Cliffhanger Blog Tour and Giveaway

Monday, April 12, 2021

In 2030, viruses, spy drones, terrorism, and joblessness have eroded American optimism. People want something to believe in. As demonstrated in a Midwest high school election, politics have taken on the inflexibility and dogma of a new religion. Only true believers will survive and prosper. Or so they think. 

This book is perfect for anyone, including young adults, or someone who likes mystery/thriller/romance with a strong, conflicted heroine.

Print Length: 276 Pages 
Genre: Political Thriller
ISBN-10: 1732511756
ISBN-13: 978-1732511750
Publisher: Moot Point Productions

Cliffhanger is available to purchase at You can also add this to your reading list on

About the Author 

Michael R. French is a National best-selling author and graduate of Stanford University and Northwestern University. He is a businessman and author who divides his time between Santa Barbara, California, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is an avid high-altitude mountain trekker, world traveler to developing countries, and is a collector of first editions of twentieth-century fiction. He has published twenty-two books, including fiction, young adult fiction, biographies, and art criticism. His novel, Abingdon's, was a bestseller and a Literary Guild Alternate Selection. His young adult novel, Pursuit, was awarded the California Young Reader Medal. 

You can discover more about Michael’s work on his website: 

----- Interview by Kelly Sgroi

WOW: Cliffhanger has a timely theme, when did you come up with the story idea?

Michael: Judging by voter turnout, politics at all levels turns off half the country. I wanted to write an adult/young adult novel so I could better understand people who aspire to office. “Cliffhanger” refers to both a high school election in the year 2030, and the depressed state of our economy due to overspending and policy blunders. Historically, a weakened democracy offers candidates of all stripes an opportunity to be heard. Voters are desperate for positive change, but choices are inevitably clouded. As I began to shape my story, I would tell my characters, “hey, be careful what you wish for." 

In Cliffhanger, a rural Indiana high school mirrors Washington in its passion, apathy, lies, lobbyists, hidden agendas, and out-of-control social media. In my story, the villain is a non-profit corporation promising a college education to all, taking the responsibility away from nearly-bankrupt state and federal governments. My heroine is one of those rare people who can see through the ruses and has the courage to open unmarked doors to find real answers. She gets banged around but is still standing at the end of the book. 

WOW: So many of us wished for more time at home until we went into lockdown. What does your typical day of writing look like?

Michael: I don’t have a typical day of writing. I wish I did. Things come up. What’s important for me is to have a good night’s sleep. I always write better—especially on a second or third or fourth draft—when my brain has been through what my wife calls “the car wash.” I try to write four or five hours a day, but I can’t recall a day when I didn’t write something, even if it’s a couple of sentences. Habit is important. I’ve known too many writers who decide to take a year off and they never write anything again. 

WOW: I love that term, "the car wash" because I've never heard any writers mention the importance of rest and a clear mind. How do you find the revision process, and how long does it take you to write the first draft of each novel?

Michael: The revision process is critical. It’s not unusual for me to rewrite extensively, at the risk of distorting or losing the original story I was telling. I don’t mind going off track. Sometimes the rewrite is a welcome surprise. Sometimes it’s a dead end. You have to be patient and you have to welcome failure as a learning tool. My life has been divided among raising a family with my wife, working a 9 to 5 job for almost 40 years, and manically stealing writing time at odd hours. It takes me six months to a year to create a decent first draft. The final draft often takes another year. You have to be a tad obsessed to write and publish 25 books. 

WOW: You are an inspiration. After publishing over 20 books, is the road to publication one you can drive with your eyes closed?

Michael: I never reprise my novels. They all have different characters and reflect different genres, so nothing is rote or automatic for me. Sometimes, that’s the precise formula for getting rejected by agents and publishers and even readers. The publishing game is about money more than ever, and with self-publishing the competition is staggering. Publishers prefer bankable authors who build a fan base by being consistent in something—a genre, a protagonist, a setting, something like that. Readers today like having their expectations met. My main goal is to challenge myself to write the best novel, screenplay, biography, or adaptation that I can, regardless of subject matter. My curiosity continually leads me down new paths. Coming up with fresh ideas is the most fun part of writing. Executing is back-breaking work. Hopefully, you’re always getting better. 

WOW: Exploring different genres keeps it interesting too. I like seeing authors branching out more these days and trying new things. Do you have any advice for aspiring or debut authors?

