Monday, May 23, 2011

Interview with Michael Lee West and book giveaway

By Melissa Patafio

**Giveaway is now closed**

Today, author Michael Lee West has stopped by CLC to chat about her latest book, "Gone With a Handsomer Man". She also took the time to make us laugh with her tales of farm life, her love of food, and how she deals when a book is particularly challenging. We enjoyed meeting Michael and want to thank her for visiting Chick Lit Central!

Anne Staszalek from AuthorsOnTheWeb has two copies of "Gone with a Handsomer Man" to give to some lucky readers in the US or Canada.

Visit Michael on Facebook and Twitter and check out her blog.

Watch the trailer for "Gone with a Handsomer Man":



How did you come up with the story for "Gone With a Handsomer Man?"

A dream. My first novel, Crazy Ladies, came to me in a gothic Southern nightmare. Many writers pay attention to their dreams because the subconscious is a collaborator. We wait for the moment when a dialogue begins with the book—because that means a dialogue with the main character can’t be far behind. I was delighted when a character named Teeny Templeton wandered into my dreams. She was a sassy, brown-eyed blonde with a penchant for throwing fruit at her wayward boyfriend. Teeny had a strong voice from the get-go and she led the way.

What was the biggest challenge you faced while writing "Gone?"

This requires a meandering answer, so please bear with me. When I'm working on a book, I need time alone or I can lose the character's voice. Then it takes forever to call it back, or the book can shift permanently. This has happened so many times, I've learned to protect the work, and I'm not shy about going to extremes. I hunker down on the farm with stockpiled food and Diet Coke, apocalypse-style, then I inhabit the book. I don't have an office--I write in a corner of the den and I use music (love my iPod) as a sort of wall. While I wrote GWAHM, our house fell apart--leaky roof, fried HVAC, termites, broken appliances. The farm went a little wild, too, with goats escaping into the road. Every day, concerned neighbors called to report the latest escapee. We also dealt with foxes, possums, and rabid skunks. Sometimes these events found their way into the book. A heart-tugging challenge came when my mother had complications after back surgery and came to live with us for a few months. She couldn't walk. She'd always been a fiercely independent woman, and she fell into a slump. With the help of my younger son, Tyler, we nursed her back to health. Now, she's not only walking, she's going to her beloved garage sales. Without my son's help, the book might not have been finished. I dedicated the book to him.

What is your usual writing routine?

I write from 9 am until I drop, seven days a week--I end up taking way too many breaks because I'm always chasing escaped goats and dealing with household malfunctions.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

I'd like to go back to Ireland. I love the people, the pubs, the culture.

How do you like to spend your time when you are not writing?

I take photographs of food. My amateur shots can be seen at Tastespotting and Foodgawker.
http://www.tastespotting.com/profile/designs+by+gollum
http://foodgawker.com/post/archive/designsbygollum/

Do you ever suffer from writers block? If so, how do you remedy it?

Yeah, but not for long. Usually it signals a problem with the book. I go back to the characters and dig deeper.

What do you enjoy most about living on a farm?

I love watching the geese and ducks waddle from the big pond to the little pond and back again. No matter what I'm doing, I stop to watch the sunsets--and also twilight--l'heure bleue.

If you had to choose a profession other than writing, what would it be?

I have a B.S. in Nursing. But I'd really love to be a pastry chef.

Which authors have inspired you the most?

All Southern authors, past and present. I owe a debt to author and poet Marge Piercy--her poem,"For the Young Who Want To" kept me going through rough patches.

If you had to pick a theme song for your life, what would it be and why?

Oh, this is a hard one. I'm a child of the 60s and 70s, so music shaped my worldview. I've got playlists for every novel--sometimes multiple lists. My current theme song is "Both Sides Are Even" by The Boxer Rebellion. To me, it's about fighting losing battles, maybe with love or a career, and realizing that no matter what you do, there is no right or wrong side. And we struggle alone.

Special thanks to Michael for talking with me today and to Anne from AuthorsOnTheWeb for facilitating this interview and for sharing the books for our giveaway.

