Posted by: Thomas Drinkard | December 19, 2010

Interview with Michelle Villery, A.K.A. Ty Langston

Michelle has written a fantasy novella that has already attracted attention. Here is her interview, check out her book.

ABOUT YOUR BOOK

By Sunset (A Dragon Races Tale)

What is it about?
Two feuding royal families that race dragons to retrieve two royal jewels on earth. The race is filled with intrigue, adventure and multiple twists and turns.

Where will it be available?
Barnes and Noble.com for Nook(book)
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/books/product.aspx?ean=9781612580159

Amazon .com
http://www.amazon.com/Sunset-Dragon-Races-Tale-ebook/dp/B004E11488/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=books&qid=1291215857&sr=1-1

Omnilit and Allromance.com
http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-bysunset-492769-142.html

What inspired you to write this book?
A passion for fantasy, love and adventure. I hadn’t written a story or stories like this in a long time; actually, since I was a child. I’ve always loved fantasy, but as a got older, I kind of got away from it for a bit. And this story came out of it, one day after I saw a picture of a dragon on the internet a couple of years ago. I started outlining and writing it right after.

How did you choose the title?
Everything that happens in the book, (don’t want to give too much of the story away) happens By Sunset for a reason, because of a main character in the story.

Who is your favorite character in your novel, and why?
I have to say Caleb. And believe it or not, he wasn’t at first—initially, it was Julian. But the more I look at Caleb and his brothers throughout this piece, he is awesome. He’s a mix of total bad boy with a hope of some redeeming qualities here and there.

Who is the ideal reader for your book?
Anyone who loves a bit of romance and some adventure.

What are the publicity plans you have?
Doing more blog touring and hopefully some speaking engagements.

Did you learn anything from writing this book? What?
I learned that I could achieve my dreams with writing this book. Now it’s just a matter of keeping the dream alive and writing and learning more and more with each piece I write.

Where can readers learn more about your book?
The website is currently under construction. But usually you can find me on my blog at http: http://www.shellmusings.blogspot.com

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
I like to write on several things at once. (Yes. I’m crazy that way! LOL). Actually I’m finishing up a contemporary erotica piece called Sweet Dreams right now. It’ll be the first of two books about a fictional dating website, (Mail Order Groom) the title is, A Foreign Affair. From there in January—that month is all about By Moonlight the sequel to By Sunset—I’m a good part of the way through it, I have a feeling it’ll be a bit longer than By Sunset. Some people thought By Sunset was crazy—let’s just say that people aren’t who they appear to be in By Moonlight.

Tell Us About You

I was born and raised by four wonderful women in Upstate, New York. I’ve always liked to write. Primarily it was just for fun. Although I’ve always loved performing arts. I used to take ballet, jazz, tap, piano for a very long time. So instead of me dancing, which what everyone thought I was going to be, I wanted to write.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Favorite book? Why?
I love all kinds of books. Everything from George Martin, to Jackie Collins. My favorite authors are actually screenwriters, Michael Hirst, who created The Tudors and the late John Hughes. Both of them write characters you can relate to, and so much fun that you can’t help but to stop everything and take notice whenever there is something on TV by either one of them.

Favorite book: So many but I do keep the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis in my office. He was simply amazing as was Tolkien.

What is your guilty pleasure read you turn to for sheer entertainment value (book, particular author)?

I love Jackie Collins. And lately another person whose work I love is Jamie Saare, aka JA Saare. She writes a lot of Urban Fantasy, Horror and some erotica pieces. Her urban fantasy, Dead, Undead and Somewhere in Between was, in my opinion, one of the best stories of last year. I have to say that Rhiannon has to be the best main female character out there right now. So looking forward to Dead’s sequel, The Renfield Syndrome.

Also I really love Lazy Day Publishing’s authors. The ones that I have read are truly amazing. I adore Alta Hensley’s Traditional Love and I love Liz Borino’s Expectations as well as Amy LeBlanc’s Dark Rogue. I can’t wait to read the rest of them because so far everyone’s books are so good. It’ll be a busy winter for me, reading wise.

Who is your literary idol?
It’s actually screenwriter Michael Hirst. Creator of The Tudors and the two upcoming series, The Borgias and Camelot.
I love him because his writing is so entertaining. The Tudors had a mixture of political intrigue, history and sex that made you want to watch it again and again. I’m going through Tudor withdrawal, but looking forward to whatever else he has done.

When did you start writing?

Since I was about six or seven. Actually it began as a challenge from my late grandmother who I think just wanted me and my cousins out of her hair one summer and I was hooked since.

Was there a favorite writing teacher or mentor?

Yes. I had a really great English teacher in Ralph Lyons, who was very inspiring to me.
I don’t know if he remembers this but, I actually got caught writing in his class when I should have been paying attention. I was a freshman in high school and he had asked to see what I had been writing. I was horrified. I thought I was in such trouble. He did tell my mother but he was very impressed with what I wrote and he encouraged me to write as a kid…just not while he was teaching.

Another one was a literature professor I had in college; her name was Amy Perkins. She has since passed away but I really adored her. I had taken a bunch of literature and writing classes with her and I loved how she taught and went through a story with her students. She taught us that literature was cool, especially English lit.

