Monday, 26 December 2011
Author Spotlight - Q&A with Michelle Sutton
STEPH: I don't know much about "When Loves Collides." Can you tell us about it?
MICHELLE: It's a story about a young woman who has a history of poor choices she has made, one of which was marrying a man who turned out to be abusive. The story begins ten years later after the husband has been dead seven years, but the lingering issues from his abuse remain. Complicate that with the fact that she has weird health issues and a good man from her past steps in to provide support and encouragement (and he happens to have always loved her, but she didn't know it) you have a love story with some powerful emotional content.
STEPH: How long did it take you to write?
MICHELLE: Goodness, I wrote this story back in 2005, or maybe 2006. I don't remember, but I'd say about four to six months.
STEPH: Where did you find the inspiration for the novel?
MICHELLE: Much of it came from my own life. My mother had MS. I did dump a nice guy for a jerk (and found out later the nice guy had been in love with me.) Who knew? I missed that somehow. I thought it would be fun to write a story about what might have happened if I ran into him again. That was the skeleton structure for the plot. Most of the story is pure fiction.
STEPH: Did you have to do a lot of research for the story?
MICHELLE: Not really. I lived with someone who had MS. I have lots of friends that are PAs (physician assistants) and I lived with my grandmother when I was younger and in college (like the story about her living with her aunt when Raquel first knew Scott.)
STEPH: Raquel has been hurt. What are her strengths as the story opens?
MICHELLE: She is determined to keep her aunt at home and out of a care facility. She is also determined to make things right with her past and talk to Scott about why she left and ask for his forgiveness.
STEPH: How is the hero, Scott, attracted to Raquel? What pulls him toward her? What do they share?
MICHELLE: There was always something Scott found attractive about Raquel, mainly her personality. She was tender and sweet and though a bit skittish, she was a very loyal friend (up to the point when she left town anyway.) He found her vulnerability a powerful draw and he wanted to be there for her. What he didn't know (at the time) was that being raped by a man before she'd met him had a lot to do with that "sad look in her eyes" that made him want to hold her and put a smile on her face.
STEPH: What do you hope resonates with readers when they finish the novel?
MICHELLE: That love is about your commitment to the other person's well-being and you can't earn love. It's about how a person feels when they are with you. It can't be earned by being the perfect woman despite what the media depicts. It's either there, or it isn't. But love isn't very strong without trust backing the relationship. To truly love someone, there must be trust.
STEPH: How important was the setting to the story?
MICHELLE: It rained quite a few times (heavy monsoon rains) in the story, and as with those unpredictable storms, sometimes in life emotional pain hits us just as hard and unexpectedly.
STEPH: Hollywood is calling. Cast the lead characters.
MICHELLE: I wish! Okay, well, hmm... I suppose that Scott would be Tom Hardy (Inception) and Raquel would be Natalie Portman (V is for Vendetta)
STEPH: Fun Question: Do you make New Year's Resolutions?
MICHELLE: Nah, I don't keep them, so why bother?