"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
Special FeaturesHoliday Themed Romance Chat with Featured Authors at PNR CHAT, monthly - 3rd Monday, 9pm Eastern
Michele Lang writes paranormal tales set in contemporary, urban settings: the stories of witches, lawyers, goddesses, bankers, demons, and other magical creatures hidden in plain sight. In addition to writing fiction, she has practiced the unholy craft of litigation in both Connecticut and New York. You can find her on the web at www.michelelang.com
PNR: Can you tell us a little about how you started writing; was it something you have always wanted to do?
Michele L.: I’ve been a fanatic reader since I was two years old, and even when I’m not reading, stories tell themselves in my head. Books are magic. Think of it -- someone who’s been dead for hundreds of years can speak directly to you through his or her words, and you can complete their story simply by reading it. Writing fiction is the greatest job in the world.
But it goes deeper than that. I believe with all my heart that we are here for a reason. Part of why I am alive is to help other people to rev their own creative engines and get them excited about their own missions in life. As a writer, my work is designed to amuse, inspire, and liberate people from the more deadening aspects of daily life. My books celebrate the power of dreams to change the world.
PNR: Do you have a strict writing schedule? How do you balance your personal and writing time?
Michele L.: I write in the middle of preschooler chaos. My computer lives inside a corner hutch in my living room…I can close it up and it looks like an armoire, or open it and I’m ready to roll. If I need a more peaceful environment (or caffeine) I go to a local coffeehouse to write.
Like Jo March in Little Women, I write in furious bursts and get sucked into the writers’ vortex. Once I get down there I can write pretty quickly, but afterwards I need fallow time to recover. I need to learn (as a survival mechanism) how to work at a more serene, consistent pace. Or maybe not! My method had gotten me this far with no permanent damage to date.
My kids are still young, and I’m lucky to have the time to spend with them. Writing will always be with me, and as long as I meet my commitments, I can still put my family first. That way, when deadlines loom, my family understands I’m disappearing into the vortex for a little while, but I’ll be back!
PNR: What has been the biggest influence on your work? Who or what has been your biggest support?
Michele L.: I will read anything I can get my hands on, and my influences come from all over the writing map. Ursula LeGuin, Madeleine L’Engle, Stephen King, Robert Graves, Suzanne Brockmann, Jennifer Crusie, Jennie Klassel, Marjorie Liu, Jim Butcher, Evelyn Vaughn, Cheyenne McCray, Holly Lisle, history books by the likes of Barbara Tuchman and Alison Weir, and tons of ebooks from many, many Triskelion authors. When I am writing paranormal and fantasy, I tend to read history, both American history and European. I also love to read biographies…a massive tome about Alexander Hamilton is on my nightstand right now.
The primary obstacle to my writing was fear. And my greatest fear was that I wasn’t good enough to write the stories down as I heard and saw them in my mind. I also feared that I didn’t have the right to tell my own stories at all. I had to learn to believe in myself, trust my talent. Once I accepted the fact that my job was to tell the stories, not judge how good or bad they are, I could get out of my own way and write them.
Self-doubt is murder on a writer. My biggest support, honestly, has been that little voice that tells me I have to write a story. Sometimes it’s a whisper, sometimes a roar, but that inner voice keeps on telling the stories. If I don’t write them down, I start to go a little crazy.
PNR: What do you consider to be the key elements of a great story?
Michele L.: Most people learn and grow as a result of surviving their worst nightmares. When a reader cares about a character and their troubles, they will keep reading to find out how they make it through the train wrecks and disasters. I love all my characters, especially my villains. But I’m terribly hard on them.
PNR: For readers who are not familiar with your work, could you tell us a little about your writing?
Michele L.: I’m a writer of urban fantasies and paranormal romance, and my first book, Ms. Pendragon, has just come out in print. In Ms. Pendragon, Gwen is a NYC lawyer who finds she is an incarnation of Queen Guinevere. She’s summoned back to Camelot to fight an ancient curse and to save her husband – King Arthur.
In addition to Ms. Pendragon and the sequels that are coming to that story, my April 2006 e-book release, The Devil Inside, tells the story of Alex, a Brooklyn demonslayer who falls in love with a mischievous spirit who wants his body and his soul.
And this December, my novella Eight Crazy Nights celebrates the magic of Chanukah in the crazy life of widow Carla Mauzone. She can handle her mother, her drama queen sister, and even the ghost that appears on the front lawn. But can oncologist and telepath Jon Solomon rekindle her passion for life?
PNR: Reviewers and readers love your Urban Fantasy, MS. PENDRAGON, how does it feel to have such positive recognition of your work?
Michele L.: Ms. Pendragon is my debut, so it’s an incredible affirmation. This book has helped me to grow as a writer and as a person, and it blows my mind that other people love it so much and find it’s changed them too.
PNR: Where did the idea for the story come from? How do you develop your story ideas?
Michele L.: I’m a dreamy person…a movie of another world plays in my head through much of my day. Elements of daily life – a red leaf, a strong cup of coffee, a face on the subway – will trigger memories, daydreams, and “what if” questions. Most of these fleeting thoughts are ephemeral, like soap bubbles, and they float away, no harm done. But once in a while, a big fish will swim up and swallow me whole. Then I’m in trouble! I have to write that story or it won’t leave me alone. And if I don’t get it right the first time, it comes back to make sure I finish the job to its satisfaction.
