Today we have Michelle Smith visiting us, talking about her debut novel, PLAY ON. She has to be one of the friendliest and coolest people I’ve met through the twitter writing community. Make sure you follow her.
Thanks for taking the time to stop by Michelle. What inspired you to write your first book?
PLAY ON was written because I needed to write it. Cliché, right? But it’s true. I put pen to paper one year after my own downward spiral into the worst my depression’s ever been. I had a pretty clean first draft within a month. I wanted to create a story that was full of hope and fun-filled love, but also one that showed the gritty truth of dark days. It was hard at times, but also strangely therapeutic.
Wow, talk about fast. Drafting a novel in one month is amazing. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
That hope exists. That love exists. And that listening to someone can be a world-changer for that person.
What a great message to give to your readers. Do you have a favorite line one of your characters says in your book?
There are so many lines in PLAY ON that I love. There’s one that makes me burst into tears every. single. time, but it’s a little spoilerish, so I’ll go with another one:
“Here’s to hoping for better nights.”
Marisa says this in the first chapter, and I didn’t even realize it until the fourth round of edits, but it’s an excellent peek into her character.
I love it when I’m writing and the words flow as the characters speak to me. Sounds like Marisa did that from the get go. Are you a pantser or a plotter and how did you approach writing your novel?
It totally depends on the book. PLAY ON was pantsed; the book I wrote before that, KINGDOM COME, was outlined to the max. My current WIP is a little bit of both.
So cool that you’re preparation style changes for each novel. You’re very eclectic in that aspect, which makes me very jealous. Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
While I drew from personal experiences, the characters’ stories are all their own.
Watching a character develop into their own as you write has to be one of the most exhilarating aspects to writing. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Never give up on your dreams, no matter how stupid or crazy they may seem. Another totally cliché answer, but it’s so true.
At one point during my query process for PLAY ON, I’d decided to give up. Requests were pouring in, with rejections soon following. This was the third book I’d queried, and while that’s not necessarily a lot in the grand scheme of writerly life, it was enough to make me feel beaten. And so I “quit.”
Then, an hour later, I got a super enthusiastic full request in my inbox. That gave me the push to try “just one more time.” I entered a pitch contest on Twitter a few days later, and that not only grabbed the attention of my amazing agent, but also of the fabulous person who would soon become my editor.
Do the stars always align that way? No. But your dream is always worth a shot.
That’s right! Never give up on your dreams. What’s all your social media links to share with readers?
Thanks for having me!