Monday, January 9, 2012

FAST FIVE Author Interview with Michele Drier

Author Michele Drier has written news, features, and columns for several daily newspapers in California. She has written successful grants to the National Endowment for the Arts and the California arts Council as well as a host of public and private funding sources for non-profit agencies. She is now the published author of SNAP: The World Unfolds and Edited for Death.
Michele and I met through the on-line mystery writer’s group, Guppies, an affiliation of the national writer’s organization Sisters in Crime (SinC). At the time, Michele was working on a mystery novel, Edited for Death. When she mentioned having published a novel in eBook format, I purchased and quickly read SNAP: The World Unfolds. The story flows effortlessly between the world of celebrity news reports and the everyday business of being conscientious vampires. Michele is a skilled world-builder, creating an atmosphere where human and centuries-old vampire occupy a room with little suspension of disbelief required. She has graciously agreed to participate in a “Fast Five” interview.

Fast Five: Michele, thank you for taking time away from your busy schedule for a FAST FIVE interview today. I know you are familiar with Twitter’s format, but rather than an “elevator pitch” of 140 characters (#hashtags included) can you share with us a more detailed account of the novel and your research for SNAP: The World Unfolds?

Michele: After I’d finished a traditional mystery, Edited for Death, and was frantically looking for an agent or publisher, my daughter and son-in-law suggested that I write a vampire novel.  Odd, because that wasn’t a genre that I read or knew much about, but they pointed out it was a genre that sold well.  So I started by reading a couple of Charlaine Harris and Kelley Armstrong books and discovered that vampires, demons and the whole crowd could have perfectly normal lives—if you glossed over a few idiosyncrasies.

Then my daughter said, “You know, a lot of celebrities could be vampires.  They only come out at night, they ride around in limos with tinted windows, they wear sunglasses all the time” and, bingo, SNAP was born.

I set the Baron’s European headquarters in Hungary, because I’d spent some time there and could write about it knowledgably.  I still did research online beyond what information I already had and one of the ongoing areas is Eastern European names.  I’m going to have to expand my search as the Kandesky vampires expand their media empire east, into the old Soviet Union.

Fast Five: I noticed your tongue-in-cheek remark about glossing over the idiosyncrasies of a few vampires and demons. Such flamboyant co-workers would present an interesting work environment. Highlighting the characteristics that illustrate your protagonist’s strengths, would you say “the job” is the most important part of her life?

Michele: The protagonist, Maxie Gwenoch, is a magazine editor and has worked hard to get where she is.  She’s driven to succeed, decisive, single-minded and proud of having made it to the pinnacle of celebrity gossip news.  When she meets the new art director, Jean-Louis, she’s attracted, but business always comes before pleasure.  As Jean-Louis reveals his secret, and as Maxie begins to fall for him, she fights the attraction, knowing that she’ll have to give up some of her independence for a relationship.

Until now, her job has been what defined her persona and raison d’etre, but falling for a co-worker—who in fact is one of the “family” that owns SNAP—puts a strain on Maxie.  She won’t give up all she’s worked for, but she doesn’t want to lose Jean-Louis. 

Fast Five: The Mystery/Suspense genre is the focus of Fast Five interviews, but what unique twist makes your novel stand out?

Michele: SNAP is actually a paranormal romance that has a different twist.  The Kandesky family, including Jean-Louis, are several-centuries old vampires who are raking in money in the new, 24/7, cash-crazy free markets.  The suspense in SNAP builds because of the psychological pull Jean-Louis has on Maxie.

Oh, and also...the Kandeskys have rivals, the Huszar “family”, who wants to kidnap Maxie for her business brains.

Fast Five:  How does your main character’s profession draw her into suspenseful situations (murder, for instance?)

Michele: In SNAP, Maxie’s excellence at her career is the factor that’s so dangerous. A magazine editor isn’t usually a magnet for murder, but the Kandesky rivals watch Maxie as she solidifies the Kandesky hold on international celebs and gossip and begin trying to snatch her away.  They want a piece of the pie that Maxie is helping the Kandeskys bake.

In Edited for Death, Amy Hobbes is a newspaper editor who assigns her staff to cover murders, murderers and murder trials.  She’s doing this job against the fact that newspapers are a dying business so she uses her creativity to do more with less.  Because of that, and the adrenaline of breaking news, she tracks down leads and follows up tips that she normally would assign to a reporter.

Some of the suspects don’t like the light of press exposure shining on them, so they reason that if they eliminate the messenger, the light will go away, right?  And in this case, it’s Amy who’s shining the light on them.

Fast Five:  Is this book part of a series, and are you working on a sequel?

Michele: SNAP: The World Unfolds is the first of the SNAP books that follow Maxie as she carefully makes her way between a stand-out career on a growing international stage and her attraction for the vampire, Jean-Louis. I’m writing the second one now, SNAP: New Talent; shooting to have it published this winter.

Edited for Death is also the first of a series about Amy Hobbes.  Each book will center on a mysterious murder, but each will also have a murder that my staff at daily newspapers actually covered. This is scheduled for late fall of 2012.

Fast Five: The following isn’t a Fast Five question, more an “if/then” scenario: If Paris is not an option, then where would you most like to spend your time writing and why.

Michele: Oh, well...right off the bat you take Paris away!  Actually, I doubt I could write much in Paris, too much to see, do and be.

Since my stories all live in my head, anywhere that I don’t have a lot of interruptions or other responsibilities is fine.  I’m drawn toward the North Coast of California, Humboldt County, because I lived there on and off for years.  Also, it rains, a LOT, and that’s conducive to staying inside and making up stories.

Fast Five: Michele, thank you so much for giving us an in-depth look at protagonists Maxie Gwenoch in SNAP: The World Unfolds and Amy Hobbes in Edited for Death. I look forward to reading the next in the series of both novels.

Michele’s SNAP: The World Unfolds was recently featured as the Kindle eBook of the Day and can be found at: ">SNAP: The World Unfolds at Amazon ">SNAP at B&N ">SNAP at Smashwords

and Edited for Death: ">Edited for Death at Amazon ">Edited at B&N ">Edited at Mainly Murder Press


  1. Michele,

    Thank you so much for visiting and offering delightful and informative information about your two novels:

    One with a romantic and paranormal twist - SNAP: The World Unfolds,

    and EDITED FOR DEATH, a more traditional cozy mystery with a comic twist: "Amy Hobbes never expected to solve anything tougher than a crossword puzzle."

    Best of Success in your writing career during 2012. Aloha!

  2. "Snap" sounds like a good paranormal romance story.
    I like those savvy Kandeskys, centuries of experience raking in the money.
    Thanks Gail.

  3. Anthony, you could bake a lot of your famous and colorful Cheese Blintzes with the money Michele had them raking in!


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