Michael: My strongest advice to aspiring writers, particularly novelists, is have a very thick skin if your primary motive is to get published. Rejection can knock the wind our of you. Second, write about what interests you and then make it even more interesting for readers. This takes role playing. When I rewrite a sentence or paragraph or chapter, I read it out loud and more than once. That somehow puts me in the state of mind of another person—a reader—other than being the writer. Sometimes the advice “best to write about what you know” works well for young writers. As you get older, you’ve experienced a lot more than you did in your twenties, and your perspective changes. The real jewels of insight seem to come out of nowhere at any time. Write them all down. You never know when you’ll hit a dry patch.

WOW: Rejections can be devastating but determination is what wins in the end. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today, Michael. It's been an absolute pleasure hearing all your writing tips!

 ----- Blog Tour Dates

April 12th @ The Muffin
What goes better in the morning with coffee than a muffin? Join us on the WOW! blog today and celebrate the launch of Michael R. French's book Cliffhanger. You can read an interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book too.

April 14th @ S. D. Reeves
Visit Stephen's blog today to read a guest post from author Michael R. French on Why I Continue to Write for 50 Years, and Why/How My Storytelling Has Evolved.

April 15th @ Clouds Girl 27 Reads Books
Join Melissa today as she spotlights the book Cliffhanger by Michael R. French.

April 16th @ A Storybook World
Visit Deirdra's blog today to see her spotlight on the book Cliffhanger by Michael R. French.

April 22nd @ The Burgeoning Bookshelf
Visit Veronica's blog today to see a guest post by author Michael R. French on Why Politics Excites Some People and Turns Off Others.

April 23rd @ Leslie L. McKee
Join Leslie today for her giveaway and spotlight of the book Cliffhanger and a guest post by author Michael R. French on The Importance of Making Mistakes and How You Learn From Them.

April 23rd @ Pages & Paws
Visit Kristine's blog today to read her review of Cliffhanger by Michael R. French.

April 27th @ Mindy McGinnis
Visit Mindy's blog today to read a guest post from the author of Cliffhanger, Michael R. French on Adapting Adult Text for Young Readers.

May 9th @ Michelle Cornish
Visit Michelle's blog today to read her review of Cliffhanger by Michael R. French and his guest post about his Love For "No-Quit" Underdogs.

May 11th @ Of History and Kings
Visit Helen's blog today to see a guest post by author Michael R. French on Having the Curiosity and Courage to Open Unmarked Doors.

May 13th @ Deborah-Zenha Adams
Visit Deborah's blog today to see a guest post by author Michael R. French on The Evolution and Endangerment of the Written Word.

May 16th @ In Our Spare Time
Join Ellen as she reviews the book Cliffhanger by Michael R. French.

--- Podcast Features

The Fearless Storyteller
Michael will be a guest on an upcoming episode of this podcast that explores the heart and soul of stories - and the writers who create them.

Book Lover's Companion
Michael will be a guest on an upcoming episode of the Book Lover's Companion! Join him as he talks about Cliffhanger and more.

Shout Radio
Join Michael on Shout Radio with Toby on a Thursday where he talks about writing, his books, and what inspires him.

Travis Cody Show
Join the Travis Cody show where you can hear Michael talk about writing.

Self-Publishing Queen
Join Michael as he talks about the publishing process with the self-publishing queen.

The Walk Show
Join Michael on the Walk Show as he discusses rebranding yourself as a writer and tailoring your creativity.

***** BOOK GIVEAWAY *****

Enter to win a copy of Cliffhanger by filling out the Rafflecopter form below. The giveaway ends on April 25th at 11:59pm CT. We will announce the winner the next day in the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!


Sioux Roslawski said...

Kelly--Thanks for doing this interview. This book looks like it's a great read.

Michael--I too love the "carwash" idea. I can envision the intial spray, to get rid of most of the remains from the previous writing day. Then the scrubbing brushes, to thoroghly clean one's mind... and then the heating/drying off phase, to prepare for the next writing session.

Good luck with this book. I just got my first book published. Michael, do you remember your first one? (They say you always remember your first time. ;)

Margo Dill said...

This sounds really a good dystopian novel. :)

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Carwash! Definitely something we all need. The rest, the cleansing, and starting fresh. Funny how that one things resonates with so many.

Renee Roberson said...

Thanks for all the great practical and tangible advice for aspiring novelists, Michael. After the past few election cycles, the premise of this as a YA definitely sounds interesting! I'll have to check it out for both myself and my teen daughter. Great interview questions, Kelly!

Kelly Sgroi said...

Thanks Sioux and Renee, Michael has so much to share on writing. I really enjoyed this interview! Ciffhanger is an action-packed read, I highly recommend.

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