Hi! *waves hands in the air* I’m Briana Michaels, writer of the Paranormal Romance series: Sins of the Sidhe. I live on a small slice of heaven in the middle of the woods with my husband, two children, and lots of wildlife. I enjoy tea, books, wine, and food. Usually in that order.
Tell us about your latest book.
My stories are about Fae, Druids, demons, witches, and a mess of other crazy peoples who all get together and raise hell… or fight in some form of it. PASSION is book 3 in the series and it’s about a Druid who is struggling to find his inner peace and fights his own personal demons. His life, so far, has been a tortured one, and he goes on quite a journey to get out of his darkness and into the light of a brighter day.
What do you have coming out in the future?
I’m currently writing books four and five simultaneously. My people like to blend together and their stories entwine a lot. I knew this would happen from day one because nothing in my books are without purpose, but to actually watch the stories weave and lives mesh is still an incredible process to be part of. I say, “I knew they were there for a reason” a lot in my head.
Is your book a stand-alone or a series?
The first book, Shatter, could be read as a stand-alone, but that would mean you’d be missing out on all the fun that happens in the other books! I want you to have closure with some things and a growing curiosity about others. They’re intended to be read as a growing set, so what characters you meet in one book will have stories of their own in the future. I’d hate for anyone to miss their introductions because they skipped a book or two in the series.
Why romance and what makes your particular brand of romance special?
Well… why NOT romance, eh? I love the emotions you get from a romance novel - all the heart fluttering, the sweaty palms, the biting of your lower lip, the “Holy CRAP!” and the “Ohhh yeah, baby,” and my personal fave, “I gotta try that.”
My books are a little different than the rest because of how the game is played. One must shelve their knowledge and beliefs/theories they have about the paranormal when they read one of my books. At times I redefine what Fae (fairies) and angels do. Yes, many folks who read paranormal romance know that there are Seelie and Unseelie Fae, demons are generally evil, angels are pretty perfect, and yada-yada-yada. But I change the rules.
Smash them to pieces, actually.
Some of my Sidhe (the more powerful of the Fae) have characteristics that are found in vampires, my demons might just be heroic, and you may secretly want to kiss the bad guy at some point. They need love too, right?
There are so many layers in my novels, you could reread them and find a new clue each time. Take nothing I write for granted and pay attention, ‘nuff said.
Is romance the only genre that you write in or do you write in other genres? If so what other genres do you write in?
I write what I know and love and that’s paranormal romance. It’s a big field and there are tons of us that write it, but I love how we’re all a little different with the art of creating our worlds. Romance is something that will never grow old for me or my characters. The world needs all the love it can get.
I don’t have to look far; the characters in my head come to me fully-loaded with desires, problems, and a history. They are pretty pushy and hardheaded when they present their issues; I try my best to help them out however I can. You might say we have a “meeting of the minds.”
I’ll get them from point A to point B, but it’s going to cost blood, sweat and tears the whole way. Wishing for a happily ever after isn’t enough, they have to earn their endings. They know that and still they come to me armed and ready for the journey.
Unfortunately, the bad guy in me also likes to muddy the waters. I throw madness around like confetti and watch what they do with my plot twists. I am very much the button pusher and the trouble maker. Inspiration comes from just sitting and chilling with the folks in my head, and the minute they start to relax, I throw a whammy at them and watch/record their response. It’s a party every day.
Do you ever base your characters on real people in your life?
Some have quirks that are found in me, my kids, my husband and friends - but it’s just a few habits or favorite foods. Their personalities are alllll them. They showed up in my mind the way they are and I wouldn’t change a single thing about any of them.
What authors inspire your writing?
J.R. Ward for sure. She’s why I’d never attempt to write a vampire novel. Why mess with perfection, eh? I also love Karen Marie Moning because I think she gets the evil/good thing like me. And of course, I love the goddess of Highlander love, Herself, Diana Gabaldon. *shout out to the Outlander fans!*
How have your real life experiences influenced your writing?
Well, we’ve all done some foolishly outrageous things in our lifetimes. If you haven’t, there’s still time to get on it!
