Interview with Michelle M. Pillow

First, give us the basics. Who are you, personally? Got a family? Any deep dark secrets you’d like to share? Wanna tell us where you hang your hat or pantyhose or something?

I’m Michelle M. Pillow, Author of All Things Romance… what? More? LOL. Um. I’m addicted to coffee, love pajama pants and have a strange ‘compulsion’ that forces me to keep my toenails painted red.

I’m a wife and mother. My family is very supportive of what I do and have adapted to my eccentricities quite well, though every time my back is turned, they tend to sneak home a new pet. So far, we have 2 English Bulldogs, a Schipperke, a ½ Lab ½ Boxer that everyone things is a Pit Bull, 2 cats and a rabbit—this isn’t counting the tailless squirrel, rescued turtles and duck who temporarily take up residence. I’m pretty sure all creatures of the animal kingdom know directions to our yard.

My husband almost brought home a tiger cub—yeah, you read the right, lol. Lucky for him, he came to his senses and brought the baby back to the person who’d given it to him.

Oh, and lest I forget, Marc our fish.

Second, what do you write? And how do you do it? Spill it all. Are you a shower poet? Pet your cat while you type one handed? Get the name of your next character by what appears in your Alphabet soup or cereal?

I write romance in almost all its wondrous forms—dark fantasy, fantasy, historical, paranormal, contemporary, futuristic, chick-lit and all the combinations thereof. I also write sweet to steamy.

Ideas normally come to me in the shower, when I have quiet time and am relaxed. Or, when I’m trying to fall asleep. Ideas will pop into my head and not let me rest until I write them down. Because of this, I have notebooks hidden all over the bedroom, lol. Normally, I write either in my office or on my laptop in front of the television. I like the low noise when I work.

Wherever I am, I have the two Bulldogs right there, following me around the house. Somehow, I was nominated as their pack leader—though they didn’t consult me when the vote was taken.

When I first started working, I actually named my heroines by going through the alphabet—Alexandra, Brenna, Chloe, Della…. Yeah, I know, strange, lol. I did make it through the whole thing though. It’s how I kept which order I wrote the books in straight. I can’t seem to write a book until I know the characters name. It’s always the first thing I pick out when beginning a new story.  

Third, how long have you been writing professionally? Any cool stories about how you got started? Or mistakes you’ve made. Feel free to elaborate. Just paragraph in between, but, by all means, ENTERTAIN US.

My first book was published in ebook by New Concepts Publishing in April 2004. It has since gone out of print. When I first submitted to the company, I hadn’t heard or even read an ebook—now I love them!

Since first publishing, I’ve worked non-stop to try and build a career for myself, often putting in 18 hour days. I’ve signed over 50 contracts—though some were for short stories—and recently won the prestigious Romantic Times Award for Best Erotic Romance, for the historical Maiden and the Monster, published by Ellora’s Cave.

I have several publishers I work with—Ellora’s Cave, Samhain, New Concepts, one title in an antho from Pocket Books, and Virgin Books which is now part of Random House.I’d say that my mistakes were those most newbies make—not learning more about promotion and marketing before being published. I didn’t realize how much effort it really took on the part of the author to market a book.

Since 2004 I’ve taught myself how to make book videos, banners, build a website from scratch and maintain it, established the Pillow Scavenger Hunt that has had over 80 great authors in participation, created the Raven Vampire Nightclub with Mandy Roth where we do blogging, podcasts, free stories for readers, ect… It’s been a wild ride and I’ve learned a lot. In fact, I’m still learning.

Fourth, any cool stories about meeting other writers or industry professionals that have influenced or helped you? We like to hear the silly stuff. Ever stutter at an agent? (I have.) Ever sidestep an editor? Or have a margarita downing contest with one? (Pleading the fifth on that, myself.)

Aside from the time the aliens abducted me and I met Mandy Roth…or wait, was it she broke into my house…or was it we met at the Salvation Army fighting over a t-shirt… Well, anyway, I’d have to say teaming up with Mandy has been a great plus for both of us.

We compliment each other’s styles and have the same hard work ethic that pushes the other onward. Many of the milestones of our career we’ve met together, often not intentionally. It’s great to share that journey with someone and she’s become the big sister I never wanted… LMAO, Just kidding, Mandy. I’ve only had one editor “issue” where we both felt the best course was to part ways. It came down to a matter of different styles and opinions—not that either one of us was wrong, just too different to work together. It happens.

The only time I remember being a little awed and tongue-tied is when I got a phone call from the new publisher at the recently opened Virgin Books USA branch under Random House. I was shocked by the unwavering support and by the call and probably stuttered my way through it. Though, hopefully I didn’t muck it up too bad as they’re still working with me.

Fifth, tell us about your first published work. What was it? When did it come out? 

The book was entitled, The Mists of Midnight, a Victorian ghost story that is no longer in print, or ebook rather. I do hope to rewrite it (I cringe to think of that earlier piece, lol). I’ve learned so much since that first piece and hope to resell it for print distribution.  The book was published in April 2004. 

Got any awards to brag about? 

Yes! I do!! I just got back from the Romantic Times Magazine convention in Texas where I was awarded with the RT Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Erotic Romance for the historical romance, Maiden and the Monster. It was just released in print from Ellora’s Cave Publishing, appearing for the first time at the convention. So, as an interesting side note, it was an ebook when it won the award.

Blurb:

Vladamir of Kessen, Duke of Lakeshire Castle, is feared as a demon in the land of Wessex. The Kings have granted him a title of nobility in exchange for his part as a political prisoner. Discontent, he bides his time in his new home until war will once again rip through the land.

