An interview by
Sheila had the opportunity to chat with Michelle Houston about her work this month. Enjoy the interview!
Michelle Houston's Sites:
Posted July 29, 2008
SheilaMonique: Welcome to Wild On Books Michelle! Can you tell us a little about your newest release A CHANGE OF PACE?
A CHANGE OF PACE is a 6,000 word story about a woman getting a second chance at
a former crush. Although she knew him when they were both in law school, when
Alan pulls her over for speeding, Nicole finds herself intrigued by the turn of
events that led him from law school to being a police officer. Even more
intriguing is his invitation to dinner. It’s a short, hot erotic romance, which
I hope melts the pixels on the computer screen of anyone reading it.
SheilaMonique: Can you tell us how you come up with your ideas for your books? Do you base any of your characters on people you know?
Michelle Houston: I actually try very hard not to get too detailed with my characters from people I know. I might start a character based off of a personality quirk, or an offhanded comment someone makes, but the character after that points assumes their own life.
As for how the ideas come to me, sometimes they are like Athena and spring forth
fully mature, just waiting for me to get every detail captured. Other times,
they tease me, giving me a line here, a vague idea there, and make me work for
all the details in between. Each character, each concept, has a presence of its
own, and its own way of coming to life.
SheilaMonique: How did you start writing?
Michelle Houston: Actually I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have ideas demanding to be put to paper. I started writing erotica/erotic romances though about 1998, when I would find a gem of incredible talent hidden among the sea of, well, not so sparkling works of writing out there. Often times, I would find myself saying “I can do better than that”, or “I can’t believe it ended that way”, or worse, “what was the author thinking … things were going so well and he/she did that to the characters”.
I’d get so frustrated I’d sit down and write my own story.
SheilaMonique: What was your very first published book? How did you feel when you received the news that it had been accepted?
Michelle Houston: This actually I have to look at in three stages. First I had a short story published in an anthology, then I had my own anthology/collection published, and then there was the publication of my first actual “book”.
The first story, EXPOSED, shocked me. I submitted it on basically a lark, knowing there was no way it was good enough. The joke was on me though when I received the acceptance from Alison Tyler. She wanted it for her Naughty Stories From A To Z series, in the third volume. It felt so good, I tried again with another short story, and it was accepted. Then a few more were submitted. After a few more acceptances of short stories, I started looking for a publisher willing to take collections of short erotic works by one author, since I had almost 60,000 words worth by then.
I finally found one (Renaissance E Books) and submitted BEDTIME TALES, hoping like crazy that they would like it, especially since they were the only game in town willing to publish erotica collections, at that time. Surprise, they accepted it. I went on to publish a few more short story collections with them, before I found a story that demanded more.
That story was DIGGIN’ UP BONES. Alisa and Zach wanted to be more than a part of a collection, they wanted their own novella. The first evolution of their story was just over 5,000 words and was accepted by Venus Press. I moved on with my writings, waiting for the edit, and subsequent publication, and then the bubble burst. Venus Press was closing. I managed to get my rights released quickly and I started looking for a new home for DIGGIN’ UP BONES. In the mean time, I went back and looked at it, expanded it, and moved on with other things. I had other longer works accepted (5-6K), but by that point DIGGIN’ UP BONES was over 12,000 words. Finally I submitted it to Phaze, who I had always viewed as outside of my reach. When it was accepted, I was thrilled and terrified all at once. By the time it was published, it was actually my third work with them, but my first actually “book” length, at least in my eyes.
I enjoy reading – a lot. Mostly romances, but an occasional sci fi, murder
mystery, or futuristic piece. I also cross-stitch, do some light hiking, and
spend time with my family. Oddly enough, I also enjoy most of my classes, and
try to fit one in every semester or two that is just for me, not something that
I have to take for my major.
SheilaMonique: What is your normal writing schedule like?
There isn’t any pattern to it at all. Basically it’s a come as it may type
thing. I’ve missed tv shows, planned nights out, and such, because the mood
struck me. I’ve also sat and stared at a blank screen during “planned writing
times” when the mood never came to me. My family is very understanding, and we
work around the moods of my muse fairly well.
SheilaMonique: Do you do anything to prepare yourself when getting ready to write?
Nope. There really is no preparing. Since I don’t have any set writing
patterns, it more like hopping on a roller coaster when inspiration strikes me,
holding on until the urge fades.
SheilaMonique: Do you have an idea of what you are going to write or do you just let your muses lead you?
Sometimes I will have an idea of what piece I want to work on, and other times I
just start something new just because it came to me. At any one time I will
have about a dozen or more stories, of varying length, that I am working on.
SheilaMonique: Writers block, do you get it and what do you do to rid yourself of it?
Michelle Houston: I’ve had it often. In fact I am there right now. Mostly it’s a matter of being so much involved with school work, and my science classes, academic writing, and so forth that my creativity is basically stifled. It takes a while until I can get back into the mood to be creative and let a story flow.
The best cure for writer’s block that I have found that works for me is the knowledge of an upcoming exam. When I know I have one the next day, or thereabouts, I suddenly get flooded with the urge to write and more ideas than I can get down. Right when I need to be focusing on studying, but just really don’t want to be.
The rest of the time I just open up a word document, with a story I really wish
I could finish, and let it sit open while I deal with emails, and such.
