Monday, June 15, 2015

Author Interview - Jo Michaels

Happy Monday, everyone! I know I said I was done with the author interviews, but I figured I'd put one up with myself. *grin* This is so you get to know a little about ME before utopYA Con. It's just three days away now, and I want you to be able to recognize me if you happen upon a lady in a hat like mine. I also took questions from friends and fans on Facebook, so I'll be dropping those in as we go along with the name of the person asking.

Ready? Grab a cup of coffee and let's get going!

JoQ: Hi there, you! Rather than give you a long introduction, I'm jumping right into the questions. Here we go! Where might someone be able to find you at utopYA Con this week?

JoA: Hello, yourself! Thanks for not letting everyone know all about me! Rude. I'm sure we'll be getting to that soon, right? To answer your question, folks will be able to find me at GB3: Jo Michaels & Tia Bach/Indie Books Gone Wild. That means Tia and I will be in the Grand Ballroom Thursday and Friday at the IBGW table (#3). I'll also be there Saturday for the Authors Are My Idols book signing. Look for me in my new, black hat!

JoQ: That's great! Yeah, we'll get to the stuff about you here in a bit. Please, try to be patient. So, I hear you're releasing a book at utopYA. Care to share the deets with us?

JoA: *drums fingers on table impatiently* Deets! Yes! The novel is titled M, and it's about a mutating drug by the same name and the human desire to fit in. My main character is named Griffin, and he's so blinded by revenge, he often loses sight of what really matters: love, friends, family, etc... You just have to read it. I've already sold a number of copies via pre-order, so it seems like it'll be well received. It's also the featured book this week here on the blog. Yay!

JoQ: That's amazing news! So, tell me a little about you. Why do you write in the genres that you do?

JoA: I write whatever I get a story idea for. Mostly, my books revolve around strong women and/or lessons on being a better human being. I write to inspire, empower, and educate.

JoQ: Sounds like a big task! Now, I've taken the liberty of asking other people what they'd ask you in an interview. So, I'm gonna open the floor up to them. First up, we have B. J. Sheldon. B. J. asks, "Where'd you get those sick dance moves?"

JoA: She must be referring to the 80s dance off we had last year after the awards. Ah, fond memories! Well, I've taken dance classes my whole life, and I used to go to clubs and dance like there was no tomorrow. I learned by watching and repeating what I saw. Practice is a Godsend.

JoQ: Hopefully, you'll win this year! Ms. Liz Long wants to know: "What inspires you?"

JoA: Yeah, not likely. B. J. has the 80s down pat. *grins* Hmmm, what inspires me... I'd have to say my inspiration comes from the world and people around me. I'm blessed to be surrounded by so much love and positive reinforcement. I've also always been overly intrigued by the human condition. I wonder why people do the things they do, and what would happen if. When I see something I may be able to change with a pen, I try my very best to make it happen.

JoQ: There you go again with the empower and educate stuff. Well, this next question will be right up your alley. Natasha Hanova asked, "How do you stay so motivated?"

JoA: Oh, Natasha! I have my days like everyone else, when I just want to say, "To Hell with it!" But every time a reader of my blog tells me they learned something or how finding my corner of the blogosphere helped them through their Indie struggles, it pushes me to hit the keys once more. Every time a reader of my books tells me how they connected with one of my characters, it makes me want to write another word. It's all about the positive impact I hope I'm having. That's what keeps me motivated. I love paying it forward.

JoQ: Nice! Your next question is from Layla Renee. She asks, "What do you do when you get stuck on a project?"

JoA: Stuck? If you mean writer's block, I don't really have it. There's a point sometimes where I don't know where a story is going next, and I have to step away from it for a minute to work that out, but I usually draw up a beginning and an end and go from there. If I still can't work it out, I write on something else for a while. I firmly believe this is because I write at the same time each day, with a warm up here on the blog to kick it off. Once words are flowing, it makes it easier to craft a novel.

JoQ: It's good to be in the zone. Your next question is from Shawn McGuire: "How do you balance blogging with writing and the rest of your life?"

JoA: I'm a meticulous planner, and I schedule my weeks accordingly. I don't work after 5pm or on weekends; that time is reserved strictly for my family and house stuff. My blog is actually a warm-up and works well to motivate me to write. But, when something's gotta give, it's my blog that does so. There are times I have life stuff get in the way, and there are those times when I'm on a deadline with an edit. My clients trump all else. I meet my deadlines. Period. *grin*

JoQ: It's true. Schedules make the world go 'round! Next up is two questions from Ms. Heidi Lea: "When did you decide to become a writer? What's your method of writing?"

JoA: Great questions, Heidi! Love them. I decided to become a writer in college. It was a World History class, actually. I did this great research paper on Genghis Khan, and I found out so many interesting details I just had to write the story (with a fictional twist, of course). A year after graduation, Yassa was born. Since then, it's been a whirlwind of fun.

My methods vary as widely as my subject matter. Some books I write off the cuff, and some I write one or two chapters of and let them simmer on my brain until I dream the story out. Once I have it, I sit down and write until I'm done. I, Zombie was started way back before it was written (NaNo novel), and I finished it in just seven days. I'm a total pantser. No way can I outline and keep my novels as organic as I want to. Then, of course, you have the characters who are pushy and tell you what they want you to write. I can't deny them!

