Hello! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with guest author Michelle Dennise

Michelle is a new indie author from Australia. She lives with her husband and two children, a dog and an aviary full of budgies. She enjoys reading historical fiction and creating stories in the hope of bringing some reading enjoyment and the occasional giggle to young children.

Book sample:  Where’s My Sandwich?

Genre: Children 2 years up

Synopsis: Where’s My Sandwich? Is about a girl and her dog who go on a picnic. When Nellie’s sandwich goes missing, she sets out through the Australian Bush to find the one who took it. Along the way she meets some Australian animals and learns a little about what they eat. However, this is not an educational focused story and doesn’t not go into detail about what the animals eat.

Why do you write? I loved to read from the moment I learnt how to as a child. I really was a bookworm. I grew up dreaming of becoming an author and I am loving that I am finally living my dream. I write because it has always been something I’ve enjoyed. I love writing for children because I know how much I loved reading as a child but I also know many children do not like reading for one reason or another and so I hope my books engage children as they interact with the stories and bring a few giggles along the way in the hope of sparking their interest in books.

How long does it usually take you to complete a book? Once I get a storyline in my mind I can finish the draft story within a week. Depending on any adjustments I want to make it can be up to two weeks for the final draft. I do my own illustrations and that part takes me awhile. I do not call myself an illustrator as I cannot draw. Lucky for me I like simple illustrations that look like a child has drawn them and I have found kids seem to like them as well.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?  I hadn’t really thought about bringing my childhood dream to life for a long time. Real life keeps me busy but one day I was talking with my boss about books and I mentioned my dream and several times after that conversation he asked me if I’ve started writing my book yet. I would laugh it off but the thought was planted and so one day I thought “why not?”

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?  As a mother of two, my life is pretty busy, add to that work and study and it’s near impossible to have a structured time for writing. I basically allow thoughts to bounce around in my mind until I come up with a storyline then I will write down my ideas and go from there. Sometimes I come up with a story quickly while other times it takes a while longer. For example with my current book, Where’s My Sandwich? The title popped into my head one day but it was weeks later before I had an actual story line.

What have you written? I currently have two eBooks published – The Mixed Up Pet Shop and I Have a Voice Too. I have two more written that are not yet published and another 2 ideas bouncing around in my mind. Later this year I am planning on releasing The Mixed Up Pet Shop in paperback with fresh illustrations (this was my first book and the illustrations make me cringe). Both these eBooks are available to download for free.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you? I like to see where an idea takes me. I have a busy mind that’s always coming up with stories so I run with my imagination.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? If it is something you want to do then do it. Don’t let someone tell you, you can’t. Every author is different, we all have our own ideas of what makes a great story. Some are in it for a career, some for stardom, while others just want to share their stories and hopefully bring some reading enjoyment to a few people. With the option to self-publish today, there is really nothing to hold you back.

Where do your ideas come from? Oh anywhere lol. I find a story playing out in my mind all the time just from everyday things like I may see or hear something that catches my attention and minutes later there’s my mind creating a storyline.

What is your favorite movie or TV show? I don’t watch a lot of tv as I prefer to read but recently I enjoyed Heartland and Little House on the Prairie (perhaps that’s fitting given I enjoy reading historical fiction).

Which writers inspire you? I wouldn’t say they inspire me to write but I truly enjoy Mary Connealy’s books. I’ve read every one and she never fails to make me laugh. I love how she gets her humor woven into the story. I also enjoy Tamera Alexander, Tracie Peterson, Karen Witemeyer and a few others of the same genre. I’m fairly picky with what I like to read and I can’t pick up anything and read it. Once I’m stuck on a genre that is pretty much all I read.

What is the current book you are promoting? I am currently working on a Cover Reveal Facebook Party for my first paperback – Where’s My Sandwich? I will attach the invitation as it is an open invitation and everyone is invited. There will be guest authors, interviews, book promos, Q&As, competitions and giveaways.

