Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Interview with Cara Michaels and a Giveaway!

Welcome to my humble corner of the weird, wild, and wicked world. Today I have the great good fortune to speak with my good friend Cara Michaels, author of the upcoming short story Gaea’s Chosen: The Mayday Directive. I met Cara on Facebook when another friend recommended her page to me. I checked out her website and her writing, and “liked” her page. This started a conversation between us that led us to the understanding that we’re actually twins separated at birth. And I came out three years earlier. From a different mother. And father. But we were born on the same coast! Close enough. :D

Welcome, Cara. I’m so glad to have you here today! 
That's good. I'd hate to get served with a blog-stalking restraining order. *Grins*
Or maybe a blog-loitering cease & desist.
Seriously though... I'm both nervous and totally geeked out to be here.
      Squeee! Okay, fangirl moment over. :D We should probably start with the questions (mostly so I can make you more nervous and geeked out). What got you started in writing?
      Not entirely sure, but I've made stories as long as I can remember. When I outgrew the bedtime story, I started making my own tales in my mind. That still helps me relax and fall asleep now.
      Playtime with friends was very imaginative, too. We were always on adventures. I think my writing just evolved as the next, slightly more grown up form of imaginary friends and backyard castles and invasions.
      I'm the same way. I had more fun telling myself my own stories. What kinds of stories would you tell yourself? Which genre?
Big adventure stuff. I have a hero complex or something. I wanted to save the day, a trait my MCs tend to share. I think Fantasy was my first love. I had some casual entanglements with Sci-Fi, Horror, Paranormal, Superheroes, but Fantasy. While my peer group was digging Sweet Valley High, I was curling up with Dragonlance, Valdemar - epic high fantasy stuff. As I got older, I discovered Romance. I’m a closet softie for boy-meets-girl and happy endings.
      Woo-hoo! Valdemar! Love the Heralds and their Companions. How old were you when you wrote your first story down and what was it about?
Again, no clue. Is that a bad thing? I remember a story for English vocabulary. You know how we made sentences using our vocab words? Well, mine involved action, adventure, and dwarves. There may have been an axe, too.
Yeah, I spent a lot of time in the guidance counselor’s office.
      *Chuckling* Worried you were a serial killer in the making, no doubt. What did your family think of you writing back then? Or now?
From most of my family, I get the vacant “oh that’s nice dear” sort of response. The nod and smile. Then the flash of “please, please, PLEASE don’t let her ask me to read because what if she SUCKS?” that hits the eyes.
These days, my mom digs what I do. She’s one of my biggest fans now that I give her the occasional finished piece to read instead of just taunting her with partial manuscripts.
It's good you have your mom behind you. Mine was always urging me to publish even when I knew it was juvenile drivel. Thank God I kept editing!
Was writing what you studied after high school?
Not even close.
I started college because everyone said I should, and I got tired of saying, “No, really. I’m not ready.” I had visions of acting and directing theater productions and film, but quickly realized I had way too many control issues to put my creative expression in someone else’s hands. I was starting to think about writing the plays and movies.
And yet… that first semester nearly ruined writing for me. I had grad adjunct professor for Comp I, and if you didn’t write like you were trying for a spot in the SAT reading section, she panned you. She was the first academic I’d encountered who didn’t think I could write, and that was oddly crushing. I didn’t write anything for a long while after that.
Bad teacher! No apple! :(
How did you regroup after that and start writing again?
Well aside from a teacher who wasn't a university tool, I toyed with it here and there. Really started to write again when I got some wildly positive response to some fetish erotica I wrote.
Fetish erotica? *winks* I'd like to read that! *grins, then clears throat* Okay, focus! What kinds of things inspire you to write? Foods or music, photos or movies?
*Laughs out loud* MUSIC. Music is my number one inspiration. I grew up constantly exposed to music. I sang in the choir and madrigals, played trombone in the band. I even flirted with the cymbals for marching band one year. Nothing says musical talent like crashing brass plates together at just the right moment. *Grins*
Anyway, nowadays I have entire Pandora channels geared toward prodding my creativity.  I tend toward loud, crunchy, dark music, a lot of mainstream alt-rock.  It really gets my blood pumping and slaps my muse awake.
Movies & books can be good, but they can be dangerous for me. It’s hard to be inspired by someone else’s story, walk away, and write something relatively free of influence.
Given the fetish erotica, clashing cymbals doesn't even surprise me. *Wide grin* Since you have to be careful of movies influencing your stories, do you watch any TV shows, and if so, what are your favorites?
Actually, my TV exposure is pretty limited. I gave up cable years ago, so most of what I watch I pick up on great DVD sales or online. 
·       Supernatural – Sometimes I have to hide my eyes, but I love this show. My favorite aspect is actually the smartass, tongue-in-cheek dialogue, especially the interplay between the brothers. 
·        The Vampire Diaries – Picked season one up on a super sale, figuring why not? What a guilty pleasure that show turned out to be. 
·        Firefly, Dollhouse, Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Have Joss Whedon, Will Watch. The man just does not make bad shows. 
·        Castle – A mystery writer (Bonus! He’s from Firefly!!) who shadows an NYPD detective for inspiration and actually winds up being helpful? This show is so much fun. 
·        Farscape – One of the best science fiction epics ever. I still crush on John Crichton.
Looking at my list, I see a decided penchant for snappy, witty dialogue mixed with supernatural, fantasy, and sci-fi elements. That’s so oddly familiar somehow. *Laughs wryly*
Yeah, I noticed that too. Do you tend to write science fiction or are there other genres that come out in your stories?
I write mainly contemporary paranormal fantasy. My writing tends to always have some fantastic element to it, whether that’s magic, psychic abilities, mythic creatures. Space and aliens are a nice complement to that.
I’m so excited about your new release coming out on October 4th called Gaea’s Chosen: The Mayday Directive. Tell us the story . . . oh, yes, tell us! :D
Gaea’s Chosen is a group of ten men and ten women who signed on for the craziest of space missions. They agreed to be human popsicles for tens of thousands of years and slowly make their way to a potentially habitable planet about 20 light years from Earth. As with all good adventures though, things don’t go quite as planned. This story covers the events as the crew wakes up and finds out what’s happened to them, primarily focusing on the mission’s commander, Gemma Bryant.You can read the first chapter on my site to tempt you. *winks*
Eep! That gives a whole new meaning to the word "retired"! What inspired you to write this story?
I was bored at work (don’t tell my boss). GC started as a daydream. I’d originally imagined far more of a horror angle to the story, but it morphed once I started writing.
Stories and characters do tend to take on a life of their own. I know this is the beginning of a series, because like potato chips, you can't have just one! How many more stories will there be?
Weeeellll… I have titles for three more. I’m willing to commit to that much.
Yes! *Fist pump* What other projects are you working on? *wink, wink, nudge, nudge*
I've recently discovered an addiction to flash fiction. I run one weekly challenge, called #MenageMonday, and play in two others.
Then there's a prompted short story for Tracey Hansen’s “We Are God” project.
After that, I’ve outlined the 2nd GC story that will pick up shortly after this one ends, and I have some ideas stewing for two more stories with that cast.
And just to prove that evenings of brainstorming via the interwebs can turn into something kickass—I’m working with Siobhan on a duo of contemporary alternate Earth adventures. Mine will feature Gemma’s great aunt (many, MANY generations removed), Circe Bryant.
The ongoing background to all of this is my novel series, The Divine Damned. The first book, My Soul to Break, is in the second draft stage.
*Rubs hands together and cackles* Yes, we’re going to put together an amazing set of stories. I love the connection point of Gaea’s Chosen to the upcoming project! Anything else you'd like to add, Cara?
Drop me a line on Twitter and let me know what you think of the first chapter.
Thanks for having me over today, Siobhan.
My pleasure. Thanks for being here!

