Lethal In Love: Interview with Michelle Somers

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Get to know award winning author Michelle Somers. And she has a special gift for FIVE lucky people.

To go in the draw just tell us in the comments section below this article:

What is, was or would be your dream proposal story?

Offer closes midnight AEST Sunday 20 November, 2016.

I first became aware of Michelle Somers at the 2015 Romance Writers of Australia conference. In 2016 she stormed the RWA awards dinner by winning Romantic Book of the Year with her debut suspense novel Lethal in Love. Yes, folks, her debut novel. I am thrilled to welcome Michelle to Writers Block.

lethal-in-loveMichelle, welcome to Writers Block. It’s so great to sit down with a fellow suspense lover to talk about love, murder and writing! First off, congratulations on winning the 2016 R*BY! It’s an amazing achievement for your debut novel. Share with us a little about that winning feeling.

Thanks Ro.

It was such an honour to be named as a finalist among such talented, successful authors, but to win? Well, that was something really special.

The entire RWA gala evening was so surreal. I remember sitting there as the R*BY was about to be announced, surrounded by friends, not really thinking I’d win, but just hoping I would anyway. Then the words Lethal in Love echoed through my mind, and I wondered if I’d dreamed them up!

I love Romance Writers of Australia. The organisation, the people, have played a huge role in my journey as a writer. I have so much to thank them for.

And as for the whole winning experience? Well, I don’t think I’ll ever quite lose that ‘floating up in the clouds’ feeling.

Tell us a little about this book that has everyone talking, Lethal in Love.

Lethal in Love is a sensual romantic suspense set in Melbourne, Australia, featuring a female homicide detective, a determined but damaged news reporter and a sadistic serial killer.

The Night Terror hunts innocents, all women in their twenties, blue eyes, blonde hair. He stalks them, strangles them, then severs a finger, keeping it as a trophy.

Jayda and Seth both are both out to catch this psychopathic killer for different reasons. Seth needs that one story to kick-start his career and Jayda will do anything to ensure women can feel safe on the streets again. Even team up with a reporter who is too sexy, too bossy, too distracting for his own good. And hers.

Much as she needs Seth’s insight into the Night Terror case, Jayda fights him every step of the way. She doesn’t lean – ever. Her past has taught her to be resilient and self-reliant. And she won’t relinquish her power to anyone. Least of all a man. And if he’s a reporter? Well, her inherent distrust and dislike of reporters is based on experience. Experience doesn’t lie.

Seth has an uphill battle to prove he’s not like the rest.

Then the Night Terror makes a move, things get personal and Jayda must discover who she can trust, and who wishes to destroy her.

I know that Lethal in Love was a trailblazer in how it was published. Share with us a little about that approach to publishing and why it appealed to you.

That’s an interesting question, Ro. I guess this story starts at RWA’s 2014 Romance Rocks! conference in Sydney, where I pitched Lethal in Love to two agents and two editors. I’d pitched several times before, at previous RWA conferences, and every single one of those times I was a bag of nerves. Yet something about Lethal in Love made pitching this time round easier. I had four pitches, four requests. And one struck gold.

Lex Hirst from Penguin Random House loved my story enough to pitch an idea back to me. She wanted to release Lethal in Love as a serial ebook. How could I say ‘no’? So many greats had gone the serial way – Dickens, King, Tolstoy, to name a few. So, in July 2013 the first episode of Lethal in Love was released. And I can’t describe that amazing feeling each fortnight as another episode ventured out into the wide blue yonder.

As for the serial format, I love watching serials on TV. I love – and hate – being left hanging, counting down the days until I can watch the subsequent episode and find out what will happen next. Why shouldn’t we get the same excitement and suspense from reading?

I know we live in an age when everything is so immediate – the world at our fingertips. It seems as if we’ve become a society of ‘I want it now or not at all.’ Sometimes waiting for something makes it all the sweeter. And don’t we appreciate the end so much more if we’ve had to work to get there?

It’s all about anticipation.

