I'd like to welcome Desert Breeze Author Michelle Levigne to the spotlight this week. Michelle's latest release is "Detours." Welcome, Michelle!
STEPH: What was the inspiration behind your story, "Detours?"
MICHELLE: Setting: Freelance writing class in the continuing education program at the local vo-ed school. I made friends with Barb and Jesse -- don't remember who hooked up with whom first, but what we all remember is a remark about "Beauty and the Beast," which was in its first season at that time.
We ended up getting together weekly after the class ended, to talk about writing, about screenplays and books and our dreams, and someone made a remark about moving to Hollywood together and sharing a garret apartment (because that's all we could afford until we sold some scripts!) and I ended up with an idea for a book that I originally called "California Dreaming." That turned into a screenplay that I called "Detours and Dreams," about 3 college girls in Cleveland, hoping to go to Hollywood and write for TV and film. And eventually, when all the disparate books I had roughed or planned started drawing together into a community I ended up calling Tabor Heights ... I "discovered" that Kat was the daughter of Morgan and Lynette and it all started coming together.
STEPH - I don't know much about the book. Can you tell us?
MICHELLE: Bekka, Kat and Amy are drama students at Butler-Williams. Bekka writes fantasy and science fiction books, Kat writes screenplays, and Amy writes poetry. The book follows them from the day they move into their apartment, until their first anniversary as roommates. Kat never dates a guy more than twice, Amy is constantly breaking up with and making up with her songwriter boyfriend, Joe, and Bekka is too busy writing and working to have a boyfriend, but she really wants one. In fact, on the opening page, her morning prayers include a request for a boyfriend.
And just by coincidence, Shane also prays for a girlfriend, a "keeper" that very same day before he helps his good buddy Joe move his girlfriend, Amy, into the apartment.
Of course, there are lots of detours along the way before Shane and Bekka can get past longing looks and trying-and-failing to meet up and get to know each other. The reader gets Bekka perspective on the White Rose Killer, the accident that strikes the Randolph family and Homespun Theater, and the reunion between Dr. Morgan and Lynette Teague-Tyler that results in Kat learning Morgan is her father.
STEPH - Is it part of the Tabor Heights Series?
MICHELLE: Yes. All my books for Desert Breeze are set in Tabor Heights. So far, anyway.......
STEPH - How long have you been writing?
MICHELLE: I stopped counting at 25 years.
STEPH - What attracts you to inspirationals?
MICHELLE: It allows me to be fully dimensional -- acting on all the aspects of my life, the things I believe in and am interested in. As I grow spiritually, that impacts every part of my life, how I react to problems and triumphs and tragedies. Many of my books have spiritual elements of one kind or another. In my Commonwealth Universe books, there are very evident elements of spirituality. The Tabor Heights books let me bring it all back to Earth, so to speak.
STEPH- Have you written any other genres?
MICHELLE: Science fiction, fantasy, and drifting into some romance subgenres including futuristic, paranormal and suspense. I've written for YA in SF and fantasy. I write stage plays, screenplays and teleplays. I write all over the board, basically.
STEPH - Do you have any hobbies you'd like to share?
MICHELLE: Who has TIME for hobbies?
STEPH - What was the last book you read?
MICHELLE: Friday -- Percy Jackson #3, Titan's Curse.
Right now I'm reading several books simultaneously -- or else I started reading them, stopped in the middle, and I'm waiting to finish them, eventually: A book on screenwriting, by J. Michael Strazynski -- The Yada Yada Prayer Group, by Neta Jackson -- The Legend of Banzi Maguire, by Susan Grant -- The Chic and the Dead, by Casey Daniels -- and The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel.
Yeah, I read all over the board, too. Actually, I'm concentrating on the Strazynski and Strobel books right now.
STEPH - What's your favorite TV show?
MICHELLE: Current TV -- Warehouse 13. I actually wrote a script for it, for a writing competition. My readers all liked it, but I didn't even make it to the finals ... their loss!
Don't ask me about all-time favorite TV shows, because there are too many. I have a LOT of 1st season DVD collections that I haven't been able to finish going through -- see the discussion on books ..... *sigh*