25 March 2015

MARCH Featured Author: Michelle Jo Quinn

One of the first (and probably the only book club) I’ve (really) participated on Wattpad was organized by Michelle Jo Quinn. She’s a fabulous person who does a really great job with the Filipino Romance WritersBook Club. But she did an even better job with her novel, Confessions of aWedding Planner, which is in turns hilarious, introspective, and steamy. 

Did I say it was steamy? It’s smoking hot! :-)

Here’s our interview with Michelle:

CPS: You've been working on quite a few stories, but Confessions of a Wedding Planner by far has the most reads. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

MJQ: Confessions of a Wedding Planner is about making a choice between love and duty.  It focuses on Veronica who agrees to plan her ex-boyfriend, Jake's, wedding.  It sounds nuts and not many would do it, but she is a constant people-pleaser, who unfortunately still has feelings for her ex-bf.

Throughout the planning, she goes through a myriad of emotions and challenges, with the help of her best friend, Chase, and the Player of the Century, best man of the wedding, Levi, who seems to have a different motive altogether.  

If you like rom-coms this is certainly a story you could bite into.  It also has cake.

Follow Michelle on Twitter at @MishlRodriguez

CPS: Where did the idea for the story come from? Perchance you're one too? :-)

MJQ: I didn't start planning weddings until after I wrote CoaWP.  Where did the idea for the story come from?  Gee, I started composing it three years ago, so it's hard to remember.  I can barely recall what I did yesterday!

CPS: One thing I noticed about your books is that your guys are always so hunky! Who's your favorite fictional boyfriend right now and why?

MJQ: They are all hot men!  One day I will write about a man with a bald spot and a pot belly, and make everyone swoon.

My favourite is Levi, because he is a huge surprise.  First he comes off as an arrogant player, then you get to know him.  You find out that he reads poetry and loves art, is rather intelligent, and he offers to give piggy-back rides.  He is aloof and honest, and he cooks!

Wattpad page of CoaWP

CPS: And who's your favorite heroine of the moment? Why?

MJQ: Asking me that is like asking which one of my kids do I favor most.  I like each and every one of them for various reasons.  They all go through challenges, pain, sorrows and heartaches with their heads up high.  In a way, they are all the same, but different.  It would be irresponsible of me to choose one of them.  But at the moment, I'd say Chase, because of her sass.  Just don't tell the others.

CPS: Tell us a little bit about your writing process. How long does it usually take you? How do you manage multiple stories at once?

MJQ: Writing process?!  I've heard of that...

I'm a mother of two, I have a business and I have all sorts of hobbies.  I write on a whim.  A few of my stories have been plotted somewhat, but most of my ideas begin as daydreams.  The shortest time it had taken me to write a proper novel was ten days, two weeks if you count the daydreaming/plotting.  Ultimately, if I ask myself tons of "what ifs" and I can answer them, I start writing.  It's not the best way, but right now, it works for me.  Hopefully, one day I will be disciplined enough to plot properly.

CPS: As a writer, what kind of pitfalls have you encountered? How did you get over them?

MJQ: My emotions get the best of me, and when you're a romance writer, it's hard not to be emotionally-invested in your stories.  After I wrote "Winter Eternal" (shameless plug), I suffered depression.  I walked around like a zombie, and my family didn't understand why.  That was when I started posting CoaWP on Wattpad, because it's a fun story.  I needed that balance.

English is not my first language, therefore, I find myself editing, and struggling, as I write.  I don't shy away from critiques either.  There is no such thing as a perfect writer, so one must always be learning.  I also suffer quite horribly of Writer's Block when beginning a new story.  I suppose if I plotted properly, I won't have to go through that all the time.

Michelle's Wattpad page

CPS: What kind of things inspire you to write?

MJQ: People, places, things.  I'm a visual person, so I'm often found pinning on Pinterest for my storyboards.  I used photos to inspire CoaWP, love quotes and poetries for the sequel (the MC loves poetry), and now words and facts for the third book (my MC is sort of a know-it-all).

I have a couple of stories inspired by fairy tales.  They're my modern recounting of those long-loved tales, for example, Little Red Riding Hood is now a tattoo artist with fiery red hair, and the Wolf is a cunning business man who is after more than just her attention.

Winter Eternal was inspired by a house with a red roof, located along the edges of a national park, and for the mystery I'm trying out, my inspiration is a one-hundred year old Victorian home.

I find writers must always have their eyes and ears open, even a scent can trigger a story line, as well as touch and taste.  Oh, and watching movies on Netflix is also a good way to be inspired, I believe.

CPS: What are you reading right now? How are you liking them?

MJQ: I read the same way I write.  I have multiple books on the go, traditionally and self-published, and on Wattpad.  I read all genres, except horror.  I'm too much of a wuss for those.  My introduction to English literature was "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes", so I love mystery, but I'm a hopeless romantic, therefore, I always read romance.  A mixture of the two is a definite favorite.

CPS: Most of your work is romance, do you see yourself doing any other genre in the future?

MJQ: Yes.  As I've mentioned, a mystery/psychological thriller is in the works.  It's a lot more difficult to write because of the technical details-- police procedurals, evidence gathering etc.  A whole bunch of research has to go into it.  It's a good way for me to practice that lack of plotting discipline.  The title for it is "The Girl in the Snow".

CPS: How do you reward yourself after you've finished a story?

MJQ: I read.  LOL.  If I finish a chapter, I buy myself a new book, or I continue reading whatever is on my pile. Then I eat chocolates and drink wine (Not all at the same time).  Then, I sleep or go on Twitter.

CPS: Can you tell us a bit about your ongoing / future projects? 

MJQ: Oh gee, how much time have you got?  

I am working on book 3 of my Bliss Series: “Chasing the Runaway Bride”. During Camp NaNoWriMo in April, I will be working on my first NA, entitled “Sugar”.  Also, I have to finish my other stand-alones, "Harley" (Rockstar and female bodyguard) and "The Love Story of Hunter and Blanche" (inspired by Snow White and the Huntsman).

Some time this year, I'm hoping to get Confessions of a Wedding Planner published.  Toes and fingers crossed.

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Thanks again for the interview Michelle :-) We can’t wait to see Nica and Levi in print!

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On another note, people are gearing up for the #SparkNA class with Mina V. Esguerra. Action starts in April. Wheeee!

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Oh, and I've decided to join the wonderful world of Twitter. Hahaha! Follow me @arkiCpsanti

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Super duper thanks to Claire of Coffee Book Mom for her awesome review of Be Careful What You Wish For! It was a lovely surprise to learn she was one of the book's original beta readers back in 2009-2010. Hugs, Claire!

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