So, if you're interested in reading more than just the first chapter of Gaea's Chosen: The Mayday Directive, you have the opportunity to win the whole thing. All you have to do is comment on this interview, leave a valid email address or Twitter handle in your comment, and become a follower of The Weird, the Wild, & the Wicked. That's it.

Thanks again to Cara Michaels for dropping by and be sure to join both of us for Six Sentence Sunday when we post six sentences of our latest Works in Progress. You won't want to miss that! Good luck in the giveaway and happy reading!


  1. GC sounds like a very interesting story! & I like the pic too.
    I understand the college professor stuff, too. Had a few of those types myself. One for a 200 level english comp class, one for an American Lit class and the other was a creative writing teacher.
    S: I like the quote at the end of your blog. :)
    Twitter: @CRMoss
    I believe I'm already following the blog. ;)

  2. Loved the interview. This sounds like a great story and after reading about Cara I am fascinated by the author as well.
    Thanks for sharing this Meg and sharing what sounds like a very talented writer too.

  3. Great interview! Thanks Siobhan and Cara for sharing!

    Twitter: @MorganKearns

    And of course I'm a follower (and a fan ;)

  4. Awesome interview, guys. Can't wait for the Mayday release! :D


Comments are on moderation, so they'll become visible once I've read them. Words, words, words. I love them. Have you a few to lend?

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