Hi everyone, so I posted a review yesterday of a fabulous book that I read and loved, Don’t Fear the Reaper by Michelle Muto. And today, she is kind enough to join us for an interview. Whoohoo!
Michelle, I think I told you that your book is probably my favorite of the year. You somehow managed to make a very ugly topic beautiful and haunting. How did you come up with the idea?
I was having a really bad day querying another novel, The Book of Lost Souls. I had three rejections in my in box that said that while I was a talented writer, they were seeking something a little darker. So, I couldn’t think of anything darker than having my MC commit suicide on page one and the rest is history.
For those who haven’t read it (and I highly recommend that you folks go right out and buy it. It’s incredible!), can you give us your elevator pitch?
Grief-stricken by the murder of her twin, Keely Morrison is convinced suicide is her ticket to eternal peace and a chance to reunite with her sister. Now, her only hope for reconnecting with her sister and navigating the afterlife is a bounty-hunting reaper and an unscrupulous demon. Keely must determine whom she can trust, because she fears the worst is true—that her every decision will change how, and with whom, she spends eternity.
Okay, I’m going to stop right here and give you the first two paragraphs. After you read them, there is noooooo way you’ll be able to resist downloading the rest of the book and reading it!
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for they are with me.
I repeated my version of the psalm as I watched the ribbon of blood drift from m y wrist. I’d hoped it would be a distraction- something to stop me from wondering what my sister’s dying thoughts had been. Exhaling slowly, I let the emptiness consume me.
Wow- intense, right? Anyway… I digress….
Are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you outline at all? I’m personally a pantser and fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants most of the time, but I’ve taken to jotting down a very skeletal outline, a chapter at a time. I stray from it, usually, but I start out with one. Do you?
I’m now a plotter and I loosely outline. I find it’s helpful to get the 1st and secondary plot points out of the way. I use a program that has index cards, so I can step back and see plot holes or add notes for characters. At about each quarter, I reevaluate the outline and the story to see which one needs to change. Usually it’s both. If it’s the story, I make notes and keep writing. If it’s the outline, I modify it right then.
Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what did you listen to while you wrote this book?
I don’t listen to music while I write. I’m all business then. But I do listen to music for inspiration while I clean the house or while I make notes/outline. Reaper has quite the apt playlist: Evanescence, Creed, Train, 3 Doors Down, Collective Soul, U2, Gerard McMann, Nickelback, The Beatles, Bob Seger, Pink Floyd, Sting, Meat Loaf, Melissa Etheridge, Eric Clapton, Bon Jovi, and of course, Blue Oyster Cult. I’ve been meaning to put the play list on my blog for a while now. Soon, right?
Is your version of the afterlife that you offered in the book the way you envision the afterlife to be?
In some ways, yes.
What is your favorite book of all time?
Only one? Wow. How about a whole series then? Harry Potter! Otherwise, I’d say Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House.
Are you working on anything right now?
Far too many things, LOL! I’m writing the sequel to The Book of Lost Souls, but two other books keep trying to wriggle their way in. One is the sequel to Don’t Fear the Reaper, and the other is a really fantastic horror story I started, but haven’t finished. I either need another 48 hours in my day, or Hermoine Grainger’s time-turner. Maybe both.
No way- I’ve got dibs on Hermione’s time turner!! Okay—a couple fun questions:
Coffee or tea? Tea! I love loose-leaf teas. Most of them are black teas. I need the caffeine.
Beach or swimming pool? When given the choice, take both. I couldn’t decide, LOL!
Strawberry or banana? Stawberry.
Sean Connery or Roger Moore? Sean Connery.
Do you wear white after Labor Day? Only this one, old, ratty and comfortable sweatshirt while I write. It’s from Ocean City MD, and is from a place called the Brass Balls Saloon.
What CDs are in your car stereo right now? None. All my music is either on my iPod or my iPhone, and both cars are mp3 player friendly.
Where can people find you online?
I LOVE new friends!
I’m on FB
Twitter (http://twitter.com/MichelleMuto )
My blog (http://michellemuto.wordpress.com/ )
I’m also on Goodreads
Thank you so much for being here today, Michelle- and thank you for writing an amazing book. You’re definitely an up-and-comer that I’ll be watching. I can’t wait to see what else you write! 🙂
Thanks SO much Courtney! I’m so glad no one can see me blush or watch me do the Snoopy Happy Dance. Thanks for making my whole day.