Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Meet Michelle Sutton

Sandra here to introduce an up and coming, go-getter writer, Michelle Sutton. She calls herself an edgy fiction writer, a book reviewer, an avid blogger/alliance member, mother of two teenagers wife, pet owner, social worker by trade, and follower of Jesus Christ.

Michelle began writing in 2003 and discovered how difficult writing was so joined ACFW. She sold her manuscript to Sheaf House. It's Not About Me was released in September 2008. The second book in the series, It's Not About Him, will be coming out in September 2009.

Michelle blogs and posts book reviews all over the Internet as well as giving away one book per week on her blog.

Michelle holds the position as Editor in Chief of a new online magazine that us Seekers will love. The debut issue released in July 2008 and is sponsored by the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance (CFBA). She is also the blog mistress for CWOW (Christian Writers of the West), the local Arizona chapter of ACFW.

Good Morning Michelle, You mention in your bio that you started writing in 2003. You called it an experiment. Can you elaborate on how the call to write came about?

I had a favorite Love Inspired author and I read all of her books. I wrote to her one day and told her I loved her stories and asked how she started writing. Her story inspired me to try. The story just came out of me. I didn't know what I was doing, but I never give up once I get the itch to do something, so I hung in there, attended writing conferences read books on craft and continued writing every chance I got until I finally sold something. Over the past few years I'd had a lot of "almost"sales but those don't count, though they are encouraging.

2. Tell us about the genre you write and why you picked that genre.

I didn't pick YA. It chose me. Ha. Seriously, the story came out of me in a YA style. My other books (outside of this series) are all women's fiction and romance

3. You call yourself an "edgy inspirational author". Can you tell us what that means to you?

Sure. I'll tellyou what I found on dictionary.com first. I also posted these on my website home page.
Edgy - daringly innovative; on the cutting edge
Inspirational - imparting a divine influence on the mind and soul
Author - a person who writes a novel; composer of a literary work
If you add the three terms together that describes me. I write fiction that will inspire your soul while being daringly innovative and on the cutting edge. That's the fancy way of saying I push the boundaries of what is allowed, but I do it with a clear reason, to encourage people to seek God's grace and forgiveness and to commit their lives fully to Him.

4. What inspired you to write your latest release, "Its Not About Me"?

True story. A friend of mine was attacked while alone in the church office by someone who came in off the street and wanted some money. She was there alone and hadn't thought to lock the door. That's where I got the idea for the attack. Real life.

5. You are the editor in chief for the online magazine Christian Fiction Online Magazine. This looks like a great resource for us Seekers. Can you tell us how it got started?

It's actually an interesting tale. I received an e-mail from Bonnie Calhoun, owner of the Christian fiction Blog Alliance, in March of 2008. She asked me if I wanted to be editor in chief of an online magazine that was to debut July 1st. I laughed. I totally thought she was kidding. We didn't even know each other very well and had only conversed online about my dogs eating packages that UPS would deliver. She said she wanted to start an online magazine and felt that I was the person who was supposed to do the job (after she prayed for direction). I then prayed about it and felt God telling me He wanted me to dive in. So I did. Now it's a lucrative business with a lot of advertising and promotional opportunities for authors and publishers. God is definitely behind this venture.

6. Have you entered writing contests? Do you find them helpful?

I finaled in the first contest I ever entered back in 2005 I still haven't sold that book and it looked like I was going to after this past year's conference in Minneapolis and then the editor left the publishing house. Aaaaargh.

7. What advice can you give our Seekers for advancing their writing career, pubbed and unpubbed alike?

Find mentors make connections, attend writer's conferences, learn your craft and never give up.

Thank you Michelle for sharing some of your experiences and insights. Please welcome Michelle and ask her any questions we may not have covered in this interview. We will draw names from all who respond and leave us their email address for a copy of her exciting novel, "Its Not About Me". We'll post the winner at 8:00 p.m. Pacific Time.

And in honor of Michelle's home state, we will serve up some steaming hot burritos loaded with chorizo, eggs, papas, queso and chiles. There are fresh limes to squeeze on the tender slices of papaya and steaming hot coffee grown in the mountains south of the Arizona border.

