?
Nicole - It varies. My children are all in school so you would think I work best while they are gone—which is of course sometimes the case because I have to. However, I find that I get a lot done on the weekends when everyone is just kind of chilling around the house. It’s my escape. I put my headphones in and go into my own world—of course stopping often to make meals, find missing shoes, and change my never-ending loads of laundry.
Tif - I think the free-time-while-the-kids-are-in-school is an urban legend. *winks* Schedules change and vary when you have children at different stages. That's great you can carve out time even when everyone is home. What are your biggest distractions and how do you stay focused?
Nicole - The usual suspects: Twitter, Facebook, email, and Candy Crush Soda Saga. But also reading. I’d be happy to read other peoples books for hours on end, and often I do just that. What helps me get things done is making little deals with myself. For example, I tell myself if I finish this chapter I can read a chapter of a book. Or if I work really diligently from 8:00-1:00 then I can read until school pick up. Notice the recurring theme? I’m obsessed with reading.
Tif - One cannot be a writer without being a reader. That's for sure! And I make deals with myself. Thank goodness not aloud when anyone else is listening. Besides reading, what fuels your spirit? What fills your tank?
Nicole - My family. I’m happiest when I know we’re all safe in the house, there’s food in the fridge, and we’re all healthy. I’m pretty simple like that. Also, my friends. Chatting on the phone with my sister-in-law, or meeting my best friend for coffee usually clears my head and keeps my sanity in a healthy range.
Tif - You sound like my kind of gal! Bringing it down to the most important things is so important! Tell me five words that describe START ME UP.
Nicole - Sweet, Sexy, Funny, Relatable, Crafty
Tif - Crafty -- woo!! What do you love most about this book?
Nicole - I love that it’s real. Anne is not a biographical character for me, but I certainly wrote her from my heart. She’s confident in her abilities, and yet unsure of herself as a woman. She’s trying to be a good mother, daughter, and friend, all the while striving to be her best self and help others to do the same. And Mike being my first romance hero meant I could write him exactly how I wanted my ideal hero to be—sweet yet naughty *wink*, a little jealous but not controlling, and a man that’s good with children. I mean, what’s not to love? These characters and their journey to their happy-ever-after feels like real life, and that’s my goal for the entire series.
Tif - You're killing me that I have to wait till March to read this. I, myself, love books where characters are relatable in a way that I can see the heroine as a friend. And book boyfriends, well...that would be another conversation on its own. *winks* Now, the hard questions. Fast cars or fast sewing machines?
Nicole - Fast cars as long as my children aren’t in them!! Ha!
Tif - You almost looked like a wild child there, mama! DIY Network or Fast and Loud?
Nicole - I have to admit that I’ve probably seen just about every episode of Fast and Loud but if I had to choose probably DIY Network. (But I’d never get around to actually doing any of the projects!)
Tif - Girl, I'm still trying to get a scrapbook together from 2009. Last question -- first impressions or Second Chances?
Nicole - I have many unfinished scrapbooks. It’s shameful! As for the question, definitely second chances. In my experience they can be worth it, you just have to go in with your eyes open. I also LOVE second chance romance novels.
Tif - CONGRATULATIONS on your upcoming debut, Nicole! Thank you for this interview, and wishing you great success!
Nicole - Thank you so much for having me!
And there you have it, folks! Mark March 3rd on your calendar for the Nicole's book birthday. I definitely will!