You mentioned you’re writing a new story. How about a teaser? I am getting ready to release another book shortly after Where’s My Sandwich? This one is actually the very first story I wrote but I went on to release the others first. I’m not quite sure why, maybe the others just distracted me but I am really excited about it. This one is called Where are you Baby Bird? And it was inspired by my love for birds. I raise budgies and I get a daily dose of entertainment and joy from watching them so I thought they can be the star of my book. The story is about Baby Bird going missing one day and Mummy Bird sets out to find him. I believe the story will draw the kids in to interact with it, guessing where he is, and feeling the emotions Mummy Bird feels.

Do you have any formal education in creative writing? If not are you planning to go to school? No I don’t have any formal education although I do remember receiving an award back in high school that gave me access to a short story writing class. While that’s not formal education it was a memorable award. Which reminds me I did write and have my very first story published in a book with several other authors back when I was only 14! It was only a one page short story about the history of the local area. I often forget that lol and must find myself a copy of it.

What is your next project? The next thing I want to do is release The Mixed Up Pet Shop in paperback with fresh illustrations. I am also thinking about the possibility of releasing this story in a DIY illustrations color book. I know from the many downloads and reviews that this book has been successful so I am looking forward to its official release later this year.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why? I love this question but it’s a hard one to answer. I must say if I could meet any of them I truly would love to meet the ones from Mary Connealys and Tamera Alexanders books. One memorable character in one of Tameras books was Adelicia Cheltham, although she was a real person. I did admire her boldness and strength.

If there was one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be? Just one thing…hmm..I would restore peace where everyone got along and showed kindness, therefore reducing world hunger and poverty as we would all work together and help one another. It would restore the true sense of family and community.

Who is your favorite author and which of their books is your favorite? While I have read and enjoyed every one of Mary Connealy and Tamera Alexanders books my favorites would be The Kincaid Brides series by Mary Connealy (they are so funny) and I can’t decide which series I liked best from Tamera Alexander so I’ll name them both – Fountain Creek Chronicles and Timber Ridge Reflections.

What are some of your favorite books and why? One of my ultimate favorite reads was The Heirs of Montana series by Tracie Peterson. This is a 5 book series which is a long story but it was excellent. It started with the main character as a child and finished into adulthood. Each book focused on a different main character but the originals were in there as well. It came with different emotions and it is one series I am quick to recommend.

What do you read with? (Kindle, Nook, iPad, iPhone, physical book) I prefer a physical book….There’s nothing like a paperback! But I do use the kindle app and ibooks.

What do you think of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing? I can’t say I have had any experience with traditional publishing but I don’t like how you can have your book rejected. Who says your story isn’t good enough! We all have different interests and ideas and there will always be someone out there that would enjoy it. That’s what I like about self-publishing, I publish my work, my way, and if only a few people enjoy it, I consider that a success. Reality is you can’t please everyone.

Are you currently reading a book or just finished one? I have just finished reading Maggie Brennans Heart of the West series.

What do your readers mean to you? I write children’s books for ages 2 up. I think it is important to encourage reading from a young age although not all kids like to read for one reason or another and I completely understand this having a child with ASD and processing difficulties myself, reading and comprehending the story isn’t an easy task and therefore hinders reading from being enjoyable. I hope to encourage children to read through my cute and sometimes funny stories. My books are not educational focused and so I hope children get some light reading enjoyment out of them and want to read another book. My readers mean a lot to me because without them my books go unread. I do hope to help children who do not like to read to find it more enjoyable and for those who love to read I hope they enjoy my books enough to read another.

Is there a book you love you’d like to recommend to others? A children’s book I loved as a kid and read so often I knew it off by heart is “The Big Block of Chocolate” by Janet slater Redhead.

Many thanks Michelle! For more about Michelle, her work, and getting yourself a copy, follow the links below. Also be sure to attend her book reveal party:

Facebook / Goodreads / Smashwords