As y'all have probably noticed, I'm a big fan of Michelle Mankin. I re-read her Black Cat Records/Brutal Strength trilogy when she released it as a box set - Love Rock'ollection - back in December. (If you missed my reviews, you can find them here.) The trilogy was released previously but Michelle released it as a boxset that included new content. After finishing, I had a few questions for Michelle. And she was kind enough to answer them. :) Here's our conversation. I hope you enjoy it!
Also, once you've finished reading our chat, you can enter the giveaway for a Michelle Mankin ebook of your choice! Yep, that's how much I want to share her awesome talent with y'all. Good luck!
1. What made you decide to use Shakespeare as an inspiration for this series?
I had the idea for a girl who dressed up like a guy to get into a rock band. Originally Justin was going to die, but my youngest was reading Wednesday Wars in English and when I told him my story idea he said that sounds like Shakespeare and I remembered 12th night (I have some theatre background) and went with that instead.
2. I adore Mary's matchmaking antics. Will she (or Beth) get her own book?
A real life friend is my inspiration for Mary. She is a high school english teacher. She said no love scenes for her character BUT in the back of my mind I have an idea for a series of books using the 'older' characters like mary, brandee aprils mom, and bryan's mom--so I won't rule it out for sure.
3. Which guy, girl, or couple is/are your favorite in the series?
War and Shaina. Dizzy and April close 2nd
4. Obviously music is a big influence in your life. Do you have any personal experience which inspired the Love series?
I have always loved music. It has such transcendent power. lt is art just like a beautiful painting or a very good story. It can entertain, change your mood, and in some cases maybe even change your life.
5. Along those same lines, the scenes where you describe music, particularly playing it, are so well written. And your lyrics are amazing. Do you play an instrument and/or write music or do you have help with those elements?
My husband plays guitar, bass, and piano as a hobby. I am his biggest fan.
One of my biggest thrills as a writer has been my audio team bringing my books to life. They even wrote signature music for each Tempest guy. I swooned.
6. Which character(s) are most like you?
There is bits of my life in every single story. I think it brings some realism to put it there. Plus its definitely cathartic. Most recently we lost our George like April did in Relentless. When I heard the audio team act out some of those scenes it really made me cry.
7. Why did you change how Chris pursued/felt about Avery from the original Love Evolution
Not intentionally. I just wanted to make the transition points smoother in my first story...to have fewer points of view...so when I rewrote it I gave Avery's take on him and his actions. He still wanted a sweet young thing, but you know Avery she thinks the best of people...
8. "Stories with subtext" - I love this element. Why did you decide to include those subtexts in your stories?
I was already doing it and Jay Crownover coined the term for me after reading Love Evolution. I like having layers in a story. I read for entertainment myself. I LOVE to read, and I like when there is just a little something extra to think about. I don't want to hit people over the head with subjects like teen pregnancy or depression but I think it's interesting to have them there in the context of the story.
9. When I met you at RT 2013, you said that Love Resolution was your favorite to write. Is it still?
No. Like any artist or writer I think my current project is always my favorite. So right now it isStrange Magic :) <--Which is awesome!