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by Barbara Sheridan
Leslie Tramposch: Managing Editor - Sara Reyes: Marketing and Publicity
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March 2002 Issue

Team Canada - A Spotlight on LTDBooks

Monette Michaels
Pseudonym: Rae Morgan

For the last twenty-one years, I've been a lawyer practicing everything from criminal defense to probate. A regular Renaissance lawyer. More recently, I gave up trying to change the system and have concentrated my practice to being a professional neutral--which means I try to help people solve their problems before they go in front of a judge or jury. My philosophy is if you can't work within the system -- find a better system.

Aiding and abetting me in my life's goal of changing the world is my Pathologist husband of twenty-eight years and my teenage son who is trying hard to be cool right now. We also own a large cat--or, more accurately, he owns us. We're still trying to figure that one out.

A life-long Hoosier, I currently live in Carmel, Indiana, a suburb of Indianapolis.

An Interview with Monette Michaels

PNR: Monette your have been a lawyer for many years, what influenced you to make a second career as a writer? Law enforcement officials and attorneys play lead roles in your novels. Did this first career have any influence on your decision to write romantic suspense?

Monette M: Well, okay I admit to the many years, but it makes me feel so old <g>.

I've always written and enjoy the process very much. Of course, I've written mostly legal articles, books and briefs, but it kept me in practice. But always lurking behind the scenes was the English major (my double major also included Mathematics) and a wild imagination which I had to sublimate to be a lawyer, although I have been accused of being very creative in some of my approaches to cases.

What drove me to writing as a second career was the fact that I had some
characters (the ones from VESTED INTERESTS, chronologically the first book I wrote) banging on my head to get out. Finally I just had to write their darn book.

As far as my legal career having an influence, well, it does if nothing else for the life experiences I've had. Oh, and since I tend to visualize former opponents as my villains, it also provides me with a lot of good emotion for the slaying of these past enemies. Catharsis at its best. I also use my legal knowledge and my husband's medical knowledge for my stories. Tom, my hubby, is a pathologist. We do lead an interesting life.

PNR: Your novel FATAL VISION, like the others, is a romantic suspense, but it is also paranormal. The plot revolves around the heroine, Morgan's psychic ability. Tell us about Morgan, is this ability a curse or a blessing?

Monette M: Morgan feels it is a curse. Being psychic has driven her from every home and job she's ever had. She'd just like it to go away, but it's a part of her just like her eye color, and she has to learn to accept it. At the beginning of FATAL VISION, she has not learned acceptance.

PNR: Morgan's family had not been accepting, nor hadher hometown, though the law enforcement officials had used her talents in spite of their skepticism and mockery. Morgan moves from Salem, Mass. and the taunts of "witchcraft", and moves to New York City. Does she hope to find anonymity in a big city?

Monette M: Exactly. But even in big cities it's hard to hide from yourself, which is exactly what Morgan has tried to do.

PNR: She does not leave her gift behind however, she has a vision? What is her response and how does this affect her life?

Monette M: Morgan's visions are triggered by strong, emotional vibes coming from others around her. Usually she can control these emotions from impeding her day-to-day life, but going home form work one evening on the subway, she comes up against the pure evil emanations from a person who has just killed and plans to kill again. As much as she hates the fact that she "knows" what has happened and what will happen again, she can not ignore it and go on her merry way. If she can save the life of another person by going to the police with the slight bit of evidence she has, then she must try.

Once she tells her secret to the police, she knows her life will become the
circus it always becomes after she aids the law.

PNR: Though Morgan is able to convince the police of her veracity, the killer escapes and Morgan's life is turned upside down again. She makes another life altering decision?

Monette M: Yes, she once again decides to move. This time for the last time. She vows never to use her psychic power to aid the police again. She feels by going to a small town with few people she just might be able to live in peace and quiet.

PNR: Morgan hopes that life in French Creek, Indiana will be different. No one knows her there and she expects crime to be less prevalent in a small town. What happens to change her perspective?

Monette M: Evil from her past -- the killer who had gotten away with murder in New York -- has turned up in French Creek. She should have known that karma has a way of biting you in the butt, but she decided to ignore that fact when she ran.

PNR: You are a native of Indiana, did this filter into your description of life in French Creek?

Monette M: Yes. French Creek is a composite town from southern Indiana. I located it in the Hoosier National Forest and made it a college town located near a reservoir. People from Indiana will recognize it as a mixture of Bloomington, French Lick and Bedford.

PNR: Give us a profile of Darien Storm the murderer who escaped capture in NYC and who has come to French Creek with a new M. O.

