OK readers, it is that time again! So grab your favorite flavored coffee, sit back, and get ready to laugh your socks off. Today I had the privilege of interviewing a very talented and funny author. So make sure not be gulping the coffee down as you read these questions and answers, because you will end up shooting coffee out your nose! Please give a warm welcome to Michelle Holman!
Hello Michelle! Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to stop by and say hello. Why don’t we get started? Can you please start off by giving a synopsis of what Knotted is about?
I heard Danny and Ross fighting inside my head while I was hanging socks on the washing line one day. Ross was demanding to know what Danny had done with his socks. They share a niece and nephew and a lot of personality traits (or should I say defects?) that become more obvious as the story progresses. However, their personal circumstances are poles apart. Danny has no family. Ross has too much. Danny is up to her eyeballs in debt. Ross is a bestselling author. He’s been sent by his family to make contact with his dead brother’s children that they didn’t know existed. Ross didn’t want the job and is only in New Zealand because Danny refused to answer letters sent by his lawyer. He’s used to getting his own way and doesn’t anticipate too many problems sorting out “the auntie” now he’s found her, after all, the odds are stacked in his favor. Danny’s scared the children are going to be taken away from her and worried about developing breast cancer like her mother and sister. She isn’t afraid to fight dirty to preserve her family and finds novel ways to thwart Ross so that he has to take drastic action. Knotted is about the importance of family and that soul mates do exist, even if at first you don’t recognize them.
When we first meet Daneka “Danny” Lawton, we see a woman who has a take charge attitude to say the least. Would you say you modeled her after anyone you know?
I didn’t think I’d modeled her after anybody until my husband read Knotted while he was away on business and said it was like having me along with him. The only thing I have in common with Danny is that I used to be an Emergency Room nurse and I’ve got short hair. But it isn’t blue. And I don’t throw things in supermarkets.
Ross Fabello is brash, arrogant, aggressive, and oozes sex appeal. I loved him! How did you develop his characteristics?
He developed himself – truly! When characters start “writing” themselves I know I’m on the right track. Ross and Danny talked so much inside my head and had so many great one-liners I had to cut dialogue. Sniff!
The tone of your novel is funny in a very sarcastic way. Do you find you yourself are this way?
Danny is sarcastic. I’m insightful. Just because I sometimes curl my lip when I’m being insightful it isn’t the same as being sarcastic and doesn’t justify my husband saying things like “Your tongue is so sharp it’s a miracle your lips are still attached to your face.” I have to add here, that he’s no slouch when it comes to “pithy” comments. Omigod! We sound like Danny and Ross.
While most of Knotted is full of funny anecdotes, part of the tale deals with breast cancer, which is of course a very serious subject. Is there a reason for including it in your book?
My grandmother had breast cancer, I’ve got friends who’ve had breast cancer, and I’ve nursed women with breast cancer. I feel passionately about regular breast screening, it’s the most powerful weapon women have in the fight against the disease.
While most of the story revolves around Ross and Danny, we do get a chance to see some of the Fabello family members in action. How in the world did you come up with such a diverse and eclectic group of characters?
Ross had to be used to strong women so that he could give Danny a run for her money. I pictured him surrounded by a large, interfering bunch of opinionated women with very distinct characters and he hadto have twin sisters to understand what Danny was going through. He’s a very passionate, creative person so it just seemed natural for him to have an Italian father and an Irish mother. I lovedwriting the scenes with his sisters and his mother, Breda but thank goodness they’re not real. Could you imagine spending Christmas with them?
You must have a vivid imagination to come up with some of the hilarious events that are within the pages (especially that produce scene). Do your novels have a tendency to write themselves or is there a method to your madness?
Method? Method? What’s that? I get most of my best ideas while I’m half asleep which is why I keep a writing pad and pen on my bedside table. I can lie in bed and write upside down in the dark and be able to read it in the morning. Pause for applause.
I myself like to listen to the CD Phantom of the Opera when I am writing reviews and interviews. Do you use any stimuli while writing?
I prefer peace and quiet when I’m writing but I do listen to music when I’m plotting or to help me to get to know the characters. Each of my books has so far had a song, or songs. Danny’s song is ‘I See Red’ and Ross’ song is ‘Message to My Girl’. They’re both by a New Zealand group called Split Enz that I love. I’ve got sound bites of the songs for each book on my website.
On your website, you have a blog which mentions WWW. Why don’t you tell the readers a little about what this is? I found it to be quite fascinating and funny!
Snort! WWW stands for Wives For Women Worldwide and started out as a joke. I’m always saying I want a wife, that everywoman should have a wife – heck, make it two! I want somebody who’ll do all the jobs I do. I want my drawers to magically fill with clean underwear and dinner to appear on the table. I want somebody who knows how to make a rollercoaster out of toilet rolls for ‘that’ school project. I said so on my Facebook page and started getting messages from women around the world asking to join and suggesting rules which involved shoes and hunky handymen with tool belts. I even heard from a woman who’d written an advertisement for a wife. Ring any bells, Danielle?
