Author Spotlight with Katrina Michaels
K.S. Hello and welcome to the blog. I am very excited to have you here. Why don’t we start off with a small introduction? Tell us a little about yourself.
K.M. Hi Katie and thank you. I’m very excited to be here. My name is Katrina Michaels and my first book, Midnight Reflections, was published last year. My second book, Dead Awakening, will hopefully be out next year. I currently live in Northern Virginia with my two slightly demonic cats and one neurotic horse. Unfortunately I’m not a full-time author. During the day, I work as a scientist for an environmental consulting company and I write in my very limited free time.
K.S. Any interesting writing quirks or stories you would like to share with my readers?
K.M. Well, I will admit that I do have some writing quirks. Basically, my writing process is not very organized or even linear. When I’m writing, I can see specific scenes or actions in perfect detail, but I don’t always know which chapter that scene is going to take place or what leads up to it. I can have a large sequence somewhere near the end all worked out in my mind while I’m still trying to write Chapter Two. And I have a pretty bad habit of coming up with a brand new ideas halfway through writing a book which means I have to go back and rewrite the majority of it.
As for funny stories, my Mom thinks it is a lot of fun to discuss horrific ways to kill vampires with me now. I will admit that a few of those ideas will be worked into an upcoming book.
K.S. When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What sparked the desire to pen your first novel?
K.M. I don’t know exactly when I first realized I wanted to get a book published. It feels like I always had that dream, but if I had to pinpoint a time, it would be probably around 5th or 6th Grade. I had some fantastic creative writing teachers all the way through high school. One in particular, Constance Casserly, inspired me by getting her own book published. I contacted her when I found out I was being published and was thrilled to find out she was still teaching.
Throughout grade school and then college, I dabbled in writing stories. Most of them didn’t really go anywhere and I didn’t let anyone read them, but I just enjoyed getting the words on paper. It wasn’t until I finished Midnight Reflections that I felt confident enough to submit my manuscript to a publisher. And I’m so happy I did.
K.S. What genre do you write?
K.M. I would say my genre is Urban Fantasy mixed with Mystery/Thriller. Midnight Reflections does have its share of gore and dark moments, but I made a point to also include lighter scenes and dialogue to counteract the angst. A big difference between my book and many of the urban fantasy novels out there is that there is no overt romance. However, there are hints of a possible future relationship between two of the characters, but the focus is on the solving the murders and stopping the killer.
K.S. What would you say has inspired you most in your writing career? Or, who is your favorite author and why?
K.M. That’s a difficult question. I’m an avid reader of many different genres from Janet Evanovich to Dan Brown. While I do greatly enjoy books by authors like Charlaine Harris and Kim Harrison, I think I have been more influenced by the work of Jeffrey Deaver and James Patterson. These are both authors who write fascinating mystery / thrillers that take the reader by surprise with sudden twists and leave you enthralled and breathless as the killer stalks his next unsuspecting prey. I love the criminalist genre, whether it is books, TV shows, or movies. And, of course, I also love creepy supernatural books and movies. I loved the Lost Boys as a kid and I still love it. When I started writing this book, the first question I asked myself was what if a vampire started hunting a serial killer, and the story progressed from there.
Some of my favorite authors in the supernatural genre include Charlaine Harris and Rob Thurman. I think their talent with characterization and story-telling is exquisite.
K.S. What does your family think of your writing?
K.M. Well I actually didn’t tell too many people that I was writing a book until it was accepted by my publisher. However, I did tell my mom and my best friend when my book was nearly done and they were very supportive. After I got the word that Midnight Reflections was very being published, I finally shared the news with the rest of my family. From what my mom told me, my dad almost instantly began telling all of their neighbors and friends about it, so I would say that he was pretty excited. And as I mentioned, my mom now enjoys suggesting all sorts of gory things to add to my future books. Considering that she’s a nurse, she does have a lot of good ideas.
K.S. What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your book?
K.M. I think the real surprise for me came after I learned that Midnight Reflections was being published. I really didn’t know anything about the publishing business or all the ways to market a book. It has been a real learning experience. But one real bonus is that I’m discovering a lot of new authors that I’ve never heard of until I started talking with other readers on some social networking sites. Because of that, I now have a huge stack of books that I want to read.
K.S. What inspired you to write your novel?
K.M. It's hard to pinpoint one particular thing that inspired Midnight Reflections. For all the years that I’ve enjoyed writing, I’ve been interested in the supernatural nearly as long. And then, of course, there is my deep fascination for mysteries and crime dramas. When the series CSI first aired, I immediately loved it. I'm also a big fan of Criminal Minds and other shows like the Mentalist. When I started writing Midnight Reflections, it was actually quite a different story but I was having trouble finding a true direction for it. And then the idea of a supernatural serial killer came to mind and everything fell together.
K.S. Can you tell us a little about your novel?
K.M. Midnight Reflections introduces a society where vampires, werewolves, warlocks, and witches freely roam amongst the ordinary humans. One such human, Tara Daston, only wanted a fun night out dancing with her boyfriend. Getting killed was certainly the last thing she ever expected and waking up three days later as a vampire was the last thing she ever wanted. As Tara struggles with her death and new unlife, she also becomes involved in a hunt for a vicious serial killer. During her own investigation into the killings, she meets Tom Duncan, fellow vampire and lead agent of the Preternatural Investigation Agency, who is not at all amused at what he considers to be her interference. However, the serial killer soon takes notice of Tara and is intrigued, forcing her to work together with Tom and the rest of the agency to stop the murders.
I’ve included below a short snippet from the second chapter.
“Darkness surrounded her mind and bound her consciousness as she started to become awake but not aware. Everything was confusing and clouded. The only clear thought in her head was that she somehow knew that she was supposed to be dead, but she was obviously not. The more that idea wound itself around her brain, the more terrified she became. The darkness still held her tightly, but she could feel someone waiting for her. He was there in the forefront of her mind telling her everything was safe and warm, and she would be all right, and all she had to do was awaken. The voice in her head was growing clearer and more insistent as it called to her, and she couldn’t help following. It was as though her mind was still asleep, while her body was controlled by pure instincts. Nothing made sense or was even important to her, except that voice. Opening her eyes, she sat up and looked around the room for the owner of the safe gentle voice, but the first thing she saw was a man running at her sire with a stake. She didn’t even stop to wonder about how she knew that man was her sire and what that meant in reality; all she knew were that her instincts were screaming at her to stop him.”
K.S. Where can we find your novel?
K.M. My publisher is Stonegarden and their website is www.stonegardenbooks.com. At this time, there are no e-book versions available, but hard copies can be purchased from www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, or www.bookdepository.com (which ships worldwide).
K.S. Do you have a website, fan site, or Blog that we can visit?
K.M. I do have both a Facebook fanpage and a profile. I am perfectly happy to accept friend requests from other avid readers. I also have profile accounts on Goodreads and Shelfari.
K.S. Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers?
K.M. The best advice I can give is to write what you feel comfortable with and not what you think people expect to read. This is your story and you’re in control. Everyone has a different style and story to tell, and that is what makes reading so enjoyable.
But more importantly, do not give up if writing is something you love. It is hard to get published and not everyone will like what you write, but you just have to keep trying.