That’s why I love the idea of serials. And I was lucky enough to find many readers who felt the same way. However, now that the story is out as a complete series, those who don’t want to wait don’t have to. And it’s the perfect time to buy. Just before Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali or just for the summer holidays – hint, hint.

Keep reading for an excerpt of Lethal In Love, all the places where to can buy it and for a special giveaway.

So, who is Michelle Somers? Tell us a little about what makes you tick.

I’m an ex-Kiwi, now Aussie. A mother of three. A chocoholic. Read-a-holic. Romance-a-holic. Runner. Photographer. Crime show addict. Rom com movie buff. And last, but nowhere near least, a writer. I make people fall in love, kill a character or two on the way, but there’s always a happy ending (my husband’s words, not mine).

I’ve worked in an Austrian ski resort, on a six star cruise ship which just happened to be the biggest twin-hulled vessel ever built and in an English pub. I’ve lived in London for a year, oh, too many years ago. Cleaned Marks and Spencers and grouted bathrooms in a large Marble Arch hotel. I’ve travelled through Europe, South America and parts of the Caribbean, and yet it wasn’t until I moved to Melbourne, Australia that I met my own real life hero.

Danny and I are approaching our sixteenth wedding anniversary this March. With him and my three heroes in the making I am living my own happy ever after.

Why do you write romantic suspense? Did the genre choose you or did you choose this genre?

Oh, it definitely chose me!

My first novels were all a mix of category and contemporary single title romances. But as I wrote, an element of suspense wheedled its way into each. I resisted for six books – then I gave in.

Lethal in Love was my seventh 🙂

Romantic suspense is the perfect melding of my two favorite genres.

I’ve always loved anything romance – books, movies, TV shows. I even get all teary during love songs. From my primary years, to my teens, to my tweens, I was drawn by the idea of finding a soulmate and finding true love. And even after I began living my very own romance, I’m still in love with the idea of love.

My favorite books growing up were Little Women, Jane Eyre, anything Judy Blume, and then mysteries such as The Hardy Boys and of course the wonderful Nancy Drew. But as I read these books, particularly the last two series, I found myself wondering what would happen if one character tumbled into another’s world. What if Nancy Drew and Joe Hardy met? Would they fall in love?

See a pattern forming?

My love for romance began to transform from that moment, and the writer in me began to grow.

Then there’s the darker side.

Psychology has always fascinated me. The whys and wherefores in a person’s mind. Why do they act the way they do? What makes one person a psychopathic murderer and another a force against evil? Researching this area is like stumbling into a black hole. I get so lost inside, it’s almost impossible to find my way out.

As horrifying as this material is, it’s also great fodder for characterisation. How do psychopaths think? How do they act? How do they fit almost seamlessly into society? What fuels their need to kill without an ounce of remorse or empathy toward their victims?

And so, as I began to write, it stood to reason that my story would meld romance, mystery and the darker side of evil until Lethal in Love was born.

You have published Lethal in Love and have another on the horizon. So far, what is your biggest challenge as a writer?

Early on in my career, I’d have to say the biggest hurdle was the feeling of being alone.

When I first began writing, I never considered finding a writing group. Did such things even exist?

So, I locked myself away and wrote, learning the craft of storytelling with Google and any writing-related books I could get my hands on.

It was a lonely beginning, and surprisingly tough. I had no idea how good or bad my writing was. Had no gauge of how much or little I was improving. No avenue of gaining feedback other than friends and family who knew as little, or even less, about writing than I did.

Then something happened to change all that.

My husband attended a conference for work and got to talking to the guy next to him (as husbands do).

After the usual chit-chat, they moved onto the topic of wives and partners, and discovered a common ground. Both partners/wives were writers, both of them writing romance. From that one conversation and the suggestion that I join Melbourne Romance Writers Guild, my entire writing experience changed. I found other like-minded people. Discovered I wasn’t alone, no matter how much I’d imagined I was. I formed some amazing friendships, learned more about craft and my writing than I’d ever learn from Mr Google or a book. And I found RWA.

And, suddenly what had been a challenge was a challenge no more.