I wrote Ms. Pendragon because of a personal gripe. I always thought King Arthur got a raw deal in the Camelot legends, and I also had the sense that Queen Guinevere’s story was mangled through time, like a cosmic game of telephone gone wrong. This novel gave me a chance to finally give Arthur the “happy ever after” he deserved. Even better, I got to spring Guinevere from the snare of her past by giving her the opportunity to become the queen she was meant to be. And by setting these mythic characters in both Camelot and New York City, I liberated them and myself. Anything can happen in the Big Apple…
PNR: In MS. PENDRAGON, you have taken the well known and much loved legend of King Arthur and his Knights and added a paranormal twist; what challenges did you face incorporating the legend of Camelot into an Urban Fantasy? Could you give readers a sneak peek?
Michele L.: Sure J
Ms. Pendragon: She’s running out of time…can Gwen stop an ancient curse from destroying Camelot and New York City? A modern twist on the old fairy tale when a high-powered NYC lawyer returns to Camelot to face her destiny and her ex-husband…King Arthur.
Here, Gwen is reunited with King Arthur in Avalon:
In the shadows, she made out the figure of a man lying on a tall stone platform. At first she took it for a carved effigy, but as she drew closer, she realized he was asleep and alive.
As in a dream, the distance between her and the man seemed to increase as she drew towards him. She took a deep breath and forced herself to his side. Gwen pressed her palms to her eyes and swallowed, licking her dry lips and watching the random explosions of light on the insides of her eyelids.
She didn’t want to look. She wanted to run. But she was going to have to face Arthur and admit what she had done to him. Blinking back sudden tears that arose unbidden from her storehouse of inaccessible memories, Gwen finally faced him.
His body rested, perfectly still. So unlike him – as king, Arthur had lived always in motion, always planning the next offensive, the next progress. His face, alabaster white, reposed in perfect peace, a tiny smile playing eternally on his full, curved lips. His beard looked a little longer than she suddenly remembered.
She leaned closer, studying his face. At his neck, a whisper of his scent grabbed her solar plexus, and she gasped. This warrior knew how to love his woman. Her body remembered that scent, leather and musk, and her legs grew weak with longing.
She let herself sink to her knees, and she gently rested her cheek against his bare chest, careful not to disturb his folded hands, which were wrapped tightly around the hilt of a glowing, intricately carved sword. She held him close, and from what seemed like a million miles away, she could hear his soft, muffled heartbeat calling to her like a Siren.
She couldn’t remember marrying this man. She couldn’t remember the sound of his voice, or even what it felt like to have him inside her, claiming her.
But she knew she loved him. How could she ever have betrayed him? She didn’t remember that either, but she knew the legends. She and Lancelot…
Gwen shook her head against his chest in disbelief. I don’t care how fabulous Lance was, nobody could have rocked my world like my Lord and King. The old stories don’t make any sense.
She closed her eyes again and breathed deeply, drinking in his scent and losing herself against his cold, hard shoulder. Without thinking, her hand reached up and traced the outline of his jaw, down his muscular neck, and across to his lips.
She felt the slightest tickle of breath there, a brief touch of warmth. She felt herself inch up towards his face, caressing the thick jet black hair, stroking his forehead.
“I’m back, sweetheart,” she whispered. “Wake up, Arthur.”
She leaned in and kissed him full on the lips, and felt an explosion of heat rising from her thighs up towards her throat. When he didn’t respond, she nudged his lips open with her tongue and explored his mouth, realizing only as she did so how desperately she had missed him, across centuries and continents.
A groan escaped him, and one hand released his sword to pull her closer. Now he was doing the kissing, and Gwen felt the heat begin a dancing throb between her legs. Her breasts tingled where they touched Arthur’s warming body, her breath quickened, and she pulled him even closer to her as he awoke.
His kiss was the purest magic she had ever known, and letting this particular kiss end was one of the hardest things she’d ever had to do.
She sighed in bliss, and his eyes opened, huge, startlingly blue eyes, the color of a winter ocean. They locked into a gaze even more intimate than the kiss, and the tenderness in his eyes stripped her naked of any fear or defensiveness.
“Guinevere,” he whispered in a kind of ecstasy, his free hand stroking through her long hair.
He looked down at the sword still clutched in his right hand. And she saw the expression on his face change. From love to bewilderment.
To fear, then pain.
Then to a dark and implacable fury.
Copyright 2005 Michele Lang
PNR: MS. PENDRAGON has been described as “page-turning excitement” and your characters have captured readers; do you feel your writing is character driven or plot driven? Do you find it difficult the juggle the two elements?
Michele L.: The characters drive my stories, always. Once I’m in deep with a story, most of my job entails chasing the characters around as they hunt their dreams and flee their darkest nightmares. Plot grows out of my characters’ struggles to survive and to reach their goals. In the editing phase, I might have to shape the draft to make it clearer for the reader, provide a more satisfying resolution. But the characters lead the way.
PNR: Your heroine, Gwen, is a woman who must be strong and follow her heart; why do you feel readers have made such a strong connection with her? Could you tell us about the development of her character?
Michele L.: Ah, Gwen. She’s real to me…an amazing, big hearted, brilliant, successful, and lonely woman that I love. I think a lot of people can see themselves in Gwen’s situation – she’s somebody who knows what she wants, and follows her intellect to reach her goals, but needs to find the way to let go of logic and let love rule. Once she does that, magic explodes into her life, and it blows her old world away. The story is all about Gwen’s struggle to integrate magic and love into a rational, arid life.
PNR: And let’s not forgot about your heroes; who was your favorite to write? Most difficult?
Michele L.: Arthur…yum…LOL It was a total blast writing about him. Arthur is such a strong man – he does what is right, no matter the cost to himself or even the people who he loves. He’s incredibly passionate, but keeps that passion locked inside, only releasing it for his woman. And he makes huge sacrifices for both his lover and his land.
The most difficult hero I’ve written so far is Alex from The Devil Inside, another book from Triskelion Publishing. He’s young – about 24 – and he falls in love with an astral being who visits him in his dreams. Born to a demonslaying family, Alex is a rebel – he doesn’t want to follow in his parents’ scorched footsteps. The whole book was rebellious…it took me about twice as long to write it as my other books. But I ended up loving Alex even more because of it!
PNR: You have written in several paranormal sub-genres, what do you like most about the paranormal romance genre? As a reader? Is there a genre you would like to write but haven’t?
Michele L.: I adore writing paranormal romance…to me, these stories of magic in everyday life are truer than fact. And the love affairs at the heart of them bring out the magic, enhance it, make it meaningful.
My upcoming release, Eight Crazy Nights, is a contemporary with a fainter paranormal element. And I have a historical under my bed…I love history, and I suppose if I weren’t writing paranormal stories I’d try my hand at straight historicals, though I don’t know if I’d ever get past the research stage.
PNR: Can you tell us about the projects are you currently working on, what can readers expect to see in the coming months?
Michele L.: I’m working on the edits for the sequel to Ms. Pendragon – it’s called Mists of Manhattan. In Mists, Viv, the High Priestess of New York City, fights an ancient evil and the dark seductions of her nemesis, Mordred. Mists is due out in e-book this January, print in July 2007.
My next release is Eight Crazy Nights, a novella in a holiday anthology from Triskelion, This Magic Moment. It comes out in e-book in December.
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?
Michele L.: For excerpts, contests and more, please visit my website: http://www.michelelang.com
Please contact me at Michele@michelelang.com and let me know what you think of Ms. Pendragon or any of my writing.
Thanks so much for the interview!
Gwen is a high-powered New York attorney, who finds herself summoned back to Camelot by Merlin to fulfill her destiny. Both Lancelot and the evil Mordred stand in her way, but that's nothing in comparison to the complicated feelings she encounters with her ex-husband: Arthur.
This holiday season discover how love and wishes can melt in the most grim characters into puddles of cheer. Four exceptional authors will bring you stories of fairies, faith and something that grows stronger this time of year, the human spirit, in a heart warming anthology that you will cherish from year to year. Discover what is "This Magic Moment."
COYOTE GORGEOUS by Vijaya Schartz - Rookie Border Patrol Agent Kaitlin Harrington hates Christmas and no amount of training prepared her to arrest Miguel, the gorgeous coyote who challenges her, in this breathless adventure through the Arizona desert.
A FAERIE DIVINE CHRISTMAS by Michelle Levigne - Neither Clark nor Terry believe in magic anymore, but making a wish at the Divine Emporium, with a smart-aleck fae named Maurice, they might end up with a merry Christmas after all.
EIGHT CRAZY NIGHTS by Michele Lang - Carla doesn’t believe in ghosts or in telepathy. When she meets a handsome telepath during Chanukah, and a ghost appears on the front lawn, can her passion for life be rekindled?
CHRISTMAS SPIRITS by Christy Gissendaner - Kia has little time for anything but her career and almost didn’t visit her family in Georgia this Christmas. With the help of a meddling grandmother, a family secret, and a Spirit Lover from the Ivory Coast, will she finally fall in love?
Buy it Now! Triskelion
April 1, 2006
Speak of the devil…
Alex Kaplan wants to leave his demonslayer past behind and become the greatest NYC prosecutor since Rudy Giuliani. A mischievous spirit, Cybele, refuses to let him hide from his destiny. She haunts his dreams and vows to take him body and soul. Cybele tempts Alex to embrace his wicked side. But a vengeful demon from his past invades Manhattan, bent on wiping out both Alex and the city. Can Alex escape his history and love Cybele without destroying himself?
Buy it Now! Triskelion
January 1, 2006
A twist on an old fairytale when a high-powered New York attorney is summoned back to the land of Camelot by Merlin to fulfill her destiny. Only a few hitches, the evil Mordred is chasing her and then there's her ex-boyfriend , Lance. But that's nothing in comparison to the complicated feelings she encounters with her ex-husband: Arthur.
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