Later this afternoon, we'll have some refreshing deep fried ice cream from Serranos Restaurant and sparkling pomegranate cider.

34 comments :

  1. Michelle does an outstanding job at anything she puts her mind to...LOL...and so goes this interview!

    Great job ladies!

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  2. Welcome to Seekerville, Michelle and thanks for sharing your insights.

    AND congratulations on your writing success.

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  3. Michelle,

    Thanks for sharing your experience. It's nice to start my morning with a success story.

    If it doesn't give away too much, would you mind hinting, at least, at how your first book pushed the envelope?

    I'd love a copy of the book.

    cathy underscore shouse at yahoo dot com

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  4. MICHELLE!!!! It's sooo great to have you here this morning, girl!

    I walk fast, talk fast and brush my teeth fast, but Michelle Sutton is one of those dynamos who makes ME feel like I'm standing still. The woman has more fingers in pies than the bakery chef for Sara Lee!

    And as a fellow "edgy" author, I have to say that Michelle's book, "It's Not About Me" is a must-read for today's young adults and beyond -- I loved it!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  5. Sandra, great interview! Thanks so much for bringing Michelle by.

    And Michelle, congrats on your continued success. Good stuff.

    Can't do chiles, gals, so I'm holding out for the fried ice cream. Sounds wonderful!

    Ruthy

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  6. Michelle, you've got to be God- driven to do all you do and so well. Only through Him can someone work so hard!

    Thanks for being so obedient! We writers are so grateful for all you do--the learning and sharing you inspire.

    Thanks Seekers for hosting Michelle today.

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  7. Great interview. Michelle is such an inspiration and so encouraging to newbie writers (like myself.)

    How she finds the time to do all that she does is beyond me :-)

    Thanks for the post.

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  8. Hey Girls, We're waking up on the southwestern desert. Michelle will be here soon. Thanks for all your comments.

    Did you know that Julie endorsed Michelle's book? Its always fun to see a seeker name on a bookcover.

    No chili Ruthy? Guess cause you're already "hot stuff"

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  9. Hi Michelle! Nice interview, and congratulations on your 2nd release. I continue to love CFOM. Every time I think it can't get better, you add another feature. Kudos to you and Bonnie.

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  10. Hi everyone! I'm glad to be here, too. I know most of you already. You didn't tell me you'd be on here. LOL! Anyway, it's good to see you. Silly me, I thought this was a Wednesday when I'd be off all day but I'm not. I will be here to answer questions for another hour and thirty minutes (I go in to work later today) but that also means I won't be back home until after 6 PM, which is 9 on the east coast, SO I will do my best to swing by the library for a half hour about noon so I can answer more questions. It'll be about 3 PM there. Again, thanks for having me. Now on to the question.

    I just think I write (as one reviewer referred to my book) REALITY fiction. I don't hold back. I don't think that it's edgy but I guess the majority of publishing houses did because just about every one asked, "Does she have anything less edgy?" to which my agent would ponder my other seven books she has to sell and said, "No, sorry." Or if we did try something we thought was less edgy they'd still say too edgy. That's when I decided to dub myself with that name since everyone seemed to think that about my writing. We haven't tried to sell all seven books but we've tried at least five. The ABA houses say they are too Christian. Go figure. Anyway, part of what makes my book edgy in some people's opinion is the dialog. I write like teens talk. Now there is only one cuss word in the book and Jesus himself said it so I figured it was allowed in extreme anger - you know H E double hockey sticks. I also have them call each other (the brothers) jerk, freaking wuss, etc. But it seems more like real communication to me so that's how I wrote it. No one has said anything to me about any of the dialog so that can't be too edgy. I think it's more the actual internal thoughts. I used to tease and say, "I've never met a guy who saw a pretty woman who would think - Gee, she looks like she has a nice personality, I'd like to meet her." No, they'd think about what she looked like first. Now in my story the brothers already know her but I do have one of them seriously wanting her but he can't have her because he shouldn't and the other wants her and tries to get her to sleep with him. She doesn't want to lose him so you are in her head experiencing her thoughts while the push and pull is going on. People thought that was edgy. I had one 19 year old reader write me and thank me for showing how difficult it is to say no and not just show it as an easy thing on the girl's part. I also show "good" kids making bad decisions and give them the full gamut of consequences. Can't tell you all that, though. It would spoil some stuff. Is that a good enough answer Cathy?