I love your first date experience with your husband. Can you tell your readers about it?
By now you’ll have guessed that my husband is a fairly strong-minded man with a well developed sense of humor. He’s English. I met him on a blind date when I was 18 and doing my big OE (Downunder talk for “Overseas Experience”) in the UK. It was a double blind date; he and his best friend took me and another girl I didn’t know out for the night. The only people who knew one another were my husband and his friend and they talked non-stop - to each other. I was wearing a pair of wooden-soled high heels (it was 1979, they were fashionable) and the rubber stopper came off the bottom of one of them. We went to a nightclub in a mall and had to walk for miles on concrete from the car to the club. I sounded like I had a wooden leg, every second step went click! I was so embarrassed I started limping so it didn’t sound so bad but that meant I sounded and looked like I had a wooden leg. My husband never noticed. We’ve been together ever since.
Your bio mentions Elton John. Do you have any other favorite singers? What about movies, shows, etc? And of course who are some of your favorite writers?
I’m still a fan of Elton John plus several NZ artists, Dave Dobbyn, Brooke Fraser, Split Enz, Op Shop. I also love Crowded House, Matchbox Twenty, David Bowie and U2.
Films:- Breakfast At Tiffanys, Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid, Cool Hand Luke, Love Actually, Bridget Jones Diary (1st one), The Shawshank Redemption, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button.
Favorite writers:- Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Elizabeth Walker, Brenda Jagger, Rachel Gibson, Christie Ridgway, LaVyrle Spencer.
Your blog mentions that Knotted hit #3 on the New Zealand Bestsellers chart! Congratulations. This is a story that needs to be shared with the world! Will your novel be available in America or any other country? And if so when?
And it’s still there! Knotted is being released as an e-book sometime soon, I’m waiting to hear the date. Amazon has my backlist and presumably will stock Knotted. My first book has just been released in Europe and Knotted is coming out in Australia in February 2010. I’d love my books to be available in American bookstores, fingers crossed that will happen sometime.
I know you have a Facebook page. Can you give the readers the links to any social networks you have?
I also share a blog with a group of romance writers called the Romantic Journey. There are six of us, published and unpublished from America, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand writing historical, contemporary, urban futuristic and erotic romance. It’s a lot of fun.
I see the movie rights for Bonkers has been optioned. Does that mean we can expect to see one of your books on the big screen in the near future?
Wouldn’t that be nice? The movie industry is incredibly competitive but you never know. The story has been moved from New Zealand to Manhattan but that’s fine with me.
And speaking of movies, it got me to thinking about who could play Ross and Danny if Knotted were turned into a movie. I, being a red-blooded woman immediately thought of Hugh Jackman for Ross’ part (mainly because he is so hot I think I drool every time I watch him). As for Danny, I could not think of any one woman who would be spunky enough to play the part. Do you have any images of who would play them if there was a movie?
You ask some tough questions, Danielle! As you know, in the book Ross gets mistaken for George Clooney (except with a bigger nose) a few times, so I’d probably have to say a crabby George when he was in his mid-to-late thirties with stubble, bloodshot eyes, and a bigger nose. At least, that’s how Ross looks when Danny first meets him.
And Danny? Hmmm. Probably Mary Stuart Masterson looking like an older version of how she did in ‘Some Kind Of Wonderful’. Danny isn’t textbook pretty, she something better – memorable.
Knotted is a romance. Are there any other genres you would write? What about something you would not even attempt to write?
I have a job as well as my writing to occupy my time so I haven’t even considered other genres. Maybe historical or suspense, but I think my first love will always be contemporary romance, particularly humorous contemporary romance. What wouldn’t I attempt to write? A children’s book. I’m too insightful.
I am still on this movie kick so I will ask another question regarding actors and whatnots. If there was a movie made about you and your husband’s life, who would portray you and who would portray your husband? Why?
I love this question! Sandra Bullock! I really enjoy her movies, she’s so deadpan, plus she’s drop dead gorgeous. I could cope with being played by a drop dead gorgeous, deadpan actress. I really struggled to think of who would play my husband and decided it’d have to be a “hybrid actor” – a combination of Ewan McGregor and Clive Owen. They’re both English and seem quite laid back, but they know how to deliver a line with bite.
And one last question I like to ask all of my interviewees. In keeping with the Coffee Time theme, if you were to be described as a flavor of coffee, what flavor would you be and why?
A Moccachino. One part sweet, one part sour.
Thank you so much Michelle for taking the time to answer my sometimes zany questions! I had so much fun reading and reviewing your novel along with getting to know you better.
Thanks Danielle, it was fun.
Check out the review for Knotted which is available now. For more information on this novel or any other Michelle Holman novel, check out her website or the publisher’s page