Welcome to the seven hundred and seventh of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with Michelle Dim-St. Pierre. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Michelle. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Michelle: I was born in Tel Aviv, Israel and spent half my life there before relocating to the US. If someone had asked me ten years ago, where I saw my career heading in the next decade, “a writer,” would not have been the first thing to roll off my tongue. As many of my readers know, nursing is my first love and was always my first passion. I poured my heart and soul into my studies and eventually my profession. Over time, nursing became second nature. A profession that I loved, and that fundamentally shaped my personality, intellect and emotional development, had finally reached its peak. I knew it was time for a new challenge. This is when I began to give in to my desire to write.
What started as a hobby—a deviation from my daily work schedule, an imaginative escape into a fantasy world that I could shape and produce as I saw fit—has turned into so much more. A few pages grew into a few chapters. A few chapters grew into more chapters and before I knew it I had an intricate story and an admirable heroine. I felt like I’d found my second calling.
Morgen: I was the same, in a way. I came to writing very late (ten years ago when I was in my late thirties) in comparison to some and it took two or three years to think I might be able to do it as a career and another three or four years until I gave up my day job. What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
Michelle: My first book is largely women’s fiction with an emphasis on romance, though perhaps not in the traditional format that many are used to. It is a story about the duality of love and hate and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of tough choices.
Morgen: Very relatable. Have you self-published? If so, what lead to you going your own way?
Michelle: I started out with the intent of self-publishing. However, once I established a relationship with BookLogix and they read the manuscript they offered to publish it under their name. I did not pitch it to an agent or to a large publishing company, as the industry is difficult to break into for a first time author. Still, I would not eliminate this option down the road.
Morgen: It is very much. A lot of us are still working on cracking that clichéd nut. Is your book available as an eBook? How involved were you in that process? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?
Michelle: Yes, my book is available as an ebook and also in other formats as you’ll find at the following link. http://www.michelledimstpierre.com/buy-the-book.html The ebook process was done through my publisher. I do occasionally read ebooks, but much prefer the feel of a solid book in my hands, to pour over the pages and feel the weight of the story, to hear the pages as I flip through them. There’s nothing like a hardcover for me. I previously expanded on my feelings of ebooks vs printed books in one of my blogs http://www.michelledimstpierre.com/blog/ebooks-vs-printed-books1
Morgen: Most people still prefer paperbacks (I’m a hardback fan as I don’t like damaging the spines) but love eBooks for portability and the fact that my Kindle Fire reads to me. 🙂 Did you choose the titles / covers of your books?
Michelle: The title was a collaboration of a few people, though my husband’s input was key in my decision. The cover was designed by an established professional, George Foster who designed many best-selling books http://www.fostercovers.com.
Morgen: What are you working on at the moment / next?
Michelle: The next book in the Pinnacle Trilogy is already in the making and is scheduled to be released this year. The last book in the Pinnacle Trilogy is to be released next year. I’m also working on a unique recipe book. I’m beginning to formulate ideas for other books but none of them are pulling me from my trilogy at the moment. I will save these for a later time.
Morgen: I’m currently working on getting some of my earlier novels ship-shape. It takes a while, doesn’t it. Do you manage to write every day, or ever suffer from writer’s block?
Michelle: I try to write every day, though some days the marketing takes over and leaves me with little time. I prefer to write late at night, in the quiet when my mind is calm and my characters can take over.
Morgen: As they do. Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Michelle: I start with a basic plot, but my characters tend to hijack it by times and change it on me.
Morgen: I love that. Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Michelle: A good writer will say you can never have enough editing.
Morgen: Absolutely. I’m a freelance editor but still have an editor and beta readers, and they spot things in my writing that I hadn’t because I’m too close to it. Plus they often come up with brilliant ideas. Do you have to do much research?
Michelle: Yes research is a big part of writing any book I believe. Sometimes changing a detail means rewriting a large section of the book. So it is best to take care of those things ahead of time. I tend to research anything that will be important to the plot ahead of time and then just mark the smaller things I need to check later on. This saves a lot of time, because it’s easy to get lost in researching every detail. It can kill the momentum of the story as I write.
Morgen: We are fortunate that we have so much information to glean from the internet (which we double-check of course). What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
Michelle: I really enjoy writing in a close first person viewpoint. It is so easy to establish that intimacy with the reader and draw him into the story.
Morgen: It does. My chick lit novel is in first person. Do you do much marketing for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
Michelle: I spend a lot of time on marketing with my newsletter, my blog and keeping up with social media. It’s almost a full time job in itself. The trick is to find that balance between my writing life, my personal life, and my public life.
Morgen: It is, isn’t it. Having a book marketing company (hello, Della!) to fall back on must be very helpful. What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life, Michelle? Has anything surprised you?
Michelle: Truly, my least favourite is the sheer amount of time that is necessary to market my work. And my favourite aspect of course is that time late at night, when the muse shows up and I watch my story unfold.
