About Michelle Vernal:
Hello, I am a New Zealand-based novelist, local newspaper reporter, blogger and avid Facebook user. I am based in the pretty little town of Oxford, in New Zealand’s South Island. Writing is something I have always used as a way of expressing myself. My first foray into the romantic and humorous world of my style of women’s fiction is recorded in my thirteen-year-old self’s compulsory school journal. In it, much to the delight of my English teacher, I described in minutiae the heartbreak of being dumped after my first school disco. I have moved on since then and am now married with two boys.
After my first son was born, I attended a creative writing course at Canterbury University, and the first piece I ever penned was published by a New Zealand parenting magazine. I went on to write humorous; opinion styled pieces of my take on parenting but when the necessity for being politically correct got too much, I set myself the challenge of writing a novel. My first two books, The Brazilian Job and Second Hand Jane could be given the label of chick lit. They were followed by the slightly more contemporary, Being Shirley. The Traveller’s Daughter is my fourth novel and has a historical twist; all my books are written with warmth and humour.
What inspires you to write?
My books have been inspired by a second-print, ladybird story books, a beautician sign twirling on the breeze, a conversation about the Greek New Age musician Yanni and his tight white trousers as well as a book I spotted at the library. They are all random things that have triggered a ‘what’s the story behind that’ moment.
Tell us about your writing process.
I never have a complete book in my head when I start a new novel. I have an idea and then the idea grows as I write. I usually outline a paragraph and then go back over it, this is my way of keeping my story moving along. I am not a fast writer and find the initial starting of a novel daunting but tell myself I will get there, paragraph by paragraph.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I have all sorts of interesting conversations in my head with my characters as writing dialogue, I have been told, is my strength. My characters are never base on people I know but sometimes an element of someone’s personality may creep in.
What advice would you give other writers?
I have been on my writing journey for nine years now. I have learned to listen and take on board all constructive criticism. There is no right or wrong way to write so long as you just get on with it and actually write. Most of all I have learned to never give up.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I have had a very rocky road with traditional publishing due to the changes in the market. My first novel, The Brazilian Job had Penguin NZ interested until the lady I was dealing with left to go to Harper Collins NZ. Her replacement decided it wasn’t for Penguin and Harper Collins had too many novelists in my women’s fiction genre on their books. Pan MacMillan in Australia showed interest and I spent a year editing The Brazilian Job at their request. Two weeks before Christmas with me assuming a publishing contract was a done deal, they knocked it back. Lesson learned, nothing is a done deal until it is a signed deal. I think if it wasn’t for Indie publishing and Amazon I would have given up at that point. All my books are published on Amazon. There’s been a huge amount for me to learn about the marketing side of indie publishing but it is all worth it when a really great review comes in and has me smiling all day! Things have kind of gone full circle with the lady I initially dealt with at Penguin now being my Literary Agent for my last novel, The Traveller’s Daughter. I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to go because if you publish as an indie author and your book sales are good, chances are traditional publishers will notice.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think there will always be room for both indie and traditional publishing as well as a market for e-books and paper books.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?: Women’ fiction, romance, romantic comedy, contemporary romance, romantic history, chick lit,
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.