How to win "Gone with a Handsomer Man":
Please comment below with your e-mail address.
(Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page or blog if you can receive messages there.)

Bonus entries (can be listed all in one post):
1. Please tell us: What is one recipe/dish you would love to know how to make?
2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)
5. Add a friend to our Facebook group. (Tell us who you added.)
Be sure to remind them about editing their settings. :)

US/Canada only. Giveaway ends May 29th at midnight EST.

More by Michael Lee West:




52 comments:

~Enamored Soul~ said...

I loved the interview with Michael Lee West - especially her strong work ethic. Working from 9 AM until you drop...that's IMPRESSIVE! And thank you for the amazing giveaway opportunity :D

~Hira~
GFC Follower: ~Enamored Soul~
Email: Enamoredsoul(at)gmail(dot)com
Twitter: @inluvwithbookz

~Enamored Soul~ said...

+1 Entry:

I'd love to know how to make Southern Style Fried Chicken, or Grilled Chicken in a Skillet. Also, Pimento Cheese Sandwiches with Fried Dill Pickles...yum! All this is making me miss the time I spent in Atlanta! *le sigh*

~Hira~
GFC Follower: ~Enamored Soul~
Email: Enamoredsoul(at)gmail(dot)com
Twitter: @inluvwithbookz

~Enamored Soul~ said...

I'm a GFC follower of this blog...and I love the posts! :D

~Hira~
GFC Follower: ~Enamored Soul~
Email: Enamoredsoul(at)gmail(dot)com
Twitter: @inluvwithbookz

~Enamored Soul~ said...

+1 Entry, I posted the giveaway on Facebook.

http://www.facebook.com/soul.enamored/posts/100214750071652

~Enamored Soul~ said...

+1 Entry

I tweeted the giveaway:

http://is.gd/D8TnOy

~Hira~
GFC Follower: ~Enamored Soul~
Email: Enamoredsoul(at)gmail(dot)com
Twitter: @inluvwithbookz

~Enamored Soul~ said...

I joined Chick Lit Central on Facebook as: Hira Hasnain

~Hira~
GFC Follower: ~Enamored Soul~
Email: Enamoredsoul(at)gmail(dot)com
Twitter: @inluvwithbookz

Sheila B said...

Sbrennan1955@yahoo.com

I am a facebook fan

I would love to know how to make bananas foster (so it looks nice)

Sheila B said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
S.Sabia said...

I love this cover!
sfsabiaATverizonDOTnet

S.Sabia said...

Bonus entries:
I would love to know how to make my own spaghetti sauce.
I am a follower :)
I have joined your group on FB

PoCoKat said...

I would love to learn how to make a really good port wine sauce for my beef dishes.

littleone AT shaw DoT ca

PoCoKat said...

GFC follower

littleone AT shaw DOT ca

PoCoKat said...

Chick Lit Central on FB member

littleone AT shaw DOT ca

chisuml said...

Love Michael Lee West! Would love to add this one to my collection!

chisuml(at)hotmail(dot)com

chisuml said...

I joined chick lit on facebook as Lea Chisum

=)

chisuml said...

I would love to learn how to make gravy... i just can't seem to master it!!!

chisuml said...

I folllow this blog on GFC!

Lea Chisum
chisuml(at)hotmail(dot)com

chisuml said...

shared on facebook

facebook: Lea Chisum

chisuml said...

tweeted!

twitter: vagabondia79

Nina said...

Love what she had to say about paying attention to your dreams! And I adore the cover of this book!
nina565(at)aol(dot)com

Melissa said...

Thanks for the interview and giveaway.

I would love to learn how to make Key lime Pie. Luv it!

I'm a follower (Melissa)
Tweeted about giveaway-- http://twitter.com/#!/BooksandLaundry/status/72749411830214656

coffeebooksandlaundry(at)gmail.com

Zoey said...

Great interview! I just read MLW's first book and I loved it. I would really love read her lastest book.

I just became a follwer so I can find new books to read.

I would love to learn to make a scrumptious chocolate souffle.

