Interview with Michelle Dwyer: Spring 2015 Flash Fiction Contest Runner Up
Michelle fell in love with writing after taking her first creative writing class in high school. She took a break from the craft to attend to life’s details, but soon returned to her writing desk. She received a Master of Business Administration from Texas A&M University Central Texas and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from National University in La Jolla, California. She writes novels, and has just completed her breakout work, Intimate Nightmares, written under her pen name, Krymzen Hall. She is an avid runner, fitness enthusiast, and a Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Corrective Exercise Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She has overcome many obstacles and has the highest respect for every individual running down a dream. Michelle has a ways to go, not there yet, but believes in the saying: Success is the journey, not the destination.
She lives in Texas and has two sons.
If you haven’t done so already, check out Michelle’s award-winning story “Taken for a Ride” and then return here for a chat with the author.
WOW: What was the inspiration for your short story, or what prompted you to write this particular story?
Michelle: Some years ago, I was out one morning with my son, and we drove past a carnival. He wanted to go. I pulled into the parking lot of the plaza where the carnival was located. I knew the carnival was closed because it was very early in the day and no cars were parked around it. I just wanted to see if the operating hours were posted along with ticket prices, etc. When I looked around, it was kind of eerie, kind of mystical to think a place that gets so populated could feel so barren. I mean, NOBODY was there. I said to myself, "I don't know the plot yet, but a story is coming and it will be evil."
WOW: Ooooh, just reading that description gives me chills! What do you enjoy the most and/or the least about writing?
Michelle: I love the creativity involved in writing stories and lending my voice to a world where I think I have enough skill to contribute something worthwhile. I hope that makes sense. The rejections are what I like least. In fact, I don't like them at all. Who does, right?
WOW: Right! No one has to like them, but it’s undeniable that we learn from them. And your thoughts on what you like best make sense to me. Contributing something worthwhile make the hard work worth it. What can you tell us about your novel Intimate Nightmares?
Michelle: Intimate Nightmares is the story of a couple struggling with tremendous secrets and learning how to forgive. The title is a play on words (of sorts) that ties cleverly into the story. The novel also centers on a well-developed cast of secondary characters who are affected by the choices of their friends, the main characters. It is a mix of crime, mystery, and romance involving a diverse group of people. The protagonist is married to a person of another race, so there is some racial tension in the book; however, the story does NOT focus on race and interracial relationships as its main theme. It is simply an added element that carries a small yet poignant amount of weight in the plot. I don't think there is a book on the market like this one. Thirteen years in the making. It's good stuff.
WOW: Wow! Thirteen years! Your persistence is paying off! Let us know when it’s published. What are you reading right now, and why did you choose to read it?
Michelle: Well, right now I'm reading Intimate Nightmares again to make sure I've caught any remaining hard-to-find typos before final printing, lol. But in all seriousness, as soon as I'm done proofing my book, I will finish The Song Remains the Same by Allison Winn Scotch. In the story a woman struggles to regain her memory after a plane crash. I haven't reached the end obviously, but my guess is she is going to have a hard time processing the truth. It's hooked me.
WOW: If you could give other creative writers one piece of advice, what would it be and why?
Michelle: I don't think my answer to this question will ever change: Don't give up. I say that all the time. It's the best piece of advice any writer could receive. But, as I evolve as a writer, I also realize that there is something else that creative writers need to heed: Don't change a story simply because somebody tells you to. You have to create stories that you want told, from your heart, and developed by your own passion. You're gonna be criticized at some point by someone. As long as you’re writing a story from a good faith perspective, without trying to hurt anyone, write what makes you whole. Of course you should listen to opinions from experts who know their stuff, and revise accordingly if you think you should, but never change your story simply because a critic doesn't like it.
WOW: That’s wonderful advice. It’s so easy to get caught up in a critique, but staying true to yourself and your voice Anything else you’d like to add?
Michelle: When things go wrong, go write. ;)
WOW: Great advice! Thanks so much for your thoughtful responses. Happy writing!
Interview by: Anne Greenawalt