Saturday, May 15, 2010

Superpowers! with Michelle Douglas

The Pink Heart Society welcomes back Harlequin Romance author Michelle Douglas!

It's a bird. It's a plane....

When I'm in the middle of revisions I have this strange habit of flitting off into the silliest flights of fancy. I'm about to emerge on the sunny side of heavy revisions and perhaps it's a stress release... or wish fulfilment, but...

This week I am dying for a superpower!

Problem is, which one? There are so many to choose from.

What's prompted this you might ask? I'm not planning to write a paranormal romance any time soon so it isn't research, but I did have a dream the other night that I was flying. It was superman-like flying too and it was brilliant. When I woke I decided it was a superpower all writers should have. A body gets a whole new perspective from up in the air – that bird's eye view could prove rather useful.

Of course, I'd need bionic eyes and x-ray vision to go with it. I'd need to be able to pinpoint and follow all those intriguing dramas playing out below me. Oh, and the superpower gods best throw in a bionic ear while they're at it. All writers know the benefits of eavesdropping on an intriguing conversation.

Invisibility could be useful for that too – you could listen in on anything. However, it might prove a drawback if you actually wanted to take part in a conversation. So, then again, perhaps not.

I've always been intrigued by physical superpowers. It's because I'm so envious of anyone who is physically dexterous – those who can hit a ball, kick a ball, dribble a ball... heck, anyone who can catch a ball. Oh and to be able to get the lid off the pickled onion jar! So the thought of having super-strength is VERY appealing. But only if I can have invulnerability to go with it, please. You see if I had super-strength I imagine there'd be some pretty super-strength-style villains out there who'd want to challenge me. I don't like fighting. If I can't have invulnerability then I'll settle for super-speed so I can run away. Super-speed? Hmm, I wonder if that would include super-speed writing and typing?

There are those more esoteric superpowers that have their own charm... like controlling the weather. I'm sure I could come up with a writer-ly reason why that could be useful. Fire starting, anyone? Handy for getting rid of truly dreadful first drafts and the odd less-than-glowing review. Need help squeezing your way out of a tight corner? Elasticity might be the answer. It'd be a great party trick too. Not particularly dignified perhaps, but certainly amusing. Ooh, controlling time – that could be nifty when on a tight deadline. Who doesn’t yearn for an extra hour or two in their day?

There are a couple of superpowers, however, I'd really rather not to have. ESP for one. It could be rather uncomfortable to know what other people were thinking. Besides, if their minds are anything like mine, most of the time all anyone would hear is an incoherent jumble. I shouldn't like to be able to see into the future either. I'm a firm believer in living in the present (even when in the middle of revisions). Writers, I believe, are neurotic enough without adding a crystal ball to the mix.

It's taken me a long time to figure out which superpower I really would like to have, but it came to me when I was watching telly the other night. A wonderful idea in relation to my current revisions occurred to me. As any writer will tell you, these ideas need to be jotted down asap if you don't want them reabsorbed into the ether. But I was watching a movie with the dh, I had a glass of wine in hand, and I had been working hard all day. The idea might've hit me upside the head, but it couldn't budge me from my comfy armchair. And the inevitable happened.

So... the superpower I most want is the ability to manipulate physical objects. How cool would that be? I could be downstairs watching a movie while, at the same time, my pen is silently scratching away upstairs in my study. I could take my laptop out into the garden on a sunny day, immerse myself in my story, while inside the vacuum cleaner is doing its thing, coffee is brewing, a cake is baking and lunch comes out to me fully prepared on a pretty tray. Oh and all while that palm frond is swaying back and forth and the grapes are peeling themselves. Like I said earlier, wish fulfilment.

In the meantime, until I develop a superpower I guess I'll have to stick to the old dictum: 99% perspiration, 1% inspiration.

But if you could pick one, I'd love to know what superpower you'd choose. And just to entice you all to come out and play, I'm giving away a copy of my latest release The Cattleman, The Baby and Me to one lucky commenter.

Michelle's latest release, The Cattleman, The Baby and Me is out now in North America and the UK, and next month in Australia/New Zealand.


  1. Oh, Michelle, I LOVE the idea of the vacuum cleaner working away inside while you're outside, immersed in your book. Sigh. Wouldn't that be wonderful.

    Me? My first thought was that I'd love to be able to fly. Ever since I was a kid that really appealed. Not too high, up among the planes but high enough to soar above the places I know and get a bird's eye view.

    Now though, the power I'd most like to have is to be able to somehow get down the words I've got in my head when I'm in the car/shower/a meeting or wherever onto the page just as they come to me. I often find by the time I manage to get to the computer or scrawl a note on some paper it's not quite the same as the initial wonderful idea. Sounds rather like what you were thinking of!

    Can't wait to get my hands on your Cattleman story. I've heard so much about it. It sounds fantastic.

  2. That vacuum cleaner... Annie, it's just occurred to me what I really want is staff rather than a super-power :-)

    Oh, to fly! I have tried so hard to dream that same flying dream again, but alas to no avail.

