Michele will be awarding a choice of signed paperback copy of Wanting Wilder, Mina’s Heart, Kiss Me Goodnight, or Kiss Me By Moonlight, and a $25 Amazon gift card to one randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click here for the Rafflecopter. Click the banner above to follow the tour and increase your chance of winning.
Interview With Michele
Susana: Where do you find inspiration for writing?
Michele: I find inspiration all around me. A few months ago, I was hanging out in my friend’s garage/workshop, and I came up with the seed of an idea, and then yesterday, I caught an auditory snippet of conversation from a show my kids were watching, and the rest of the plot fell into place. Many of my friends and relatives love to give me ideas that strike them, and I think they get mad when I don’t incorporate their suggestions. Inspiration doesn’t work that way. It’s a series of ah-ha moments that I have to feel a connection with, or else I can’t write the story.
Susana: What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Michele: Keep at it. I shopped Letting Go around for two years before Siren jumped on it. Also use beta readers. Once you find a good one, cherish them. Beta readers have done more for me than any editor (and please note that I’ve worked with some pretty awesome editors). Beta readers speak from the reader’s perspective. You’re not going to get “that’s not an appropriate way to use that word” when you use made-up slang. For example, In Kiss Me By Moonlight, Lacey notes that Dylan is “king of the man-look”, the kind where the item he wants is blinking in neon lights right in front of him, yet he can’t find it. As far as I know, it’s a slang term my best friend likes to use on her husband, which I thought was funny—and accurate. My editor let me have it, but she did try to figure out if it should be hyphenated. My beta readers just gave it an LOL notation, which let me know it had the intended comic effect.
Susana: What comes first: the plot or the characters?
Michele: The characters always come first. Emails I get from readers always talk about the characters—how deeply they hit home, things like that—so I know my characters resonate the most in my stories. With regard to the garage project hinted at earlier, I started with the hero and heroine. I thought about who they were and why they were there. I created and revised backstories so that we’d have conflict, and then I started thinking about the plot. With the Kiss Me series, I created Lacey first. I thought about her for a good month before I started writing anything down—and that was her first interaction with Dylan.
Susana: Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.
Michele: At one point, Dylan takes Lacey to a restaurant and they hate the food. The idea came from a date night I had with my spouse. We arranged for the kids to stay with my parents, dressed up in something that wasn’t sweats or jeans, and we went out for dinner and a show. We went to a new-to-us restaurant that served all kinds of Asian food—Korean, Chinese, Thai—and the food sucked. The human, which I love, tasted like fried chicken with barbeque sauce. It was a disappointment. That’s why I left the name of the restaurant out. If I’d liked it, I would have included the name. All the locations in the novel actually exist here in Metro Detroit.
Susana: What is something you’d like to accomplish in your writing career next?
Michele: I want to switch sides. I’ve launched a publishing company called Lost Goddess Publishing. I was inspired by friends and readers who tell me they don’t have much time to read, and that sometimes they didn’t have time to get into a novel (because they don’t end up finishing the story ever) and so I came up with Hot Lunch. They are short erotic stories that can be consumed with lunch or right before your loved one comes to bed. My beta reader said the stories don’t lead to wanting to go to sleep, unless the goal was to have erotic dreams. I’m working on adding novellas to our line, and I’ll be revising and republishing my novels there as I get the rights back over the next couple of years.
About Kiss Me By Moonlight
Hey there. It’s Lacey again. Falling in love and landing Dylan hasn’t been the panacea I thought it would be. For starters, he moved into my apartment without asking, and he continues to have no respect for my need to have things in sets of six. Pile that on top of my emotional upheaval after losing my stepfather, and you have a recipe for disaster no amount of German chocolate cake can cure.
Yes, Lacey Hallem’s life remains fraught with challenge, but you know she’s a fighter. Forming a talent management agency with her best friends has been the best career move she’s ever made—even if it’s the only thing currently working according to plan. Lacey’s OCD is getting the better of her, and this time her hands aren’t the only casualty. When her lies ruin her relationships with both Kiss Me Goodnight and Dylan, she’s forced to confront her demons in ways she’s never had to before. As she once again faces her past, can she learn once and for all to let love and friendship through the barriers she’s built?
Both harrowing and hilarious, this conclusion to the tale of Lacey and Dylan will leave you laughing, crying, and fanning yourself—sometimes all at once. Michele Zurlo triumphs again in this moving story about life’s quirks and what we all have to do to get by.
He followed me into the apartment, hopefully noting the stiffness of my shoulders. I projected outrage as hard as I could. Lies to cover lies. I know what I’d done was wrong, and it wasn’t a little problem. I’d said it in front of the media. Not for the first time, I considered that I was a bad choice to manage his band. With my mouth, it was bound to get negative press.
I went into the bedroom and into the closet. It’s a large, walk-in number half full of his clothes. I went to my dress section and began evaluating them to figure out which one I would wear to see John’s grave. Though it had been chilly when we’d left this morning at an ungodly hour, the sun had come out for the return trip and warmed things up considerably. The ice in the parking lot was melting, and the early spring day promised to get even warmer. I selected a long-sleeved black velvet shirt and its matching full-length skirt.
Dylan stood in the door of the closet, deliberately blocking my path. He eyed the dress in my hand incredulously. “What the hell are you doing?”
I responded to him with a passively neutral expression. “Changing.”
This is my way of goading him. He has a temper, but it takes a lot to get him to explode. I have a hard time expressing anger, and I hate how Dylan gets eerily calm when he dealt with me, so this is my way of compelling him to force me to let it out. Fucked up, right?
He took the clothes from me and threw them on the floor littered with shoes. Then he gripped my chin in his cupped hand, making me face him. “No. We’re going to discuss whatever is eating you up.”
I tried to shake my head, but he didn’t let me move. “I’m fine.”
“Liar. You’re so not fine, it’s not even funny. I haven’t seen you this way in months.”
If I take a step back, he’ll let go of me and back off. I stared at him, wondering who is going to break first.
He studied me, searching my eyes for answers I didn’t have. “You weren’t calling me a name; you were lying.”
“It’s a fine line, isn’t it?” I spoke softly and kept my gaze locked to his. “And at the end of the day, it doesn’t actually matter.”
About the Author
I’m Michele Zurlo, author of over 20 romance novels. I write contemporary and paranormal, BDSM and mainstream—whatever it takes to give my characters the happy endings they deserve. I’m not half as interesting as my characters. My childhood dreams tended to stretch no further than the next book in my to-be-read pile, and I aspired to be a librarian so I could read all day. I ended up teaching middle school, so that fulfilled part of my dream. Some words of wisdom from an inspiring lady had me tapping out stories on my first laptop, so in the evenings, romantic tales flow from my fingertips. I’m pretty impulsive when it comes to big decisions, especially when it’s something I’ve never done before. Writing is just one in a long line of impulsive decisions that turned out to showcase my great instincts. Find out more at www.michelezurloauthor.com or @MZurloAuthor.