Thursday, July 7, 2011

Interview with mystery author Michele Drier

A nice round of applause for today's guest, mystery author Michele Drier.

Welcome, Michele. Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born in Santa Cruz, California to a family that migrated west to San Francisco in 1849. Unfortunately, they never found gold, nor did they buy (and hang onto) any California land.

My mother named me 'Michael,' after author and actress Blanche Oelrichs, who wrote under the name of Michael Strange. After months of saying, “Yes, she’s a girl. Yes, her name is Michael,” my mother finally caved and I became “Michele.” I was read to as a child, and needed always to have a book with me. My maternal grandmother belonged to a writing club in San Francisco in the early part of the 20th century and wrote poems and jingles—one of which won her a travel trailer during the Depression.

My first career was in journalism, and I spent seven years as a staff writer with the San Jose Mercury News. After returning to Humboldt State University to complete school and work on a master’s, I fell into my second career, as a non-profit administrator.

Please tell us about your current release.
SNAP: The World Unfolds is the first in a series about the Kandesky vampire family. The Kandeskys moved away from traditional vampire activities (killing, violence) and decided to make money instead. They stayed small as a family and spread across Europe, making money, buying up land in their native Hungary and developing different food sources. Over the last 60 years, they’ve built an international multimedia empire and now rank among the wealthiest family-owned corporations in the world.

When Maxie Gwenoch takes the job of Managing Editor for their print magazine, she has no idea she’s taken up with vampires, let alone that she’s absolutely taken with Jean-Louis, the company’s art director.

What inspired you to write this book?
My daughter made an off-hand comment a couple of years ago that celebrities could be vampires: They only come out at night, they’re always in limos with tinted windows, they always wear huge sunglasses. I started thinking about this, and that celebrities around the world all look and dress similarly, and thought, “What if?” I started to write SNAP—my working title was OMG—as a celeb vampire story, but when Jean-Louis comes into the picture Maxie is a goner. SNAP turned into a romance between a vampire and a regular.

What exciting story are you working on next?
The second in the Kandesky books is SNAP: New Talent and continues the romance of Maxie and Jean-Louis against the backdrop of a continuing war between the Kandeskys and their neighbors and rivals, the Huszars.

While the Kandeskys were building an international business empire and moving around the world, the Huszars stayed put and kept up traditional activities—violence, killing, and occasionally bringing in new vampires. Some of the newer vampires think this is limiting, are envious of the Kandeskys, and are willing to align with them.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
OMG, I don’t really know. I was recognized for a short story I wrote for a high school English class, but I wanted to be a chemist, so didn’t take it seriously. After dropping out of college as a chemistry major, I ended up as a reporter with the San Jose Mercury-News. I went back to school, this time as an English/History major and began a novel, which I entered into the Phelan Young California Writers Competition. I didn’t win, place, or show. That was the year Anne Rice won for Interview with the Vampire, heavy competition.

I went on to build a career in non-profit management and as an editor for several other daily newspapers. Like a lot of newspaper people, I had some beginnings of a book in a desk drawer (really, a shoe box in the closet) that I would take out and work on every so often, but didn’t get serious about finishing anything until a few years ago.

I worked on my first book, Edited for Death, a newspaper-themed mystery for a few years and started looking for an agent. After several; many; close to a ton; of rejections, I submitted it un-agented to Mainly Murder Press and was accepted. It’s being published Oct. 1, 2011 and I’m very happy!

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I’d like to write full-time, but need to pay the mortgage and bills. I’m semi-retired and doing consultant work for non-profit agencies on organizational and board development, fund generation, grant writing, and communications.

I give myself time to have coffee and read the paper every morning before I sit down at the computer. Between e-mails and phone calls trying to drum up clients, or working with existing ones, I write. I try to write 4-5 hours a day, but only manage that a few days a week. If I’m consistent I can write about 35 pages of first draft a week—this doesn’t happen often, unfortunately!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? mean besides writing in my jammies? :)

I guess that I’m a pantser, writing without an outline. I’ve lived with a lot of these characters in my head so I know some of the stories, but they can surprise me. New people pop up, different actions. The resolution, though, I know from the start. I guess it’s sort of like going somewhere. You know the destination, but there could be a lot of side roads, hitchhikers, detours, before you get where you’re headed.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Seriously? A race car driver. I wanted to drive the Mille Miglia, a race and rally in Italy, which I think now is primarily vintage sports cars...aahhh, my cup of tea!

About four years ago, after my granddaughter was born, I bought my first-ever four-door sedan. My daughter grew up riding in my 356 Porsche and now will only buy SUVs, the bigger the better!

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Reading is my first passion, and I love stories. My books are for fun...I’ve had fun writing and I hope readers have fun reading them. Life is too short without some laughs along with way!

You can find the book at Smashwords, Amazon, and B&N.

Michele, thanks for being here today and talking about SNAP. I look forward to having you back to talk about Edited for Death.

1 comment:

Gail M Baugniet - Author said...

The in-depth interview was interesting and I enjoyed the personal remark about Michele's ancestors. I look forward to reading Snap: The World Unfolds.