It’s been a while, but we have been hard at work getting everything ready for the anthologies. They are in final formatting. Whew! Now we can catch our breath & focus on more Author Spotlights.
The Debut Collective is a supportive tribe of authors (both published and aspiring), editors, formatters, and cover designers working together to foster a new generation of stories and authors. We will be publishing 5 short story anthologies in June 2016.
We are pleased to share the following interview with contributing author, Michaela Mills.
Please share a little about you and your background.
My name is Michaela and I’m from the Mile High City in Colorado, named for the fact that it is a mile above sea level and not because of the legal marijuana. 😉 I have two kids, three cats, and an amazing husband who is the best support system I could ever ask for. I’ve always had a love of reading and writing, for as long as I can remember. I’m finally at a place where I want to take that love of writing further, step outside my comfort zone, and see where I can soar!
Please share information on any published or upcoming books.
I have a novel that I am committed to releasing before the end of the year. My goal is actually to have it release on Halloween this year. Eep! I’m putting it in writing here so that you can all hold me accountable to this! Now, someone hold me, and who has the chocolate??
Which Debut Collective anthology/anthologies will you be published in?
I am honored to have two stories being published in the Debut Collective: one in the Underdog anthology and one in the Love Against All Odds anthology.
Share a brief teaser or logline for your story/stories.
Underdog: The Geek. The Queen. The Jock. The Goth. The Loner. It’s high school thrown into one room, overseen by The Hard-ass. Sound like a John Hughes movie? This throwback to the beloved movies of the 80s and 90s has a unique and contemporary twist that will leave you wanting more.
Love Against All Odds: It’s hard enough when your parents dislike the boy you’ve fallen for, but what do you do when they don’t even believe he exists? Besides ending up in a psychiatric hospital, that is.
Share an insight into your main character. What made you want to write a story from their perspective?
Underdog: This is a tough one because there really isn’t one main character in this story. It is told from many perspectives in scene shifts. I’ll pick my favorite character and tell you a little about her. Sapphire—also referred to as The Goth—is quite a bit of my own personality, but with much more flare and charisma than I could ever pull off! (LOL) She is feisty, but aware. She’s incredibly misunderstood, despite attempts to make herself clear. But once she gets going… she really communicates quite well. What I love about Sapphire is that she’s not afraid to put people in their place, especially when it is utterly deserved. She’s the kind of feisty that I admire.
Love Against All Odds: Julie is struggling between what she knows to be real and what others keep telling her is real. Her sanity comes into play far too often, but she tries to stick to her guns in what she believes to be true. What I loved most about writing from her POV is that she has acquired a bit of sarcasm and snark—whether from her circumstances or just naturally isn’t determined within the story. But you also see quite a bit of her vulnerability and realize that the sarcasm and snark are shields, defenses against feeling so exposed and vulnerable. Her relationship with her mother is something she craves and yet pushes away from due to the fact that her mother refuses to understand what she’s going through. A beta reader of this story remarked that she felt a little too real. I think that’s a great thing!
What genre(s) do you write and what draws you to that genre?
I mostly write in Young Adult fiction, either paranormal or contemporary. I think a large amount of it is that I have kids that are in the age group to read these novels, plus they hearken back to days past when life was easier, though felt so difficult and misunderstood.
Describe a typical writing day, or is there such a thing for you? Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? Write in Scrivener, notebooks, or on cocktail napkins?
I write at least one day a week. I used to write every day for at least 20 minutes, but I have (unfortunately) fallen out of this habit and it’s proved to be a difficult habit to come back to. I’m often found at my local Perkins or Starbucks at least once per week to write for several hours in one block. Sometimes I am incredibly productive, and sometimes I struggle to find the words. I never know how the day will go until I try. One thing I do know is that I am there with my MacBook and my Scrivener app, ready to write!
Are you a plotter (outline plot) or a pantser (prefer to run with an idea)?
Umm… yes? LOL I’ve done both and I see the pros and cons to both. What I’ve found works best for me lately (at least for the last two stories I’ve written) is to have a relatively loose outline, with specific plot points lined out, but pants my way through the actual story to just get it out without feeling confined by a full outline. Then, once it’s done, I go back and analyze the story and do a full poster-board outline and rearrange/cut/add/etc. wherever necessary. So, I guess you could say I’m kind of a hybrid. Though, I will say, some of my best stories have come out of sheer pantsing. 😉
What book(s) are you currently reading or would you recommend?
