September 15, 2013

Author Interview with Jo Michaels

Hi Jo, first of all, could you tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi, Patrick! What to say about me? Well, I grew up in Louisiana, moved to Tennessee when I was in my twenties, and then to Georgia when in my thirties. I have five rowdy children who range from age seven to seventeen that are the light of my life. I’ve been a reader since I was four years old and a writer from the time I could hold a pencil and scribble on paper. I write Historical Fiction, Middle Grade Fiction, Paranormal, How-To, and Fantasy. My imagination is boundless and I let it run amok as often as possible.

What do you think makes your genre special?
Great question! Through fiction, we have a unique opportunity to teach life lessons in a fun way. Now, don’t take me wrong! I’m not saying those who write non-fiction are any less of an influence. I mean more people are apt to read fiction because of their ability to get lost in the pages of a book.

What do you think makes a great story?
A great story is one that makes the reader take something away from what they read. Not while they’re reading the book but after, when they’re out in the real world and doing their day-to-day things. If they happen upon a situation they read about in a book and the words cause them to react in a more positive way than they would have prior to reading it, then it was a great story.

What is your latest book called and could you explain to us in 20 words what it is about?
Shelia: Six women with limitless power, who rise above social stigmas, have one chance to save the world from certain destruction.

Which kind of reader do you think will enjoy your book?
Readers who enjoy books that let them see the world in a new way will enjoy the heck out of any of my books in the Mystic series. They aren’t your run-of-the-mill stories. These ladies are facing social stigma issues and searching for acceptance while discovering their inner strength. 

Is it a Standalone, or part of the series? If it the latter, how long do you think will it go on?
Shelia is the third book in a series called Mystic. There are six books. If I spin-off later, it’ll be a whole new adventure. In this series, they’re fighting to stop an evil with a definite end date: 12/21/12

What influenced or inspired you writing it?
Issues I see in the world around me. I wanted to write a book that made a difference somehow. I found my answer in these young women. Hate is so prevalent in the world and I felt like I needed to make a difference for young people everywhere. Bronya is a lesbian teen in a small town that ends up being ostracized for her life choices, Lily is a model who endures a drug addiction because of a catastrophe, Markaza is a visionary who suffers from severe depression, and Shelia is a victim that keeps a horrible secret. Reactions of the people around these young women should’ve been different. How they were treated once people knew is unacceptable. I’m hoping readers get a look at the damage words can do to another person when used in a vile way, and the books cause readers to stop and think before they judge.

Why did you choose especially this title? Was it your first choice?
I chose the Mystic title because of Markaza. She’s really the central character and holds the whole story together. Without her, the series doesn’t work. It was my first choice.

What was the hardest part for you working on your book?
Keeping my reference timeline is the most difficult part of writing this series. Even the smallest event has to be recorded so there isn’t confusion as I plod along.

Was there a scene that you didn’t want to add or remove in your finished work?
One of the scenes that appears from two vantage points is in both Lily and Shelia. It was so hard for me to write because I had to put myself in the shoes of the person watching or experiencing the abuse and it would leave me melancholy for days after I did so. I didn’t want to write it. Hell, I didn’t want to put it in either book. But I had no choice because it had to be shown.

Do you already know what to do next?
Melody is the next book in the series. She’s battling a different kind of demon in her own head.

Where can we find more about you and your books?
You can find out more at or pop over to my blog at to find a plethora of information about many things writerly.

Any last words?
Yes! Be kind to those you meet. You don’t know what they’ve endured in life and haven’t walked in their shoes. Let grace be with you always.

After a horrible accident takes the lives of her parents, Shelia Morgan is placed in the care of her Aunt Ivy and Uncle Melvin. For six years they work her like a slave. On her twelfth birthday, Uncle Melvin makes Shelia an offer that will destroy her life.

When she turns 19, the ugly truth about her past comes out during a therapy session, Uncle Melvin is arrested, and she's placed in the sights of everyone in town. Hurling insults, objects, and threats, the townspeople side with her uncle and call Shelia a liar. She loses her job, her boyfriend, and her freedom in one day. When a girl named Markaza shows up and tells Shelia she's part of a group of young women destined to save the world, Shelia begins to dream of a new life and true freedom from her personal demons.

She tells the jury her story and boards a plane destined for New York and her new life. Once there, she meets Bronya and Lily: Two other young women with special powers they must learn to harness in order to fight an evil that will rise on December 21, 2012, and destroy the world.

Markaza boards a plane to Atlanta to save the life of a young lady named Melody before her mind destroys her from the inside out. As Markaza fights for Melody's life, Shelia, Lily, and Bronya throw themselves into their studies and learn that even power from within can get out of control.

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