But boredom soon turns to devious pleasure as the daughter of his most hated enemy is left for dead at his castle gate. Now the monster bides his time plotting revenge. Lady Eden of Hawks’ Nest doesn’t know what to think of the man who saved her life, but she can’t wrench her thoughts away. His words are those of a tyrant, true to his vicious reputation, but his touch is that of a man, stirring passion and lust when there should only be fear. It would seem the infamous monster is not as monstrous as he appears.

Do you have any dreams as a writer? Go ahead, give us your best fantasy.

Plenty of them. I’d like to work on a literary fiction (though I do love genre fiction and am plenty busy with that), be part of a nonfiction compilation, perhaps a children’s book (under a non-romance author name of course). I’d like to write more for magazines.

As a person, I’m open to new opportunities and experiences in both my writing career and personally. There are also many authors I’d like to be in anthologies with.

I think every writer wants to be successful at what they do. I’m no different in that regard. I want to reach bestseller lists, get awards, get big paychecks, but most of all I want to be happy doing what I do.

Got any projects in the works? Please tell us it’s amazing and give us a short excerpt or something to make us HAVE to go and buy it. What makes it so great?
 

I always seem to have several things in the works, though this year I’ve been a little slower with all the extra promotions I’ve been doing with Virgin Books (Random House). My book, Along for the Ride, is one of their USA launch books in October 2007 and is for pre-order at Amazon.com. The books I do for Virgin are different than some of my other titles in style. They all deal with strong, modern day women who don’t necessarily believe that a romantic happily-ever-after is all there is in life.

Happily, they discover that in some ways their “modern” notions were wrong. Since I am a HEA kind of girl, all my stories do have that HEA ending.  

Blurb:

Detective Megan Matthews is cursed with always being right. Her instincts are good, her deductive reasoning even better. She’s found her hard-headed ways to be too much for most men, so she’s given up on trying to find Mr Right and has settled for arresting Mr Wrong.

Photographer, Ryan Andrews, has had a crush on the sexy detective since he first took her photograph by accident at a crime scene. That picture became headline news and she hasn’t talked to him since.

He’s tried everything to get her attention, even enlisted the help of her sister. Nothing works. When opportunity presents itself, he’s left with little choice. But is blackmailing a cop into marriage really a good idea? 

Read an Excerpt: http://www.michellepillow.com/ride.htm

I’ve also been working on the last book in the Call of the Lycan trilogy at Ellora’s Cave. It’s about half way finished. I’m almost done with the first Space Lords book, part of the Dragon Lords universe, though I’ve not contracted it with anyone as of yet. And for Virgin, I’m working on Recipe for Disaster, the third Matthew Sisters book, which include Bit by the Bug and Along for the Ride.

Any tidbits of help for other writers that you’d like to pass along? Please, by all means, inspire us. Point us in the write direction. 
 

Do your research. That’s pretty much it. Research everything—the industry, your book topic down to every last detail, publisher guidelines, everything.

Do you have any suggestions as to what a writer should avoid? Any mistakes you made that you could give us fair warning on?

Never close yourself off to learning more, even when you think you have it down. And never close your ears to the criticisms that count when it comes to your work.

Though you might not like all the ideas people give you, you can learn and grow and possibly make your book better by at least listening. I say “criticisms that count” and want to emphasize that.

Don’t listen to everyone with an opinion, choose carefully those you do listen to and disregard the rest. And know that opinions are only as good as the people giving them—and people can have bad days and bad attitudes.

Let the negativity roll of your back, just make sure that you don’t ignore the useful critiques in the process. Um, yeah, hopefully that makes some kind of sense. Oh, and don’t air your dirty laundry publically—even if you are frustrated.

Give us links to your websites, blogs, etc.? 

Links:

Website – www.michellepillow.com

Blog- http://www.michellepillow.com/authorblog/  

Contests- http://www.michellepillow.com/contest.htm  

Newsletter – http://groups.yahoo.com/group/michellempillow/join

Myspace – http://www.myspace.com/michellepillow 

The Raven, with co-author Mandy RothFree Story – http://www.ravenhappyhour.com/raven.htm  

Paranormal blog – http://ravenhappyhour.com/ravenblog/

Podcasts – http://www.ravenhappyhour.com/raven_podcasts.htm  

Chat Group – http://groups.yahoo.com/group/The_Raven_Vampire_Nightclub/join

Thanks for giving us your fifty cent interview. Come back and see what other authors and readers have to say. Send your friends this way, too. K?

Thanks you so much for having me!

Advertisements

6 Responses to “Interview with Michelle M. Pillow”

  1. Michelle M Pillow Says:

    Thanks again for having me, Jenn!

  2. Ciar Cullen Says:

    Great interview. She still hasn’t spoken publicly about that deal with the devil that makes her so freaking prolific…and good. :o)

  3. BlueValkerie Says:

    Excellent interview. Much food for thought.
    Speaking of food, see you back at The_Raven_Vampire_Nightclub.
    BV

  4. NJ Walters Says:

    Great interview. Congrats on being one of the launch books for Virgin Books!

  5. Penelope Marzec Says:

    Tell me you never sleep. :^)
    I wish I could write as fast as you do.

  6. Michelle M Pillow Says:

    Hi Ladies!!!

    If it makes you feel better, I’ve been slower writing this year, lol. Only because everything else is so busy.

    LOL Ciar—make sure you read the fine print. 😉

    Thanks for coming by!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: