Michele Answers Your Questions
What inspires you when you are writing a book?
I’m inspired by many things including my family and friends, especially my kids. I find inspiration just by meeting people and hearing their stories. Underdogs inspire me. The amazing mare Zenyatta who nearly won The Triple Crown in 2010 inspires me.
Where did you get the ideas for your characters Nikki, Michaela and Evie?
Nikki came about while I was visiting Napa Valley and looking for some new ideas to write about. I was out for a walk and she just came to me. I started thinking about a Nancy drew type of character all grown up. I was super excited to get back home and flesh her out. She is super fun to write about!
Michaela was a natural character for me to create. My love of horses helped this character find a home on the page. She is such an animal lover and most anyone I am close to are also animals lovers, so I was able to pull from many directions while creating her.
I created Evie from the premise of the storyline. I knew she needed to be a bit younger than my other characters due to her profession as an aspiring musician. She needed to have freedom to leave home without any real ties and also have a spirit that allowed her to be a bit naïve due to the types of characters she encounters throughout the series who help shape Evie into the character she is currently growing into—one helluva savvy sleuth.
What made you include recipes and wine pairings in your books?
Wine Pairings and recipes felt natural for The Nikki Sands Mysteries. Nikki loves wine and food and so do I. I wanted to share that aspect of myself as the creator of the stories and with Nikki as the heroine, so it worked to write them in as the “narrator.”
You write in several different genres. How do you manage that?
So many times writers get boxed into a specific genre and there is an aspect to being an author that is all about branding and I understand that. However, I consider myself foremost a writer before I do author and so I need to be integral to that part of me as a creator. That said, I write what I want to write because they are all stories I want to tell. I don’t worry about what genre they might fall into, I just write them.
What are some of the greatest influences on your writing?
My parents because they taught me what it means to persevere. Mike Sirota who has been my freelance editor for many years and has also taught me tenacity as well as how to be a better writer. Don McQuinn who is a fantastic author in his own right and a mentor who has always kind of picked me up at the darkest moments and kicked me in the butt to keep on writing.
Where do you get your ideas?
Everywhere. I do. I get ideas when I am out with the horses, making dinners, from magazine articles, newspapers, Internet stories, other people—you name it. Ideas are all around us.
Do you accept story ideas from other people?
I don’t. I have enough “voices” in my head telling me what to write. If someone has an idea, then I think that it is theirs and they should write it.
Do you read and critique unpublished manuscripts?
I wish that I had time to do this but I simply don’t.
Are your characters based either on people you know or celebrities?
My characters are sometimes based on several people I know and rolled into one. I take the best and worst of people I know or even people I have heard of use some of it to turn them into my own characters.
Are your stories/characters based on your own experiences?
There are parts of experiences that I have had in which my stories are based on, especially in Happy Hour.
How did you get started?
I always knew that I wanted to be a writer from the time I was a kid. When I was about twenty-two years old and had just graduated from college, I took a Writer’s Digest correspondence course. I wrote my first book from that class and I have never stopped writing since.
How do I get an agent?
Write the best book you can, learn how to write great query letters and synopsis and then research the business side and find out who represents your kind of work. Only send agents what they ask for, and always use a SASE.
What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
Sit your butt in the chair and turn on the computer and begin putting ideas down. That’s it. Keep writing until you finish a book, then write another one, learn the business and if this is your passion—don’t give up.
What is your pen name? Why do you use a pen name?
A.K. Alexander is my pen name. I use pen names for books that are outside of what my readership expects from a Michele Scott book.
Do you have any hobbies?
Horseback riding, cooking, dancing, and of course—reading!