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  11. Welcome to Seekerville, Michelle! I'm impressed with all you do and do well! Congratulations on your YA releases!!

    Janet

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  12. Ruthy, that pie is too pretty to eat.

    Hey, Michelle! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and writing experinces. I love how you took the definitions of edgy, inspirational, and author and used them to define you as a writer.

    Well, maybe not just you.

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  13. Maybe I should add that I don't consider myself an "edgy" writer because I tend to think "edgy" is a conscious decision based on conscious reasoning until that decision-acting becomes a mind-set reasoning.

    Last night I attended a dinner fellowship of all the ministerial staff wives at our church. I go as much for the yummy food that I don't have to cook as for the sweet fellowship.

    Anyhoo...our senior pastor's wife asked if any of us had read The Shack. Two had. Loved it. One had. Hated it. One had never heard of it. One wanted to read it.

    And then there was me. I haven't read it. Not really feeling lead or interested in reading it. Besides I'm sure if I had the book in my house, my older sister would run all the way from Wichita KS to snatch the book from my hands and toss it in the fire. That HarryPotter-reading chicka has some strong views against The Shack.

    Well, our senior pastor's wife said, "If you read it and like it, DON'T tell anyone at church or you'll never hear the end of it."

    At that point I was ready to wear a t-shirt to church Sunday with "I read The Shack and Loved it" emblazoned on the front. Uggh.

    Why must my immediate decision-action that resulted from my blink conscious reasoning lead me to want to do something so not wise?

    I'm not edgy. If I were, I would have thought, prayed, reasoned, then acted based on the path I know God wills me to walk.

    Okay, this is too much internalizing this morning.

    Let me say I do admire writers who write edgy becasue that's where they believe is God's path for them, as well as writers who don't cross any lines because they believe that's God's path for them too.

    Great, now I'm sounding like a fence straddler.

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  14. Thanks for your thoughts, Gina. I have to run to work now, but I'll stop by briefly at lunchtime so ask away. For the record, I have NOT read The Shack nor do I want to. Why? I have New Age friends who loved it and are pushing it. They still believe all roads lead the heaven. Need I say any more?

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  15. Not sure what it is, but something in my spirit tells me not to waste my time reading The Shack.

    I've just figured it was my older sister esp-ing me.

    My philosophy is "many roads lead to Jesus, but there's only One Way to God." John 14:6

    Now there's a sermon in a nutshell.

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  16. My philosophy is "many roads lead to Jesus, but there's only One Way to God." John 14:6

    So true, Gina! Jesus is the way!

    I haven't really wanted to read The Shack either. Probably because ... well, I like the God of the Bible! Don't really need other images of Him in my head. Or maybe it's because the only fiction I like to read is romance!

    I consider my books to be realistic, but at the same time, I'm hoping my latest completed book is not too sensual. Personally, I think women need sensual. Married women especially! Which is why I read the occasional Julie Garwood or Jo Beverly or (a new fave) Elizabeth Rolls.

    But anyway, what was my point? I'm not sure! Sorry! But I know a whole lot of people in the ACFW Book Club loved Michelle's book! I've heard tons of great things about It's Not About Me.

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  17. Cool interview!
    Enter me, por favor!

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  18. love the goodies but will miss the fried Ice Cream b/c I have to sleep as I'm working tonight. shucks!!!
    After reading that you write fiction that will inspire the soul I knew I needed to get your books; maybe even win one.

    yourstrulee at sasktel dot net

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  19. Hey, Michelle! Thanks so much for being on here today! I really enjoyed the interview.

