Very Superstitious Blog Tour (Review, Interview and Giveaway!)

Welcome to the Very Superstitious Blog Tour hosted by Chapter by Chapter. I'm really excited to be a part of the tour because first off, this book is perfect for Halloween. Secondly it's to benefit SPCA International. Today I'm featuring Michelle E. Reed who has her debut, Life A.D. releasing December of 2103 by Month9Books

Title: Very Superstitious
Publication date: October 15, 2013
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
ISBN-13: 978-0-9883409-4-7
ISBN eBook: 978-1-939765-75-8
Author: Delany, Jackie Morse Kessler, Stephanie Kuehnert, Jennifer Knight,
Marianne Mancusi, Michelle E. Reed, Dianne Salerni and Pab Sungenis

The stories are based on urban legends, myths, tribal tales and superstitions from around the world. A charity anthology to benefit SPCA International with stories by Shannon Delany, Jackie Morse Kessler, Stephanie Kuehnert, Jennifer Knight, Marianne Mancusi, Michelle E. Reed, Dianne Salerni and Pab Sungenis.

My Thoughts

So I have to admit I'm a lover of anthologies. Especially ones that are about the creepy, spooky and oh so scary. I love a good story that leaves me thinking about it way later. Definitely pick it up, the best part of an anthology is you can read a story in between other books you are reading or if you just want to take a mini break.

Michelle E. Reed writes the tale Midhalla which has it's roots in Eyptian Myths. Whoa, whoa I was like what, what is happening here ahhh. Ya it was good and I can tell you I will not be opening any umbrellas in the house any time soon. Ha. I really like Michelle's writing and I can already tell from the short story that I'm going to enjoy her debut.

Interview with Michelle E. Reed

How does it feel to have your debut novel hitting the shelves in December?

First off, thanks for hosting me here on the Library of a Book Witch!

Having my novel hitting the shelves in December (soon!) is quite an amazing mix of emotions. It’s extremely exciting. It’s empowering. It’s a little scary. I think most people are aware that the road to publication is long, but just how long is less common knowledge. Once you get a publishing offer, it is usually at least a year, and often much longer, before your book will hit the shelves. The publishing process is long because of all the work involved—editing, cover design, marketing, reviews, printing—the list goes on and on. It takes an entire team of talented people to make a book into a reality.

Once the newness and the excitement of landing a publishing deal wears off (although to be honest, I’m not sure it ever completely does), you have to get to work on all the rest. Time sort of slides along at a leisurely pace, interspersed with periods of hard, deadline-based work, until all of a sudden that dot on the horizon is a beautiful mountain. And you feel empowered. I (we) did this. This is really happening.

So here I sit, in the shadow of a mountain. It’s amazing, and while I’m so excited I can hardly stand it, I’m also a little intimidated. Very soon, people will be reading my book. People I don’t know; people I may never meet. This reality, while obvious—that’s the point of publishing, right?—is a bit scary. I worry about whether I worked hard enough to give my readers the book they deserve. Are my words good enough? Is my story strong enough? Will my readers find reason enough to love my characters? Will they see value in the time they spend reading?

But by far the greatest emotion I feel is gratitude. I am so fortunate to have this opportunity, and I can’t wait to hold my book, my finished, printed book, in my hands.

You’re writing a short story for an anthology. How is that different than writing your own book?

Writing my novel, Life, A.D. and writing the short story, Midhalla both had distinct challenges. In writing your own book, there are more complex story arcs and character interactions to keep track of, and it’s a much grander scale undertaking, which I think intimidates a lot of new writers. You have to write a complete book without filler. The upside is, you have time to get to know your characters. Writing a short story is a different sort of challenge. Telling a complete, satisfying tale in twenty or thirty pages isn’t easy. You still need to meet the fundamental requirements of storytelling, but you have much less time to do it. You have to give your readers a reason to care about someone they only get to be with for a short period of time.

You were born in the Midwest, and still live here. How does this part of America influence your writing?

Not only do my protagonists hail from this part of the country, but also I think the notion of “Midwestern sensibility” colors my writing and my worlds. Midwesterners tend to be down to earth, practical people who lack pretense. There’s a friendliness and a comfort level here that I have really grown to appreciate. Throwing my protagonists out of this comfort zone, this idyllic upbringing, if you will, is a strong theme in my writing. Looking back at Life, A.D. I can see a definite “We’re not in Kansas anymore,” undercurrent. Here is this girl from small-town Wisconsin whose life ends abruptly, and her soul becomes trapped between worlds in a limbo of sorts, where nothing is practical. She scrambles to find logic and normalcy in a world beyond her comprehension.

When you were a child, you used to stay up late, and read under the covers with a flashlight. What were your favorite books as a child? Did any of them leave a lasting impact on the way you write today?

I could write a blog series just on this subject of my favorite childhood books…hmm, maybe I should! There were so many! If I had to pick the most influential authors and their books, I would probably go with Shel Silverstein, Walter Farley, and…well, the last book series on my list, I later discovered was written by a number of different house writers under a pseudonym, as was common for that type of story. It was a “girl detective” series about the title character, Trixie Belden. Trixie was a tomboy, tough and smart. I wanted to be just like her when I “grew up” (I think she was about thirteen in the books!). I do see a bit of Trixie in my own characters. I like girls who can stand up for themselves, find their way, be smart and savvy, and surround themselves with good friends to help them along the way.

Walter Farley wrote the famed Black Stallion Series. I was horse-crazy as a child, and spent many years learning to ride and, eventually, owned my own horse. His stories were pure magic to me. Escapism in its purest form. If I can capture that kind of magic in my own writing, I’d count myself very luck.

Shel Silverstein was my favorite, by far. His words are beautiful, funny, sad at times, and always wise. His poems and stories alike make for some of the best reading out there. Every child should memorize his perfect poem, Listen to the Mustn’ts. He will always be a strong influence in my writing, an icon who will always make me strive to be better.

How do you know what teenagers, and readers even younger than that, like to read about?
Times may change, but I think that some things are universal. Teens and younger readers want engaging stories that speak to them and who they are. They want to be transported to another world, but want relatable characters. They want an author who is honest, and who doesn’t pander to them. I have nieces and nephews who are teens. I listen when they talk; I pay attention to their interests and what matters to them. Young readers are quite smart, and it is wise to keep that in mind. I think I also have a pretty good ear for what my inner-teen has to say. One of the best things I’ve done is find myself a beta reader, who, at the time I was writing Life, A.D. was a high school student. She really gave me some great insight into what teen readers want and don’t want, and was great at pointing out when I was completely missing the mark.

What are you currently reading?

Right now, I’m reading The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness. I’m receiving strong peer-pressure from my husband to read World War Z, so that’s up next. I wish I were the type of person who can read more than one book at a time, but I just can’t manage it.

Michelle E. Reed

 Michelle was born in a small Midwestern town, to which she has returned to raise her own family. Her imagination and love of literature were fueled by a childhood of late nights, hidden under the covers and reading by flashlight. She is a passionate adoption advocate who lives in Wisconsin with her husband, son, and their yellow lab, Sully.

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Other Authors Featured

Shannon Delany
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Pab Sungenis
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Stephanie Kuehnert
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Jennifer Knight
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Mari Mancusi
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Jackie Morse Kessler
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Dianne Salerni

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