Monette M: Darien Storm, and this is an alias, he's had many aliases since he had gone AWOL from the US Army, is pure evil and has some psychic ability of his own. Like all psychopaths, he can be charming when it suits him. Thus, he has used his charm to con old women out of money, churches out of their building funds, and so on. Tiring of acting as a younger lover to old rich women, he falls back to an old con he's used before - - he pretends he is the New Messiah and bilks fundamentalist Christian churches.

PNR: Detective Gabriel Walsh is also a recent addition to French Creek. What are his reasons for the move? How does he become involved with Morgan? Is he able to overcome her distaste for law enforcement officials?

Monette M: Gabe is an alpha male, a protector. All his adult life has been spent either in the service where he was a Navy SEAL or in law enforcement. In a drug bust gone bad in Detroit, Gabe is wounded. His wife has left him for his partner. He's had enough of big city crime and hears from a fellow SEAL about an opportunity to be the sole full-time detective in the college town of French Creek. Of course, he does everything from pulling over kids for drunk driving, breaking up pot parties and investigating domestic abuse calls, because French Creek really doesn't have a murder problem.

He is sent out by the Police Chief to investigate this Messiah who has all the teenage girls in town swooning, including the Chief's own daughter. That's when he first sees Morgan - - she has attended the revival meeting with the Chief's daughter and her best friend, Missy. Missy works for Morgan in her herb shop.

It's instant attraction for both. Morgan sees Gabe, first as a man, not a
policeman. She soon comes to appreciate his law enforcement background when a very bad thing happens.

PNR: The message in Morgan's new vision is clear, she mustace her fears, for she alone can bring this criminalto justice. Darien has an ability which makes this dangerous?

Monette M: Darien has minor psychic abilities. He uses some of them to mesmerize people he comes into contact with -- with crowds he uses his innate abilities along with hallucinogenics to enthrall the crowd. He is dangerous to Morgan because if she lets her guard down he could read her intentions with regard to him. When her guard is up, he takes Morgan's interest in him as a romantic interest or fascination, which plays to his ego. Darien is of course attracted to something in Morgan besides her looks, he senses she has a power but can't get a handle on what it is. When he discovers she has money, well, that's all he needs to know. He wants her for himself. In fact, maybe for the first time in his life, he wants a woman in what he considers to be a romantic way.

PNR: He is also a former Army Ranger. Did you devise this element to make the character more dangerous? To put him on equal footing with Gabriel who is a former Navy Seal?

Monette M: Exactly. I didn't want Gabe to have it too easy when he meets him for the final battle.

PNR: Like many serial killers Darien is depraved but also intelligent and very ingenious. What research went into making this character chillingly believable?

Monette M: Would you believe I based him on one of the lawyers I've gone up against? <WEG> Well, parts of him, anyway. Most of the lawyers I've opposed are not depraved murderers, but they are intelligent and ingenious. In fact, some of them are not very nice people. The smiles that don't reach the eyes, the smarmy aspects of Darien in his self-conceit, those traits I patterned on some of my legal opponents. The fact that he didn't expect a mere woman to give him his comeuppance was another aspect I took from real life as I've experienced it. The rest of his depravity I took from reading about serial killers and watching the Discovery Channel. Plus there is a lot of repressed anger in me from having been a plaintiff's attorney for many years, I just let it all come out in my writing. Lots of anger left for many more books, also.

PNR: Morgan plays a very dangerous game, but she proves to be a woman of determination and strength. Do you feel this is an important trait in a heroine? Is it equally important that the hero be strong but supportive, able to let her do what needs to be done? What do you see as Gabriel's main role in this scenario?

Monette M: I like a heroine who can kick butt either literally or figuratively. I guess I want to be my heroines. A strong heroine wouldn't respect a man she could push around; she needs a man who will go toe-to-toe with her on the important issues, but give her enough room to do her thing. Gabe is there to be a safety net. Morgan feels she needs to avenge Missy and bring down Darien, but underneath her determination is knowing that Gabe is there if she needs help. She doesn't have to fight the battles alone anymore. If she had a man like Gabe in her life earlier, she might never have had to leave home the first time. He is the first person, man or woman, who has totally accepted Morgan as she is. He also is the person who helps her to accept who she is and what she is capable of.

PNR: Tell us a little bit about your other novels, DEATH BENEFITS also published for LTD Books, and VESTED INTERESTS for Atlantic Bridge Publications.