Don’t just love stories with a happy ending? Lucky for me and my readers, I love them too.

Left: Michelle with her Melbourne writing possie Right: Michelle and mentor Valerie Parv
Left: Michelle with her Melbourne writing possie
Right: Michelle and mentor Valerie Parv

What’s your advice to those who want to write?

Just do it. There’s really no better lessons out there than life and the process of actually sitting down and writing.

Next, I’d say join a writers’ group and learn the craft. And keep writing.

Find another writer and form a critique partnership. Enter competitions. Keep learning the craft. And keep writing.

If you’re lucky enough to find a mentor, make the most of that relationship. Appreciate their guidance, listen to their advice, but remember to be true to your story, your characters and your voice.

Don’t listen to the negativity and doubters. Listen to the passion that made you put pen to paper in the first place. Listen to your heart.

When your story’s finished, take some time away then revisit with fresh eyes and edit.

Then when you think your story’s ready, edit again. If you’re new to writing, find a copyeditor (someone highly recommended by authors whose work you admire) and then edit some more.

And when your story is the best story it can possibly be, learn how to write a riveting query, submit, then move onto the next story and write, write, never stop writing.

Thanks for sharing that with us today, Michelle. Now I hope you still have some energy because it’s time for your …

fast five image 21. What is your all-time favourite book/movie?

Louisa May Alcott, Little Women. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read and reread her entire 4 book series

2. Are you a plotter, a pantser or something in between?

I’m not wholly a plotter, not wholly a pantser, so I guess that makes me a plantser.

Each of my stories begin with an idea, and with that one seed, I write. As the story develops, so do my characters, and scenes form in my mind. These scenes guide me through the story, but my biggest thrill is when my characters do something completely out of left field and surprise the crap out of me.

3. What is your favourite word?

Fantabulous. Doesn’t it just roll off the tongue fantabulously?

4. What is your worst writing habit?

Too much research! Once I venture into the wondrous world of Google, I find it near impossible to get out!

5. What is the best bit of advice you ever got (about writing or life in general)?

Follow your passion. Now.

Don’t wait for the right time, the right setting, the right phase of the moon. That will never come. If there’s something you want, more than anything in this world, then go for it. There’s nothing worse than the sting of a life that could have been.

What’s next for Michelle Somers?

Lots!

I’ve just self-published my short story romantic suspense, Cold Case, Warm Heart. That’s out for pre-order now on Amazon, and free to all my newsletter subscribers.

Chase’s story, Murder Most Unusual, is undergoing its final draft stage. This story will be released in early 2017.

Here’s a teaser of what to expect:

Author Stacey Holland lives in a fictitious world where the mortality of her characters is governed by a tap on her keyboard. Homicide detective Chase Durant’s cases are real and gritty, where one wrong move could be your last. When their two worlds collide, and fiction melds with fact, can they fight the attraction raging between them, all-the-while fighting the killer determined to destroy them both?

Exciting, right?

I’m also working on an anthology of psychological thriller short stories, as well as a series of non-fiction ‘how to’ books for authors. The first in my Simply Writing Series is a step-by-step guide to building a killer synopsis. I can’t wait to share my strategy with other writers, and Simply Synopsis will be out mid-2017.

And my writing group, Melbourne Romance Writers Guild, is working on an anthology of short stories by published and pre-published authors, due for release Valentine’s Day, 2017. It’s called A Taste of Romance, and it’s like a box of chocolates – you don’t know what you’ll get until you take a bite J

And in terms of big projects, I have a totally new series that I can’t wait to sink my teeth into. A kind of Stephanie Plum meets James Bond scenario set in the US. It’s full of suspense and tension, and some weird, wacky and wonderful characters. And more than a few surprises.

I’ll be able to share a lot more once I start writing later this year. What I can tell you is it’s going to be a blast!

Excerpt of Lethal in Love

Exquisite.

His nose twitched. The air was thick with the scent of her. Frangipani. Coconut. And a whirl of honey. Sweet. Just the way he liked them.

They were all sweet, satisfying, but this one was . . . special. Exceptional. The one to make all the difference.

