Tuesday, July 24, 2012

INTERVIEW: Michelle Leighton

One of the first indie books I read was a story called Madly by M. Leighton, followed quickly by Madly and Wolfhardt. I loved the stories so much that I looked up the author and went all stalker, following her on all venues (Twitter, Facebook, Blog, etc). I was so fascinated, and when I was trying to explore the options for the path I’d put myself on as an author, I drew together my courage and reached out to her.

I asked her a couple questions out of the blue hoping she didn’t totally give me the brushoff. Instead, I found that Michelle’s not only a great author with a spectacular imagination, but that she’s incredibly supportive, humble, sweet, and fun. She was so encouraging and open, and she’s really easy to talk to and get along with. Naturally, I had to feature her at some point and ask her a few more questions. Enjoy the wackiness :D

Have you always wanted to be a writer? Do you write full time?
I know it’s certainly not the typical answer, but I never for one moment in the first many, many years of my life even CONSIDERED writing. At all. I used it only to complete assignments in school and then at work. That’s it. But after I wrote my first book 2 years ago, one penned out of sheer desperation, the writing bug invaded my world. It turned it completely upside down and I’m happy to say that, now, I’m a full time writer :) YAY!

Why mermaids and fairy tales?
My imagination has a tendency to fly through the traditional and season it with my own personal flavor. I don’t know why that is. I can read or watch or even hear practically any story and immediately start thinking about how the story would go if I were telling it. I know that might seem strange, but in my head, everything has a totally different slant than it does in real life. And if any of you out there know me AT ALL, you’re not the least bit surprised, right? LOL

How long will the Madly series be? I figure there will be at least 8 books all together, since 8 spirits were released, but that could be misleading or that could be the end. I love the series, so I’m hoping I still have plenty of escapades to look forward to!
I am a total pantser, so I can’t say for sure. I have an overarching theme that has developed at this point in the story, so it could be three more books or ten more books, although I can’t see me writing it for that long. But you never know. I’ll need at least three more books to wrap it up adequately, I think, especially considering one of the newest developments in Madly and the Jackal ;) Muwahahahahaha *giggles* I’m so not the sinister-laugh type. I get about half way through it and start snickering. LOL

You’ve got several series going. Is there anything they all have in common?
Not a single thing, as far as I can see. Bahahahaha My mind is never still. If I wrote short stories, I could probably publish one every two days. Seriously. It’s ridiculous. But fun. Lots and lots of fun.

Is there any one that you are most happy with or proud of?
Well, I’m attached to a couple for different reasons. Even though I know almost everyone frowns upon it, readers are very important to me. It’s crucial that I transport them to a place that entertains them, maybe shocks them or makes them smile or swoon, and then leaves them happy. For that reason, some series, like Blood Like Poison and Madly, have a special place in my heart. They both seem to have really touched readers and I LOVE that! I’m thrilled that so many of us are in love with the same characters and the same world. I feel like I have a huge family out there. It’s sort of like the ties that bind, I guess. I know that sounds dorky, but it’s true. My other one would probably be Fragile. I saw Miracle through Hardy’s eyes so clearly that I couldn’t NOT write that story. It haunted me. It wasn’t even in my genre, for Pete’s sake. (whoever Pete is ;)) I am attached to everything I’ve written in some way, for some reason, but those were the first ones to come to mind when I read this question. So there ya go :)

Where do you get your inspiration for your work?
Holy moly! Anywhere. Everywhere. Nowhere. Most of the time, I’ll be doing something mindless, like washing my hair in the shower, and an idea will just pop into my head. It might be a character or a plot line. Or a cool creature. Right off the bat, I can think of like six stories that I know for a fact started in the shower. No lie. Strange, right? And there might be more. I’d have to sit and think about it for a second. But I’m not a big proponent of thinking. Bahahahaha Just kidding. I think… ;)

What made you go the Indie route? Did you ever consider publishing traditionally?
I did, but they weren’t nearly as interested, invested or excited about my career as I was. LOL My husband had been after me for months to publish on my own. I finally gave in just to shut him up, actually. As you can imagine, I’ve been eating crow every day since then. Obviously, he’s the brilliant one of this duo :D

What would you be most adamant about when giving advice to aspiring authors?
Write that first book! So, so, so many people have a story they want to tell. And some might even begin it. But the vast majority don’t ever finish telling it. That would be my first word of advice-- Finish. That. Story. It makes all the difference in the world!

