The Thirteen Traveling Journals Project

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Featured Diarist: Michelle Miles

Michelle, one of our diarists on Fronds of Thought, shares some of her ideas and opinions with us:

1. What draws you the most strongly about writing romantic fantasy?

I love creating worlds and painting a picture of a place that doesn’t exist (although in my mind, it DOES exist). I’ve always had my head in the clouds and I’ve always wanted to live in a place where magic is possible. I try to steer clear of the typical fantasy elements in my fiction because I feel like they’ve been done to death. So I strive to create a vivid world full of fantastical things the reader can get lost in. I use a lot of magic, but never vampires or werewolves (I think they’re overdone).

Plus, I think there is a serious lack of romantic fantasy fiction in the marketplace. I always long to read a wonderful fantasy book with the romantic elements, where the hero and heroine fall in love. But those books are few and far between. That’s why I decided to write my own.

2. Do you feel genre lines are blurring a bit as people widen their interests, and do you think publishers should address that by loosening the often-restrictive guidelines? Do you think the guidelines can cause cookie-cutter type fiction?

Tough one!

I do think genres are starting to blur – especially with paranormals and time travels so big right now. Not to mention chick lit. I’ve read the chatter on the loops regarding what editors want (since the RWA National conference has just ended), and they want chick lit that crosses genres – paranormal chick lit; time travel chick lit, etc. – and the same goes for any other genre. Cross-overs are big and they want “high concept” ideas, too.

Editors are busy people and I think it makes sense to have the guidelines in place, but I also think there are exceptions to every rule and they are made to be broken. I think if you can tell a good story in a unique and interesting way, you can sell it. Every editor is looking for something different, something that grabs them, something with a different twist. It’s just getting past the slush that’s the trick. You have to be lucky and talented.

Cookie-cutter fiction – yes, I suppose there is that. Editors know what will sell and what won’t. They’ll stick to a concept they know will make them some money. Very rarely do they test the waters with something new. The market is flooded with Scottish paranormals, for example (don’t get me wrong, I love a good Scottish romp), but rarely do you see a good fantasy romance combining a great love story with a fantasy setting.

3. What have you found to be the upside to blogging? And, on the other hand, the downside?

The upside – Not only do I enjoy it, but I find it keeps me on track with my goals. I can write out what I want to accomplish via the blog, plus I keep the “word meter” on there so I can see my progress of the current WIP. It’s a good creative outlet for me and it keeps me motivated.

The downside – I spend too much time blogging! LOL Plus I like to tinker, so I’ll mess with the code on the blog until I get it just right (and I’m addicted to other writer’s blogs!).

4. Tell us a bit about Fiona Judd, and how you decide which “voice” tells the story -- Michelle or Fiona. Where did “Fiona” come from?

I love historicals. I had tried to write them before, years ago, and gave up. I would get stalled because I didn’t know some historical detail – clothes, hair, medicine, whatever. I gave up. But when I started writing the adventure serial (which is a time travel), I figured out how to write historical and what works for me. I find an event to “center” the story on and build from there. I decided to start a new medieval, but I wanted to keep it separate from the fantasy writing. Fiona Judd was born. Fiona Judd writes the historicals and Michelle Miles writes the fantasy.

I got the name Fiona from that silly Irish name generator on Blogthings. LOL I liked and have always liked it and kept rolling it around in my mind. The name Judd just popped into my head and it seemed to fit with Fiona, so I kept it. I knew then I could write under two different genres, using two distinct names. Sort of like JD Robb/Nora Roberts and Sherrilyn Kenyon/Kinley McGregor. When readers pick up a book written by Michelle Miles, they’ll know it’s a fantasy; when they pick up a book by Fiona Judd, they’ll know it’s an historical (I dream big, don’t I?).

5. How do you find your graphic skills enhance the writing, and how does the writing enhance the creation of the graphics?

Funny you should ask! Don’t tell anyone, but I create my own cover art when I start a new WIP. (grin) It gives me a visual sense of the story. I always look for some picture to keep the idea spark alive. Sometimes I’ll print it and keep it nearby when I’m writing. Other times I just save the graphic and refer to it occasionally. I wrote this morbid short story once called "Masquerade" and made this collage of masks to go along with the story. I loved that graphic. Other times, a graphic will spark the creativity and I can write from that. It’s just another creative outlet for me. But even when I’m creating graphics, I always think about the writing.

Visit Michelle Miles at
Her website:
Her blog, Ye Olde Inkwell:
As Fiona Judd:
Her action/adventure serial, The Adventures of Ransom and Fortune:
Her romance serial, Scars of Yesterday:

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