Damp mist swirled around the length of her tiny dress as she walked, the colour of sunflowers glowing incandescent under the blue-grey of the old city lamps. Beads clung to his bare face and hands, sliding from the hair slicking his forehead to run an icy trail down his cheeks. He rubbed the back of his hand across his eyes, flinging the sweat into the gutter, and licked his lips, tasting the night, her. Anticipating.

A fox scampered onto the road, pausing, its blood-red gaze latching onto his in silent understanding – one predator to another – before it turned and fled between two towering brick edifices.

The echoing click of her heels against the pavement stalled, then quickened, matching in perfect synchronicity with his heart. It was always like this. The rush. The heady thrill and anticipation.

Fear. Hers. Ambrosia slipping succulently between his lips.

He drew out his gloves, sliding eager fingers into the familiar softness of well-worn leather. Almost there. His blood thickened, charging like a wild boar through his body. The hunt, the ultimate.

And this one, the encore.

She reached the corner and turned, disappearing behind the high boundary fence.

Close now. He licked his lips, tongue quivering, tasting the air, sucking it in until all he could taste was her. The fear. The untouchable innocence he would suck from her body.

Her footfalls ceased and he smiled. Close.

He turned the corner and watched the woman’s fear turn to relief.

‘You!’ She dropped her stiletto to the ground and nudged her toes back into its grasp. ‘You gave me the fright of my life!’

She stepped forward, only inches from him now. Her hand settled onto his bicep and the muscle flexed automatically beneath her palm. ‘I thought you were –’

‘Your worst nightmare?’ He grinned.

She didn’t get it, even then. Not until his fingers wrapped tight round her throat, the tips digging deep into her flesh, her eyeballs bulging clear from their sockets.

Her nails scrabbled at his leather-covered wrists and his groin tightened, his mouth closing in to swallow her final, shuddering breath.

The kiss of death, from the master.

There could only be one.

 Wow, that’s one creepy bad guy! Can’t wait to find out who it is. 

Buy the Book 

iBooks:

Amazon US:

Amazon Aus:

Amazon UK:

Kobo:

GooglePlay:

 

michelle-sommers-author-photoFind out more about Michelle Somers at her website www.michelle-somers.com where you can sign up for her newsletter, keep up-to-date with any news and read her blogroll (she doesn’t have a blog right now, but is a real blog-hopper – yep, she gets around).

Connect with Michelle on: 

Facebook  ǀ  Twitter   ǀ    Pinterest    ǀ   Instagram   ǀ   Random House

Giveaway

Michelle is offering FIVE lucky readers a copy of her short story, Cold Case, Warm Heart.

cold-case-warm-heartHomicide detective Calamity Dresden has twenty-four hours to catch a killer before he kills again and disappears underground. Estranged lover Sebastian Rourke wants justice for his murdered father and every other victim of Melbourne’s sadistic Trifecta Terror. But when the two are forced to team up and danger closes in, can they keep their minds on the case and their hands off each other?

Here’s how you enter the draw.

Sixteen years ago, on 26th March, my hubby proposed to me one Sunday afternoon, just before we were about to launch into one of our many scrabble battles. He used the letters on a scrabble board. Kinda cheesey, but also kinda cute.

What is, was or would be your dream proposal story?

Post it in the comments below and you’ll be in the draw to win!

A note from Michelle:

Thanks for visiting, reading and commenting. These are the moments we, as authors, know that we’re not putting our words out there to an empty arena 🙂 

Michelle xxx


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Rowena Holloway
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Rowena Holloway

Writer, publisher, blogger at RowenaHollowayNovels.com
Rowena Holloway considers herself a reformed academic who discovered fiction writing was preferable to the real world. She indulges her love of suspense fiction by writing novels and short stories about Fractured Families and Killer Secrets. Her novels have been nominated for the Ned Kelly Award and semi-finaled in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, and her short stories have been included in several anthologies including the Anthology of Award Winning Australian Writing. She also reviews fiction, interviews fellow writers, and blogs about books and writing.
Rowena Holloway
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