Romance Author University: Elizabeth Michels - The Toughest Advice I’m Glad I Listened To
We have Elizabeth Michels here today sharing her best piece of writing advice!
THE REBEL HEIR is my 5th book…5th!!! Can I tell you a secret? I didn’t know if I could write one book until I’d already done it. And now I’ve written 5 published books with 2 more on the way in this series! Pretty crazy, right? I think it is.
When I started writing I was a new mom with a small interior design business. I’d never tried to write anything other than a term paper for school, and I had no desire to do that again. But I loved books, specifically romance novels. So while I had a napping baby one day, I sat down and started writing one. Can I tell you another secret? It was horrible, laughably horrible.
Of course it was horrible! You shouldn’t be surprised. I’d been trained to sketch a room, draw up blueprints, even calculate lumens for a lighting plan, but I had no clue how to write a book. Thankfully that was when I was invited to the local chapter of Romance Writers of America which happened to meet near my house. Who knew? Not me. But once I discovered this mysterious group of writers carving love stories out of thin air, I went to every meeting. I read every blog I could find online, and devoured every piece of information. And soon my book was somewhat okay…kind of.
Did you expect this to be a simple tale of writing words and instant perfection? It isn’t. That first manuscript taught me a great deal. And in an odd way led me to where I am today. But what really steered me in the right direction was some great advice from a great author. It went something like this:
Scene: At a romance writers group meeting over lunch. I was asked to sit with our guest speaker as I’m often asked to do, mostly because I have the ability to make conversation with a wall. If you need an hour of polite and somewhat chipper conversation over lunch? I’m your girl. And my romance writer friends know this. So there I was, having lunch and trying to control my fangirling over the famous author across the table from me, Madeline Hunter.
Me: *In between bites of my salad.* I’m so excited I get to sit with you. I love your books! I hope I have books on the shelf one day. I just finished my first manuscript.
Madeline: What’s it about?
Me: A time traveling Mary Kay lady who gets stuck in the 1700s, hides as a governess to unruly twins, and falls in love with their guardian, before getting accused of witchcraft… You know, because of the makeup. *grins and takes a bite of cherry tomato*
Madeline: * stares as if looking at a crazy person (which in her defense isn’t too far off the mark) between bites of her wrap sandwich* Where does it take place?
Me: *smiles regardless of the I’m-dining-with-a-crazy-person stare* Charleston, South Carolina
Madeline: Time travel…to 1700s Charleston. Why are you writing that? Is that what you read?
Me: Well, no. I read historicals. I love the ball gowns, and the complete escape into another time…
Madeline: Write what you want to read.
It was brutal advice for a writer who’d just finished her manuscript, but she was right. She was totally right!
So I went home from that meeting and started writing a story that was close to my heart. It was a story about siblings fighting over an inheritance, and a mad duke who wants his stolen pocket watch back along with the lady who took it. Almost a year later I pitched that story to my agent. She signed me as a client, and sold it to my publisher. And a year after that, just like Madeline Hunter, I too had books on the shelf, starting with MUST LOVE DUKES.
And now it’s time for THE REBEL HEIR, book 2 in my second series! I can’t believe it! But I’m going to keep writing in spite of my own disbelief because I want to tell more stories that I want to read. And I hope you want to read them too.
Whatever your goals, keep going. Take the brutal advice, sometimes it can lead you to a wonderful place.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
CHECK OUT THESES BOOKS BY ELIZABETH MICHELS!
The Spare Heirs Society Cordially Invites You to Meet Ethan Moore: The Scoundrel
Lady Roselyn Grey's debut has finally arrived, and of course, she has every flounce and flutter planned. She'll wear the perfect gowns and marry the perfect gentleman...that is, if the formerly disinherited brother of the man she intends to marry doesn't ruin everything first.
Ethan Moore is a prize-fighting second son and proud founding member of the Spare Heirs Society-and that's all he ever should have been. But, in an instant, his brother's noble title is his, the eyes of the ton are upon him, and the lady he's loved for years would rather meet him in the boxing ring than the ballroom.
He's faced worse. With the help of his Spare Heirs brotherhood, Ethan's certain he can get to the bottom of his brother's unexpected demise and win the impossible lady who has haunted his dreams for as long as he can remember...
The Spare Heirs Society Cordially Invites You to Meet Ash Claughbane: The Imposter
Lady Evangeline Green is living a lie. To please her family, she masquerades as the perfect debutant...until she meets the wickedly charming Lord Crosby. With him, there are no rules. She's finally free to do as she desires-but freedom comes with a price, and Lord Crosby is not what he seems...
Ash is not Lord Crosby. He's a con artist, a noble Spare Heir living off his silver tongue. When the Green family ruined his, he swore he'd make them pay, and he never doubted his devotion to revenge...until he met Evangeline. Now, caught in a web of lies, torn between duty and desire, what's a con to do but deceive all of London and steal the one lady who dared match wits with the devil himself?
Elizabeth Michels grew up on a Christmas tree farm in rural South Carolina. After tip-toeing her way through school with her focus on ballet steps and her nose in a book, she met a boy and followed him a thousand miles away to Kansas City, Missouri where she lived for many years. Together, they spent their summers with his family in England, soaking up culture and history. Elizabeth attended Park University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA in Interior Design.
Elizabeth now spends her days creating plots and concocting characters. When she is not typing as fast as human movement will allow, she is caring for her husband and little boy. Elizabeth Michels is a lover of happily-ever-afters. Whether in her writing life or in her home life, she spends her days with one word on her lips: love. She invites you to read her stories, get lost and enjoy