    When you do get your hands on my Cattleman story, I hope you like it! Thanks for coming out to play!

  3. I bet you're looking for "the usual" superpowers and do you think I can think of one? Nope. The only "superpower" that comes to mind is to have the ability to sleep when I want to. Sleep seems to be in big demand these days, so if I could just twitch my nose, clap my hands, blink, or do whatever is necessary to fall right to sleep, that would be fine with me. (Can you tell I'm sleep deprived as I type this? It's pretty sad.) Oh yeah! I'd want the ability to wake up when I want to as well. Right now I think I should sleep till let's say 8 am (to get 6 hours of sleep), but I'm up at 6 am and can't get back to sleep. And drugs are not the answer. Going to bed earlier is the answer. I just have to practise what I preach....

  4. Oh, Laney, I think that would be a brilliant super-power to have! Me, I love my 9 hours a night and wish I could be happy on 6.

    The ability to fall asleep and wake up again when you want has definitely been added to my wish list of super-powers.

  5. Annie, I meant to say earlier that what we need is some kind of photographic memory for our thoughts so they never get lost. Oh yes, I'd pay a lot of money for that!

  6. Hi Michelle,

    Loved your post... And have to say having a 12-year-old son you would be astonished at how many times I've been asked the question which super-power I'd choose. So I've given it quite a lot of thought. And I always tend to opt for either being able to swim underwater or being able to fly!

    But recently I turned the question back on my son and without hesitation he said 'I'd like to be able to stop time.' Which I thought was sort of cool, until I asked him why? The answer: 'So I could steal stuff of course.' Which led to a long lecture about respecting people's property rights. Funnily enough he hasn't asked me the question since!

  7. LOL, Heidi! I would love to be able to stop time, but for a rather different reason... so I could come up with that perfect comeback rather than wake up at 3am going 'doh, why didn't I say that!'

    Ooh, and to swim underwater. I can't believe I forgot that one. When I was a little girl, more than anything I wanted to be a mermaid. Still wouldn't mind to be honest :-)

  8. I would love to be able to teleport myself to different places. Since I don't enjoy flying and I don't get to travel much due to my severe RA, it would be nice to be able to think of a place where I want to visit and just go there. No stress of travel, that would be great.

  9. Time travel, of course! Then I could go and see what it was really like when Stonehenge was built, when Elizabeth I came to the throne, and go back into next week and pay that bill on time!

  10. Evil genius, hands down. Because if I were an evil genius, I could build an automated vacuum cleaner, teleportation device, time machine, etc. Yes, I know it's a bit like wishing for more wishes... but then, that's why I said EVIL genius...

  11. I'd choose mind reading. It would make writing in the hero pov so much easier!

  12. Ahh, Linda, to leave the worst of travelling behind and to just arrive -- what pure bliss! Living in Australia, it takes sooooo long to get anywhere. I for one could do without those 20+ hour flights.

  13. Time travel! Alison, you obviously have a curious mind. Going back in time could solve the odd mystery or two... but I have to admit I like my creature comforts (running water and electricity to name two).

    Put me down as someone to wave you off and then have a glass of red waiting on your return so I could hear all your stories :-)

  14. LOL, Jinky. I think evil genius could come in very handy. And, hey, more wishes are good!

  15. Ooh, mind reading, Sally? I can see the appeal, but... I get visions of hearing my best friend thinking "Heck, Michelle has put on loads of weight... and pink so isn't her colour," or the dh thinking, "What on earth is she wearing?" or someone from my writing group thinking, "Find something good to say about this piece, quick, quick, there has to be something good in all this dross."

    Of course, they could just as well be thinking, "Michelle looks great," "I love that outfit," and "What a talented writer," but I'm not sure I"m brave enough to find that out!

  16. I'd like to have super stamina--the ability to get everything done that needs to be done in a day without losing steam, and being able to handle any crisis that arises by sheer, cussed perseverance.

    Gosh, that's a boring superpower!

  17. I'd love to be able to 'be happy' when not; a click of the fingers and I'd feel happy, content and relaxed. Also to erase worry in an instant would be great. Am I asking for too much!!

  18. Paula, I don't care if it's boring or not -- super-stamina would be a major blessing! Could you imagine knowing that you could get everything done within the time it needs to be done by? Wow, so much stress would just... it would just never be there! I'll sign on for a large dose of that, thank you.

  19. Wow, Robyn -- I think what you're describing is a state of mind, a kind of world view. Wouldn't it be wonderful to be happy and optimistic when life was throwing its very worst at us! If you ever discover the secret of how it's done, be sure to share!

  20. Thanks to everyone for coming to play and telling me your favourite super-power. I couldn't chose which one was my favourite so I drew a name out of a hat (actually, my salad bowl) and the name that came out was... Alison!

    Congratulations Alison! If you drop me a line at michelle @ michelle - douglas . com (minus the spaces) I'll pop a copy of The Cattleman, The Baby and Me out to you.

    Again, thanks everyone!