I’m very excited to be apart of the blog tour for Michelle’s debut novel.
You might remember I reviewed the book HERE. If you haven’t seen the review, go and check it out! Michelle very graciously answered some questions for me!
In Through the Fire you’ve made the characters quite young, was there a particular reason for that?
In the original version that was submitted to Bottom Drawer Publications, the story focused a little more on what happens next—in fact, a significant portion of that manuscript now resides in book two. During very early discussions, we agreed that the history of “how they got here” needed a little more exploring. An origins story if you will. The encounters and events in Through the Fire are such defining moments in Evie’s life that they were worth revisiting and exploring in more detail.
Part of that exploration was a focus on the pressures on a young couple in love. Personally, I was very lucky and found my wonderful husband quite young (even younger than Evie and Clay are when they first meet), but not all stories of teen love have the same happy ending. Life and responsibility start to interfere, and it’s often hard to find a way to reconcile who you are alone, and who you are together, with who the world expects you to be. If part of that pressure involves destroying the very thing that you love, the pressure is even more intense.
This is part of what I wanted to explore in Through the Fire. The Romeo and Juliette aspect I guess you could call it. Can a couple come together despite all the odds being stacked against them, or is their relationship doomed before it even begins?
Do you find picspiration for your characters before you write them, during, or after?
A little of both. For some characters, what they look like comes through so crystal clear that I can write chapters before I need to find a reference photo or picspiration, and usually then it’s more for showing to my beta as comparison. The bulk of the cast in Through the Fire were like that. Some were based off real actors. For example: David, Evie’s father, is based off David Tennant.
Sometimes though, it works the other way around. For example: Aiden exists as he is solely because I found the perfect picspiration. In the original drafts of the first book, he didn’t really exist in the same capacity as he does now. A particular picture of Nicholas Hoult and his blue, blue eyes sparked something and then Aiden arrived on the scene, grabbed me by the hand and led me (and the other characters) on a brand new adventure.
Without spoiling the book, Evie manages to grow quite considerably through the book, how was it writing her growth, without rushing through?
Firstly, I would like to say thank you for the massive compliment. I never really intended to set out to make the story one about her personal growth. When I first started writing the very first draft of Through the Fire, it certainly wasn’t the focus. I was much more interested in exploring the interactions between two characters who could be perfect for each other, if only they weren’t mortal enemies. Over multiple drafts and reshuffling, that became more of a close examination on how fear and prejudice can drastically alter the course of someone’s life. Much of the book is about Evie learning how to exist in the wider world outside of the safe harbour she had for so long. Hopefully that growth will continue to be evident in the rest of the books; although I should add a caveat on that: like everyone, she has her good days and her bad days. Sometimes it’s two steps forward and one step back.
I really enjoyed the fae aspect in the book – What type of research did you do into the fae, and paranormal worlds?
Research . . . so much research. It was good fun though, especially learning about different beliefs and fae culture. Just for the fae court section, I researched aura colours and meaning, different beliefs about the fae from around the world, about the seelie and unseelie courts and their typical hierarchies (for example, most courts are matriarchies), and research into different types of butterflies.
I’ve done research on much more than just the fae and their world though, I have researched wendigos, banshees, black annis, and a whole raft of other paranormal creatures for upcoming books in the series. Outside of the research, I’ve done a bit of world-building too, taking bits and pieces of the “real” lore and twisting and shaping it into something that is right for this world of Evie and Clay.
What got you into the paranormal romance genre?
I’ve always been a massive fan of fantasy, ever since the very first books I read. I can still remember the adventures Enid Blyton took me on with magic chairs and far-away trees. Then I stepped into Narnia and fell deeper in love with the fantasy genre. The idea that there could be a whole world buried just beneath our own, if only you know what you’re looking for, is just fascinating. As I’ve got older, I fell in love with, well, love.
There are so many books, TV shows, and movies which all contributed to that love. Charmed, Twilight, Supernatural (okay, so not so much romance there, but the urban fantasy side), Just Like Heaven, and so many more.
Do you write a book from start – to – finish, or out of order?
Both. Generally I try to write in a lineal fashion, but occasionally there will be one scene that just demands to be written. When that happens, I tend to jump forward and write it. As I mentioned above, Through the Fire went through a bit of a restructure, so in reality it was written way out of order to how it now is.
Have you already written the next books, or are you in progress? (No pressure, but HURRY UP! hahaha)
The easiest answer to this question is yes. At least, mostly. The more elaborate answer is that I have written all of Evie’s side of the story, I know how and where it ends and all the twists and turns that the road takes along the way.
There will also be a series of four books from Clay’s point of view as well. I know the go-to assumption when people see two books of the same events from two different people’s perspectives is that it is unnecessary and a little pointless, and to be honest, I completely agree. The same timeline, yes, and there is naturally some cross-over, but each of these characters has a vastly different story to tell. However, and it’s a big however, the majority of these two series do not cover the exact same events. It’s hard to explain more without spoilering the story, but those who have read it will no doubt understand exactly what I mean. Basically it eventuated when Clay niggled and nudged until I relented and started to write what I thought might end up as a one-book supplement to Evie’s side of the story. But wow, the things that boy told me! Three out of four of his are all written too.
The first of Clay’s books will actually be the next one released through Bottom Drawer Publications, and is slated for February 2015. Then the books will alternate between Evie’s side and Clay’s side every four months.
Thanks for answering my Q’s
Thank you for having me.
Release & Blog Tour Giveaway
Paperback copy of Through the Fire
$10 BDP voucher
3 x Through the Fire e-books
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About the Author
Michelle Irwin has been many things in her life: a hobbit taking a precious item to a fiery mountain; a young child stepping through the back of a wardrobe into another land; the last human stranded not-quite-alone in space three million years in the future; a young girl willing to fight for the love of a vampire; and a time-travelling madman in a box. She achieved all of these feats and many more through her voracious reading habit. Eventually, so much reading had to have an effect and the cast of characters inside her mind took over and spilled out onto the page.
Michelle lives in sunny Queensland in the land down under with her surprisingly patient husband and ever-intriguing daughter, carving out precious moments of writing and reading time around her accounts-based day job. A lover of love and overcoming the odds, she primarily writes paranormal and fantasy romance.
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