Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Featured Interview with Michelle Levigne, Author of "The Family Way"

We're happy to have Mechille Levigne with us today, author of Desert Breeze's February release, "The Family Way." Onto the questions:

#1 The Family Way is a Tabor Heights novel. How did you find/get the inspiration for the Tabor Heights Series?

MECHILLE: The first few books were stand alones; A few of them in the Cleveland/Cuyahoga County area, but not related. Then as I got more ideas and roughed out the books and got into revisions, I realized I could borrow characters from one book to the other, or situation mentioned in one book would make good books by themselves and it sort of grew. I don't want to say it was Frankenstein's monster, but it was something like that.

It's like real life in real towns. All of the books either out or currently under contract through 2011 are in my year one plan for Tabor Heights. Yes, I do have a number of ideas planned through year 2.

#2 - How did you come up with the plot for The Family Way?

MECHILLE: Actually ... the germinal idea is pretty clear. 10+ years ago, my doctor had me on BC pills for hormonal reasons. The pharmacy messed up one month and gave me a double-strength dose. Chemical depression set in, and during that point I had some really weird dreams that stuck in my head after I woke up. One was of a young widow standing at her husband's casket, and her in-laws telling her to get out of town. (That's the germinal idea for my May book, "A Quiet Place.") The other image was of a husband coming home from a long trip, his wife says "I think I'm pregnant," and his first response is, "Is it mine?"

I already had nasty, self-righteous Mr. Montgomery, the lawyer, who was the nemesis in "Common Grounds," and he still needed to be punished and reveal his true colors, so it was easy to cast him as the vicious father-in-law. It was a very short book to begin with, but as I created more Tabor Heights stories and fleshed out the town, I "discovered" more people who would be friends with Lisa and either contribute to the fight or try to guide her out of it. I already had Kat, Bekka and Amy from "The Second Time Around" and the upcoming "Detours" who were living in the same building, and they're close to Lisa's age, so it was natural to have some or all of them as Lisa's friends. It sort of grew organically as time went on.

#3 - Cast the characters - who is Lisa? Todd? (I love seeing author's visions for their characters.)

MECHILLE: Honestly, I didn't have any actors or faces in my mind to "play" Lisa and Todd when I was writing them .... although now that I think about it, two actors from the TV show "Chuck" would be perfect. The actress who played Chuck's ex-girlfriend, Jill Roberts, would be great for Lisa. And the guy who plays Chuck's brother-in-law, Devon "Captain Awesome" would be great for Todd.

#4 - Do you have music you write to? Do you have a "soundtrack" for "The Family Way?"

MECHILLE: I used to play movie soundtracks all the time when I was writing ... but now it's too much trouble to get up and change CDs or flip over LPs (yes, I still have a huge LP collection and I invested in a turntable a few years ago so I could keep listening to them -- why spend all that money replacing all those movie soundtracks???) My favorites are the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Dragonheart, Pirates of the Caribbean, all the Star Trek, Star Wars and Superman movie soundtracks. Hmm, can't remember what else -- it's been so long!

#5 - What's the latest movie you saw?

MECHILLE: Tooth Fairy. It was funny, silly, cute. I like Dwayne Johnson/The Rock. Before that was Avatar. I'd be tempted to get it for my iPod Touch ... but the movie is too big to limit to such a small screen. I can't wait to see Percy Jackson and the Olympians -- read the book last week, and I have to agree with the reviews online -- it's as good as Harry Potter, maybe better in some aspects. Of course, it might be because there's less angst and tripping over British-isms ...

#6 - Do you write other genres? If so, what? What do you find appealing about those genres?

MECHILLE: I write SF and Fantasy mostly. I think the fun part of writing in SF and fantasy is I can set up new worlds with new toys and new possibilities and let my characters go. I don't have the restrictions of the known world and political and economic situations. I can have a hero who's a fugitive, but he has the added advantage and burden of being a shapeshifter to get him out of trouble and into even more trouble. It's bad enough having the police chasing you, but what if your enemy was a psychotic genocidal organization that nobody believed existed anymore, and it was out to destroy you because it considered you a threat to the Human genome, just by existing? Or you're a Fae with magical powers, but you're exiled to live in the Human world with reduced powers, and you're sentenced to helping lovelorn Humans during your two years of punishment.

#7 - Do you have any hobbies you'd like to share with us?

MECHILLE: Hobbies? What are hobbies? I've become addicted to online puzzle games, and I'm trying desperately NOT to play them -- you sit down to relax for a little bit, take a brain break, and then you look up 2 hours later and your hand is cramped, your eyes are dry, and you're way behind in your page count for the day. Aarrgghh!!

STEPH: Thanks so much for being here today, Michelle, and good luck with your Tabor Heights Series!


  1. Hi Michille,

    I'm just starting to read The Family Way and I'm enjoying it a lot. I remember dear Mr. Montgomery from Common Grounds. What a skuzz ball. I'm glad to know he will finally get what's coming to him.

    I can understand your addiction to on-line games. I was so addicted to the solitaire card game I had on my computer that I had my grandson remove it.

    I enjoyed your interview and thanks for writing such great stories.


  2. I have to admit, I'm hooked on the cats and dogs on Facebook. Michelle's story looks like a very compelling read and I'm looking forward to reading the Tabor Heights Series.