Spotlight: A.L. Michael with The Last Word
Today I’m welcoming A.L. Michael on my blog. It’s her pub date of ‘The Last Word’ with Carina UK. Her novel is waiting on my kindle for me. I can’t wait to read it! I really love the sound of this book. My review of this book will be up there in the next couple of weeks.
Although that might all be about to change when she’s offered a position at online newspaper The Type as a real journalist – and gains a sexy new editor, Harry Shulman, to work with. Harry’s confident, smooth talking, and completely aware that he drives Tabby mad. Which is fine, because Tabby’s dated an editor before, and it’s never happening again. Ever. But as her reputation at the paper grows, Tabby has to wonder: is it time to get out from behind the screen and live her life in the real world?
I’m a North London girl, through and through, which is why it features in my books so often! I went to UEA and did a BA in English Literature with Creative Writing, then an MA in Creative Entrepreneurship (business for artists) and am now doing an MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes. I’m just about to move in with another writer, where the plan is to drink too much wine, eat too much chocolate, and write a lot. Other than that, I’m a big nerd for Joss Whedon, 90s movies and fluffy dogs.
The Last Word is your debut novel. Can you describe what this book is about?
It’s actually my second novel! My first was a coming of age drama published by Stairwell Books last year. This is my first romantic comedy. It’s about a journalist called Tabby who feels like her life is stuck- she spends most of her time writing pointless articles at home in her pyjamas, or talking to her twitter followers about whether a jaffa cake is a cake or a biscuit. She gets offered a mystery job at an online newspaper, and has to learn to socialise with people again, especially her gorgeous and infuriating new editor, Harry. She’d been betrayed by her last editor, and she refuses to get involved with Harry, but sometimes you can’t stop the inevitable! It’s a book about learning to trust someone, and to trust yourself.
What was your inspiration behind this book?
I wrote it as a stress reliever after writing my ‘serious book’ – I wanted to write something just for me, that was fun and romantic and made me laugh. I’d never really intended to do anything with it. At the time of writing it, I was single, and I was kind of bored by the realisation that real life doesn’t always offer the romance and witty situations of books. No-one I met was a leading man- so I thought I’d write my own!
How long did it take you to write the first draft of this novel?
It was pretty quick! About four months for the first draft. I was looking for a project after finishing my other book, finishing my degree, and working in Starbucks all hours- it was pretty easy to get stuck into when I didn’t worry about writing for anyone but myself!
How was your publication road? How did you end up at Carina UK?
I found Carina on twitter and saw they were looking for submissions. As I mentioned, I’d never intended to do anything with The Last Word, it was just something fun for me. But because it was just sitting in the drawer, I thought I’d give it a go! I did a few more rounds of editing, sent it off, and then forgot about it! A few months later they offered me a two book deal, and that was the start!
When did you realize you want to be a writer?
I have always wanted to write! I think I definitely decided on it when I was about 11- I’d written a story and the headteacher called me into her office to say that when I wrote my first book, she wanted a signed copy. I actually dedicated my first book to her. Ever since, I’ve been on the path to being a writer, and now I feel like I finally am a proper one!
Where do you find inspiration for your characters?
A lot of the characters in The Last Word have elements stolen from my friends, little habits or phrases they have. Other times it’s from TV and movies- the character of Harry was inspired by Paul Nicholl’s character in the Diary of a Call Girl TV series. Which was kind of awkward as I served the actor coffee whilst I was in the middle of writing the book- I went bright red, and all I could think was ‘I’ve just written you into an imaginary sex scene!’ Luckily my colleagues assured me they’d done the same without needing to write a book!
Do you have a strict writing routine or write when the inspiration strikes you?
I used to just write when I felt like it, and trusted to process. Some days you’re not going to write, and it’s not going to be any good. Now, with deadlines, I have to force myself, and you can usually write your way into it- I’ll usually start the day writing other things- emails, press releases, ideas for other things, and then I’m all warmed up to get going.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I’m a creative writing facilitator, so I teach creative writing workshops, creative business for writers, and workshops in how to use writing for wellbeing or health. I’m also an English tutor. So most of my life is about reading and writing! Otherwise, I like baking, working out, (usually one necessitates the other) and am training for Race for Life.
Can we expect another book from you in the future?
You can! I’m working on my next book for Carina which should be out early autumn, and then I have another exciting book out around Christmas time!
More information about the author: Website / Twitter / Facebook
Thank you for reading this interview!