Guest Author – Michelle D Evans

MichelleEvansI first met Michelle Dennis Evans through #pblitchat – a twitter-based chat I co-convened at the time, for those who loved or created picture books. Michelle has also been a participant in January Month of Poetry, which I co-ordinate each year – and we continue to interact on Twitter. Michelle has recently indie-published her YA Contemporary novel, Spiralling Out of Control – her first published work. Exciting times!

Given our connection through both poetry and picture books (and the fact that they’re the focus of my blog), I thought I’d ask some questions that stem from these commonalities.

But firstly, welcome Michelle, and congratulations on the release of Spiralling Out of Control. I imagine it has been a busy and exciting week for you, launching Stephanie’s story into the world.

Hello!!! I’m so excited to be here and not just chatting on Twitter or frantically punching out another poem in MoP! And, oh boy, yes! This week has been crazy, daunting, exciting and fun.

Has your experience in writing poetry and picture books influenced how you approach your novel writing?

Absolutely. The discipline needed to write concisely in picture books is also needed in novels. And when I found I just couldn’t get the beginning of my novel to work – I wrote a poem… and that poem is now the intro to Spiralling Out of Control. In fact, I have included several poems throughout this novel. Poems help me get my head around how the characters are really feeling.

Poetry and picture books are both genres that are very often read aloud. Do you read your YA writing aloud during the writing or editing process? How is this beneficial?

Yeah, I would probably read my manuscript out aloud at least three times -once while I’m making sure the story works, then a couple of times when proofreading. I pick up so much more when I read word for word out loud, and I also listen for some kind of natural rhythm to my sentences and paragraphs.

Picture books are very visual – the epitome of show, don’t tell – with illustrations to bring a character to life. While writing Spiralling Out of Control, how did you bring your characters to life and keep them real in your mind – so this could then be portrayed through your words?

I do keep a notepad in front of me with a page of notes and a very messy mind map to help me remember the basic details. I guess I keep the characters alive because I know their personality and their actions and reactions flow from my knowledge who they are.  When I first drafted Spiralling Out of Control, I distanced myself from the main character Stephanie, because what she goes through is quite painful, but with each revision I understood her more, loved her more and found myself wanting to rescue her.

Given our shared Month of Poetry history, I think it’s only fitting to ask you to write a poem (any form, any length) in some way inspired by Stephanie’s story.  It may be one you’ve included in the book, it may be something completely new…  but it has to be a poem.  (The taskmaster is here. :P)

So, I wrote this when I was in Stephanie’s head…

 

Get Me Out Of Here

 

The music pounding in my head

This place too wretched to find a friend

I’ll never ever find my place

I’ll never ever show my face

I’ll let this music blow my mind

It’s loud and fierce to steal the time

I know and want too much now

I won’t find it in this town

Spiralling-Out-of-Control

Just let me head south

Words stuck in my mouth

I want to scream

I scream in my dreams

I want to yell at you

Don’t tell me what to do

How could you misplace me?

I tell you and you don’t see

I’ll show you that I can

I’ll go and live with my friend

I’ll rule my own life

I’ll keep out of strife

Play this music

To hide my emotion

I don’t want your attention

Get me out of here

Never leaving is my fear

To you I have nothing to give

I want out, I want to live

 

There’s a lot of anger and angst in Stephanie’s voice there, Michelle. A real cry for help…

Where can people buy Spiralling out of Control and read more of Stephanie’s story? Is it only available electronically, or is it also available in book form – or is that something that is coming soon?

At this point in time Spiralling Out of Control is only available as an ebook.

At only $1.99 you can buy one for yourself and a couple for your friends… hehehe

Purchase via my website MichelleDennisEvans.com or through Amazon.

Thank you so much for having me here on your blog, allowing me to share a poem and promote my novel today Kat. I can’t wait to hang out with you again in January with MoP … I have another verse novel idea bouncing around in my mind…

Thanks for visiting, Michelle – and for reminding me how fast January is approaching. 😉 All the very best with your writing endeavours, and new book promotions. Enjoy!

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15 comments

  1. Great interview and poem ladies! I totally love this book, it’s a page turner. I’ve oftened wondered how you buy an e-book for someone else. Is it easy?

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  2. Sounds very enticing, Michelle! And I adored that poem. Congratulations on the release!

    Lovely interview, and added to Catherine’s endorsement I’m certainly intrigued to go and have a look. And no doubt buy… 😉

    (At least my husband can’t complain about having to build more bookshelves when it’s an e-book! )

    Thank you as well, Kat. Great work.

    Hugs to all. xxx

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  3. Hi Michelle,
    Fabulous to find you here and even more startling to discover you’ve written a YA novel
    BIG congratulations to you … and to Kat for hosting… Karen x 🙂
    PS Thanks Michelle for all the support you’ve given to my mental health books.

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