Today, I’m visiting with author, Michel Prince, who has the monumental task of bringing two books to publication with Rebel Ink Press this year. I can’t even imagine all the work that will go into this—all the edits, marketing, lack of sleep. Since Michel has two books to contend with, I’d like to do the interview in two parts so I can explore each book in depth.
In the annals of dysfunctional families, the Chisholms are working their way to the top. Drug abuse, an unwed mother with multiple fathers, and the questionable cash flow for the “pretty one”…all this from a seemingly normal two parent middle class family, but were the choices truly made of their free will?
Bad choices are a Chisholm family trait, one that confounds the youngest child, Ellie, who is trying to separate herself by making smart decisions.
Falling for Oscar Jeffreys, the hottest guy at school, would be number one in the Chisholm family disasters … the crazy part is it’s not a one sided attraction. Somehow Ellie has caught Oscar Jeffreys’ eye.
Sure she could see the barriers between them. Race, age, popularity. They were at opposite ends of the spectrum. A demon set to destroy her family was not on the list.
Oscar provides security and acceptance that she never imagined she deserved. As the passion of first love grows, Ellie can see that she has a chance to beat the odds and live a happy, normal life.
Then her world collapses around her. With the help of a guardian angel, Ellie learns of a world that has unknowingly surrounded her for years. She will have to find strength buried deep inside to save not only her future, but flush out and stop the demon in her midst.
Ellie will have to learn that sometimes the hardest lesson in growing up is accepting that you are worth more.
Tricia: Michel, thank you meeting with me. I know you’re a very busy woman. I’d like to start the interview by exploring Chrysalis. Can you tell me a little about the book?
Michel: Chrysalisis the story of a girl, Ellie, who comes from a dysfunctional family. Not because of circumstance, but poor choices. Ellie likes to call them “a consummate study in failure.” So when Ellie literally falls for Oscar Jeffreys she’s sure that this would be her poor choice that would lead to her ultimate doom (she’s a little overly dramatic). As she falls more in love with him, she doesn’t know that her love is putting her in danger from a demon who has been set to destroy her family. Ellie learns that she has had a guardian angel that has been trying to catch the demon stalking her family in the act, so God can prosecute.
Ellie has to learn to not only to believe in herself, but use her inner powers to protect herself from the danger that has already taken the life of her brother.
T: Exploring interracial themes is not completely unchartered territory, but I think it would be safe to call you a pioneer. There aren’t many young adult paranormal romances featuring interracial couples. What made you decide to take the leap?
M: First, because I’m writing what I know. I got tired that since Othello it seems that interracial relationships where it’s a black man with a white woman always end in one of three ways. 1. He kills or beats her. 2 He gets her addicted to drugs. 3. He cheats on her constantly and she just takes it. (Okay, Ellie’s not the only dramatic one.) But there is a formula out there and I was tired of it. In the second book in the series, The Beam, this ramps up as Ellie tries to find a movie besides Save the Last Dance where this doesn’t happen. I also wanted to have a positive young, black hero.
T: In my opinion, we need more books that reflect the changing times. Have you received any negative feedback about exploring interracial themes?
M: Actually, no, the only negative that I did get was from a publisher that said by having interracial themes that they would be interested, but since there is so little conflict because of it they weren’t. It wasn’t intentional and there are points where Oscar and Ellie’s relationship has “haters” based on race alone, but it’s not a big part of this book because they pull in to themselves so much and stay away from other people.
T: I’m impressed by some of the moral and mature decisions Ellie and Oscar make in this book. They each have different reasons for making the decision to strive for the very best they can be. Can you tell us (without giving away too much of the story) about why they each choose to take the high road?
M: Both Oscar and Ellie have been on their own for a large portion of their life. Although they both live at home with parents they have been the grown-ups in multiple situations. Ellie, because her mother checked out mentally and her father followed trying to bring her back. Oscar’s mother died when he was only ten. His father is extremely protective of Oscar now; it’s out of guilt from basically not being there after the death of his wife. This is a great cause of animosity when Mr. Jeffreys puts his foot down and Oscar fights back as it was too little too late.
Oscar has taken the other negative road and learned a very hard lesson because of it; this is why he does give his father respect when push comes to shove. If he had met Ellie four months sooner, it would have
been a different story. He had been on such a negative path, that his father thought he might lose him forever.
Ellie on the other hand slips a lot more than Oscar, simply because she doesn’t have the same history as he does. They are a balance for each other. Usually when one starts to lose their resolve the other is there to straighten them out.
T: There is a distinct paranormal element in this book; however, many of the dilemmas Ellie and Oscar face parallel the everyday lives of the average teen. Can you tell us which theme, or themes, you think are most important in this book?
M: Sex, obviously. It’s a decision that most teens face, some everyday. To do it or not? With who?
Being part of the right crowd of people, not necessarily the popular, but of good character. Dealing with bullies.
Being loyal. When Ellie is loyal, it’s to a fault. Her friend, Jordan, is a constant point of contention between her and Oscar, but she stays true to him.
College. Oscar’s being recruited by teams from all over the nation and Ellie knows she cannot stand in his way even if it means him leaving her. Oscar has to weigh his options, which can be very hard when the whole world seems to be open to you.
T: Why Boy Scouts? Oscar is not your “typical Boy Scout.”
M: People think of a lot of things when it comes to Boy Scouts. Some are positive (hero or goodie-too-shoes); others are negative (nerd or geek). Oscar stayed in Boy Scouts because it was a constant that kept him centered. He could have easily stopped going to meetings and dropped out when his mom passed away. Instead he found a set of leaders that helped him through some hard times. And, a scout is loyal. The twelve principals of the scouting law are set as a guide and Oscar is having problems sticking to them. I think the talk that he has with one of the young adult leaders is one of the better parts of the books. It’s what got him back on track when he jumped it. There are super star athletes in scouting, because scouting works with the child to help them achieve their goals. Plus the jock/geek factor makes Oscar a little bit of a pioneer character.
T: Aside from all the editing you’ll be doing over the course of the next several months, what other projects are in the works?
M: Since the Chrysalis Series, I think, is complete, I have another series, The Frozen, that we will talk about in the second interview that I am working on the second and third books for. I have a dragon paranormal series as well as two contemporary romances, Silly Girl and The Rotation.
T: What is the first thing you’re going to do when you see your book in print?
M: Chrysalis and The Frozen are being e-pubbed first and I’m not sure how real it will feel to me. I think it will just motivate me to get it on everyone’s e-reader so I earn my paper rights. Then, when I hold it I think I might cry.
Thank you, Michel, for speaking with us. I can’t wait until next week when we can find out more about your book, The Frozen.
For those interested in finding out more about Michel and her upcoming books, please check out her website. It’s full of character interviews, character bios, and gives you the heads-up on Michel’s upcoming projects.
Michel Prince is an author who graduated with a bachelor degree in History and Political Science. Her novel Chrysalis is the first in a “cross-over” series following the demon-plagued Ellie Chisholm. Michel writes young adult and adult paranormal romance as well as contemporary romance.
With characters yelling “It’s my turn damn it!!!” she tries to explain to them that alas, she can only type a hundred-and-twenty words a minute and they will have wait their turn. She knows eventually they find their way out of her head and to her fingertips and she looks forward to sharing them with you.
When Michel can suppress the voices in her head she can be found at a scouting event or cheering for her son in a variety of sports. She would like to thank her family for always being in her corner and especially her husband for supporting her every dream and never letting her give up.
Michel is a member of RWA Pro and lives in the Midwest with her husband, son, and cat.