Christmas Awards 2011

Sunday 6 May 2007

An Interview with Michelle Styles

An Interview with Michelle Styles. This is an author I met through the Internet and in person at the RNA awards luncheon. We were both up for the Romance Award, which neither of us won – but we have become friends through it and I think that is possible worth more to us both. Anne
Tell us a little about yourself
I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. I spent my third year of university in England where I met my husband. Four years later, we married and I moved over to England permanently, much to my family’s dismay. After nearly twenty years, I think I am very well settled in Northumberland, a few miles south of Hadrian’s Wall. In addition to a large rather over grown garden, we have three children, two cats, two dogs, hens, a multitude of ducks and two beehives.

What do you write? I write historical romance. Okay, good old fashioned bodice rippers with accurate history and a high degree of sensuality. Torn togas if you will for my Romans. I am still trying to come up with a good name for my Vikings as the women did not wear bodices. Sometimes, I think that people fear historical novels will be hard to follow or demand too much because they didn’t like history at school. I want to make history accessible, to show that history is interesting and a thumping good read. It is the type of novel I love and why shouldn’t I write what I love to read?

Why do you write?
I write because I am a far nicer person when I am pouring drama into my novels, rather than pouring into my life. I write basically because it comes as naturally as breathing to me.

What are you writing now?
Right now I am writing an early Victorian. It is a linked book to my December release –A Christmas Wedding Wager, because my daughter fell in love with a secondary character – Lottie and demanded that she have her own Happily Ever After.

What kind of clothes do you like to wear?
One of the great things about being a writer is that you can work in really comfortable clothes – jeans and a sweat shirt. But every now and then, you are given a chance to dress up – an awards ceremony or going to meet your editors and then I like to take the opportunity to look nice.

Are you in love? Have you ever been?
I love my husband dearly. What is great about having a long term relationship is the nature of love changes. This was really crystallised for me when I read Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s brilliant series of essay in Gifts from the Sea. She likened romantic love to the two halves of a perfect shell – beautiful but fragile, but married love was a knobbly whelk with many chambers – not necessarily pretty to look at but useful, durable. I love exploring the theme of love in its many forms.

What kind of comfort food do you like best?
An English fried breakfast – eggs, bacon, sausage, tomatoes, baked beans – the works. My husband introduced me to them in the early days of our courtship and I remain addicted! Unfortunately, I don’t get to eat it very often as I had my gall bladder removed in 2002 and have to limited my fat intake, but whenever I need comfort food...

What makes you laugh? Cry?
Lots of things. I am easily amused. Hopefully I don’t take my self too seriously. Equally, I cry very easily. Apparently when I was little, I used to practice crying in front of a mirror. My parents thought I might grow up to be an actress. Tears have never bothered me, but I understand that they bother some.

What do you do to amuse yourself when not working?
I garden and take long walks. I love doing needlework and of course reading remains a top priority. I also enjoy cooking.

What do you hate about life?
I hate injustice and hypocrisy.
What do you hope to achieve in life and when will you know that you have been a success?
I hope to raise my children into honourable adulthood and will be well satisfied if I live a life well lived. If my writing touches one person, then I have been a success. I think success is measured in small precious moments in time. In 2002 when I had gall stones, and nearly died, I realised that it was important to take pleasure in life’s blessings. The fact that my writing is published and people enjoy it means a lot.
What are you going to write next?
After I finish the early Victorian, I think I am going to write the final part of my Viking trilogy, but it depends slightly on what my editors think. Luckily I love many different historical eras and I love doing research. But whatever I write, I hope it will be a thoroughly enthralling read for anyone who chances to pick it up.

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