When I was a kid, a three-legged fox was sneaking around my grandparent’s farm. His wound was old and healed, but he struggled with just three legs. I was sitting in the grass playing with a duck (yup, a duck) when I first saw it. I put the duck down and walked right over to the fox and pet it. He wasn’t skittish; he was playful and sweet and liked having his ears scratched. Total love bug. He didn’t stick around but it was fun while it lasted. And no, he did NOT eat the duck and I have no idea why he was out in broad daylight like he owned the yard.
That was how Fintan the fox came to me when I began writing. Whoda thunk that the memory of the fox from my childhood would eventually shine through as a beloved character all these years later. I get lots of giggles from my readers about Fintan. He’s a pip.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Read, cook, listen to music, walk in the woods, and I also teach art to little ones. I wear many hats in a day.
What was your road to publishing like? Tell us about it.
Anxiety-ridden. Frightening. Vomit inducing. Yup, that about covers it. It was temporary, I assure you. With lots of encouragement, I managed to get over the fears of rejection and ridicule, I hit that publish button, and said, “Well, book one is out. Let’s make more magic now, shall we?” For which my characters all replied, “YES!”
Joking aside, I wrote my first book a year ago and getting my name out there has been a slow process. I don’t like to market. I don’t like to push my product. I’m not a sales person. My success has been slow and steady and that’s okay with me. I didn’t go into this whole book writing thing with the goal of making a million bucks, I did it so that I could have my passions out there for others to enjoy. Knowing more than just my friends and family have bought my books means I’ve already accomplished what I set out to do.
Magic happens in my stories one page at a time… so will my success.
How did you come up with the title of your book?
The title of the series “Sins of the Sidhe” came to me in a wine store when I was buying a bottle of one of my favorite zinfandels. It was a total “Aha!” moment for me and I was all by myself and couldn’t tell a soul. Devastating really as it was quite spectacular.
Do you read romance or do you prefer other genres?
I’m all about the love - any love - and I really enjoy reading historical romance novels.
What is your absolute favorite book or books and why is it special to you?
Oh man, the Black Dagger Brotherhood series for sure because they are so over the top and downright fierce. We’re family; I’m committed to those brothers and their shellans.
I also recently read the book “Dance with the Devil” by Sherrilyn Kenyon and I was a shredded, blubbering mess over it. I hadn’t read her books before and that story is now definitely one of the top books on my list of rereads because of how it got me to feel. *eyes water* Oh my golly, when Zarek dropped his coins! I will never look at a slice of bread the same way ever again. *excuse me while I get a tissue*
The flip side of immortal love is that I have to include the Outlander books to this list as well. My favorite thing about this series is how I’m growing old with Jamie, Claire, Fergus, Ian, Jenny, and the lot. I’ve been reading these books for years and I can appreciate the fact that Jamie’s hair is turning gray and that Claire’s backside isn’t so firm now. They’re still insanely spectacular to me, but I love their day-to-day life because I can relate to it so well. I’m aging, I have an herb garden, I chop my own wood, and boy would I love to have a dog like Rollo.
Have you won any awards for your writing?
Not yet, but I did celebrate my personal achievements by having lunch with some friends and a grand dinner with the hubs. Does that count?
What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?
Turning it off. I just can’t do it, no matter how hard I try. When I sit in front of my computer and start banging away at the keyboard, I physically morph into a crazy person. I can’t get the thoughts typed out as fast as they are flying through my head and I start yelling some days.
To actually walk away from the computer takes a tremendous amount of self-control, which I don’t always have. Some days I literally have to be pried away from my desk and my feet drag across the hardwood floors while my hands are still reaching out to keep typing that last thought. Yeah, there have even been some tears and major anxiety over not writing. My world is too big and the characters are too demanding for me to just hit the save button, close my laptop, and walk away. It doesn’t feel right to not write.
What is the easiest part of the writing process for you?
Opening my mind and swan diving down my rabbit hole is by far the easiest thing I do in a day. It’s a labyrinth of awesomeness and only I hold the detailed map. Coming up with a new story line is done before the coffee is brewed, and since I think like a villain most days, the plot twists are abundant and come natural to me. *mwuah ha ha ha*
Which of your characters is your favorite and why?
