Straight Talk with Michelle McLean

me 300x450How do you celebrate when you finish writing a book?

I have a good author friend who also makes beautiful jewelry. A few years ago, when I had just finished To Trust a Thief, I decided to celebrate by having her create a necklace inspired by the book. Something that would remind me of the book whenever I wore it. We ended up with a gorgeous locket inspired by the one in the story. We are already discussing ideas for a Blood Blade Sisters necklace inspired by my upcoming historical romance trilogy. It is so fun taking the idea of the story and translating it into a gorgeous piece of jewelry 🙂

Do you usually begin a book with a character or a plot?

It’s a bit of both, maybe 80% plot, 20% character. Many times it just starts with a scene in my head – the characters are present of course, but the storyline I want to create for them often evolves first.

How difficult is if for you to come up with a title for your books?

Hmm it depends on the book but most of the time it’s pretty difficult 🙂 Most of the time I just call my books by their main character’s name until I figure something out. To Trust a Thief was very hard for me. It went through several titles, a lame one I came up with, a great one a good friend of mine thought up, and then finally my wonderful editor came up with To Trust a Thief, which I love 🙂

What jobs have you had on your way to becoming a writer?

My first job was horrible – I was a janitor in my college dorm. Not. Fun. But I spent most of my pre-writer life as a cashier, a newspaper carrier, and a telemarketer (the kind that takes catalog orders, not that cold calls people. Never had the guts for that job lol)

Who are your favorite authors? What authors have influenced your book?

For my historicals, Victoria Holt is my biggest influence. She was the first romance, and the first historical author I ever read. I still love her stories. Full of danger, suspense, mystery, and of course, romance to die for 🙂

Are you a pantser or a plotter?

I started out as a panster, but have developed into a hard-core plotter. I started slow, jotting down a few plot notes. Then I found a plot chart that looked like a roller coaster with rises and falls – I drew it on a corkboard and plotted the course of my novel with Post-It notes. Now, I write full-fledged outlines that I flesh out into detailed synopses. It’s made writing, and especially editing, a much faster and easier process.

Where does the magic happen?  Where do you write?

LOL Wherever I can. With two active kids, I can’t really be picky. I do have a desk at home but I often hang out on my couch so I can lounge a bit if I get the chance. I also go old school and write with a pen and notebook when I’m at birthday parties or gymnastics or soccer practices. It’s easier to write by hand when I’m out and about in public and I’ve gotten pretty good at writing no matter what kind of craziness is going on.

Do you prefer print books or eBooks?

Ooo this is another one I can’t really chose…I love them both. I love the ease of ebooks. I love being able to carry 100 books around in my purse and buy sequels and new books with the click of a button. But I also love to hold a real book in my hands, feel the pages fanning through my fingers as I read. And I love that real book smell 🙂 I have seven overflowing bookcases in my house and someday want to have the Beauty and the Beast dream….wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling bookcases that require a rolling ladder to access 🙂 With an ereader in my bag for when I can’t lounge in the library 🙂

What’s in the works for you?

I have a historical romance trilogy coming soon from the Scandalous line about a trio of sisters who are Robin Hood-esque bandits in post Gold Rush California. And a zombie fairy tale retelling coming from the Ever After line in October. It is a mash-up of Pinocchio and Rumplestiltskin that tells the story of a young couple who rediscovers their love for each other as they try to defeat a mad entrepreneurial scientist and his cyborg zombie creation.





Minuette Sinclair’s parents are in trouble and her fake fiancé is too. A legendary lost necklace might be their salvation, and Min is determined to find it and use it to buy her family and fiancé out of their misfortunes.

Master thief Bryant Westley is also looking for the fabled necklace. He knows Min’s got information he can use so he poses as her dance instructor and tries to seduce it from her. What he doesn’t count on are his feelings for her. He offers to partner up in the search – even though she is a distraction he can’t afford.

Things become more complicated when Min realizes that her convenient engagement means more to her fake fiancé than her and that she’s fallen in love with Bryant. Bryant realizes that he can’t double cross the young lady he’s come to love. Can they find the necklace together and admit their love before it’s too late?



Title: To Trust A Thief
Author: Michelle McLean
Genre: Historical Romance
Length: 267 pages
Release Date: January 2013
ISBN: 978-1-62266-866-3
Imprint: Scandalous

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4 Replies on Straight Talk with Michelle McLean

  • I’m reading this right now and LOVING it! So much tension, suspense, and romance! Michelle is an artist. Thanks for posting this interview about her writing process. As an aspiring author myself, I enjoyed learning how one of my favorite authors does things.

  • I like the sound of the historical trilogy idea. Its something different and I really love the zombie fairytale as well. Good luck with it. 🙂

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