Michelle Gent is the author of three novels and a short story series. She’s a driven and dedicated writer, a warm and delightfully funny and unique woman, and I’m proud that she’s also a good friend of mine. Please give Michelle a warm welcome as we learn more about her fascinating writing journey. ~ Julie
March’s Feature Guest
Michelle D Gent, Author
I don’t really remember when I started writing, but I started writing in earnest back in 1999. I was determined to write a full length novel, just to see if I could do as good a job as some of the published authors. I think I managed it. I have two grown up children, a wonderful husband, a job and a houseful of pets. My life is chaotic and I wouldn’t have it any other way. This year, our son is going to give us a grandchild so it’ll get way more chaotic before the summer – I can see it coming on!
What books will you have coming out in 2012?
My books out at the moment are:
Deadlier… Than The Male
Cruel… And Unusual
Blood… On The Moon
And later this year, Ancients… And Gods.
(Note: You can read my book reviews on both Deadler…Than The Male, and Cruel…And Unusual, here.)
Flights of Fantasy
Trouble x 3
Santa’s Helper – this is a free story, downloaded with Gingernut Book’s Newsletter
I’m also working on another Dusty short story and with any luck, a full length novel later this year. If I get my finger out, I’ll have a few more novels out this year. I’m working on a couple of movies, turning the stories into novels so that there’s a fully-rounded package. I’m working on a couple of screenplays too – I’m not sure how well I’ll do in that aspect, but if I don’t try, I’ll never know. I’m also working with a wonderful Medium to try to get her biography out this year too!
(I just had to step in here with a huge “WOW”! Not only is Michelle a prolific writer; in the midst of planning and writing her next novels, she’s working on screenplays and a biography as well – I think that is just awesome, and I’m so impressed – way to go, Michelle!)
What inspires you to write in this genre?
I’ve been asked what genre I write in but I don’t write in one boxed-off genre in my opinion. I write about scary things, so I suppose that’s ‘Horror’ but I also write about factual events – Jack the Ripper is the basis for Cruel… And Unusual – so ‘Historical Fiction’ for that part. I write about my character, Dusty, so that’s ‘Young Adult’ and the stories are really ‘Urban Fantasy’. The stories are all written as I like to read though. That’s to say that they are action-driven, I try to drag my readers into the action so that when a knife is thrown, they duck!
Do you have any tips or suggestions for budding writers of this genre?
I would always advise new writers to write what you know, even if you’re making stuff up, there has to be at least a little part that rings true – that part rings truer if it is true. Use your experiences, watch people, listen to how they talk to each other, use the tools of your trade to make your story the best that you possibly can. By tools of the trade, I don’t mean just your fingers for typing, I mean eyes for watching how things happen, ears to hear, and also, smell, touch and taste. Describe these things well enough and you’ll never be without readers.
Could you talk a little about Gingernut Publishing?
I started off by self-publishing my first novel, Deadlier… Than The Male and to do this, a new company was set up – Gingernut Books Ltd. The company is doing well enough now that it can publish a few authors in the more mainstream or ‘Traditional’ manner. Cruel… And Unusual and Blood… On The Moon are both traditionally published. Gingernut Books was named for me (of course). My father-in-law always called me ‘gingernut’ and sometimes, ‘gingernutter’…
Starting the company up and maintaining its momentum is all thanks to my wonderful and supportive husband. He did all the hard work. He learned how to set the pages, manipulate the images, make copyright pages. He had to learn as much about the publishing industry as possible and he had six weeks from the time we decided to self-publish Deadlier… to the day I took delivery of my book! I do believe that is the most wonderful thing that anyone has ever done for me.
What are your thoughts of self-publishing; and do you have any tips or suggestions for writers wanting to get their work published?
Because I’ve done the self publishing thing, I do get asked for advice on going it alone, doing it yourself and I’d always recommend self-publishing if you know that you have a great story.
BUT – and this is the biggest ‘but’ you will ever encounter – if your story is incomplete, unedited, or not perfect in every way, then DO NOT publish it! You do yourself no favours by throwing it on the market before its ready. I know exactly how impatient you are to get that book in your hands, I was the same – in fact, I’m one of the most impatient people you could ever meet – but even I wouldn’t do such a cruel and miserable thing as to put my beloved book out before it was ready. It’d be like sending a baby out to work lion-taming – it’ll get eaten alive!
Edit your work properly. Go over it time after time, reading it out loud (yes, really) and listen to how it sounds. I know of some writers that read their story out loud and record it, then they listen back to their words, just to make absolutely certain that it all flows, that the dialogue sounds smooth and it all works. After you’re certain that it’s perfect, send it out to a proof reader, a PROFESSIONAL proof reader, not your mum or your best friend that’s read loads of books. You really do need your ‘baby’ to be as prepared as possible – it’s a BIG, scary and critical world out there and you need to protect your baby from the acid barbs of critique. If everything is perfect, from storyline to grammar, then snarks can’t get a foothold. That’s not to say that all critics are bad – they most certainly aren’t, but you may encounter a few that will stab at your story just for the sake of it. I’ve only ever found ONE person that did that and believe me, it’s gutting! If your story is perfect then any mean spirited or snarky comments can be brushed off easily because you can know that it’s probably just the fact that they got out of bed on the wrong side.
When you’ve done all of that, if you don’t have the skills to publish your book, then ASK around for a company that does! Do NOT assume that it’s easy, it isn’t. It’s yet more hard work and if you have to pay for someone to do all that for you, it’s well-worth every penny. If you want your book in print, that will cost more (obviously) – but again, PLEASE do your research! I have heard so many horror stories about people being ripped off by companies that will print your book but will print exactly what you send them. If chapter 4 is repeated, they’ll print chapter 4 twice and your book will be ruined. Ask other self-published people for their experiences, google the company’s name and then type ‘scam’ after their name to see what comes up! Patience is not only a virtue, it’ll save your ass!
Michelle, thank you so much for taking time from your busy schedule to be my March Muse-Sings guest; and for the wise and wonderful information and tips for new writers of all genres. It’s been a pleasure learning more about you and your writing, and I wish you all the best in all your future endeavors! ~ Julie :)
Where to connect with Michelle