In high school I wrote some poetry (don’t we all!) and a short story, but began college as a chemistry major. Organic chem did me in and I began hanging around with the Journalism crowd which led to years of newspaper reporting and editing. In the back of my mind, there was always the dream to be a published writer, but it had to wait until I cold partially retire. So, I guess most of my life.
2. How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing in one form or another for close to 40 years. In addition to newspapers, I’ve managed organizations and wrote fund-raising letters, grants and proposals, annual reports, public relations material, white papers and testimony for state legislative committees.
3. How did you pick the genre you write in?
Well, I write in two genres. I chose traditional mysteries because that’s what I like to read. I’ve been hooked on Dorothy Sayers, Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh and Margery Allingham, and now love Elizabeth George, Martha Grimes and Deborah Crombie. I also like well-written thrillers. Robert Crais and Lee Child are at the top. I never miss Daniel Silva and Michael Connelly.
But I began writing paranormal romance because my daughter and son-in-law love vampires and kept nagging me to write a vampire story. So I read Charlaine Harris and Karen Moning, Kelley Armstrong and Jim Butcher and was hooked on some of the otherworld beasties.
4. Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants?
I’m pretty much a pantser. I usually know where the story will end up, but I have no idea which roads it’ll take. There are lots of detours because the characters begin to pull away and take off on their own. Every so often, I have to round ‘em up and bring ‘em back. The byways can get interesting. At the end of SNAP: New Talent, the second book of the Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, a secondary character took over and hijacked the protagonist, a move I didn’t see coming!
5. What drew you to the subject of the Kandesky Vampire Chronicles?
When I began to write the first paranormal romance, I knew that the vampires had to be constantly evolving and growing. After all, doing the same thing—killing and sucking blood—for 500 years would get really boring. So I was drawn to telling a story that would give them depth and character, not too different from when they were the living. So the Kandesky family of vampires own the world’s largest and richest multinational celebrity gossip empire.
As my daughter said, “Everybody who’s a celebrity only comes out at night, wears huge dark glasses and rides around in limos with tinted windows. They could ALL be vampires.”
6. What was the name of the first novel you wrote? Did you try to publish it?
My first novel was a traditional mystery, Edited for Death. I tried to find an agent for about five years and was accumulating rejections until I began querying small presses. It was contracted by Mainly Murder Press in Connecticut and published Oct. 1, 2011.
It’s picking up some good interest. Midwest Book Review called it “riveting and much recommended” and it was nominated on the Most Memorable Book for 2011 of the DorothyL list.
7. How many rejections have you received?
Wow, I’ve lost track. I began sending out query letters when I finished the first draft and started getting two or three rejections a month. I was also working with a writing coach and rewriting the book, so after each revise, I’d send off a bunch more queries, and get back a bunch more rejections. When I felt I had a solid manuscript, I began querying small presses and got rejections, until MMP bought it.
I’ve probably been rejected by 80 agents and 10 presses.
And that’s hard, because every single one of them is personal, of course. Not only is your book no good, but you’re a terrible person. That’s not really true, but rejections feel that way.
8. What was the best writing advice someone gave you?
Write. Write. Write. And keeping writing. This is also the advice I’d give to my young reporters. One of them had never taken a grammar class in college and she wanted to got to work for the AP. I worked with her, she wrote and wrote, and eventually not only joined the AP, but became a national writer with them.
9. If you could ask your readers one question, what would it be?
Oh boy, just one? I’d ask them what I could do in the next book that would enthrall them, entrance them, astound them so much that they’d come back again and again!
10. What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
It’s not just one book, it’s the entire Chronicles. Right now there are three books in the series. Another short novel will join by September and another full-length novel by Christmas, with at least two more next year. And what I enjoy is the interplay between the protagionist, Maxie, and Jean-Louis. Maxie is the managing editor for SNAP, the magazine and Jean-Louis is the art director. Oh, and second-in-command of the vampire family who owns the SNAP empire.
They’re attracted to each other, but they both have their own lives and ways of doing things. It’s incredibly fun to throw out traps and barriers between them and see how they manage to work around them.
Michele Drier was born in Santa Cruz and is a fifth generation Californian. She’s lived and worked all over the state, calling both Southern and Northern California home. During her career in journalism — as a reporter and editor at daily newspapers – she won awards for producing investigative series.
Her mystery Edited for Death, called “Riveting and much recommended” by the MBR, is available at Amazon and B&N.
SNAP: The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, is available in ebook format at Amazon. Book One, SNAP: The World Unfolds, received a 4-star rating from the Paranormal Romance Guild as did SNAP: New Talent. The third book, Plague: A Love Story, was published in June 2012.
Visit her website: www.micheledrier.com
SNAP, a multinational celeb TV show and magazine, is the holy grail for Maxie Gwenoch. When she snags the job as managing editor, she's looking for fame, fortune and Jimmy Choos. What she finds is a media empire owned by Baron Kandesky and his family. A family of vampires. They're European, urbane, wealthy and mesmerizing. And when she meets Jean-Louis, vampire and co-worker, she's a goner.
The Kandesky vampire family rose in Hungary centuries ago. They gave up violence and killing to make a killing on the world's commodities markets and with that beginning they built SNAP, an international celebrity multimedia empire. Now cultured...and having found food substitutes for killing...they’ve cornered the world market for celebrity and gossip journalism.