Author interview 128 – Michelle Renee Young


Michelle Renee Young

United States

Age 24

Michelle R Young is a professional artist, writer and social media specialist. When she isn’t creating new stories she can be found painting, hanging out with her friends, or simply marveling at nature. Texas born and bred, she has grown up adapting around her two learning disabilities, dysgraphia, and ADHD so she could become a better storyteller. Michelle has a positive outlook on life and where God has planned for her next. You can see more of her creations and stay tuned for her next book by visiting her at http://www.Mypureart.com/

It all began with a dream for her, so she took it and began writing. And thus at 23 she created Gear Heart.
„It’s such a wonderful feeling to be lost in the right direction.”

Aspen and Lori Wolfe are on a mission with Keagan Myrack to save the slaves in England and portal them back to their dimension in this Steampunk sensation: Gear Heart.

Forty years ago the plague wiped out England’s working class. Using a time portal, bi-dimensional creatures are imported from another dimension to be used as labor for 19th century enterprises. Now in 1886, Aspen and Lori Wolfe are determined to end the slave trade. But their schemes are soon exposed to their new guardian, and playboy, Keagan Myrack. Can Aspen and Lori trust Keagan? Will Aspen be blinded by her growing feelings for him? Can they survive powerful enemies and the deadly dimie slave correctional robots before time runs out?

Gear Heart is the first book in a retro, futuristic, espionage trilogy where heroes are chased by portal-projecting enemies, thwarted by secret passages, swayed by romance, and stunned by chilling discoveries. It is a Batman meets industrial revolution thriller that readers will never forget!

Romelia:    WHAT IS A SIGNIFICANT WAY YOUR BOOK HAS CHANGED SINCE THE FIRST DRAFT?

Michelle R. Young:   The depth of the characters was greatly enhanced since the first draft. After looking through it multiple times I added much more description of my characters’ mannerisms as well as dialogue.

Romelia:    WHAT PERSPECTIVES OR BELIEFS HAVE YOU CHALLENGED WITH THIS WORK?

Michelle R. Young:   Civil rights as well as feminism are portrayed throughout the book shining a light on many shades of each topic. The main characters of the book believe there should be the right for life, liberty and equality for humans, as well as the enslaved creatures called dimies who have the same mental and emotional capacity as humans. The feminist standpoint is demonstrated throughout the book by the actions of the two main ladies, Aspen and Lori, and eventually the main male character, Keagan. The shades of feminism are shown through both strong and gentle actions/words that help shape the true meaning of feminism and how different it can look from one person to the next.

Romelia:    WHAT INSPIRED THE IDEA FOR YOUR BOOK?

Michelle R. Young:   The idea for my book was partly inspired by two people, but mainly by a dream. A large majority of the scenes in the story were from a recurring dream I had in high school. After a year of dreaming similar and different scenarios, I finally decided to write it down. Harriet Tubman greatly inspired me for the Underground Railroad she forged to save slaves no matter the cost.   Equally important was her faith in God for protection as she led  her people to safety. Other than Miss Tubman, my very own great great great grandfather inspired me: Dr. Lovick Pierce II, who ministered to slaves on plantations before and during the civil war, saving hundreds in the process.  

Romelia:    HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR BOOK’S IDEAL READER?

Michelle R. Young:   My book is marketed for young adults; however, people of all ages from thirteen to seventy years of age have enjoyed my story. The ideal reader is anyone above the age of thirteen who loves a thrilling adventure, scientific advancements, romance, espionage, and characters who feel real to the reader.

Romelia:    HOW MUCH RESEARCH DID YOU NEED TO DO FOR YOUR BOOK?

Michelle R. Young:   I had to do a considerable amount of reading and research for this book (soon to become a trilogy) because I wanted it to be accurate enough to the time period, as well as technological advancements. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes helped me immensely with the dialect and lifestyle since it was written in the very time period and country as my book.

