"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
Michele Bardsley is multi-published in several genres, but she is best known for her paranormal series set in the fictional town of Broken Heart, Oklahoma. She invites … nay, she commands … readers to check out the adventures of her vampire PTA parents in I’m The Vampire, That’s Why (September 2006), Don’t Talk Back To Your Vampire (July 2007), Because Your Vampire Said So (Spring 2008), and Wait Until Your Vampire Gets Home (Fall 2008).
Over the years, her work has earned awards and recognition from many organizations and publications—including OWFI’s Trophy Award for Best Book of Fiction and the Grand Prize in the 72nd Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. Michele lives in Tulsa with her family.
An Interview with Michele Bardsley
PNR: Can you tell us a little about how you started writing; was it something you have always wanted to do?
Michele B.: Yes, for as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a writer. For a while, I sought a degree in journalism, but after taking a few creative writing classes in college, I was hooked on writing fiction.
PNR: Could you tell us about your writing routine, how do you balance writing and personal time? What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?
Michele B.: I don’t have a routine. I don’t balance writing and personal time. I envy other writing moms who can and who do, but not enough to actually to follow-through with a Routine That Must Be Followed. I wish I was that writer who rolled out of bed, fixed a pot of tea, and, after reviewing yesterday’s pages, started on the next chapter while sipping Earl Grey. My day starts more like this:
I crawl out of bed, stumble down the hallway and listen to Mac, our noisy guinea pig, squeal for lettuce. My nine-year-old son chimes in with pleas for food, clean clothes, or permission to go outside (usually all three). I feed the guinea pigs (yes, we have two) and my kid, then I help him find clothes, shoes, toys. After at least three arguments about picking up messes and two loud reminders about PUTTING YOUR SHOES IN THE SAME PLACE, I pop a Prilosec and vitamins, downing them with juice. If I’m feeling guilty about the crusty dishes in the sink, I’ll load the dishwasher. Eventually, I collapse into my office chair and turn on my laptop. Sometimes, I actually remember to change out of my nightgown. If I’m really lucky, I get to take a shower.
For pure enjoyment, I go to movies. I love zoning out with a good comedy or action-adventure or science fiction film.
PNR: What is the best part about being a writer? The most frustrating?
Michele B.: I get to tell a story. I get to romp around in my own mind and play with pretend friends all day. The most frustrating … getting interrupted twenty million times a day. I’ve been staying up really, really late because it’s the only quiet time I get.
PNR: Which author(s) is your favorite? And who or what has most influenced you work? Who or what has been your biggest support?
Michele B.: I have a huge list of favorite authors including Nora Roberts, MaryJanice Davidson, Charlaine Harris, Martha Grimes, Elizabeth Peters, Jeff Strand, Cat Marsters … this list is endless.
If you mean influence as in “work harder,” then most of the authors I’ve listed and many others I’ve read over the years. I think reading really great books makes me want to write really great books, too. I always want to be a better writer.
My biggest support is my family. My favorite words from my husband are, “Go write. I’ll do that.” All the readers on my Yahoo! List are wonderful supporters of my work. Writers need pats on the back, too.
PNR: Reviewers and readers are raving about I’m the Vampire, That’s Why, the first title in your new vampire series, Broken Heart Vampires; could you tell us where the idea came from and a little about your vision for the series?
Michele B.: I read an article by Charlaine Harris where she described the process she used to come up with her Southern Vampire series. I asked myself the same question: What do I know about? (Small towns, motherhood, Oklahoma) and how could I mix it with the paranormal (vampires, werewolves, magic)? Thus, Broken Heart and its paranormal citizens were created.
PNR: For readers who are not familiar with your Broken Heart Vampires series, could you give us an overview?
Michele B.: Broken Heart is a small town in Oklahoma that’s been overtaken by the Consortium, which is a sort of corporate vampire group that creates technology, medical break-throughs, and so forth with the idea of one day building bridges between parakind and mankind.
The human citizens—those who’ve not been turned into vampires—are vacated because Broken Heart is about to become the first paranormal community in the States. Not everyone agrees with the Consortium’s methods, but they’re usually better than the high-handed decrees of the Ancients, who are the first seven vampires who ever lived on Earth.
PNR: July sees the release of the second book in the Broken Heart Vampires series, Don’t Talk Back to Your Vampire, Eva’s story. Could you give us a sneak peek? Will you be revisiting favorite characters from Book one?
Michele B.: Don’t Talk Back to Your Vampire is the story of town librarian Eva LeRoy and Lorcan O’Halloran, who is responsible for all the parents-turned-vampires in the first book. Of course, Jessica and Patrick appear in this novel, but it really is about Eva and Lorcan how they learn to forgive and to love.
PNR: Your Broken Heart Vampires series takes place in a contemporary setting; can you tell us about the challenges you face in world building and making it work with the ideas you have in mind for the progression of your characters and the series? Do you write your characters to fit the world you have created or vice versa?
Michele B.: I write my characters into modern-day settings as if they really existed in our world. It’s not that difficult to imagine a vampire or a werewolf hanging out in a small Oklahoman town. At least it’s not for me. LOL.
PNR: Readers are in love with Jessica and Patrick; could you tell us a little about how you develop your characters? Who has been your favorite character to write? The most challenging?
Michele B.: I never can answer this question! I get something different from every character I write. Some characters are fully realized—I get them right away, such as Jessica Matthews. Eva LeRoy took a little longer because she wasn’t as impulsive or as kick-ass as Jessica.
PNR: Your writing is infused with witty humor and clever dialogue, I’m the Vampire, That’s Why had many laugh out loud moments. Do you feel humor is an essential element in your writing? Does it come naturally to you?
Michele B.: I think humor is part of my voice naturally. Humor is an essential element in novels because it can often be used to deflate tension or to hide how a character is really feeling about a situation.
PNR: How would you describe the sensuality level of your books; do you find it challenging to write the love/sex scenes?
Michele B.: I write erotica romance so the love scenes in my vampire mom series often seem tame to me. I don’t find it challenging to write the love scenes—the issues for my vampire series is that once a vampire has sex with someone, they’re bound for the next 100 years.
PNR: Why do you feel the vampire is such a popular character in books, movies and television?
Michele B.: Immortality is something we all contemplate because living forever seems like the better alternative to crossing into the Great Unknown. The vampire is also an incredibly sensual creature.
PNR: Paranormal romance is experiencing an incredible surge in popularity, what do you feel accounts for the sudden interest in the genre? What is it about the paranormal genre that captures your imagination?
Michele B.: Reality sucks. Our soldiers are getting killed in a senseless war, we worry about terrorism, gas prices are ridiculously high, we work harder for less money … I really don’t think you have to look far to find a reason why paranormal fiction, and not just in romance, is doing so well. How wonderful would it be to have a power that could make your life better? Wizards, vampires, werewolves, witches … all with magical abilities to do something really wonderful.
PNR: What is your favorite genre to write? Is there any style or genre of book that you would like to try but haven’t yet?
Michele B.: Right now, I love writing in the paranormal genre. I very much enjoy bringing the otherworldly into the real world. It’s fun! One day, I want to write a mystery. And maybe a horror novel.
PNR: Could you tell us about your current projects, what can readers expect to see in the coming months?
Michele B.: In November, my erotic romance, FANTASYLAND, will hit bookstores. Five novellas take place on a fictional chain of islands, each with an erotic theme. So, five couples go to these paradises to assuage lust … and find love.
PNR: Thank you Michele, for taking time out to talk to us. Where can readers find out what’s new and how can they contact you?
Thanks so much, Dee!
Broken Heart, OK
July 3, 2007
Broken Heart Vampires: Book 2
Being a mother is never easy-especially when you're undead. Eva LeRoy, Broken Heart, Oklahoma's librarian, got "vampified" when everyone else did: during a rogue vampire's feeding frenzy. But books still make her undead heart beat-and, strangely enough, so does Lorcan the Loner, the vampire who killed her...
September 1, 2006
Broken Heart Vampires: Book 1
There's a new breed of soccer mom in town-with fangs.
Does drinking blood make me a bad mother? That's the question single mom Jessica Matthews faces when she wakes from a savage attack sucking on the thigh of Patrick O'Halloran, a super-hot Irish vampire who'd generously offered his femoral artery to save her from death...only to make her one of the undead.
Jessica can't rest until the beast that did this to her is caught. Meanwhile, she's having trouble committing to Patrick (in the vampire handbook, physical intimacy costs you several hundred years of being bound together) and keeping her kids in line.
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