WELCOME MICHELLE MUCKLEY
I was born in the town of Warwick in 1981. It is a small historical town in the heart of England, and Ι was the fifth child born into a family of boys. I developed a huge interest in the written world from a young age, and with more than a little help from Roald Dahl found quite the taste for anything gross and gory. Book club at primary school only proved to increase my love of escaping into the world of a book.
Whilst six years at secondary school did little to quell the romantic notion of one day sitting in my mountain cabin and smoking a celebratory cigarette as the first novel was born, somewhere within those six years the dream of becoming a writer got put on hold. The question of who actually manages to make a living out of being writer was persistently posed in my over-active mind. Who manages to pull that off? Not many, according to most people. Perhaps it was because science was deemed a safer career path, or perhaps it was because they let me chop up hearts, but I found myself spending more and more time in the biology lab and eventually the university applications were completed and the next twelve years employment were set; science, hearts, but yet sadly no more dissections. Still, resting quietly in the background were those long and lingering desires to once again rediscover the old aspirations to write.
About six years ago, with the smouldering embers of a childhood dream sparking uncomfortably underfoot there was what can only be called an epiphany. Who is it that actually becomes a writer? Is it the people who live in New York? Is it the girl whose aunt works for Harper Collins or S&S, or another beast of a publishing house? It is those people, yes. But it’s not just those people. It’s the people who write. And I wasn’t doing any of that, with the exception of a few dogeared post-it notes hanging around in pockets and drawes with half baked ideas scribbled on them. Whilst this may sound simplistic, it was the revelation I needed to sit down and type Chapter One. The first book, The Loss of Deference was no
longer just a fantasy and slowly became a workable manuscript. It was then sent out in eagerness before it was properly edited and therefore it was duly returned, and rightly so I collected a nice set of rejection letters. At this point I had never even heard the concept of a self published author, or indie author.
Six years later, having uprooted from England to settle on the southern Mediterranean shores of Cyprus, the dream to be a writer and to publish thriller books that were once deemed nothing more than pipe dreams are now a reality. I am still working as a part time scientist, but I am also writing daily. When I am not sat at the computer typing about the darker side of life, you will find me hiking in the mountains, drinking frappe at the beach, or talking to myself in the kitchen in the style of an American celebrity chef. Just think Ina Garten.
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Q&A WITH MICHELLE
On Writing and Reading:
-Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
I would say that every book is a combination of both. Invariably the things that happen around me on a daily basis are a significant influence on the work that I produce, but every book that I have written has at least some reference to personal events. Perhaps this is not quite in a literal sense, but there is a big part of ‘Michelle’ in my characters, even to the point of some of the characters mannerisms.
-Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
I always start from the beginning. For Escaping Life, I wasn’t even sure exactly how it was going to end whilst I was writing the penultimate chapter. I couldn’t decide if people lived or died, and in the end I just kept writing and went with whatever seemed right at the time. I can’t imagine coming up with a conclusion and then trying to decide what needed to happen in the past in order for it to seem realistic.
The only time I work backwards is during the second draft, once I have established the themes I want to highlight, and need to make sure that the timeline is consistent
-Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
Generally no. But there are a few things I like. I like a good cup of tea, milk and one sugar, and preferably PG tips! But as long as it’s quiet, I’m happy. I have tried many times to listen to music whilst I write, but so far I haven’t succeeded.
-Is writing your full time job? If not, may I ask what you do by day?
Writing is my half time job. By profession and qualification I am a scientist. I worked for many years in the UK health service in a hospital. I loved it. But now I live in Cyprus and my husband and I have a cardiology clinic. In the mornings I write and in the afternoons I see patients.
-Who are some of your favourite authors?
Stephen King was my favourite author growing up. I can still remember the first time I picked up one of his books and saw his photograph on the back. The owner of the book told me he was a crazy guy, that he wrote about scary things, and that the book probably wasn’t for me. I had read Gerald’s Game within a week and had decided that one day I hope people said the same things about me. I was nine. It was the first time I decided that I would be a writer. I admire Louis de Bernieres, and love how easy it is to get lost in the world that he creates. Khaled Hosseini is also remarkable and a fantastic story teller. I enjoy many authors, but recently discovered Gillian Flynn and am hooked. I am anxious to read Dark Places!
-What are you reading now?
I just finished reading Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. Currently Paul Pilkington’s The One You Love. I have had it on my Kindle for a while, but had got into a ‘real book’ habit so it has been waiting for me to read it. I am enjoying it.
-Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?
No, I am in the middle of the weird weeks when I am not writing. My attentions are with the next release, Identity X, which is coming out in September and all of my efforts are focussed on getting the release right. So I am working on blog posts and marketing. It feels strange not to be working on something and I am keen to get started. There is an idea in my head, that I know is not quite resolved yet, but I am nearly there.
-Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?
OK, let’s say that Paramount pick up Identity X and we are looking for a cast. A great actor for Ben Stone would be Bradley Cooper. He’s a looker, I admit that, but he is also a big talent. He looks like a good guy, and he is, but there is something that simmers underneath the surface in his roles that just make you think that there is something a little bit darker lurking there. That’s what I want on screen for Ben Stone.
-Would you rather read or watch TV/movie?
Depends. I’d always rather read than watch TV (the only exception The food channel or a Friends rerun – they just never get old). I would trade a movie for a good book, but I would wonder if I missed out and end up staying up to watch it once I had finished reading.
I’ll eat any food except mushrooms, but my favourite is Italian. I am married to a Greek, and I am thankful that he isn’t Italian because I would be at least 15 kilo’s heavier by now.
In the day, tea. At night, Amaretto over lots of crushed ice. Or a Mojito.
Thank you for stopping by CMash Reads and spending time with us.
ABOUT THE BOOK
After arriving at his laboratory to find that it has disappeared, he is sucked into a world of conspiracy and betrayal. The Agency wants NEMREC and will do anything to get it, believing it to be the most powerful scientific discovery in decades. But it wasn’t just NEMREC that they wanted. The Agency wanted Ben dead, but somehow he survived. His best friend, his wife, and Ami, the beautiful scientist who he has fallen for at work all offer to help him, but each has a different version of the truth. They all have their own agenda, only one of them wants what he wants, and in a world where you are already dead, how is it that you are supposed to survive?
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