Today on the blog I have the pleasure of speaking to Michelle Betham, who is a hybrid indie/traditionally published author that I have been reading for some years now. Thanks for coming Michelle!
Michelle Betham is an ex-media technician turned author of sexy, edgy, and sometimes quite dark romance, usually involving rock stars, movie stars, hot businessmen and bikers. But not usually all in the same book. Yet. She is both self-published and published through HarperImpulse, a division of HarperCollins Publishers.
Addicted to binge-watching TV shows she struggles to think of a life before Netflix or Amazon Prime, loves rock music, tattoos – of which she has many – spicy food, superheroes (she’s a slightly obsessed Avengers fan-girl who harbours a particularly unhealthy obsession with Captain America), and Keanu Reeves – a crush that’s lasted well over twenty years, and one she blames entirely on ‘Point Break’. The original. She refuses to acknowledge any remake exists.
Her dream is to ride a Harley, visit Las Vegas, and be able to eat any amount of chocolate without putting on weight.
She lives in County Durham, north-east England, with her husband and West Highland Terrier, where she can be found most days drinking tea and making up stories.
Q1. Can you tell us a little about your current WIP?
At the minute, I can’t really say much at all, it’s a bit of a secret. What I can say, though, is that it’s a little different to any of my other books, and I’m having a blast writing it!
Q2. What’s next for the writing?
Again, it’s a bit of a boring answer because I’m currently so involved with that secret project I mentioned before. The one I can’t say much about! However, I’m also making a lot of notes on future book ideas, because they’re coming thick and fast. And I’m also genre-hopping again. It’s a habit of mine.
Q3. In addition to your books, what kind of career have you had?
A bit of a varied one, to be honest. I started out as a secretary in an accountant’s office before leaving that job to train as a nursery nurse. I then became a one-on-one assistant for a teenager with cerebral palsy, accompanying her to school, helping her with certain aspects of lessons she found difficult, that kind of thing. And over 25 years later I’m happy to say we’re still very good friends! In 1994 I went back to college and gained a BTEC in Performing Arts before becoming a media technician at the University of Sunderland, which was the best job in the world, I loved it! But I gave it all up when we moved to Tenerife for a couple of years in 2004, and that’s when the writing bug really bit hard, because I finally had the time to pursue it.
Q4. A typical day in the life of you – what does that look like?
Well, a typical day would start at around 7.15am when me and Archie – my little West Highland terrier – go out for our morning walk. Then we have breakfast, watch some news, I do a (little) bit of housework, and then I’m usually at the desk for about half past nine. It’s a break for lunch around twelve-thirty, and that’s when I try to grab some reading time before I take Archie out for his afternoon walk, which is always welcome. It’s nice to get a bit of fresh air to kick-start the brain again before an afternoon of writing. And I stay at the desk until about five 0’clock – that’s when I let reality take over again. We make dinner, there’s more dog walking, but I always squeeze in some early evening reading, too. I can’t write in the evening. I need to switch off at some point, although, to be fair, switching off completely is a very hard thing to do for any writer, I’m sure! So, not the most exciting of days, but that’s very much a typical one at the moment.
Q5. I collect elephant ornaments (and books of course!) – do you have something you collect?
I’m slightly obsessed with mugs. I’d have a cupboard full of them if I could, it drives my husband to distraction!
Q6. If you could branch out into a different genre, which one would you choose and why?
Well, I’ve done quite a bit of genre-juggling with my books as it is, so I’ve already tried a few, but, I’ve never tried my hand at horror. And I LOVE reading horror books, I adore being scared witless by the likes of James Herbert and Stephen King. So, maybe one day I’ll have a go myself. After all, I do have a VERY dark side!
Q7. Do you have any tips for the budding novelists out there reading this?
The most important thing – never, ever give up! If you love what you, if you truly love writing, then keep going, no matter how many knock-backs you may get. And learn to love your own voice – never try to emulate anyone else. Be inspired, of course, but find your own voice, and then learn to love it.
Q8. What are you reading currently?
‘Obsession’ by Amanda Robson. Really enjoying it.
Q9. Before you start a new novel, do you plot extensively, focus on the characters, or take an idea and run with it?
Oh, I am definitely a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants writer! I never really plan extensively. I take an idea, make notes, create characters – I have to have the characters fairly clear in my head before I begin – but apart from that I just start writing, and let the story take me where it needs to go. Mind you, having said that, the book I’m currently working on at the minute has meant I’ve had to forget all ofthat, and for the first time ever I’ve actually had to plan a story from start to finish! It’s been an education, to say the least. A very different way of working for me, but I’ve picked up some very useful tips along the way, which is always a good thing. As writers I don’t think we ever stop learning.
Q10. Who are your favourite writers in the genre you write in?
Well, I write in a few different genres, so I’ve got favourite authors in those different genres, too. I’ve always, always loved Jackie Collins’ books for the pure escapism. Her books are my guilty pleasure. I also adore the likes of Kylie Hillman and Jordan Marie for MC (motorcycle club) romance, James Herbert and Stephen King for horror, and I’m also a big fan of Jill Mansell and Marian Keyes.
Thanks for coming to chat Michelle, I can’t wait to chat with you later in the summer about series writing!
For more info on Michelle and her books, follow the links below.