Welcome to Author Wednesday. Today I welcome back Michele Shriver who has just released her fourth novel, Finding Forever, a contemporary romance. Her other novels, After Ten, Sixth South, and Aggravated Circumstances fall into the category of women’s fiction. Michele last visited Author Wednesday in May, and I reviewed After Ten soon afterwards.
It’s a pleasure to welcome you back to Author Wednesday, Michele. You’ve been very busy since you last visited. Let’s talk about who has most influenced your writing.
I have a two-part answer to this. One of my earliest writing influences was my sixth grade teacher. She gave us an assignment to write the first chapter of a book. I did, but I didn’t want to stop there. I wanted to write the whole thing. Her response: “Go ahead!” It was great to have that kind of encouragement from a teacher, and I think that assignment was what first sparked my desire to be a writer. I am still in contact with my former teacher on Facebook, and she’s a regular reader of my books, which is very gratifying.
As far as writer influences, I would say Debbie Macomber. She is a gifted storyteller who creates memorable characters that readers can easily connect with. Anytime I am traveling by plane somewhere, I want to have one of her books to read because I know I will immediately be drawn into her story and feel connected to her characters. It would be the ultimate compliment for readers to say the same about my work.
That’s a wonderful story about your teacher. I’m sure she’s very proud of you. Tell us something about your current projects.
I have several projects going on. The first is a romantic story titled Leap of Faith, which features a character from my first book, Tracey, who is finally going to get her happily ever after. It won’t be an easy journey, though. I also have a family saga about couple experiencing marital strife. It’s been harder for me to write, but I still plan to finish it. After that, I am developing a romance trilogy about three sisters who start a vineyard to honor their deceased father’s wishes.
You certainly don’t lack ideas. They all sound very interesting. You mention that one of your stories is set in a vineyard. How does setting play a role in your books?
I think setting can be an important factor in drawing a reader into a story. For example, if the setting is a real city that is known for unique culture, attractions, etc. New Orleans is my favorite city, and while I have never set one my own books there, I love reading stories set there. My current release, Finding Forever, is set on the West Texas border with Mexico, and the border violence and immigration controversy is a backdrop to some of the action. I think it helped to enrich the story. Leap of Faith takes place in and around Chicago, a city with all sorts of culture, history, and attractions that can enhance a story.
Chicago is a great city to use in a novel. Since you’ve already published three novels, I’m wondering how you handle any bad reviews you might receive. What advice can you give to other writers about receiving a bad review?
I think writers are generally a pretty insecure lot, and of course, we want everyone to love our work. It’s impossible to please everyone, though, and bad reviews are part of the process. I try to just walk away, go for a walk, and not dwell on the negative. It can also be good to go read the bad reviews of some famous, hugely successful books, just to put things in perspective. The worst thing you can do is respond to them.
I agree on both counts. I always seek out my favorite writer’s reviews to help me take it less seriously. Also it’s very important to remain uninvolved with any of the reviews. What’s your one sentence pitch for Finding Forever?
Sometimes life offers a second chance at first love, but only if you have the courage to take it.
Explain how Finding Forever was conceived in your imagination.
This one came about during a conversation with a writing friend. She said to me “I’ve always wanted you to write more with Jordan.” Jordan is the character from my first book, After Ten, whose life is most in chaos at the end. I always intended to do more with her, but the plot didn’t come to me until that urging from my friend. She got me thinking about Jordan again, and I decided to bring back a man from her past, and this book was born.
I look forward to reading about Jordan. She was one of my favorite characters from After Ten. Without giving us a spoiler, tell us a little bit about your favorite scene in Finding Forever.
My favorite scene takes place after the biggest challenge to Jordan and Jake’s romance, and Jordan’s stability in general. She’s unsure of her future and whether she can trust Jake and has had a falling out of sorts with her best friend, Beth. She calls Beth to meet her at Jake’s hotel for a little sting operation on an unwanted guest to try to get some answers. It’s a funny scene, and I think it really highlights the friendship between Jordan and Beth and what they would do for each other.
What else do you want readers to know about your new release?
Just that I had a great time bringing Jordan and Jake’s story to life, and I’m excited to share it with the world. I hope people enjoy getting to know them and reading their love story.
I’m sure they will. Thank you for stopping by today, Michele. I hope you’ll come back when you release your next book.
About Michele Shriver: Michele lives in the Midwest U.S. where she maintains her law practice, in addition to pursuing a writing career. In her free time, she enjoys Zumba fitness, bicycling, and the NFL and NHL.
Buy links to Finding Forever:
Michele on Social Media:
Facebook Page: Author Michele Shriver