Adam is my favorite - not because he’s big, protective, sexy as all get out, and full of badassery, but because of his commitment to me. He was the one who demanded I write these stories, and no matter how many times I said, “Oh no, I don’t think I should,” he would calmly reply, “But my dear, it’s your calling.”
He waited for several years while I worked up the nerve to do as he desired, and when I finished writing the first book, those gorgeous color-of-a-peacock-feather eyes twinkled at me and he said, “What are you waiting for? Write the next one.”
He’s amazing, complicated, and secretive too - so much to love, right? I keep trying to get him to sit down for an interview but he’s been busy lately. Hopefully it’ll happen soon – guess it’s my turn to show patience, huh?
Who or what are your inspirations/influences?
E.A. Poe, the Joker, and Hozier are on the list. They speak to my soul and make me smile.
J.R. Ward is another one for sure. The woman is a genius and her attitude about writing really drives me to continue what I do. Will I make it as a famous author/household name/fansites-all-over-the-place writer? Maybe. But if I do, it’ll be on my own two feet. I own my failures and I will own my triumphs. That was advice I got out of an interview with JR Ward and it really hit home for me.
The “you do you” approach to this writing stuff is exactly what all authors need to remember.
My first book was difficult for me to find my voice, which was my own insecurity. My second book was a whole different ballgame. I hit the ground running, found my writing voice, and I owned that particular triumph when it was all said and done. Of course, it was also Adam’s story so…
Other influences come from daily life. I live in the woods, so my stories have a lot to do with nature. I’m married to a romantic who tends to boost my confident levels up, although I don’t think he realizes it all the time. Then there are my kids who are night and day - one’s quirky, the other’s serious; one is a night owl, the other a rooster; one’s hip hop, the other is heavy metal. Such a contrast is bound to bring on entertainment and ideas.
What is your preferred writing environment?
Tea, music, desk by a window so I can see the birds, and me alone with the cacophony in my mind. Oh yeah, and something planned for dinner that I don’t have to cook would be a bonus because once I start typing, ten hours goes fast and I usually forget to pull something out of the freezer.
How would you describe your writing style?
I write like I think and talk: Lots of humor, sentence fragments, and afterthoughts.
Preferably with sarcasm.
Do you have a careful plan when plotting your stories or do you just go with the flow?
Go with the flow, baby. Outlines are not my friends, they make me feel claustrophobic and committed. I’m a free bird and I go where the winds and characters take me.
Writing is like an out of body experience for me most of the time. I’m focused on the vision before me and I just type what I see in my mind. Sometimes it plays like a movie and I’m the one holding the camera. Other times the character has slipped into me, and I’m the one holding the sword… or eating the baked penne.
What is your favorite quote?
From another book? I’d say, “There is a place. Like no place on Earth. A land full of wonder, mystery, and danger! Some say to survive it: You need to be as mad as a hatter. Which luckily I am.” – the Mad Hatter, Alice in Wonderland
From my own books, I’m going with these humdingers:
Shatter: “Don’t let your elephant mouth get your hummingbird ass in trouble.”
Shine: “Funny thing about hiding your demons from the world around you: no matter how long you hold them under water, some demons don’t drown; they just grow gills and fins and lie in wait for you to give in. You see, pain demands to be felt and endured, love asks to be cherished, but secrets? Aw, those little bastards want to be released. Whereas pain fades and love grows, secrets just grind. They grind you down and leave some weak part of you so raw you give in and let them out.”
PASSION: “Sometimes a monster’s greatest fear is itself.”
Wild Card Question.
As an author, what is the one question that you wish people would ask you, but no one ever has and what would your answer be to that question?
Q: “What is your ultimate goal in writing?”
A: To have readers feel like they are part of the story, too. I want you swept up in the moments – both the good and the bad. I want you to FEEL, not just read. Get hot and sweaty, forget to breathe, shake, cry, scream - I want to drag all that out of you.
You’re reading my book. You’re now in my world. When someone’s upset, I want your cheeks to burn. When something romantic happens, I want your heart to skip a beat. When something dangerous is about to go down, I want you to look around for a weapon within reach.
I’ve had some readers tell me they felt as if they were actually in the scene while reading certain chapters and how nervous they got or that they screamed at their e-readers.
That right there goes in the “Triumph” column. I’ve reached my ultimate goal.