Romelia:    HOW IMPORTANT WAS PROFESSIONAL EDITING TO YOUR BOOK’S DEVELOPMENT?

Michelle R. Young:   Extremely important! I was a bit picky with choosing my editor to say the least; however, I knew I had to pick a great one since I wanted my book to be the best it could be.

Romelia:    WHAT WAS YOUR HARDEST SCENE TO WRITE, AND WHY?

Michelle R. Young:   There wasn’t one particular scene that was difficult to write.  Actually it was the nonchalant dialogue as the characters were moving from one important scene to the next that was the most difficult. The scenes themselves seemed to write themselves fairly quickly.

Romelia:    WHAT CHARACTERS IN YOUR BOOK ARE MOST SIMILAR TO YOU OR TO PEOPLE YOU KNOW?

Michelle R. Young:   Since I put bits of my favorite people, as well as myself, into my characters, I would identify myself as a mix of Aspen and Lori. Lori was my best friend in my dream so I tried to portray her the way I see her and my other best friends. Doing it this way helped me create the sisterly bond Aspen and Lori have for one another since the bond with my best friends is very sisterly.

Romelia:    HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE THIS BOOK?

Michelle R. Young:   Including long breaks it took about four years to finish, but it was truly written completely in nine months. I dreamed it for a year, hand wrote ten pages in my college freshman summer, set it aside for two years and then wrote the entire thing in my senior year of college.

Romelia:    HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE TITLE FOR YOUR BOOK?

Michelle R. Young:   Deciding on a title was tricky but fun, since it was a romance book and a steampunk book. I love the look of gears and cogs and tried to use those words in a romantic sense, I soon figured out that nothing else clicked quite like Gear Heart did for the title and I even named the machine in the book Gear Heart so the name of the book has more than just one meaning throughout the book if one looks for it.

Romelia:    WOULD YOU AND YOUR MAIN CHARACTER GET ALONG?

Michelle R. Young:   Heck yes, and possibly too well!  I know that Aspen and I would be the type of pairing to get in terribly wonderful trouble and make the most amazing things. Lori and I would have fun shopping. I could help her with her lack of baking skills. I’d love to go dancing with Keagan. I just hope he could handle swing dancing.

Romelia:    IF YOU COULD MEET YOUR CHARACTERS, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO THEM?

Michelle R. Young:   Bravo on all you have done and all that is in store! Don’t lose heart because there is a better tomorrow waiting for you, you just have to keep working hard to help make it possible. I’ll be by your side each step of the way to lead you there.

Romelia:    WHAT IS YOUR WRITING PROCESS LIKE? ARE YOU MORE OF A PLOTTER OR A PANTSER?

Michelle R. Young:   I don’t know what I am to be honest. I’m both I would say. I give a general chapter plotline and organize scenes, but I like to play around with ideas, switching them from one chapter to the next. For the most part I write out on the spot or whenever ideas come around for the story. I rarely discard a scene once it’s written.

Romelia:    WHAT DO YOU NEED IN YOUR WRITING SPACE TO HELP YOU STAY FOCUSED?

Michelle R. Young:   Music! I must have music, my writing journals, and my special writing pens.

Romelia:    IF YOU WERE TO WRITE A SPIN-OFF ABOUT A SIDE CHARACTER, WHICH WOULD YOU PICK?

Michelle R. Young:   I would choose the dimie Thatcher or Miss Masie for sure. They had very interesting lives before they were introduced in the books and I’d love to dive deeper in them.

Romelia:    IF YOU COULD SPEND A DAY WITH ANOTHER POPULAR AUTHOR, WHOM WOULD YOU CHOOSE?

Michelle R. Young:   Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, or Fiona Paul. (Sorry, I could not pick just one).

Romelia:    WHAT IS YOUR SCHEDULE LIKE WHEN YOU’RE WRITING A BOOK?

