Thursday Focus: Michelle Muto talks about, "The Book of Lost Souls..."
TRB: Michelle, you're consistently RANKED in the top 100 for your category, Mystery, Espionage & Detectives and the top 100 for top-RATED in Love & Romance (both Young Adult). Besides having a unique and compelling story, what do you attribute to your growing success?
MM: I make myself available to readers on Twitter, my blog, and on a couple of message boards. A good cover and friends who are professional editors don't hurt, either.
TRB: What made you choose to go Indie? What is your advice to other authors that don't wish to go the “legacy publishing” route?
MM: There's never been a better time to be a writer. I decided to go indie after a lot of close calls with agents. My number one rejection was "in this economy." My advice to future indies? Make sure you've had beta readers and critique partners go over your story. Try to have more than one book ready. You won't release them at the same time, but one will help sell the other and two will give you ample time to write a third. Also, I can't stress enough that they'll need to have a good cover, a rock-solid blurb, professional editing and clean formatting. If you want to have any sort of success, I believe an indie book needs to rival what the Big Six offers.
TRB: Where did you get your idea(s) for your novel, The Book of Lost Souls?
MM: I've always loved witch stories. I watched old reruns of Bewitched growing up and am a die-hard Harry Potter fan. Magic has always fascinated me. Couple that with my love of small towns and a sense of humor, and I suppose the rest was inevitable.
TRB: What type/style of a writer are you? Seat-of-Your Pants? Outline Queen? Master Plotter?
MM: I used to be seat-of-the pants. Now I'm an outliner and master plotter. That's not to say I don't change things as I write, but I do go back and change my outline (index cards and my own variation of the Snowflake Method). If the outline doesn't make sense, then no amount of creative writing will save the story.
TRB: Did you model any characters after real-life people? Is there a character that resonates with you?
MM: Ivy definitely resonates with me. She's neither weak nor bitchy. She feels real to me. But, Devlin is the only character that was modeled closely to someone in real life - my own dog, Ronan. Ronan was the original Beezlepup from the time he was ten weeks old. It just felt natural to make him into a fictional character.
TRB: What is your hope for readers to experience by reading your novel?
MM: That a feel-good, humorous story with dark undertones is a lot of fun to read. That not every book has to be so dark and brooding. Not that there's anything wrong with that - my next novel certainly fits this decryption. It's just that a good, fun story is a wonderful change of pace.
TRB: Is there a playlist that you listen to that inspires you while you're writing?
MM: Definitely. Although I don't create most of them until I've put together the skeleton of the book.
TRB: Who is your favorite author? Is there a certain genre you read [in] exclusively?
MM: J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Dean Koontz , Kelley Armstrong, Melissa Marr, Shirley Jackson, Janet Evanovich and David Sedaris are my favorites. I read just about anything, but tend to read more young adult, urban fantasy, horror, humor, and thrillers than anything else.
TRB: Are you a DTB (Dead Tree Book) reader, or do you use a dedicated reader? What do you predict for the future of these two formats?
MM: I read both, but since we bought an iPad last year I'd say 90% of the books I read are ebooks. I predict that print is going to be around for a long time, but ebooks will continue to gain market share.
TRB: When can we expect the exciting sequel for, The Book of Lost Souls, will publish? What are a few things the reader can expect from book two?
MM: I'm working on the sequel now. The reader can expect more mischief and mayhem from Ivy and her friends, and a big reveal about Ivy herself. I'm very excited about this particular plot line!
TRB: How has your experience as an author been different from what you expected?
MM: I thought I'd have a lot more time to write. Unfortunately, promotion and social media take up more time that I thought.
Michelle has always loved storytelling. When she was a child, her favorite stories were of monsters and things that lurked in the dark. Telling stories often frightened her classmates and got her into a lot of trouble with her teachers. They had no sense of humor.
As an adult, Michelle traded her love of writing for the corporate life where she was an IT professional. Today, she's doing what she loves best - writing and storytelling.
Michelle grew up in Chicago, but currently lives in NE Georgia with her husband and their two dogs. She loves scary books, funny movies, sports cars, chocolate, dogs, and changes of season.
Connect with Michelle~
TRB: Michelle was one of the very first Indie authors to welcome me "into the group;" offering advice, info and some kind words. It's been my pleasure to "give back" a little here on my blog. Great job, Michelle~!