Name one fun/weird/frightening fact about you that we don’t already know.
Okay. Most of my male main characters in the Dragon Races Books are based on WWE performers, John Morrison, Lucky Cannon, Wade Barrett and Randy Orton.

Where can readers learn more about you?
For now, on my blog on http://www.shellsmusings.blogspot.com or on my Facebook page.
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ty-Langston/167107416642591

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer until people told me that I should give it a serious try a couple of years ago. I had always written for fun and although people had asked me if I had ever thought about writing, honestly, I hadn’t considered it, not as a career. It was only a couple of years ago when I had gotten pretty sick and at the same time, my father was dying that I took what my critique partner, Carole, and some others said kind of seriously.

What sorts of things inspire you as a writer?
Music, pictures. It could be an article that I’ve read or a something I’ve seen on TV like a news story. Anything.

How do you approach a story? Do you start with outlines or something else? Planner or pantster?
I will start with a general outline, as I did for the Dragon Races series. I’ll plan out the main points and from there I’ll go back and change it up as I write. I’m not an everything-has-to-be-set-in-stone kind of person when I write.

Where do you work when writing? What is your ideal creative environment?

I write in my bedroom or as I write this, in my family room. With a notebook, laptop, and headphones on.
Everyone knows (especially now that I’m published) when I’m in writing mode at my house, and they tend to leave me alone for the most part. Pretty good about it, too.

When do you write (morning, night)?
I tend to write in the evening till I go to bed. And on weekends after bills, errands and housework are done. I’m writing most of the day. I used to write early in the morning but I’m up so late now that I have to learn to start balancing it out.

Do you have any writing rituals?
No. Just need laptop, paper, pen, headphones and ipod. Every so often, food or coffee is in the mix but not often.

How do you come up with the names for your characters?
No rhyme or reason. Execpt for when I did want the Dragons for the Dragon Races series to have Greek names, to fit their various personalities.

Is writing your main creative outlet, or do you have other talents/creative pursuits?
I haven’t danced in a while. I think the last time I did it was like four or five years ago. I love it. I love singing too. I did that briefly, just for fun.

Do you ever get writers’ block? How do you tackle it?
Yes. I try to work through where at what point I’m having the block. It’s the worst though.

What’s the most personally challenging aspect of writing?
The editing. Even though it’s necessary. Editing and revising. I’ve gotten used to it but I think it is the difficult part, although the finished product oftentimes is much better after it’s done.

What is the best advice you can give other writers about writing?
Read. Read a lot. Read what’s out there. You want to write fantasy then read some, by George Martin or Tolkien, want erotica? Read Alta Hensley or Melissa Ecker. Just read, read, read. So many great authors out there and everyone in the community has been fantastic and can help you a great deal.

What genres do you write in? Why?
I write in erotica, and in fantasy and I’m planning an urban fantasy series as well. I just think all of these genres are fun and there’s no limits to where you can go with anyone of these.

Can you tell us about any themes you have running through your stories?
With the Dragon Races series, I think the themes are revenge, redemption, ambition and forgiveness. As the series continues you’ll find that most of these characters aren’t simply black and white, and that for every consequence, there’s going to be an action and a reaction from someone else. Most likely the reaction isn’t going to be what people will expect to be and that’s what making this series fun to write.

Tell us your “story of getting published.”
I was floored. I thought my contract was actually a rejection. I had to look at it twice and pinch myself.

What was your first reaction when LazyDay Publishing offered you a contract?
I screamed! I was so happy. It was two years of hard work, learning (actually still learning) polishing, revising, editing and writing and re-writing. I was very happy, still happy about it.

What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?
I didn’t have any with this book. This was the first time I had submitted this book and I got accepted. I was pretty lucky. I had submitted two other stories to two other publishers, and I got pretty positive rejections on what I could do to make them better (revise and resubmit).

Did you learn anything from publishing this book? What?
That hard work pays off in spades. Sometimes you have to sacrifice some things to get what you ultimately want. But the payoff is amazing.

If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?
Make more time to enjoy everything. I’m learning how to balance all of it because now since By Sunset is out and is doing pretty well. People want the next book like yesterday. I’m trying now to learn how to balance writing, regular non-writing life and promo, but I want By Moonlight to be just as good if not better than By Sunset, because I’ve grown so much as a writer since I wrote it.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about publishing?
Read a lot. Read others in your genre. See what they’re doing. Enjoy it. You’ll learn so much from them and, at times, they’ll learn a lot from you.

What are your ideas about the future of digital publishing?
I couldn’t be happier about the timing of when I’m starting to be published. What a great time we’re in, where instead of going to a bookstore, people can download a book onto either a laptop, pc or an e-reader. Saves everyone time, and money on transportation.
My only concern is the epiracy because it’s happened to me twice. Laws need to be passed. People have no right to upload something you’ve worked on for so long onto a sharing site without permission. Everyone from the publisher to the authors are losing so much money when a person does that. It’s my only drawback with epublishing.

OTHER

People can reach me on twitter @bedofroses2001
Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ty-Langston/167107416642591
Or on my blog at http://www.shellsmusings.blogspot.com

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