I’m sure you’ve met other authors along the road. Who was the biggest surprise? Who’s been the most helpful?
Oh gosh! I’ve met so, so, SO many I feel like it would be a betrayal to mention some and not others. I’ve met some of the most successful ones on the NYT bestseller list, I’ve met some that are struggling to publish their first book, and I’ve met some at almost every stage in between. All of them have been great. I’ve met only a couple in whom I was disappointed. The rest have been seriously amazing! Is that a cop out? I hope it doesn’t come across that way. It’s like trying to pick your favorite best friend :P

Even though I should know better, I always half expect authors to read books solely within the same genre they write. It’s so fun to have the moment I realize that’s not necessarily true and finding a fellow fan of another book or series. So what do you read when you’re not writing? Do you have a favorite author?
Believe it or not, I read almost nothing in my genre. There are a couple of reasons for that. One is that I don’t want to ever be accused of taking something, even if it’s something tiny, from someone else’s book. Secondly, I have so much of that type thing in my head; I like to read something a little different. I can almost hear the shocked gasps and murmurs of outrage, but that’s the truth. I read mostly adult books and in a wide array of genres. I read everything from Janet Evanovich to Lara Adrian to Stephanie Laurens to James Patterson to Lee Child to Johanna Lindsey to… the list goes on! I also read adult Indie and have never been disappointed.

Can you share a few fun facts about yourself?
I’m completely addicted to coffee. Like, ALL coffee. I love useless movie trivia. I hate spiders, but love Spiderman. I love to sing and dance while I cook, but I don’t really like to cook. I love salt. I hate the smell of wet pavement. My husband is the best brainstorming partner in the free world and I hope one day to be brave enough to touch the rail of the subway in New York City. And then go boil my hand.

Thank you for having me!

Michelle was born and raised in the United States, and she's lived in several of the fabulous fifty. Though she currently lives in the deep South, she spent much of her childhood up North and hopes to return there one day. A few other things about her: she believes that sometimes you have to look really, REALLY hard to find the good in people, but it's there. She believes that she's shrinking. She believes her husband is quite possibly one of the most amazing men in the entire world. She believes coffee and chocolate, when combined, could be the basis for world peace. She believes that Jesus rocks and communism doesn't. She believes that white makes her look fat and black collects lint. She believes summer's too hot, winter's too cold and fall was made for football. She likes dogs better than cats and the first movie in a trilogy is invariably the best. But most of all, she believes that love conquers all.

Find out more here.

Madly and the Jackal Now Availabe!

How deep does love run? Deeper than the ocean? Deeper than memory? Deeper than magic?

Following their plan to save Atlas, Madly and Jackson return the spirit of Wolfhardt to his prison beneath the sea. But even the best laid plans couldn’t account for the surprises they find. This time, Lore aren’t their only challenges.

Madly is special in ways no one could have guessed and dark forces seek to control her. They want her power, but first they must weaken her. They need her beaten. Vulnerable. Near death. And alone. But that task isn’t an easy one with Jackson at her side. The strongest of their kind, the only way to separate Jackson from Madly is to destroy his love for her, to erase it from his mind. And his heart.

Is it possible to steal Jackson’s love from Madly? Or is their love the only truly unbreakable thing?


  1. Buffy, thank you so much for having my ridiculous butt on your blog. And for those amazingly kind words. I don't deserve them, but I appreciate them nonetheless. I love you forever;)

    1. Thanks for coming, and I only speak the truth :-) <3<3<3

  2. Thanks for the interview girls!
    M, you're as fun as always!! ( I'm feeling kind of a stalker too. But I think that's because your awesomeness attracts and astonishes people at the same time. )
    Buffy, great interview!! You've got a new follower! ;)