Monday, 7 February 2011

Author Spotlight week -Q&A with Michelle Levigne

STEPH: I don't know much about Firesong. What's it about?

MICHELLE: Firesong is a contemporary Christian band, started by cousins -- the Gibson brothers and their cousins, Andy and Dani Paul. Dani is the heroine. She's chosen music and her ministry over marriage, and honestly believes that's where God has called her. Then Kurt Green comes back to town, to prepare for a crusade taking place that summer, and also for the wedding of his cousin Katie, to Andy Paul. Katie also happens to be Dani's best friend. Kurt is also of the persuasion that marriage isn't for him -- mostly because a girl at crusade headquarters is doggedly pursuing him, to get him to trade in his life on the road for 9-5 domestication. Then Kurt sees Dani singing and remembers the feisty girl he knew 9 years ago, and realizes she's the perfect partner, in ministry and marriage -- but how does he persuade her of that?

STEPH: Where did the inspiration come from?

MICHELLE: Honestly, I can't remember. But I do know that for a long time, in junior high and senior high, I wanted to be in a traveling singing group. I had my records that I would sing along with constantly, and I tried writing music, and my friend Lynn and I invested in songbooks and would try to create harmony and ... somewhere along the way, we got distracted with life and college and dating and ... Then I was in the first choir at CBN University, and we had a week-long tour, which was fine, but I realized I did NOT like life on the road, a different bed every night, and spending long hours on the bus.

STEPH: How long did it take you to write?

MICHELLE: Years. Remember, all my Tabor Heights books (so far, anyway) have been rough drafted for years, sitting in my files, and every once in a while I take them out and revise, then put them away. I think Firesong was probably only in the second or third draft when I took it out to revise and polish for publication at DBP.

STEPH: What's your writing space like?

MICHELLE: I'm lucky -- I have what used to be my bedroom, in our finished basement. I have lots of space for bookshelves and inspirational/writing posters, and big maps I've created of the various towns or countries I'm writing in. I have this big sheet of spaces marked off by hexagons, with graphics of planets and "space events" that I created when I was making a game to tie into my SF universe, the Commonwealth. It kind of stalled out after the first test run of playing. Needs lots of work! I usually have a couple projects scattered on the floor, being sorted or organized. I have a drafting table I inherited from my father, that my "working" computer sits on, with notebooks and DVDs waiting to be watched, snacks, pens, tea mug. Then on the other wall directly behind me, I have my computer desk, with my old desktop computer -- I mostly use it for my bookkeeping for my editing business and the files for my web site. And tucked in among the bookshelves, which stick out into the room in little islands because I ran out of wall space, is a NordicTrack, to try to get at least one session of exercise in every day. I emphasize "try."

STEPH: If you could cast the movie, who would play the leads?

MICHELLE: You know, I never honestly thought about it.
If I could use a time machine .... maybe Antonio Sabato Jr. when he was in Earth 2, to play Kurt. And Amy Grant when she was in college -- and dye her hair of course. Or maybe Rebecca St. James -- she's getting into acting now, I've heard.

STEPH: Do you have an ebook reader? Which one?

MICHELLE: Palm Tungsten -- it still works, after taking a "sabbatical" for about 9 months. It died on me, just froze up, wouldn't let me access the screen, about 2 days before my Nook showed up. Now it works fine and I'm still reading on it, when I think about it. I have it open to the movie novelization of Serenity right now.

Nook -- I've had it for a year. A little peeved with it right now. It won't acknowledge all the books I loaded onto it in the My Documents folder -- it will only show me the books I bought from B&N. The thing is, it used to let me load other books onto it, until the last software upgrade. I'll figure it out. Eventually.

And of course, my iPod Touch. Love it. I actually have 6 e-reader programs loaded on it -- Kindle, Stanza, Ereader, Nook, Kobo, and iBooks. Plus I have Docs to Go, which lets me read PDFs. You know how convenient it is to have it in your pocket, and you're standing in line at the PO or somewhere, and you can pull it out and read without having to wait for it to boot up like the Nook and other proprietary readers? The only downside is the 3-hour battery life, say if I was on a plane or stuck somewhere with no access to electrical power to recharge ..... *sigh*

STEPH: How long have you been writing?

MICHELLE: Seriously writing for publication? Since my sophomore year of high school. Let's leave it at 30+ years, okay?
I was dabbling with stories and ideas and daydreaming for years before that, but never finished anything until then.

STEPH: What's the latest book you read?

MICHELLE: Carpe Demon, by Julie Kenner. Kind of a "Buffy retired, got married, had kids, and now she's been called back into action" kind of story. I think the sub-title is something like "confessions of a demon-hunting soccer mom." Told in first person. Actually, I had this one on my Palm, and stopped reading it about halfway through when my Palm died, then loaded it on my Nook, got distracted by lots of other projects and books, and finally opened it up and finished it. I loved Kenner's Aphrodite books, so I figured this would be fun, too. And it was.

STEPH:Fun question: Which country would you like to visit that you haven't yet?

MICHELLE: Toss-up between England -- to see where C.S. Lewis lived -- and Greece, most specifically, the area where Ithaca probably was. I wrote a book some years ago about Penelope's side of the Odyssey, and I'd love to walk Ithaca and see if I imagined the setting anywhere close to the "reality" that the people listening to Homer tell the poem would have known.


  1. MICHELLE--I enjoyed getting to know you a little--You know, I see the DB author's names repeatedly, but often don't bother to find a face to go with it. Congratulations on your release and best wishes for a wonderful career in writing--you can always sing. Celia

  2. Hey Michelle!!!

    What a great week in the spotlight!

    Best of luck with your new release - Love the cover!