I am actually currently beta reading a book for the lovely Natasha Hanova, another of the Debut Collective Anthologies authors. It is a very interesting story with characters that drew me in right away. I just wish I had more time to actually read these days! Dear Life: Please give me a day off so I can just read. KTHXBAI! Love, Michaela. 😉
What is your favorite writing/reading related quote?
This isn’t necessarily a writing- or reading-related quote, but it is my favorite quote from a literary work. It has stuck with me since I first read it when I was 13 years old (I won’t say how long ago that was *cough cough*):
If our friendship depends on things like space and time, then when we finally overcome space and time, we’ve destroyed our own brotherhood! But overcome space, and all we have left is Here. Overcome time, and all we have left is Now. And in the middle of Here and Now, don’t you think that we might see each other once or twice? –Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Tell us 5 random facts about you:
- I majored in Opera Performance. Music plays a huge role in my life, from creating it to listening to it. There’s a song for any/every situation.
- I have been a NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) Municipal Liaison for 8 years now. I LOVE the program, especially the Young Writers’ Program, and feel everyone should give it a try at least once in their life. The key, though, is to come to write-ins, which is why I kind of kill myself every November to make sure I personally host at least 3 write-ins every week.
- I LOVE cats. Big cats, small cats, snuggly cats, mean cats, furry cats, hairless cats… doesn’t matter. **purr** And they love me. In fact, one of my cats gave birth to her kittens on my stomach, under the covers, while I was sleeping one night. True fact! It was the sweetest—and grossest—thing ever.
- I am actually horribly introverted—I just fake being extroverted really well. Sometimes I push myself too much and become obnoxious (so sorry, guys… if I reach that point, just smack me—or just tell me LOL).
- I became a widow at the young age of 24. I got married again about 3 years later to my current (amazing) husband. My husband was my late husband’s manager, but we were all friends before he died. We keep my late husband a part of our life together, including having pictures of him around the house and the main diamond in my wedding set came from my original wedding set. It means so much to me to have a husband who is supportive in every way.
Does music influence your writing? If so, can you share a song that inspired your Debut Collective anthology story?
Absolutely!!! I always have music on when I’m writing. Sometimes it’s based on the scene I’m writing, sometimes it’s based on the book/style I’m writing, and sometimes it’s just random whatever iTunes tosses at me. As far as a song that inspired my stories…
Underdog: I’m not sure there’s a single song that really inspired this one. The one I recall listening to the most, though, was Cochise by Audioslave.
Love Against All Odds: There were two songs on repeat while writing this story, although the entire album that the two songs appear on was also listened to quite a bit. The two songs are Chameleon Boy and A Quiet Mind. Both are by the band Blue October. The album, History For Sale, is the third album release of the band, released back in 2003. If I’m being fully honest, Blue October is the band that picks me up when I’m down, keeps me going when I’m struggling, and has in many times helped me find purpose. If you’ve never heard of them, might I please take this opportunity to recommend you give them a listen-to? While I enjoy their main radio hits, there are many other songs that are so much better. In fact, I’ve put together a Spotify playlist of my favorites, if you’d like to go and take a listen: https://open.spotify.com/user/124765270/playlist/5o75fnNqp0dPBPOoV3s95g
What advice would you give to aspiring writers? How has participating in the collective and the anthology project inspired or pushed you creatively?
First and foremost is to write. It’s what I love about NaNoWriMo—it’s not about if you’re writing the next Harry Potter, it’s about just writing and getting your story out. I believe that every one of us has a story inside us that wants out, but we’re too afraid to actually go there. We become hamstrung by our own inferiority complexes and excuses—we’re too busy, we don’t write well enough to publish, we aren’t sure how to write that perfect plot hook, etc. But you don’t become a master of something by thinking about doing it—you become a master by getting out and doing it… and doing it over and over and over again, learning from mistakes, focusing on things that make us better, etc.
For me, participating in the DCA really pushed me to stick to deadlines, something I’ve been horrible about. And it’s been amazing to write alongside some of these amazing authors that I met at UtopYA (now named Utopia). It really makes you raise the bar to see the talent that you’re writing with!
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Website or Blog: http://www.michaelamillswrites.com
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/Mmills.writer
Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/michaela.mills.581
Thank you for participating, Michaela!