Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Michelle Lynn Stephens, National Bestselling Author of Single Mama Dating Drama, Straight from a Diva’s Heart and The Divorcée Chronicles: Diary of a Divorcée Diva.
Hi Michelle, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Hello! Thank you for having me today. I am an author and poet from Durham, North Carolina. I was first published at age 10 with a Mother’s Day poetry feature in a local newspaper. I am a former social worker and have always been a comforter and counselor of the heart. I focus on that in my writing.
- Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
No special time now, but when I was working on my debut novel, I wrote between 2 and 4 a.m., then again from 10-12 p.m. These days I write whenever it hits me and the result is several notebooks of random thoughts and a special decorative box full of sticky notes.
- Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?
I wrote Monday through Friday prior to having my daughter, but with her trying to take over the pen and the keyboard it’s pretty random for the moment.
- Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
I don’t, but I would like to change that as I am gearing up to tackle completion of a sequel to Diary of a Divorcée Diva. I am reading some books on that topic to motivate me and help me form a strategy.
- How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I have always had a creative mind, but I would say I pay more attention to the formal craft of writing and poetry now than I previously have.
- What is the hardest thing about writing?
Trying not to be a perfectionist and just going with the flow on the first draft. I have to learn to save the editing for later.
- What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
My latest was Straight from a Diva’s Heart and the poems were already written, but formatting was a beast. That is the worst part for me!
- How long on average does it take you to write a book?
About a month for a short story or small volume of poetry, but a couple of years for a novel. Really trying to cut that time down.
- Do you ever get Writer’s Block?
I hear that it doesn’t really exist and it’s all in your mind, but definitely. I would say that I get overwhelmed and freeze up on deciding which of a multitude of ideas to expand on next versus drawing a blank.
- What are your thoughts on writing a book series?
It has been a longtime goal with The Divorcée Chronicles, but easier said than done when other things in life had to be a priority. I am just getting in a space where it can possibly come to fruition soon.
- What book/s are you reading at present?
Currently, I am reading My Life to Live by Agnes Nixon, writer and creator of the One Life to Live soap and also, Stand Your Ground, by the awesome Victoria Christopher Murray who is co-founder of Brown Girls Books, which I am super proud to be a part of.
- Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
For self-published projects I do my own editing and get other writer friends to proofread, but would like to have the budget to hire a professional editor. I absolutely loved not having to worry about that aspect with Brown Girls Books.
- Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about.
Butterflies and different colors are a recurring theme for me. I wanted my poetry book cover to be inspirational and a bit artsy. I chose an image with lots of colors and a nostalgic feel of letter-writing days to make it more intimate. For Diary of a Divorcée Diva, I actually served as the cover model and worked with a professional makeup artist and photographer to achieve the look I was going for. With Single Mama Dating Drama, the publisher chose a design and asked for input from all the authors, then tweaked it.
- Tell us a little about your main character. Where did the inspiration for them come from?
The main characters in my stories are based on myself and my mother. Strong women who have overcome setbacks and obstacles in life through persistence, patience and prayer.
- How did you come up with the main characters name?
I usually take the first letter of someone I know and makeup a name or use a character name generator online. Those lists they come up with are fun to look through.
- What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
I would say to study the path of your favorite writers. Listen to their interviews and follow their social media accounts to glean from them. Attend every literary event possible and ask questions. Spend time in libraries reading about the craft of writing. The environment will inspire you. Get familiar with the business side of writing and publishing, then go forth and write!
Other ways to contact Michelle are listed below:
Website: https://www.michellelynnstephens.comBlog: https://adivasheart.blogspot.comFacebook: https://www.faceboook.com/adivasheartTwitter: https://www.twitter.com/adivasheartLinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michelle-stephens-7860b920/Amazon Author Page: https://bit.ly/michellelynnstephensBook Links: (* American, UK, etc.) https://bit.ly/dhbookstoreGoodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13470936.Michelle_Lynn_Stephens
Please take a moment to check out the video below in honor of National Poetry Month
Posted by April Mial
Thank you so much for tuning in and thank you Michelle Stephens for allowing me to interview you. Until next time,
Peace & Love