Mark Fisher Interviews Christian Author Michelle Griep

In this post Mark Fisher interviews Christian author Michelle Griep.

About Michelle Griep

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, Undercurrent, and Gallimore. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or www.writerofftheleash.blogspot.com or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

An Interview With Michelle Griep

Q: Do ideas for your novels come to you all at once, like in the middle of the night? Or do they have to germinate forever before they end up on the page?

Michelle: Yes and yes. Example: one time I was driving alone, at night, in the middle of a horrific storm and saw a flash of something in front of my headlights. Could’ve been a cow, but hey, I live in the city. Maybe a thug lord on a late night smack down? Nope. So I wondered what if it were a knight in armor, caught in a time warp? And so was born my story idea for Gallimore, my first book. What . . . don’t tell me you never imagined something freakish waltzing past your headlights in the middle of hurricane force winds.

Q: Do you tend more to plot out every chapter of your novels or write “by the seat of your pants”? Or have you used both methods at once?

Michelle: I started out as a seat of the pants writer because hey, life’s a game and writing should be too, right? Wrong. Once I started getting deadlines, as in contracts, as in if I don’t meet that deadline there will be a legal slicey-dicey knife at my throat, then I embraced the concept of plotting in a quick slap hurry. No longer did I have the leisure to meander through a story.

So now I plot out my story with sticky notes on a canvas, two per chapter, usually. Each sticky contains the bare bones of a scene. I color code them so I know whose POV (point-of-view) the scene is in.

Michelle Griep HeadshotQ: You’ve written two novels of historical fiction/fantasy/historical romance, if I may call them that. What attracted you to the medieval settings in these books?

Michelle: Because Vikings and knights are the real-life superheroes of the past. Strong. Courageous. And with the aid of centuries and fuzzy memories, larger than life. But I also found out that just because I’m attracted to hunky fighting men, the majority of Christian readers are not. So I switched over to historical romantic suspense.

Q: Which part of the novel gives you the most trouble or do you seem to spend the most time on? The first chapter? The middle of the book? Or the ending?

Michelle: The first chapter is always a bugaboo. You need to grab the reader by the throat and squeeze, but not too hard. Backstory must be woven in but only with spider web threads. There’s a fine balance between intrigue and information.

Q: Is Christian fiction still important in today’s world?

Michelle: Absolutely. Truth is truth, whether it’s recognized as truth or not.

Q: Do you tend to develop your characters first or a plot?

Michelle: Yes. Both. It’s kind of a simultaneous thing for me, though I suppose I lean a little more heavily on my characters as to goals/motivations/conflicts before I figure out exactly what kind of peril they’ll face.

Q: How do your characters come to you? Do you create them in advance or just start writing to see who shows up on the page?

Michelle: I spend time with my main characters before I write them into a story. Granted, it’s sometimes awkward when I make dinner reservations for three but only one of the chairs seats an actual human. Other characters pop up unexpectedly, kind of like those whack-a-mole games.

Q: Is chocolate addictive? Do you think someday they’ll develop a cure?

Michelle: Let’s face it . . . chocolate is crack. And if there is ever a cure, I’m NOT taking it.

Q: How and at what point does the spiritual element enter into your planning of a novel?

Michelle: I leave the parable telling to Jesus, so it doesn’t come into my plotting. I do, however, craft spiritual characters who are on a journey, either toward God or away from God. Therein lies the spiritual element to my stories. Anything else would be beating the reader over the head with a two-by-four Bible.

Q: What do you enjoy doing more than writing?

Michelle: What? You mean there’s something other than writing? Huh. I’ll have to ponder that concept.

Q: You’ve said you like to visit the historical settings of your novels. What was the most enjoyable location you’ve been to?

Michelle: Ironbridge. Hands down. No question. I’d move there in a heartbeat. Ironbridge is the birthplace of the industrial revolution in England. It reminds me of the Shire.

Q: What advice would you give a new writer in the Christian market today—maybe like, ah, someone like me—who is just publishing their first book?

Michelle: A successful writer writes. Don’t get sidetracked on the marketing or reviews or anything else. Move on to your next writing project. There’s always a story to be written . . . so write it!

Thanks, Michelle. I will take that advice.Brentwood's Ward Cover Peek

We’re Giving Away A Copy of Her Latest Book, Brentwood’s Ward!

Michelle has graciously offered to give away a signed copy of her latest book, Brentwood’s Ward. To enter the drawing for this, click on the GIVEAWAYS button in the sidebar or sign up for Mark’s newsletter in the panel on the right. (If you are viewing this through Goodreads, please go to my web site.) The contest will run from April 24 through midnight May 1. Please note that the free book won’t be shipped until the first week of June.

Here’s what the book is about:

There’s none better than NICHOLAS BRENTWOOD at catching the felons who ravage London’s streets, and there’s nothing he loves more than seeing justice carried out—but this time he’s met his match. Beautiful and beguiling EMILY PAYNE is more treacherous than a city full of miscreants and thugs, for she’s a thief of the highest order…she’s stolen his heart.

Available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook formats at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine booksellers.