The Story Behind My Blog's Title

The Story Behind My Blog's Title
Why is my blog named "My Father's Oldsmobile"? Click on the car and find out.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Author Interview: Michelle Sutton

Today I get to welcome back Michelle Sutton. She's been a busy thing. Last time she was here her book First Impressions had just released, since then she's had two more come out. In Plain Sight was released in April, and the ebook version of Never Without Hope released in May. The print version comes out in July. I'm currently reading this book and plan to post a review this coming weekend. I have a blurb later in this interview about why I think this book, and books like it, are important.

Now, let's learn a little about Michelle.

Would you please tell us a little about yourself?
I'm the author of over a dozen edgy novels releasing through 2012 and I have two boys who are about to enter college. My husband and I have been married twenty years and we live in sunny Arizona.

When did you first become interested in writing?
Back in August of 2003 I started writing a book for Love Inspired. I thought it was a great story, but I didn't know what head-hopping was or anything about writing, so it was a good story but poorly written. It has since been revised and was released in January through Desert Breeze. That book was First Impressions.

Can you tell us a little about the ups and downs on your journey to publication?
Every time an editor from a big publishing house seems excited about a manuscript and then asks your agent for a full, you think, "this is it" only to have it on hold forever, get bumped by an in-house author (someone already published with them), or have it languish for a year or more on their stack until it's forgotten or they get transferred to another house or resign. Publishing is full of "hurry up and wait" situations, so you need patience or you'll go nuts. The highs are seeing your new book for the first time, getting checks from the publisher, and seeing great reviews posted by people you don't know saying that they loved your book.

How do you approach a new project? Do you research and plot before you write? Or do you have a general idea and just go to it and see where it leads?
I always let story ideas simmer in my head until they are ready to explode onto the page. I never plot anything. The most I do is a rough outline in my mind. The thing is that since I don't know what my characters will do, I have to get to know them really well to find out what will happen next. That's why I think people say my characters seem real. I am getting to know them as I write just like my readers are getting to know them as they read.

Tell us about your latest release?
Never Without Hope is my edgiest story to date and the e-book version just released the second week in May. The printed version of the book will be available in late June, early July 2010. It's pretty edgy because it's about sexual struggles in a marriage. I've started the sequel and am already loving writing it. Fun characters and intense situations make for a great story to write. At least that was how this book was for me. I grieved right along with my character as I let her experience heartache and bleed onto the page as her desperation skewed her view of the world and her own beliefs.

What inspired you to write this story?
Real life situations either for me personally and/or with friends. Pretty much every woman I've met has had unmet needs in the bedroom at one time or another, so I just expounded on it and what it would feel like to be young and never see resolution in site. I then delved into how it would feel to be totally stuck and miserable and desperate enough to throw out everything you know is right for temporary satisfaction and then watch the situation blow up in your face. I've had many, many people I know get divorced over sexual issues in marriage. It's more common than you'd think. I just wrote about one fictional scenario to give the reader a vicarious experience so they could experience the pros and cons of adultery. The cons always outweigh the pros, of course. I show that.

I'm half way through it, and I've never read a Christian Fiction novel as bold as yours. I'm glad you wrote it because, personally, I think we need more books like this. You have a great scene where Hope is afraid to open up to her Bible study group -- especially in front of one lady in particular -- because she thinks none of them will understand her struggles. Then she's shocked when the woman she thinks is least likely to understand reveals a similar situation. Imagine how someone, who picks up a Christian Fiction title, hoping for just a little something...understanding or guidance maybe, feels when the most a character may struggle with is saying "drat" when they're mad. Fiction may be make believe stories, but readers still want to be able to relate to the characters. So, when this sanitized version of dealing with sin is all that portrayed, the story runs the risk of making Christians seem not very relatable. And that's my Soap-box insertion into this interview. Back to you, Michelle.

Can you give us a little history on the characters, including how you developed them , and what endears them to you?
Originally my main character's name was Lilly, but since I had another Lilly (even though it was a stage name) and James in another book, I didn't want to be too similar. So It became Hope and James. They are a typical couple experiencing struggles in the bedroom when Hope wants more sex and James can't do it. He's ashamed and won't deal with it (like most men respond) and so she's freaking out thinking things will never get better. What endears them to me is they both seem like real people. They respond like real people, too, and not perfect Christians.

They really do!
What do you hope to be able to accomplish through your writing? Any long term goals?
I'd like to minister to anyone. Christians or not, everyone has some type of heartache and temptation. I love to write a thread of redemption and hope into each book I write in the hopes that it will touch the reader deep inside, regardless of where they are spiritually.

Any ideas for future projects?
Yep, working on the sequel to Never Without Hope. Also finishing up the sequel to First Impressions, which will be followed up by a third book next year.

Trivia time! What's your favorite movie, food, and place to vacation? Also, any other hobbies?
Favorite movie is probably Charlotte Gray. Food is probably Mexican. Vacation? Beaches. Other hobbies are reading and reading and more reading.

Other than your book, do you have any recommendations you'd like to pass along? If you like edgy Christian fiction, pretty much everything I write is guaranteed to meet that need.
For more about Michelle Sutton and her books:


  1. Shawna, thanks for the interview time. I saw this link on Goodreads. Glad to hear my book isn't freaking you out!

  2. Michelle....I love that you are such a confident writer. Great interview answers. What I liked the best was your bery last answer....."If you like edgy Christian fiction, pretty much everything I write is guaranteed to meet that need."

    I've never read your books...but you've definately sold me....headed to your site now and then off to Barnes & Noble.


  3. Steph, you gotta read her new one!

  4. Fantastic interview ladies. The Christian market is a rewarding experience all its own.

  5. Shawna and Michelle, great interview. Having read both of you, I have to say, you both bring that "edge" to the inspirational genre that really makes it "real."

    Congrats on your latest release, Michelle. Many sales!


  6. This was such a great interview. I love how each interview - even of a familiar person (like michelle is getting to be :) - always brings something new to light. Thanks Shawna!

  7. You're welcome Tracy! Need to have you interviewed soon here too. :)


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