Ever since Michelle was a young girl and her fifth grade teacher read the class Peter S. Beagle’s novel THE LAST UNICORN, Michelle has been fascinated with all things magical, mysterious and otherworldly. Michelle wrote her first tragic fantasy novella in middle school, recruiting art-minded friends to draw pictures of the fantastical universes she had created.
Taking the road frequently traveled (not quite as romantic as the less traveled variety), and getting a BA in political science and a Masters in social work, Michelle settled in New England. Along the way she collected a husband, two sons and two cats.
Finally, Michele grabbed the proverbial bull by its spiky protrusions and pursued her passion. She now writes fantasy and urban fantasy, and admits to a fascination with gateways and portals, which seem to crop up in any story she writes.
5 Minutes Michelle Picard
Rayna: What project are you currently working on? (C’mon, give us a hint!)
I’m playing with the outline of my third in the Eden series novels. It is tentatively called Recasting Eden. I can’t decide if the opener involves the magic-filled heroine running through Garden of Eden chasing an escaped prisoner who nullifies magic or the heroine dreaming about climbing a gigantic twisting DNA strand (a la Jack in the Beanstalk).
Rayna: What is your favorite snack?
I had a really weird run of time where I almost exclusively craved chevre cheese and sun dried tomatoes on petit points. Weird. And way too salty to keep up for long. Now I’d say my biggest snack (read “bad for you food”) are chocolate frappes. If you’re not from New England, a frappe is a milk shake. But in New England if you order a milk shake you get shaken milk. Not even close to as good.
Rayna: I have heard from numerous authors that chocolate is the staple of their diet. Is it in yours?
I can’t decide if it is a good thing that my chocolate craving has reduced as I’ve aged. Somehow I’m mourning this fact. So, no, it is no longer a staple, though I still do have my moments. See above response about chocolate frappes.
Most folks say no. Book lovers, at heart, adore the feel of real books. But since my first e-reader has just arrived in the mail and I saw some sales figures for publishing reflecting an explosion of e books and a downturn in percentage of sales for paperback fiction, I will forge the way and say I do believe something radical could happen in the future. Never second-guess the effects technology makes on our world.
Rayna: Who or what influences you when you write?
My muse. Although I think she gets spiteful when I don’t eat right or get enough exercise after a while. My brain gets cloudier and she doesn’t show up as often.
Rayna: Is there a genre of book you would like to write but haven’t yet?
I’d love to write a sci-fi romance. I’m working up the nerve. Fantasy flows naturally for me, but I’m intimidated by getting the balance of world building just right for a sci-fi story.
Rayna: What kind of research do you do for your books? Do you enjoy the research process?
I do web research. Google is my friend. Often I look at maps of different cities or “how to” sites explaining the lingo or maneuvers for activities I have never tried. Like rock climbing. I’m not a huge fan of research, but I love the texture little dribs and drabs of true to life reference adds to my stories. And of course when I have the chance to talk to a real live person for research, the possibilities of what I can learn are endless.
Rayna: What is your favorite movie of all time? The one where you can watch it and still get affected at the same spots each and every time?
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
David Beckham. And mind you this is no commentary on his personality or even a passion for soccer. I don’t follow soccer. This is strictly about objectifying his body.
Rayna: What is your favorite way to relax after a hard day working and writing?
Reading. Reading. Reading. With a few books thrown in for good measure.
Rayna: Do you have a celebrity crush?
Hugh Jackman. Very original, I know. It’s just me and all of female kind. Well, probably a good percentage of homosexual or bi-sexual males as well. Heck, I’d even venture to say there are some space aliens that tune into Earth media to catch glimpses when he goes shirtless.
Rayna: Out of all your books, do you have a favorite one? If not, then which one is closest to your heart.
Well, Ruling Eden is my first published novel under this name. The second in the series, Surviving Eden, has yet to be contracted by my publisher. But if I had to choose between them, I’d say Surviving Eden. Now all I have to do is get it in print. And you’ll have to read the first and then wait impatiently for this next one.
Rayna: What character out of all your books is the closest to your personality?
Rachel, my heroine. I’m not as tough as her. And as far as I know I’m not the most powerful magical being on the planet, but there’s a bit of my sarcasm in her and a good portion of my worldview.
Rayna: Have you ever been nervous over reader reaction when a new book comes out?
Of course. I’d have to be dead not to worry. I think most authors do. But it doesn’t keep me up at nights. I still reread my books and love them. When I started writing my only goal was to complete an entire novel. The publishing achievement is just icing on the cake of my personal goal.
Rayna: How much does reader response mean to you over your books?
I value it highly. I know how many books I read (a ton) and how rarely I stop to email the author and tell her how much I enjoyed her work. So when a reader reaches out to me I realize how special it is.
Rayna: What is the weirdest thing a reviewer has ever said about one of your books?
That my heroine who is 25 and an orphan was too old to still be having identity issues more common for adolescents. First off, developmentally many folks don’t complete and tie a nice bow around their identity issues when they are technically above the age of adolescence. Second, the character was an orphan since infanthood for goodness sake. Those kind of issues are more likely to hang around longer. I don’t drown my readers in back story, but I try hard to be consistent with my characters emotional development based on what I know about them. How many perfectly adjusted perfectly mature people do you know? We’re all a bit more complicated than that.
Rayna: What is the nicest thing a reviewer has ever said about one of your books?
That my 125 thousand-word novel was too short and that she wanted more. No complaints about the pacing of the previous chunk of words, just that I didn’t give her enough.
Rayna: What is your favorite color besides YELLOW?
Red although I look just as good in brown if not better. Is that self-involved to choose a favorite color based on how you look in clothes? Oh well. It’s still true. I love many rich earth tones.
Rayna: Red Pill or Blue Pill?
You know, my first response was going to be red. I discussed this question with a friend and he said why don’t you take both and see what happens. I kind of liked that answer. Thinking outside the box.
Thanks Michele for you’re a very candid and entertaining interview. If you’d like to know more about Michelle, please contact her at email@example.com
What if a modern woman suddenly learns she is heir to the throne of a magical realm hidden in our world and is the most powerful magical being on the planet? Growing up an orphan, Rachel always assumed she’d be going it alone, until the night before her twenty-fifth birthday when she is thrust into the realm of Eden’s Court.
Her new job description? Unite seven contentious magical races in order to prevent the destruction of earth. But learning to rule is easier than facing her attraction to Gabriel, half-angel, half-demon. Born of a forbidden love between mortal enemies, Gabriel is convinced he is a political liability to Rachel. Once Rachel stops denying their chemistry, she must convince him to pursue their love. Although Gabriel is willing to help her solve a murder, avert a war, and learn to use her overwhelming magic, accepting their destiny together is another matter.
Rachel Rieh wields enough magic to make a goddess jealous, or so she learned three weeks ago when she thought she was an ordinary, reclusive, and short-tempered gal from Boston. In this second story of Eden’s Court, Rachel, now the new ruler of the Kesayim, (angels, demons, dragons, faeries, vampires, shapeshifters and witches–the goddess-created protectors of mortalkind) finds herself faced with the task of stopping vampire hunters from annihilating the vampire race. Her lover, Gabriel, half-angel, half-demon, stands by her side to help if she can escape her obsession with protecting him at all cost.
Earth is already on the verge of destruction within six months because magic is out of balance. The new threat to the vampires destabilizes the situation more. In her race to save the vampires, Rachel meets Lilith, goddess, creator of all Kesayim and humans, and the one with all the answers to Rachel’s problems. But is the cold-hearted goddess intent on changing Rachel into her image the greater threat to Rachel and everyone she loves?