Monette M: DEATH BENEFITS, coming out soon from LTDBooks, is a mystery-suspense featuring a lone wolf forensic pathologist, Dr. Rob Craig, and a lawyer, Mici Smith. Mici Smith has a client who feels her grandmother was murdered. The client asks Mici to help get the grandmother's body exhumed so that the private pathologist they hired could determine the real cause of death. Rob Craig does the autopsy and discovers a poison. He and Mici band together to find enough evidence to take to the police, who have rejected the case as an accidental ingestion of the poison. Their investigation takes them to crooked insurance companies, an S&M club and finally a graveyard on a dark and stormy night. :)

VESTED INTERESTS is currently available from Atlantic Bridge. Bree Bauer has been targeted by a hit man. Who hired him and why is the basis for the ensuing action of the story. The man who would love and protect Bree with his life, Tony Pendrake, has loved her from afar. He's been waiting for her to finish grieving for her husband before he makes his move. When he realizes someone is trying to kill her, he uses that as an excuse to move in on her and take over her life. But Bree is made of sterner stuff, and she gives him a run for his money, while they are both trying to figure out why someone wants her dead.

PNR: These books have been released in eBook format. FATAL VISIONS has also been released trade paperback as hopefully will VESTED INTERESTS. What are the benefits of having books available in multiple formats? Are you seeing any difference in sales between the two types of format?

Monette M: VESTED INTERESTS is not due in trade any time soon, but I'm still hoping. As for the benefits, well, it's always nice to have the trade paper editions available for the readers who don't have access to a dedicated e-reader or a computer. Many of the older generation, like my mother and her friends just are not computer literate. My mom is 84 years old and sometimes you just can't teach an old dog new tricks -- not that I'm calling my mom an old dog <g>. She loves my books, dark and bloody though they are at times. She reads all the time and has the
expendable income to do so -- I would miss that audience if I didn't have the
paper books. The benefits of e-books are obvious - - it's the wave of the
future and for those people who have read on a Rocket or a Palm, they wouldn't have it any other way. The convenience and the lower cost makes it all worthwhile.

Right now I would say FV has sold more in paper than in downloads. But it
also sells downloads, so I'm not complaining. I just hope my publishers are happy. VESTED is only in e-formats and sales are slower, but steady and increasing each quarter.

I'm not going to get rich and I'm still going to continue to arbitrate cases and take an occasional legal client <g>.

PNR: What is next for Monette Michaels? Do you see yourself including paranormal elements in a future piece of work?

Monette M: Right now, I've finished a paranormal romantic suspense entitled GREEN FIRE. A publisher is interested in it and we are discussing some revisions. GF is the story of Lisa MacDougall, a lithomancer, a woman who has the ability to sense and control the power of stones, especially gemstones. She inherits the family property in the Asheville area of North Carolina, but soon finds out that others want the land badly enough to commit murder. As she races to figure out just what the land conceals and learns more about an ability that she never really realized she had, she meets several men, some of whom wish her well and others who would do her harm. It's a race to see which man will succeed in getting what he wants from her.

I'm currently working on a mainstream medical/legal thriller involving a
medical research project gone horribly wrong and international trafficking
of illegal body parts. This story takes place in two of the most corrupt places in the world, New Orleans and Brazil. I see it as a "heart of darkness" type of story without Kurtz; scratch the civilized surface of man and you'll find the animal instincts lying just beneath. The question I pose for the reader is "what would you do to save someone you loved?" "Would you kill in the interests of medical research and science?"

Of course my villains, medical doctors, have crossed the fine line of ethics -- what in the beginning was a true research project soon dissolves into a search for money, fame and power over the rights of the patients, and organ donors become the casualties in this seeking. I have a co-author on this story who actually was a whistle-blower and testified against a doctor who sacrificed his/her medical ethics to look good on paper. Parts of the story are real and parts I made up for more drama -- I hope in the end it's a good read.

Monette Michaels


Buy it now!

Reisue 2001
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 1553165470
Disk ISBN: 1553160509
Rocket ISBN: 1553169522

Having psychic abilities isn’t all that great, as Morgan Tarrant could testify. They already cost her a normal family life, several jobs, and lots of moving around. Vowing to keep her psychic abilities a secret, she moves one last time to French Creek, Indiana. However, she didn’t count on evil from her past following her.:

After his last undercover job almost cost him his life, Detective Gabriel Walsh moves to French Creek to escape big city problems. He soon learns that evil isn’t picky about where it lives or whom it threatens. For several years, Darien Storm enjoyed using his minor psychic abilities and a con artist’s tricks to bilk the public as the Messiah. By the time he reaches French Creek, he’s tiring of the gig and ready to move on. Then, opportunity knocks. Morgan is beautiful, rich and holds the promise of powers he can only imagine. He lusts for her, and nothing will stand in his way to possess her.

Forced to confront the evil which invades her world, Morgan triumphs and gains a treasure worth more than gold.

Other Titles

Disk- Winter, 2001
ISBN: 1553160525,
Gemstar - Winter, 2001
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 1553165497
coming in early 2002

Atlantic Bridge Pub.
ISBN: 1931761000




Featured in this Issue:

Interviews with:
Publisher Laura Adlam
Authors: J. C. Wilder
Monette Michaels
Isabo Kelly
Megan Sybil Baker

























































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