Be sure to leave a comment below telling us if you’ve ever fallen for your boss! … and what happened!?
Michelle: Thanks so much for having me, it’s great to get to talk to readers!
The Readiacs: Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I used to be a complete panster. I’d let my characters jump around in my head for a bit before letting them run riot on the page. It was good fun and I’d come up with scenes that I don’t think I could ever have thought of, but it was relatively slow. Now I write to an outline but I leave plenty of room to allow things to happen I might not have initially decided to include.
The Readiacs: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
I was a voracious reader when I was young and I have very clear memories of devouring books quite quickly. But the first book I really remember is Watership Down. I cried. And I was there with those rabbits. What an adventure for a bunch of furry friends. Not very romantic I’m afraid, but the world building and characterisation was done really well in that book, all important to me as I learn more and more about the craft of writing.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
I’m very new to the world of romance so joined the Romance Writers of New Zealand to get the best insight I could manage. They have a newsletter that compiles a list of publishers looking for submissions. Entangled was on that list and when I checked out their site I loved what I saw. Great authors, great covers, great romance all round. It was a dream experience really to be accepted when I was so new in the genre.
It had a few holes in it (no doubt because of that lack of experience.) But because I already had a track record of publishing other work they gave me a chance and have worked with me to hone it to its shiny steamy self.
The Readiacs: If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
I might have taken a little longer over my initial draft to make the editing process easier but when you’re in that writing zone it’s difficult to ‘see’ every little thing. At the end of the day the book that goes out into the world is the one you’re judged on and I’m really pleased with how The Boss and Her Billionaire has turned out so there’s very little I’d change.
The Readiacs: How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
I have been playing catch up a little as I was not on twitter or pinterest and didn’t have a blog when I signed with this book. Now I feel like I’m finally getting the hang of it all. For me it’s a little bit too early to decide which avenue is winning out over the others for this book, but I’m enjoying every part of the marketing experience, which for me is what it’s about. I think readers can tell if you’re not genuinely interested in telling them about your work. I think word of mouth recommendations between readers have made a huge difference for me as a debut writer and getting out and about as a guest on other’s blogs has been not only fun, but a great way to introduce myself with new readers.
The Readiacs: Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
Sigh. Yes. But not as Michele de Winton. I write a variety of genres under a different name and one of my other works has been sitting in a drawer for the last year while I had my baby and decided if I had the energy to rework it before sending it out into the world again. I will as I’ve had some great feedback and writing is such a subjective thing you have to accept that not everything you write will work for everyone.
The Readiacs: Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
Life is complicated and it’s too easy to forget our dreams when family, life and work get in the way. This is a book about following your dreams, for both characters. Michaela’s aspirations are focused around getting the dream job, having the perfect career trajectory, but along the way she finds that life without people in it is much harder work than she figured. For Dylan, his dreams of dancing (muscle rippling, sweat inducing, fabulous body making, dancing) have been on hold because of all the people in his life, his family and his brother specifically. In The Boss and Her Billionaire I wanted to bring two people from completely different worlds together, but in order for them to meet at all, Dylan being a workaholic, I needed him completely outside his comfort zone. I needed to get a man who hadn’t taken a holiday in years to stop a moment, and smell the palm trees. Solution? Cruise ship. It’s set in and around the Pacific Islands so there’s plenty of scope for a ‘holiday affair’ to spark into reality, the difficulty for both characters is negotiating the tensions of real life verses holiday life realities. Both of these characters are strong willed so it takes some good advice and butt kicking to get them to see sense but in the end their dreams win out. Oh and the chemistry is untamed, unstoppable, and wonderfully unprofessional.
The Readiacs: Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
This book drew a lot from real life. So much in fact that the characters were already in front of me before I wrote a word. I was a guest writer on a Cruise ship last year. I know. Dream! I didn’t even know there was such a thing, but I had been doing a reading at an event and the CEO of a cruise ship company happened to be there. She asked if I’d be interested doing something similar. A free cruise? Count me in! It meant that my husband and I had a sort of hybrid cruise, having a full guest experience with a lovely stateroom and full access to the onshore tours etc, but also going backstage and into the staff offices and quarters of the ship. Watching the dancers interact with guests and being involved with some of the onboard shows sparked something in my mind. I have also been a professional dancer so felt I definitely knew what my characters would be thinking and feeling. They burst almost fully formed onto my pages when I sat down to write them.
The Readiacs: Tell me about your experience with Entangled?
It was really a right time, right place dream story for me with Entangled Publishing. I submitted and a week later had a positive response. All the way through their team has been nothing but professional and wonderful to deal with. Moreover, I’ve really enjoyed their smarts, contagious positivity and the buzz they’ve created in such a short time. The authors are all incredibly supportive of each other, new and old alike.
Michelle: I love to hear from readers so do please get in touch!
The Boss and Her Billionaire
Cruise director Michaela Western has everything she wants—everything except a sex life. But there are no secrets on cruise ships. She risked her job once for a dalliance with the Captain, and won’t do it again for a few minutes of toe-curling pleasure. Until a devilishly handsome new staffer with a body made for sin tempts her to walk on the wild side…
Investment billionaire Dylan Johns always gets what he wants. He is used to giving orders—not taking them—until he’s forced to go on hiatus from his investment company. To bide his time and carry out an old dream, he takes a job on a cruise ship—and ends up taking orders from his gorgeous, but uptight, new boss. He is determined to loosen her up with a fun onboard romance, but their no-strings fling turns serious and Dylan is forced to confess his lies.
When the affair threatens to shatter Michaela’s own career dreams, she finds herself caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.