Interview with Jo Michaels author of The Abigale Chronicles and Yassa.
Jo Michaels is an author who lives in the Atlanta, Ga area with her four children and her little dog. Jo has published one book for young readers titled The Abigale Chronicles – Book One and has another slated for release on June 4, 2012, titled Yassa.
Why are you taking part in the author blog challenge and what do you hope to achieve?
I’m taking part in order to meet new people and find new blogs I may enjoy reading. I am hoping to meet a ton of other writers and expand my network. I’m relatively new on the author scene and I think it’ll give me a chance to branch out more. Plus, the daily topics will give me content for my own blog.
How long have you been writing for?
I have been writing for as long as I can remember. My mother still has a short story I wrote when I was in first grade. It blows my mind. I didn’t always write stories, but I have always written.
What would you say is the most difficult part of writing a book?
I’d say the most difficult part is finishing. Writing is easy; it’s the editing, revising, re-reading, and prepping for distribution that’s difficult.
What genre do you generally write?
I generally write historical fiction and literary fiction. There’s just something about putting a writer’s spin on History that leaves me reeling.
Do you have a favourite author and why?
My favorites vary but I truly love Fern Michaels. Her books are so women empowering and they always make me feel like if I just try my hardest, I will succeed.
What is your book called and how did you choose this title?
I have a book releasing on June 4 titled Yassa. It’s historical fiction and centers around the love life of Genghis Khan. I chose that title because the law that Genghis wrote was called Yassa and it’s that law that drives the loyalty of the characters in the book. Every time he turns his back on the law, something terrible happens. Men and women will love the story because it has murder, battles, loyalty, great conflict between friends, and lots of love and passion.
When Temujin is ten, he murders one of his half-brothers in self-defense. That one act of brutality shows him the animal that lives inside his heart, sets into motion a string of events that bring a boy named Jamuka into his life, and gives Temujin the idea to write the law he calls Yassa. He marries his betrothed, Börte, only to have her kidnapped a week later by a rival tribe and sold at auction.
Yassa law states that, above all else, you are to be loyal to those you pledge yourself to. There is only one punishment for breaking Yassa law: death. Deep conflict arises between Temujin and Jamuka when they go to rescue the beautiful and fair Börte from the kidnappers because Jamuka sees her, falls in love, and decides to take her for his own. In a fit of fever, Jamuka attacks Börte and tries to force himself on her. Setting aside the law for the love of a friend, Temujin casts the man out instead of killing him.
Jamuka is bent on revenge for being cast out and is driven to win Börte at any cost. As a result, the two men are plunged into battle over power and a woman. Love drives the conquering of the greatest continuous empire in History in the hopes that the victor will win the affections of Börte, who is being driven mad with her own choice while the men are crossing swords. Only one man can succeed and become Genghis Khan.
Has your book been published and how did you go about this?
It releases June 4. I am self-publishing because I enjoy having control of my life and my career. If it doesn’t work, I can’t blame anyone but myself. I work very hard to create my network and follow the advice of other writers that have done it already on how to market my book successfully.
Approximately how long did it take you to finish your book?
I started writing it in January, 2012, and put the last words down in March. I allowed it a cooling off period and have been editing and reworking since then. I recently passed it off to an outside editor that I really enjoy working with. She’s done wonders with my works.
What advice would you give aspiring authors?
Never give up. If you want to write something, just do it. If you can’t believe in yourself, how are others going to believe in you?
Do you use social media to promote your book, if yes then which social networks do you like the most?
I love Twitter. I’m able to keep up with everyone in my network via Twitter on Flipboard and people tweet far more often than they post blog updates because it’s quick. I also get the most recent happenings and know I’m not stumbling on anything that is over a month old. Follow me! @writejomichaels
Have you enrolled your book onto Amazon’s KDP Select and how have you found it?
I haven’t. I can’t fathom giving anyone exclusivity. I write so people can read and try to make it as easy as possible for all readers to find my books. My first story in a young reader’s series titled The Abigale Chronicles released in April and I’m thrilled to say it is available on every e-reader out there.
If you had to do it all over again what would you do differently?
I would start writing sooner.
What books do you like to read in your spare time?
I read ANYthing I can get my hands on but I love YA fiction. Rick Riordan, Cornelia Funke, J.K. Rowling, and Eoin Colfer are just a few of my favorites.
What do you feel is the most important stage of writing a book?
Making sure I actually have a story that will work. I don’t want to get 4 chapters in and find out it isn’t going to be a good story. I do that by brainstorming ideas and then thinking how or if I can twist it somehow to create tension and round out the characters.
How did you go about designing the cover for your book?
I hold a degree in graphic design and used a watercolor illustration I had done for the cover of Yassa. For The Abigale Chronicles, I used hand lettering done by a local twelve-year-old girl so it would have that personal touch that couldn’t be replicated.
Are you writing or considering writing a follow-up to your book?
For Yassa, no, every story must come to an end and that one is a powerfully emotional read. For The Abigale Chronicles, you betcha, I plan to write those for a long time. I am also working on a mini-series and a couple of other full-length novels.
Do you have a day job (if so, what do you do?) or do you write full-time?
I write full time but trade cover design work for other services. I wear a mom hat after 3pm each day but I usually get in a good 6 hours of work. A good writing day will show me with 3k words in one story or another.
Where is your book available to buy?
There will be some great promotions going on in June for both books.