Sometimes I will see it sitting there, reminding me of its presence, and I will
get an idea and have to put down just a few sentences. Other times, It doesn’t
work, and I end up closing it back out, without having touched it all day. Some
days though, I am lucky enough to just start going on it, and log in a few
hundred to a few thousand words.
SheilaMonique: Is there anything in your closet that your fans would be surprised by?
Not really. I am a T-shirt collector. Most of my wardrobe for classes and such
is made up of T-shirts I have gotten from zoos, theme parks, festivals I have
visited like the Japan Festival and the Renaissance Festival, and such.
SheilaMonique: Can you tell us about your upcoming projects?
Michelle Houston: I can tell you more about my coming releases that stuff I am actually working on, since I never know if any of the current works in progress with ever be completed.
Coming out in August is my first M/M stand alone piece. It’s a 13,000 word duet of stories involving futuristic BDSM vampires. It’s a totally hot, kinky short work, which was a lot of fun to write.
Then in September is an anthology of four M/F stories, on an intertwining theme of a mad scientist bend on discovering the secret to longevity by experiments on vampires and shifters. Four couples are brought together in an effort to stop him, his research, and the secret of their existence from getting out.
I do have a M/M shifter story that I am hoping to have finished soon, and I just
submitted another second chance story like A CHANGE OF PACE that I am hoping to
have good news on sometime soon.
SheilaMonique: When writing do you prefer the sound of silence or do you listen to music?
I often listen to music, generally only certain songs for each piece. Normally,
it’s Phil Collins/Genesis, although I have been known to listen to everything
from Enigma, Mozart, and Metallica, to Journey, Nine Inch Nails, and 80’s pop
SheilaMonique: Which one of your books is your favorite and why?
Michelle Houston: DIGGIN’ UP BONES is by far my favorite. It has the most of myself poured into it. It also has the most character development, the most of a romance, rather than erotic romance, sub plot, and the most sheer strength to it. For the most part I write light hearted erotic/erotic romances. DIGGIN’ UP BONES is a romance, but it also deals with a serious topic.
Nervous. Anxious. Excited. Terrified. Exhilarated. I never know it readers
are going to like it, hate it, or just not care about it. And reviewers – oh
man. They can make or break an author’s day.
SheilaMonique: If you were to recommend a book to someone who has never read your work, which book would it be and why?
Michelle Houston: Again, it would have to be DIGGIN’ UP BONES. I think it shows the strength of my writing the best. It also shows that there is more to my writings than just erotica. Don’t get me wrong though, I am proud of my erotica. I love writing it, and have plans to do more like A CHANGE OF PACE.
But DIGGIN’ UP BONES has a special place in my heart that I don’t know if it
will ever be surpassed.
SheilaMonique: Can you tell us the story behind KINKY GIRLS DO?
Michelle Houston: KINKY GIRLS DO actually started out as one story – Your Attention Please, the first in the collection. I wrote it for a call for submissions that an editor put out. She liked it, but it wasn’t quite what she wanted. Then I tried another story – Chasing Her Dream. She loved it and published it in an anthology. Then another call came in, and I wrote Bound In Love. Because of the subject matter of the back-story, it was rejected, even thought the editor liked it. She just wanted lighter pieces. So I had three stories of a central theme – all of the women like being dominated, in one way of another, by the man in their life. So I put them together into a collection and submitted them to Love Struck Books. The collection, by then titled KINKY GIRLS DO was accepted. But like with Venus Press things happened, and I pulled the collection. This was right around the time DIGGIN’ UP BONES was accepted by Phaze. Knowing I needed to get the collection to a 12K minimum word count, I wrote a fourth story that completed the theme, and subbed the collection. By an odd quirk, even though it was accepted after DIGGIN’ UP BONES, it was published before it due to a slot opening up in the publication schedule, and it being edited and ready to go early.
Basically, all four stories are about woman who are in touch enough with their
sexuality that they love being dominated by their men, and don’t find themselves
diminished in any way by it. In fact, embracing it makes them stronger.
SheilaMonique: I see that you write is several different genre’s, do you have a favorite, is one easier than the other?
Michelle Houston: I admit M/F is easier to write, if only because he is he, and she is she. With F/F or M/M it becomes harder. Other terms have to be used. Often I make sure my characters have different colored hair, have a height difference, or some other characteristic that sets them apart from each other to use to ID them.
My favorite would be sci fi/paranormal themes through. I enjoy futuristic,
alternate realities, vampires, shifters, and such.
SheilaMonique: Is there a genre that you haven’t written in that you would like to try?
Not really. I have thought about doing a historical romance, but I just can’t
fudge things as much as I know I would need to do to a medieval historical,
which is the time period I am most interested in.
SheilaMonique: What was the one moment in your writing career that was the most exciting?
That acceptance of my first short story, EXPOSED. That started the whole ball
rolling, and gave me the confidence and encouragement to keep going even when I
received rejections. I had rejections before that point, and they always
devastated me. After EXPOSED was accepted, I had the fact that someone thought
enough of it to publish it to fall back in. Which boosted me out of a funk when
the next rejection rolled in. And the next. And so on. Each acceptance helps
dull the rejections, even though it doesn’t completely block it.
SheilaMonique: Thank you for taking the time to visit with us Michelle, is there anything you would like to add?
Just that I appreciate everyone who took the time to read this interview, and
you Sheila for taking the time to interview me. Please, feel free to email me,
to visit my website at
www.michellehouston.com or my blog at