Friday, January 15, 2010

Sometimes an author's life is glamourous

Most of the time, my life as a writer is very ordinary. I write. It is the act of writing that makes me a writer. And because I write from home, I get to set my own hours and wear what I like. Writing is 99% hard work. It also means that I can ignore housework as well... writers write. Very occasionally my life attains some glamour, you know the sort of life that the movies always protray writers as having. And last month, suddenly my life had an added sparkle.
It started with an email asking if I would be interviewed for a forthcoming article in Living North. Living North is The lifestyle magazine for the North East and one of the best regional magazines that I have seen. So I was delighted to say yes...and immediately booked a hair appointment as I knew there would be photographs. I also cleaned the house, just in case they wanted photos of the house...Living North is a lifestyle magazine afterall!
Sure enough, the photographer, Katie Lee arrived the following Monday afternoon. Katie Lee was a delight to work with. I can wholeheartedly recommend her. In addition to doing features for magazines, she also does protraits and weddings. She was very professional but instantly put me at ease. I am never very comfortable with having my picture taken, partcularly by someone I have just met. However Katie took the time to develop a rapport, telling me about all the hard work (and persistence) she had had to endure in order to follow her dream. We went around the house, taking down the Christmas decorations and rearranging the furniture so she could get the shots she wanted.
The time flew by and she was able to take the shots.
Katie Lee’s top tips for having your picture taken.
1. Do not smile, smirk. It prevents you from showing too much teeth or having your face go rigid. 2. It is all in the eyes. If you have a warm expression in your eyes, it is what people notice. So think of either the photographer or the camera as a dear friend, someone with whom you like to sit and have a chat or a cup of coffee.
3. When working with animals (she took some pictures of me with the dogs), resort to bribery and corruption. Holding small treats will help keep the dogs in place, rather than holding them by their collars!
4. If filming in front of a coal fire, put the coal on about 10-15 minutes before you want to shoot so you can have a good fire. Photography is about thinking and planning ahead.
The next morning, the interviewer came over and we did the interview. She was very interesting as besides being a feature writer, she is also a ghost writer, mostly doing memoirs. We had a lovely chat about writing.
Then it was back to my writing and letting the dust accumulate because when it comes to a choice between writing and housecleaning, writing normally wins.
The finished article is currently the feature article of the February edition of Living North. And thanks to Katie Lee, I now have a lovely new photo as my author photo! My daughter says that it does look like me.

And because February sees the North American publication of Sold & Seduced in Harlequin Historical Direct, I am giving away a copy to the first name of the hat who correctly answers the following question:
What are the names of the hero and heroine of Sold & Seduced?(Hint the answer is on my website).
Please email me the answer at I will draw the winner on Saturday 23 January. Void where prohibited.
Mary Kirkland was the first name out of the hat. An email has been sent to Mary. Many thanks to all who entered.


Laurie said...

Loved the excerpt, the wager, the cover!

The Voice said...

Nice. I was totally pulled into the story.

The interview tips were a good idea. Thanks.

Michelle Styles said...

Oh Laurie -- thank you. I really enjoyed writing S&S. In Spain, it was called Seven Days without Kisses because of the wager...

Thank you the Voice.

Rebekah E. said...

Thanks for the great post.

Michele L. said...

Hi Michelle,

Thanks for the excerpt! Your book sounds fantastic1 Wow! What an amazing cover! Another book to put on my Must-Buy list!

Thanks for sharing with us all the good tips on picture taking.

Have a great Sunday!

Pat Cochran said...

Enjoyed the post. Thanks for sharing with us. Have a great weekend!

Pat Cochran

Caroline Storer said...

Great blog - and it looks as if you had a great interview as well. Caroline x

Jennie Lucas said...

Michelle, what a wonderful magazine article. I totally adored it! You looked so glamorous and down to earth, and northern England just sounds so romantic. Thanks for sharing!


~Sia McKye~ said...

I'm with you, writing beats cleaning house any day. Alas, I do have to clean and cook--imagine that? Otherwise my guys complain about soup and sandwiches.

What a wonderful thing to be in the magazine. I take lots of photos, when I want someone to give a genuine grin I crack jokes and tease. I also take about 6 or more shots before I get what I want. Your photographer did give some wonderful tips though.

I haven't read your book yet, but it sure sounds interesting. I'll have to order it. :-D

Michelle Styles said...

Jennie -- ah but you are wonderfully glamourous as well! I am pleased you enjoyed the article.

Sia -- yes, I know what you mean. It is amazing that families actually want to be fed and watered.
I am pleased you thought Katie's tips were good. I was so impressed with her approach.

flchen1 said...

What a great premise for your newest, Michelle! And lovely post today, too! Congrats on a great photo and interview!

van_pham said...

Great post, thanks for stopping by and sharing with us :)

Michelle Styles said...

Oh I am glad you both found it interesting.

Linda Henderson said...

Congratulations on the magazine feature. I'll look forward to your book.