Jeryl M. said...

I would like to read this book.

jeryl.marcus@gmail.com

Jeryl M. said...

I would like to know how to make baked ziti.

I am a follower.

I am a facebook fan.

jeryl.marcus@gmail.com

JessicaWaggoner said...

Looks like she has a pretty good aim with that fruit based on the cover pic! Would love to read this book!

JessicaWaggoner said...

Following you on Twitter now.

JessicaWaggoner said...

I would love to find the perfect red velvet cake recipe too! If anyone has a great one, please let me know! :) And that guy that plays Coop int he trailer is smokin' hot! Just sayin'! :)

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this wonderful novel...

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

karenk said...

would love to make a simple cheese cake :)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

karenk said...

i'm a follower ;)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Beverly said...

Michael Lee and I were childhood friends. I have enjoyed her books for many years. I wish her the best of luck with this one. Can't wait to read it! I would love to learn to make my mother's stack cake. Beverly

blewis@cfl.rr.com

Kat said...

Looks like another great book! Hope to win!

ladykathryn@rogers.com

Kat said...

This may sound like a cop-out answer, but really, as someone who isn't a very good cook (or rather, not an experienced one) I would like to be able to cook anything. My mom's spare ribs and sauce recipe is something in particular I hope I can master.

ladykathryn@rogers.com

Kat said...

I am a follower of the blog.

ladykathryn@rogers.com

Kat said...

Posting on FB.

ladykathryn@rogers.com

Kat said...

I am a member of CLC.

ladykathryn@rogers.com

Margaret said...

I would love to win this! Thanks!

Margaret
singitm@hotmail.com

Margaret said...

I am also a follower.

Margaret
singitm@hotmail.com

Margaret said...

I would love to know how to make Baclava (not sure of the exact spelling) I know it is quite tedious to work with filo pastry.

Margaret
singitm@hotmail.com

mmalavec said...

I am a follower!

mmalavec(at)med(dot)umich(dot)edu

mmalavec said...

Would love to learn how to make an awesome Red Velvet Cake.

mmalavec(at)med(dot)umich(dot)edu

Karen said...

Cheesecake or Key Lime Pie

I follow this blog!

I'm already a member of Chick Lit Central on Facebook

kschomaker(at)gmail(dot)com

Robin Blankenship said...

You ask such great questions. I really want to read this.

robinblankenship at gmail dot com


Please tell us: What is one recipe/dish you would love to know how to make?
I want a Gluten Free Chicken and Dumplings recipe.

Follow this blog

I asked to Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook.

StereoQueenBee said...

1. Please tell us: What is one recipe/dish you would love to know how to make?
Creme brule

2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
I already follow this blog

3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
Posted on FB and Twitter (stereoqueenbee)

4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)
I already am a member of the group.

JHS. said...

1. Someday I am going to make lefse -- Norwegian flatbread. My mother made it for us, but it is really labor-intensive. You can order it on the 'net but everyone makes it with potatoes these days and my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother NEVER did it that way. So I would love to taste some lefse made the RIGHT way -- the way they made it.
2. GFC follower.
3. FB member.

JHS
Colloquium

jhsmail at comcast dot net

leonel said...

leonelescota AT gmail.com

follower/FB CLC member

I wanna learn how to play the piano ... (I play keyboards - kinda - but it's not the same!)

BRN2SHOP9 said...

I would love to learn how to make fajitas

BRN2SHOP9 said...

I follow via gfc

BRN2SHOP9 said...

I follow via twitter

BRN2SHOP9 said...

I follow via facebook

Brenda Whiteside said...

Really great interview. Looking forward to reading the book. Added it to my tbr list.
Brenda
brenda@brendawhiteside.com
follow you on FB Melissa!

Bonnie said...

I would love to know how to make beef wellington as I have had it, but never attempted to make it!

I am a loyal follower!

I follow on Facebook and shared contest on Facebook.

I am a Twitter follower and tweeted contest.
http://twitter.com/intrepid9923/status/74906312986726400

intrepid9923(at)yahoo(dot)com