Morgen: Many people say that (to both). What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Michelle: Write from your heart, something that you truly love. Then others will love it too.
Morgen: We hope but, yes, lose interest in something and it will show. What do you think the future holds for a writer?
Michelle: The face of publishing is clearly changing in this digital age. With the ebooks and self-publishing, it is a difficult time for writers. But a good story will always find its way through the crowd eventually. You have to be patient and persistent.
Morgen: You do. Where can we find out about you and your writing?
Michelle: Please visit my website at http://www.michelledimstpierre.com. You can also find me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MichelleDimStPierre , Twitter https://twitter.com/pinnaclelust , Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25048039-pinnacle-lust and many other places.
Morgen: Thank you, Michelle. It’s been great meeting you. All the best for the rest of the trilogy.
And now for an example of Michelle’s writing…
I heard his voice but didn’t register the words. I looked at him but could no longer see him. My mind was occupied with that stranger who suddenly had a name and a job. It was the physical part of me that reacted. I struggled to stay calm. I focused on my breathing, trying to maintain enough oxygen in my blood, making sure I would not hyperventilate. I couldn’t remember when a man caused my heart to skip three consecutive beats—definitely not the man I was currently dating. My legs grew heavy and my knees shook. I stood there in front of that gorgeous new physician—an unusual and amazing creature—and struggled to find something to say. I was speechless and couldn’t remember what I was doing just a moment ago. I saw nothing but a six foot tall, well-built male, a pair of green-brown eyes, tanned olive skin, and silver highlighted hair that had possibly been brown at one time but had given in to the years. He looked to be in his late thirties.
I learned and memorized his intoxicating smell that enveloped me and captured my senses as if I was on the edge of addiction.
As we shook hands my body tingled with excitement, making it impossible to do anything more than just stand there. I don’t remember how I greeted him or if I greeted him at all.
Dr. Katz continued, adding more speech to the air and still our hands could not separate. I couldn’t tell if Dr. Sloan heard Dr. Katz or not. He seemed just as caught up in me. His eyes pierced mine, stirring something inside me. He perused every inch of me, like he could see through my modest scrubs. My heart quickened, extending both my jugular veins—did he notice? My reaction to him completely floored me. And thinking of it now, Joel, my boyfriend, never crossed my mind. Was I turned on or just fascinated by Dr. Sloan? I had to recover from the situation. I needed a diplomatic way out.
I reassured Dr. Katz that everything would be fine and that I would take good care of the new physician. I disengaged myself from the situation and walked toward the break room to meet with the evening nurse supervisor.
Her report was relatively short and light. I anticipated a painless night. “There is a new physician, Dr. Sloan. He seems to be okay. Did you see him? I think he’s out there with Dr. Katz.”
“I think I did.” I avoided the subject.
And more about her novel…
Pinnacle Lust is a story that takes place in Israel, during Operation Desert Storm, about an illicit affair that leads to great love, betrayal, and an unregretful commitment.
Sharon Lapidot, is a beautiful young nurse who falls deeper and deeper into an affair with a married doctor. Her world is shattered by powerful and eroding mistakes, but her courage leads her to an unregretful commitment in a land far from home. It is only eighteen years later when her daughter discovers that the man who raised her is not her biological father.
Thank you, Michelle. An interesting plot.
Where to Purchase Pinnacle Lust:
- Author website: http://www.michelledimstpierre.com/store/c1/Featured_Products.html
- Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Pinnacle-Lust-Michelle-Dim-St-Pierre-ebook/dp/B00SIH3TC8/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1423160366
- Barnes&Noble: barnesandnoble.com/w/pinnacle-lust-michelle-dim-st-pierre/1121093819?ean=2940149890347&itm=1&usri=2940149890347
- Apple iBookstore: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/pinnacle-lust/id960486400?ls=1&mt=11
- Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/pinnacle-lust
Michelle Dim-St. Pierre was born in Tel-Aviv, Israel, where she spent more than half of her life before relocating to the United States.
She lived through four wars and served in the Israel Defense Forces for two years. Unlike her first year of service in an armored division in the Golan Heights, she spent her second year serving in the medical corps where she interacted directly with the injured soldiers of the Peace of Galilee war and their families. This interaction, along with the exposure to the hospital atmosphere, fascinated Michelle and further touched her heart.
After graduating from nursing school with a BS in Nursing in Tel-Aviv, she practiced internationally for 32 years in various positions in the surgical field and quickly advanced into health care administration. During her career she worked in the Operating Room, Recovery Room, and CCU—along with many other duties.
Writing was Michelle’s outlet at first, but it soon became her passion. Recently she left nursing and became a full-time writer. Her international background, along with her military and nursing experience is always at the tip of her pen. Her first novel, Pinnacle Lust, starts the Pinnacle trilogy.
Michelle is a world traveler who enjoys cooking epicurean food and creating original recipes.
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