Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Writer's Wednesday - Michelle Willingham

This Wednesday at The Pink Heart Society Historicals author Michelle Willingham returns to tell us how life has changed since she got the call...

How My Life Changed Since Selling to Harlequin

1. I’ve learned how to write a book on a deadline while working full-time and caring for two toddlers. It meant giving up all television, but that’s what a DVR is for. The challenging aspect was knowing that I had to turn on the creativity every single day—and believe me, there were days when I felt like I was drawing blood out of rocks. Still, when it was finished, I felt a new sense of accomplishment. Now, when I have a rough writing day, I keep telling myself that *yes*, I can do it and to keep slogging through the bad spots.

2. I’ve learned that the writing never gets any easier, and the more books you write, the more you have to keep striving to improve. Sometimes you self-plagiarize, thinking that you’ve written a particularly wonderful phrase…and then you realize that you’ve used that same phrase in two other books you’ve written. Oops.

3. Potato chips and massive quantities of chocolate do not fix a bad scene. They do, however, make it easier to delete the aforementioned scene.

4. Get a publicity photo, a good author bio paragraph, and a website as soon as possible—even before you sell, if you can manage it. The last thing you want to worry about when you’re working on a deadline is how bad your hair looks in a photograph that will be printed in thousands of books across the country.

5. Publicity matters, and your local paper will often provide a great feature story about you and your first book. Schedule the article to come out the same week as your first booksigning, and you have a stronger chance of success. You’d be amazed how many of your home town friends from years ago will come out to say hello and to share in the fun.

6. Make friends with your local booksellers. Always buy a book and support them as much as you can.

7. Keep writing! You are only as good as your most recent book, and building a career takes time.

8. Stay positive and believe in yourself. Even when the writing feels awful and you want to go crawl under your bed, realize that you DO have what it takes to fix the bad scenes. Keep going, never give up, and write every day. Amazing things will happen when you do!

It’s been one year since I sold my first book, and since then, I’ve sold five books to Harlequin Historicals. I’m writing books I love, I have the best editor in the world, and even on the bad days, I think about how lucky I am.

(And we'll try to ignore that she didn't say meeting some of the PHS Ed's in Dallas this summer was the highlight of her year!!! *Humph*)

Michelle Willingham’s book The Warrior’s Touch is on sale now at both eharlequin and amazon. And her next book in the MacEgan Brothers series, Her Warrior King, will be released in January 2008. She is currently working on more medieval romances set in Ireland.

Visit her website at for more details.

Thanks Michelle!

Are you in to try and win tonnes of goodies with The PINK HEART SOCIETY TREASURE HUNT??

Today's Birthday Present for the Lil Pink Dancing Guy can be found at Bronwyn Jamieson's Blog....


  1. Michelle doesn't look pregnant in that standing up picture. Hmmm. She was really bumping, I swear...

    I thought for sure she's say something about how many people asked her what she's having...that had to at least triple! Oh...and? How is that going :)

  2. Have I ever confessed I have a thing about a man's bare back? Sigh. Michelle, that is THE most gorgeous cover.



  3. Michelle,
    Love reading about your success! Your cover is 'to die for'...mmm sexy!
    Congratulations on your wishes on your little bundle...


  4. Awesome post Michelle! Thanks for the tips as well!


  5. Hi, Michelle. Not sure if I told you I loved your new book. Good to know writing doesn't get any easier for the published, not sure how, but I now feel better.

  6. Woah. Spectacular cover alert... I'm awed! :-D

    Michelle, I don't know how you do it! I can't write every day just with the day job, let alone two toddlers... respect, lady.

  7. Thanks, ladies! I absolutely love that cover. :)

    Now, now. Meeting Jenna and Trish and Fiona was one of the highlights of my trip, definitely!

    As for the baby bump being "missing"--it's a good thing I didn't turn definitely would have seen it!

    And yes, I caved. I do know what the gender of my baby is...and I don't regret it a bit. However, I'm going to keep it a secret from everyone else. Compromise, don'tcha know... :)

    Thanks for inviting me, ladies! Yesterday was my anniversary, so the hubby and I were off enjoying a dinner out.