This week The Pink Heart Society spotlights author Michelle Styles! An American now living in England with her husband and children, Michelle Styles broke into the market with an extremely well received Roman Historical, and now shares her love of history with the rest of us as her collection of novels grows.
Michelle Styles writes historical romances for Harlequin Mills & Boon Historical. Her books cover a range of time periods including: ancient Rome, the Viking Age and the early Victorian period. Her first novel for Harlequin Mills and Boon Historical -- The Gladiator's Honour was a finalist for the Romantic Novelist Association Romance Prize 2007. Her other novels are A Noble Captive (UK Jan 2007), Sold and Seduced (UK April 2007), The Roman's Virgin Mistress (UK and North America July 2007), Taken by The Viking (UK October 2007), A Christmas Wedding Wager (Uk and North America Dec 2007)
Inspiration comes from a number of different places. I like to practice what Twyla Tharp calls scratching for ideas. I tend to be a bit of magpie – picking up one thread here, an image there, a premise from another place. It is the combination that makes for interesting reading.
Injustice, thoughtlessness, cruelty, arrogance and empire building.
My husband asking me to marry him as we walked across the Golden Gate Bridge.
Integrity, a good sense of humor, intelligence, a wonderfully sexy voice and broad shoulders.
If you weren’t a writer what would you be?
Depressed. Writing for me is like breathing. I am a far nicer person when I am writing as then I tend to inject the drama into my stories, rather than into my life.
I garden or go for a long walk with the dogs and my husband. In the evenings, I read, listen to music and do needlework. I find needlework can be great thinking time.
It depends. Most of the time, it is by giving myself permission to not get it right the first time. Sometimes, I have to try several ways before I get it right. I also allow myself permission to go back and change things if they are not working. If I am really stuck, I go and do something else, trusting in my sub conscience to come up with the solution.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
I adore living in rural Northumberland. My house is an Edwardian bungalow with about an acre of garden and a stream running through it. It is very much a dream house for me. When we first saw it about 11 years, I thought – this is the house where I want to live.
This is a hard choice. There are a great many writers I would love to give hugs to. But if I had to pick one I would say Mary Stewart because her book Touch Not the Cat. It was the book that totally hooked me on the romance genre.
I don’t listen to music when I am writing. I like to work I silence. Then when I stop I tend to listen to certain songs over and over again – a different song for each book. For the one I just finished I ended listening to the sound track from Wicked the Musical. For TheRoman’s Virgin Mistress, I kept listening to Eva Cassidy.
Tell us a secret nobody knows about you
But then it wouldn’t be a secret.
Fainting at my wedding. I said I do, and then I went down. Collapsing in a graceful heap only to be revived by smelling salts. Wearing a tight corset and locking one’s knees is not a good idea.
In the last year, I have had a lot of successes. My first book, The Gladiator’s Honour was a finalist in The Romantic Novelists Association Romance Prize. I have had several books published including my most recent The Roman’s Virgin Mistress and I was recently offered a new four-book contract.
A lukewarm cup of tea. It always starts out hot, but I tend to sip it. I also have my research books with in arm’s reach and my Moleskine notebook. When I am not at my computer, I use my notebook to write longhand and so it generally has a lot of jottings.
If you could kiss anyone in the world who would it be?
My husband and my children.
I am currently working on the first part in my Regency duet which is set in the North East of England. I am really excited about writing this because I have loved the time period for a long time.