JoQ: You're such a softy! Your next question comes from Jolene Buchheit. She wants to know: "What's one thing you would tell new authors about sales expectations?"

JoA: Jolene, bless you! There's no such thing. My best advice on this is write the best book you can, use an editor, give it a beautiful cover, have a kick ass marketing plan, and cross your fingers. Do not expect anything. If it happens, and you sell thousands of copies, that's awesome. Let it shock you. If you don't, you're more likely than not to be disappointed. But never, ever give up.

JoQ: Never giving up is a must. Truly. Too many authors throw in the towel too soon. Okay, onward! Your next question is from Stormy Smith. "Why did you decide to share so much advice and information on your blog? That takes time away from your writing, so how do you find balance between the two?"

JoA: For the answer to the second part, see Shawn's question above. For the first, oh my. You may love my answer; you may hate it. Nonetheless, here it is: My blog is my baby. It's kept me going through the darkest and lightest times of my life. Through it, I've met some of my best friends. I don't just share advice with others, I share it with myself. It's a constant reminder of things I should be doing, how to get to where I want to be, and one tiny, itty bitty way I can pay it forward. There have been a ton of people who've helped me get to where I am today, and my blog is one way I can educate and promote others in an effort to help spread the word/share the love. It's a huge part of my writing life, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

JoQ: Truth. The blog is the baby! The lovely Kelly Martin asked your next question. She said, "Some writers focus on readers, some on other writers. Do you have a mailing list/fb page/ anything that is reader only or do you focus just on authors?"

JoA: Kelly, you're outing me here! *grin* I have my author page on Facebook, of course, and that's geared toward readers, but IBGW also has a super secret weapon we unveil for clients: A reader only subscription where we give away books. Every IBGW client gets a giveaway (we buy and gift the books), and their release goes out to our massive subscriber list made up of readers. It's really quite something. We started it because we wanted to go the extra mile for our clients--do the thing no one else was doing: help them promote their book once it's published. Sign up here.

As a bonus, those readers are getting well-edited books in the giveaways they enter. It's win/win.

Plus, the blog has reviews (used to be once a week until deadlines started piling up and reading went the way of the wind), and those are geared toward readers. This is a rare kind of blog. It's really about all things books.

I also curate a Flipboard magazine with book reviews for readers. I harvest all reviews from my Time for Books 2015 Review Team. They're an amazing group of readers, and write wonderful reviews.

There! I'm out of the closet. Thanks a lot. haha!

JoQ: Blog baby! *grin* Your final two questions are from Ms. Snowa Fox. They are: "Where do you get inspiration from for books and for blog posts? What advice would you give your pre-published self if you could go back in time?"

JoA: For books, see the answer to my own question up near the top. For blog posts, well, that's another matter entirely! I write about things I learn as I learn them. If I'm editing a book and see the same mistake being made over and over, I'll write a blog post with a tip to keep others out of the hot seat with that error. If I come upon some awesome digital tool, I check it out and recommend it. If I have a marketing idea, I share. When I see someone struggling with something, I find the answer and post it here on the blog. So, everywhere, I guess. haha!

What advice would I give myself? Find a book like The Indie Author's Guide and read it before you do anything else! Seriously. I wrote that pocket guide out of my own frustrations so other authors wouldn't have to struggle like I did with finding stuff. I priced it low so it would be affordable for authors to learn from. It's a newbie's best friend.

JoQ: Yeah... Struggles... *wipes brow* I did a lot of that in the beginning, huh? Well, it's time to wrap this up! Be sure and look for me at utopYA in two days! I'll be the one in the hat! This was me last year!

Time to tell you about the featured book of the week!

Title: M
Author: Jo Michaels
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Length (print): xxx pages
Buy Links: Amazon Kindle $3.99 Paperback $14.99

In 2026, it finally arrives, the drug promising to make life easier for the masses. One dose of M and anyone can gain an ability. There are no promises made as to what the power could manifest as, but people are crawling over one another to take a chance.

There's a problem: One pill costs a million dollars. Only those with extraordinary wealth are afforded the luxury of cleaning house with a click of their diamond-adorned fingers or solving a puzzle by talking to it.

A knockoff begins circulating in 2038 that does the same thing as M. Hundreds of thousands of people have mutated for a mere one hundred dollars.

Enter the year 2042.

Seventeen-year-old Griffin is a normal kid, who has a regular job, and dreams of going to college someday. When his girlfriend of three years succumbs to peer pressure, they break up. He believes the body is a temple not to be messed with outside of nature, and she wants to fit in. Once he meets the supplier, things take a turn for the worse.

He's left with nothing but pain in his heart and the desire to make them suffer when his plans for payback blow up in his face.

Thirst for revenge consumes him, and he finds himself locked in a battle he never anticipated with a merciless kingpin as they struggle to gain the advantage.

How far is too far?

Want to follow me on social media? Here ya go!

Twitter: @WriteJoMichaels
Facebook: WriteJoMichaels
Website: WriteJoMichaels
Pinterest: WriteJoMichaels
Blog: Jo Michaels Blog

How fun was this?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!



  1. Love your interview! Just hearing about all the stuff you juggle, makes me feel exhausted. Have fun at the convention!

    1. Thank you, Heather! I just schedule well. LOL ;)

  2. I'm extremely impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your weblog.
    Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Anyway keep up the nice quality writing,
    it is rare to see a nice blog like this one today.


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