Please welcome the next guest in my Meet Some UtopYA2015 Lovelies (Unofficial) series. This year, sitting at the table next to me for the Thursday and Friday exhibitor spaces was Michele Miller. I’ve known her online for a while, but this was the first time I met her (and her super friendly husband, who manned the table quite a bit, too).
It didn’t take long for it to feel like I’d known her in person for years. She’s sweet and so genuine. And I’m lucky, because I got to see her again this past August in Charlotte at the Carolina Book Fest.
Thanks for hanging out on the blog today!
MM: Thank you for inviting me by, Tia! Did you bake those cookies just for me? *dives in*
Of course. I'm all about cookies. It was great hanging out with you at UtopYA. You and your husband seem like such an awesome pair. How did the powers that be talk you into participating in the He Said/She Said panel? (This panel was set up like the Newlywed Game.) Oh, and for fun, what was the best question? Did you guys get it right?
MM: Utopia (formerly UtopYA) has been so good to me over the past 4 years. It was my very first author signing/convention and Janet has embraced me with such love so we pretty much told her years ago whatever she needs we’ll do. In 2014 my husband moderated a husbands of authors panel and the He Said/She Said panel came from seeing how much fun it was to watch the men squirm and the wives shout at them from the audience. My favorite question was, “Would your wife rather date a vampire, kill a zombie or participate in the Hunger Games?” He said vampire. My answer is heck no to the vampire! While I do love me some Angel (from Buffy) I have ALWAYS been terrified of people touching my neck. If we were on the old Newlywed show I would have hit him in the head with my answer card! I said Hunger Games btw, though none of these are on my bucket list of things to do.
LOL. Too funny. So, you were a Young Adult Author of the Year nominee at this year’s Penned Con. Online you wrote: I wrote and released FOUR personal and heartfelt books this year in the hopes of touching readers’ hearts. Judging by the reviews, I won. Covering depression, Mother Nature, self-harm and self-worth, true love, guilt and starting over, my books are a reflection of me. To be recognized by my peers for my words is a win. Of these issues, which is nearest and dearest to your heart as far as affecting readers?
MM: Into The Fire, my last release, is the book I’m most proud of. The book deals with a teen who after tragedy strikes turns to self-harm as a way of feeling alive again. She feels unworthy of life. Cutting is a taboo subject. I tried my best to deal with it a caring way so the act is not glorified. I wanted readers to understand the mindset behind my character. A lot of the pain and self-worth issues Dani goes through in the book comes from a personal place for me. I love the lesson she learns in the end. It’s one I learned myself.
Wow. That's one I'll have to read. I recently finished From the Wreckage, and I loved it. I'll be reviewing soon! So, I saw on your website that you believe in love at first sight (and realized it at sixteen). I think that’s awesome. How did you know your husband was the one?
MM: Truth is, the day I first saw him my soul said “you’re going to marry that guy.” I know it sounds ridiculous but I heard it. I didn’t even know his name! Over the course of the next few weeks, after I first saw him, our paths crossed multiple times. There came a point where I think we both thought someone was trying to tell us something. We never even had that “will you be my girlfriend/boyfriend” talk. We simply hung out one day and never stopped.
You seem so connected with your readers. So, what’s the best compliment a reader has ever given you?
MM: The messages I’m most honored to read are the ones from readers who complain about how tired they are because they couldn’t stop reading. I’m a huge reader myself so I know how that feels. I stayed up all night reading Hunger Games when it first released, I know what it’s like to have love affair with a book. That is the best compliment. The craziest are the two people who have said they loved my books as much as Harry Potter. That’s just crazy pants! LOL
I lose many hours of sleep for a good book, and I wouldn't have it any other way (although I'm sure my hubby and kids would like me to sleep more for mood's sake). What’s up next for you?
MM: I have so many things! I’m working on something completely different (adult, period piece, crime, romance) with my agent to pitch, but I’m also working on my Indie stuff. I have to finish my final Fantasy novel in the Tyalbrook series, two more spin-offs for my Wrecked series and the second Last Call novel, His Call.
Wow. You are busy. How exciting. I've been asking all the lovelies... what's your favorite inspirational quote? Why?
MM: I’m a quote junkie! I’ve always been a Robert Frost fan: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”
The road less traveled. The choice to choose the unpopular. The harder course. The scarier, unknown road. Blaze your own trail, follow your own dreams and think your own thoughts. These are the things that come to mind when I read those lines.
Amen! What do you think makes UtopYA, renamed Utopia for its fifth year in 2016, so special?
MM: There’s something just a bit different about it. It’s such a community. An energy strums through the hotel and you can’t help but pick up on it. I was at a big industry convention this spring and sat at the same table as some of the biggest names in publishing but I never felt the same connection to those people as I do to the attendees of Utopia. I think, for the most part, when you step into Utopia you know you are with others who are truly there to help support and life one another. It’s not about ego, sales or popularity.
A favorite pic of Michele's from 2015...
✮✮✮✮✮ Quick Answers ✮✮✮✮✮
Last Movie you saw: New? Inside Out, but we just introduced our 16yr old son to Dodgeball the other night.
Comedy, Romance, Drama, or Horror? Romance all the way.
Last Book you Read: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
First Job: McDonalds
Gift cards or Cash? Gift cards
Favorite Vacation Spot? Disney World
Favorite Vacation Spot? Disney World
More about Michele
Michele writes novels with fairytale love for everyday life. Romance is always central to her plots where the genres range from Coming of Age Fantasy and Realistic Fiction to New Adult Romantic Suspense.
Having grown up in both the cold, quiet town of Topsham, Maine and the steamy, southern hospitality of Mobile, Alabama, Michele is something of an enigma. She is an avid Yankees fan, loves New England, being outdoors and misses snow. However she thinks southern boys are hotter, Alabama football is the only REAL football out there and sweet tea is the best thing this side of heaven and her children's laughter!
Her family, an amazing husband and three awesome kids, have planted their roots in the middle of Michele's two childhood homes in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Please visit often for more UtopYA2015 Lovelies (Unofficial) interviews,
and check out the announcement post to see
the schedule and links to past interviews.