    Missy

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  20. Hey guys. It's lunchtime here so I don't have long but I can answer questions. Seems like right now it's more comments so I would like to comment on sensual. :) Back in the day when I was writing my first romance novel in 2003, I did kiss my hubby a lot. I called it research. He really enjoyed it. Somehow writing about kisses just put me in the mood more often. And lets face it, most husbands want lots of them thar kisses, yes? So what can it hurt? A lot of women read secular fiction because of the sensual tension. I say let's give them tension, but with a good message (as opposed to what the world says.) Amen?

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  21. Hi Michelle, glad you joined us today!

    Wonderful journey. I laughed when I read YA chose you. I feel the same way about puppies and brownies. Isn't that how the best partnerships are formed : )

    Good eats, today! Great fried ice-cream!!!

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  22. Welcome Michelle. Thanks for sharing this interview & your insights.
    Michelle said YA chose her -- I feel the same about nonfiction.

    parentpwr (@) juno dot com

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  23. Sensual tension is good, Michelle. Without it you don't have much of a romance! And it wouldn't be too realistic, either.

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  24. Hi Michelle, I had to laugh at your husband loving the kisses. My hubby also loves it when I write romance. He keeps telling me I need to do lots of research. smile And frankly I don't mind if I do. Don't get much writing done that way, but what I do write is well researched.

    And yes, we need to keep our message out there as to why we are full of love and romance and fun.

    Yummmm the fried ice cream tastes great after a twenty mile bike ride. Its Tuesday and the desert is gorgeous-loaded with wildflowers.

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  25. Hi, Michelle! Nice to have you in Seekerville today. You have done a superb job with the Christian Fiction Online magazine. It's always chock-full of terrific information, and I look forward to seeing what's new each month. It was especially fun reading our very own Julie Lessman's article in the latest issue!

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  26. Don't forget that we'll be drawing for a copy of Michelle's wonderful YA novel, It's Not About Me.

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  27. Actually I have never read the magazine and now am very excited to find it and check it out.

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  28. Gina, amen to your statement: "Let me say I do admire writers who write edgy because that's where they believe is God's path for them, as well as writers who don't cross any lines because they believe that's God's path for them too."

    It's a big world out there, and God reaches people in a lot of different ways. Some edgy, some Amish, but the bottom line is, the focus is on God.

    And, Melanie, your statement of "Personally, I think women need sensual. Married women especially!" is right on as well. Romance makes marriages stronger, and it's how God intended it to be. I spent too many years focused on kids and too busy and worn out to give my marriage the romance I am giving it now, and the difference that has made is night and day.

    Like Michelle said, "Somehow writing about kisses just put me in the mood more often. And lets face it, most husbands want lots of them thar kisses, yes?" My marriage, which was already good, took a turn toward the better when I started writing A Passion Most Pure. I gotta believe that that "holy" romance laced with God's precepts is the reason.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  29. Thanks everyone for having me. I can't wait to see who the winner is. :) I really appreciate your comments and this opportunity to share a bit of my heart for fiction with you. Keep coming by the magazine and telling people about it. That helps all of us in the fiction biz. And as far as fried ice cream goes, I love the stuff. Mexican food is my friend. Hehehe. I love the Southwest. Oh, and if you love to read make sure to enter my drawings every week. I'm always giving away books so the winner might as well be one of you, yes? Peace all!

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  30. Congratulations to Melanie Dickerson.
    Hubby picked a name out of the jar (for the price of a kiss mind you)

    Thanks again Michelle for joining us. We will have fun keeping in touch through your many ventures.

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  31. "The Hong Kong Connection" is a legal thriller about a gutsy female attorney who takes on high ranking International officials. It's a taut, rollercoaster of a ride from New York to Palm Beach to Washington D.C. to Hong Kong. The plot is expertly woven, the characters persuasive, and the dialogue snappy and spot on.
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  32. "The Hong Kong Connection" is a legal thriller about a gutsy female attorney who takes on high ranking International officials. It's a taut, rollercoaster of a ride from New York to Palm Beach to Washington D.C. to Hong Kong. The plot is expertly woven, the characters persuasive, and the dialogue snappy and spot on.
    www.StrategicBookPublishing.com/TheHongKongConnection.html

    ReplyDelete