Interview with Flash Fiction Runner Up, Michelle Rene

Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Michelle Rene is a creative advocate and the author of a number of published works of science fiction, historical fiction, humor and everything in between. You may have also seen her work under the pen names Olivia Rivard and Abigail Henry.

She has won several indie awards under her Michelle Rene name for her historical fiction novel, I Once Knew Vincent. Her latest novel, Hour Glass, will be coming out February 2018 with Amberjack Publishing.

When not writing, she is a professional artist and all around odd person. She lives as the only female, writing in her little closet, with her husband, son, and ungrateful cat in Dallas, Texas.

To connect with Michelle Rene, please find her here...
Twitter: @MRene_Author
Instagram: mrene_author

interview by Marcia Peterson

WOW: Congratulations on your top ten win in our Winter 2017 Flash Fiction competition! What inspired you to enter the contest?

Michelle: I have entered your contest before and was really impressed with your organization. The judges are always great and the time you put into the competition is wonderful and noticeable. You are really passionate about this short form of writing. I love the challenge of flash fiction, and the WOW! Women on Writing contest gives me not only a deadline but a challenge.

WOW: Thank you for your kind words about WOW. Can you tell us what encouraged the idea behind your story, Six Percent? It’s a bit unsettling to read!

Michelle: I'm not really sure where the initial idea came from. Something about the image of children trying desperately to act as soldiers began it, I think. That led to the idea of a disease that mainly targets adults, leaving the world to children. What a frightening thought for children and teenagers to be left with a broken world and only six percent of adults around to help. How do you fight a disease when most of the doctors and scientists are gone? The premise was a fun, if not unsettling, rabbit hole to follow. I really wanted to challenge myself and try to convey all that complexity in under 750 words. It was a great exercise in showing a lot while saying very little. That said, with the recent success of Six Percent in this contest and the overwhelmingly positive reaction I got from the story, I am currently turning into a full-blown novel.

WOW: We’d love to know more about your writing routines. Could you tell us when and where you usually write? Do you have certain tools or habits that get you going?

Michelle: I am probably the worst person to ask this. I'd love to say something profound here but the truth is I work from home, I have a three-year-old son, and I write wherever and however I can. During naps, after school drop-off, and sometimes with Thomas the Train in the background. I carry ear plugs with me so when my husband and son are in the other room watching Star Wars for the millionth time, I can concentrate. I recently acquired an iPad Pro which has revolutionized my ability to be mobile and write wherever. People often ask how I can go straight from cleaning a poopy diaper to writing a chapter, and my response is normally that it's what I have to do to meet my deadlines. Outlines help me. Outlines keep me sane and remind me where I'm supposed to be in a novel. Outlines are my friend.

WOW: You have a novel coming out early next year. What was the writing and publishing journey like for you with this book?

Michelle: My novel is a historical fiction piece about Calamity Jane called Hour Glass. This will be my third novel published. I actually wrote the first draft of Hour Glass in sixteen days for NaNoWriMo. No one believes me on this one, but it's true. The title came to me before anything else did, and I sort of built this story about a boy, his autistic sister, Calamity Jane, and this family that came together around them. So many westerns and historical pieces of that time period leave out the amazing women who braved the west, and I wanted to change that.

As for my publishing journey, I had an agent a while back. We were not a good fit, so we went our separate ways. I sold my first two novels, a novella, a novelette, and several short stories myself to indie publishers and magazines. My novel, I Once Knew Vincent, won a few indie awards, so I decided to look for a new agent. I signed with RO Literary in early 2016, and they sold Hour Glass to Amberjack Publishing last year. Hour Glass will release in February 2018.

This sounds super easy all condensed like that, but to all you authors out there who are trying to get agents and trying to get published, it wasn't easy. There are pros and cons to all aspects of publishing whether you're agented, unagented, indie published, self published, or traditionally published. I've done all of these. The only thing I think I've done right is believe, with unwavering tenacity, that Hour Glass deserved a good home. I found that with Amberjack.

WOW: Thanks so much for chatting with us today, Michelle. Before you go, can you share a favorite writing tip or piece of advice?

Michelle: My constant and only bit of advice I give is to never give up. Never stop writing. I will have three novels published by 2018 and a number of smaller works. You know how many novels I've written since Hour Glass? Three. Well, two and a half to be fair. How many pieces do I have still not published? Four and a half novels, three novellas, and a ton of short stories. The point is keep writing. Keep working. Keep learning. Keep submitting. Don't let anyone convince you that you aren't good enough. Don't stop.


Check out our contest page for details about our next flash fiction contest!


Sioux Roslawski said...

Marcia--Thanks for doing this interview.

Michelle--I read your flash fiction story. I just finished watching season 1 of "The Handmaid's Tale" and are now in the middle of the book, so perhaps I'm stretching it, but I felt a similarity. The whole world depending on the youth/a small percentage of people...Horrible things happening...

Good luck with your future writing endeavors, Michelle. I'm intrigued by your Van Gogh book. (He's one of my favorite artists.)

Michelle Rene said...

Hi Sioux!

I'm going to out myself here. I haven't read "The Handmaid's Tale". Shame on me! But I do know what it's about, and I agree with what you said. While I didn't have that book in mind, I see what you mean. I've already finished the rough draft for my novel "Six Percent" based on this flash story. Now that it's done, I should go read "The Handmaid's Tale" to see how much Margaret Atwood and I think alike. ;)

Thanks for commenting, and I hope you like I Once Knew Vincent!

And thank you Marcia for doing the interview!

Sioux Roslawski said...

I should have clarified. "The Handmaid's Tale" (the series first, and now the book--the opposite of how I usually do things) makes me angry about the treatment of women. Women (and a small percentage of men) are treated in horrid ways. From what I got from your flash, and from what your soon-to-published ;) novel based on the flash sounds like, there's desperate people--men and women--and it's because of a health issue. There's something health-wise going on in Atwood's novel (at least I think there is) because very few babies are being born alive. However, a religious order takes over the country, and then the horror begins.

I would recommend the series as a treat to yourself (Samira Wiley--who plays Moira--alone is worth the watch) while you're working on the next draft. You can always read the book later. (I think the series' first season only takes the viewer through part of the book. At least that's what I think.)

Don't feel obligated to reply AGAIN to me. ;) I just didn't want to give the impression that you had been influenced by any other work, when it came to your plot. Yours sounds completely original and intriguing.

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