Michelle R. Young:   I try to write 2,000 words a day.  If I write less than that, I don’t beat myself up since I sometimes type or write 8,000 words or more a day. It seems to even out from week to week. I’ve tried writing at certain parts of the day but I definitely write best at night, same with my painting.  I create best at night.

Romelia:    HAVE YOU EVER TRAVELED AS RESEARCH FOR YOUR BOOK?

Michelle R. Young:   Not yet, but I certainly want to travel as research with future books. There is a chance that I can go to France where I hope to write the third book in the trilogy, and possibly some of my other stories. I greatly wish to see the catacombs of Paris to use in my story.

Romelia:    WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE WRITING SNACK OR DRINK?

Michelle R. Young:   I adore hot tea and peanut M&M’s.

Romelia:    HOW DO YOU CELEBRATE WHEN YOU FINISH YOUR BOOK?

Michelle R. Young:   Since my first book was finished around midterms in college, I didn’t have much of a chance to celebrate. I did manage to indulge in cheesecake! When I was afforded free time, I celebrated it as part of my birthday with family and friends. I think in the future I’d like to do something similar along with a day to rest and reflect. I love the bliss I felt when Gear Heart was officially published. I want to feel that again with all my future books.

Romelia:    WHAT RISKS HAVE YOU TAKEN WITH YOUR WRITING THAT HAVE PAID OFF?

Michelle R. Young:   Writing in class during lectures (which may or may not have cost me a grade in the class) was totally worth it!

Romelia:    WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU GOOGLED YOURSELF AND WHAT DID YOU FIND?

Michelle R. Young:   Unfortunately a girl with my same name was murdered in 2006, and a lot of links to the case came up when I googled my name. When I googled my book title next to my name, tons of reviews and links to the book pop up, though.

Romelia:    WHAT IS YOUR KRYPTONITE AS A WRITER?

Michelle R. Young:   There is never enough time in a day to accomplish all I wish. It’s a daily struggle to balance my art, writing, chores, friends and family.

Romelia:    TELL US SOMETHING FUNNY FROM YOUR ADULT LIFE.

Michelle R. Young:   I haven’t been an adult very long, but I pulled a funny prank on a co-worker at my previous job. His work partner helped me out with it since he was the big prankster in the office.  We wanted to scare him so my auntie loaned me her fake, but extremely lifelike, tarantula toy spider.  I hid it under the lid of his laptop that he left in his office. Right after hiding the spider, he and a few other coworkers came around. The second he opened the lid of his laptop he jumped back and cursed, grabbed the spider and threw it across the room into the wall. He started looking at the rest of us–mainly the men in the room–and was steaming mad, ready to fight. Hehehe, then I came hopping over to my spider as my coworkers were dying laughing. I came right up to him and said,  “You found my spider!” He did not look happy, but everyone else sure did and gave me high fives. He wasn’t about to fight me so instead we shook hands to say that the war was on. Truth be told he never pranked me back for that one.

Romelia:   DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN A FEW SENTENCES. TELL US SOMETHING WE DO NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU AND SOMETHING YOU HATE ABOUT THE WORLD.

Michelle R. Young:   I love nature, especially the ocean and feel very happy and adventurous when I get to be in them. I feel most at home underwater and near the water. My friends identify me as an otter if I were to be an animal since I love water so much and because I can be quite playful and cuddly.  I love hugs from my friends and family. Other than being an author, I am also an artist.  I graduated with an art degree from UNT. I love to watch the world and observe people and how they act; this feeds into my art and my writing to make the characters and the painting feel real/alive.

One thing I hate about the world is people who lack ambition for anything. We are given this life to be the best we possibly can, and yet some people only dwell on the bad and never strive to be anything other than what they are told to be or are given. Also, I despise people who expect things to be handed to them.  We have to work for what we want most. There might be kind people who will help you get where you want to be, but rarely are people just given it. We need to work for the future we are striving for, but shouldn’t forget to stop and reflect on what is happening in the present- because it might be what we were working for all along–we could be there without realizing it.

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