Michelle Sutton is the Editor-in-Chief and Marketing Director for Christian Fiction Online Magazine and the author of eight novels. Her first novel was released in September of 2008 and the rest will be published from 2009 through 2012. She writes Young Adult fiction, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Mystery/Suspense and has several Women’s Fiction titles that have yet to be sold. She is also an active member of ACFW, an edgy fiction writer, a book reviewer, an avid blogger/alliance member and CWOW blog mistress, a mother of two teenagers, a wife of nineteen years, a social worker by trade, and most importantly, a follower of Jesus Christ.
Michelle, you are one busy lady. How do you balance work, home, family, and writing?
Who says I do? Seriously, I never watch television. That keeps me sane. I also block out several days to work just on the magazine and my books. When I’m not hanging out with my family and church friends, I’m reading a good book. I like to stay busy, especially if it helps me to feed my family. Teenage boys eat a lot.
Your second book in the second glances series title It’s Not About Him comes out in September. Can you tell us what the book is about?
There is a secondary character in my first book whose name is Susie. In the first book she goes to a party and ends up pregnant. She doesn’t know who took advantage of her while she had passed out so she has no recourse or means to care for her child. She decides on an adoption plan. Meanwhile her good friend Jeff has fallen in love with her and tries to convince her to marry him so she can keep her baby, but he has issues of his own, like wanting to find his birth mother. The problem is that Susie loves him, too, but not enough to pull out of her commitment. It’s heart wrenching, but very emotionally deep as well. Plus, Tony messes up his life even worse in the sequel than he did in the first book. Stay tuned on that. He gets his own book in 2010. You’ll read his story then and find out what makes him tick.
Prior to the sequel being published, I have an e-book that is being released titled Danger at the Door.
It’s one of my favorite stories because it’s funny, sexy, and deeply spiritual. This story is a classic romantic suspense novel that is much more romantic than suspenseful. If you like reading about hot heroes who are amazing and heroic, and yet also very human, you’ll love this story. I turn up the heat, but not so much that it will scandalize the reader. Bojan has a heavy accent and is a very unique character. He’s probably the sexiest hero I have ever written because of his adorable ways and his smoldering restraint. Yep, he is even more incredible than Dan from It’s Not About Me.
As a yet-to-be-published writer, I’m always interested in the publishing journey of other writers. Tell us about your road to publication.
Do you have all day? Seriously, what I’ve learned is that every aspect of this business is tough. You think once you get an agent it will be smooth sailing? I had an agent for two and a half years before I got my first sale. Then when you sell the book you have to assist your publisher in promoting yourself. Let me tell you something…that is way more work than writing the book ever was. It just gets harder, not easier. So every sale counts. If you really like an author, tell everyone you know because that may be the very thing that keeps that author writing fiction. Trust me on that one. Support a starving artist and some day you’ll be blessed yourself and it will come back to benefit you. In the publishing industry we all have to support each other the best we can.
What has been the most difficult challenge that you’ve faced in your writing career?
Selling books after you get published. Book signings are exhausting and hard work. The same goes for marketing. Everyone can love your book, but if there isn’t a buzz about it people won’t know you have great books out there. They can’t read your stuff if they don’t know who you are or that you exist. You have to attend to that at all times once you have a book in print.
When you wrote your first novel It’s Not About Me did you plan to write a series?
I just kept writing. I didn’t want to be a one-book-wonder. It’s Not About Me is actually the fifth book in a series I’d written. However, it had much younger characters so I decided (along with my agent) to pull these three books away from the series and make them their own series.
Tell us about your workspace. Where do you enjoy writing and why?
Honestly? I sit right on my couch smack dab in the middle of my living room. Or I’m in the back room, but I do more internet stuff there like blogging and updating content on my sites. My laptop (in the living room) is where my books are mainly stored.
Do you have critique partners or someone that reviews your manuscript before you send it to your editor and or agent?
Not really. I used to do that and then when I knew enough published authors I would have them read my work, and then I just stopped altogether because it’s so time consuming. At this point my only contact with not-yet-published novels is when I read other people’s books who have made a sale and need endorsers. Same goes for me. The only people who read my books prior to them going into print are people who are endorsing my stories. That’s it. I will occasionally help a new writer with a chapter or scene if asked as well as judging an occasional contest for unpublished writers. However, that is time-consuming so I have to limit that kind of critiquing.
When you need to unwind, what do you like to do for fun?
Sing, read, talk to/hang out with family and friends, go to church, and go for a walk or take a nap. Oh, yes, and drink fattening coffee smoothies and nibble on chocolate. But that is SOOO bad for my ever-increasing hips.