Bold Strokes Books author Tina Michele is here.
Please welcome Tina Michele.
Before we begin, thanks so much for stopping by today for a chat.
Hey there! This is such a great opportunity, and only the second interview I’ve done since I started this writing gig.
You live on the banks of the Indian River Lagoon in Florida. What is it like and do you see lots of different critters?
It’s great, although after 35 years here it’s easy to take it for granted. I live less than 15 minutes from the Atlantic Ocean and I can’t even tell you the last time I went to the beach or even saw the ocean. I love that the wildlife is so diverse here. I think we could be 2nd only to Australia as the deadliest place to live, but that has less to do with critters and more to do with the all too common, “Floriduh” effect.
Seriously, though, critters are everywhere. Raccoons, opossums, bob cats, massive snakes, spiders, alligators, crocodiles, and BUGS! We’re also something like 12th in the nation for beef cattle. It’s more common to see a cow than an alligator. I’m still trying to convince fellow author KC Richardson that you don’t have to feed raw chicken to gators just to get to your car in the morning. You see one viral YouTube video of a python and a gator having a little wrestle and the rumors fly. HA!
You have a BA in interdisciplinary studies. What is that and what attracted you to the program?
Should I give you the official University definition or the one I use? Honestly, I don’t know the University’s answer, so mine it is. Basically, it’s an uber-Liberal Arts degree for snowflake hippies like me to blend two degrees together and make one. It worked for me because I already had half of my BA in Fine Arts and 10 years of life experience in Technical Writing. This made it easy to blend two diverse topics into a single major. I liked it because it gave me a freedom that other programs don’t offer, by integrating two vastly different subjects and creating innovative ways to blend the knowledge. With an understanding of art and design, as well as, technical documentation it allows for a wider understanding across a larger group if you can incorporate both visual and technical aspects into your product. It appeals to both linguistic and spatial learners.
What’s your day job and how often do you find yourself daydreaming?
I work in Telecommunications Engineering for a Global Communications and Defense Contractor. I just got bored writing that. Not really, I enjoy what I do, but I enjoy daydreaming much more. I love to travel, learn, push my boundaries, and experience new things. I always say that if it doesn’t scare you it isn’t worth doing. I think that’s why so much of my writing is based on actual experiences I’ve had over the years- bumps and bruises included. I’ve always had an affinity for maps and stars. I could stare for hours at both and dream of how far they could take me.
You’ve self-diagnosed yourself with Sagittarian Attention Deficit Disorder. How did you come to this conclusion and what does it mean?
I have problem staying on task. It doesn’t matter what that task is. I could lose track of a mission on the way to the kitchen to get the broom. Instead of accepting the fact that I was a daydreamer and procrastinator with an overactive imagination, I blamed the stars and the astrological coincidence of my birth time and location. I coined the term Sagittarian Attention Deficit Disorder so it sounded less like I had a choice in the matter.
Truth is, my mind runs 1,000 miles an hour with 200 different ideas at any given moment. I have so many hobbies and interests that I shock myself if I can sit through one of them from start to finish. That’s why I was so proud when I finished my first novel, Venus in Love. It really began as a test for myself. Could I not only write a book, but finish it. And I’ll be damned if I didn’t actually do it. I was more than content just saying I’d done it. It wasn’t like anyone could take that away from me. So when people suggested that I submit for publication, it took some time before I went through with it. At four novels in, I’m really glad I did.
Tell us about your latest release?
I love this book. I love it for so many reasons. Like all of my novels, it’s very much a piece of me, and so many of the experiences are true (names changed to protect the innocent, of course.) Or not. Ha! First of all, Between Sand and Stardust is not your typical cancer story. Sure, it’s a topic, but it’s much more about the finding the “new normal.” Surviving and thriving in the face of this disease that takes so many of our loved ones every day. But beyond that Between Sand and Stardust is about the loss of everything we take for granted and what we do when we are given one more chance to make it all right. It’s hard to know what any of us would do if you’ve never heard the words, “you have cancer.”
I had an amazing opportunity to meet so many amazing fighters and caregivers during my own time at a cancer camp in the mountains of Colorado. I spent my week soaking wet and freezing cold in the whitewater of the Colorado River. I learned so much about myself and these survivors that I knew I needed to tell their story and dedicate this book to them. This book is about loss, sure. But it is so much more about living and loving again.
Do you have a set writing routine or do you wait for your muse?
I’m definitely a pantster, and I think my muse also has Sagittarian ADD, because she is always all over the place. But once I tie her down, she really comes through for me. I was talking to a friend the other day about how some authors seem like they have Access databases and Excel spreadsheets of story plots set up and ready to go. This is NOT me. I get one idea and I either research it into something legit or I beat it into a soggy mess of nonsense. Luckily, the latter has only happened to me once. I can really get lost in the research part of the process because I studied Art History and it fascinates me to no end. It’s something I have to work on because I can easily let the scenes drive the plot instead of the characters.
You have a day you can do absolutely anything you want, what would you do?
Whitewater kayaking on the Colorado River… oh wait… ziplining the Green River Gorge in North Carolina. Or rafting the Truckee River in California! No, sleeping. Eating? Dammit, I can’t decide.
Actually, in 2018 I founded a 501(c)3, non-profit organization called Emerge Adventures. It actually runs on the same premise and business model of successful cancer camps, however it is dedicated to helping LGBTQ+ young adults through the issues our community faces with bullying, inequality, suicide, and acceptance. I wanted to take the knowledge that I learned and bring it back to our community as a means to give our youth an opportunity to experience adventure and help them cope with so many of the issues that face us.
Does your dog run the house and does he appear in your stories?
Of course. It’s his house, he just lets me sleep there. Sometimes. As surprising as it may be, until Between Sand and Stardust I never wrote any animals into my novels. That may be why I sort of went overboard with the eclectic collection of livestock that Willa Bennett cares for. I really should add a dog to my next book. Maybe I’ll write about a lazy, pitbull mix who sits like a person, hogs the covers at night, and smells like whatever god awful critter crapped in my yard yesterday.
Thanks so much for chatting today.
Absolutely! It was a lot of fun.
BETWEEN SAND & STARDUST
Haven Thorne and Willa Bennette were childhood sweethearts who had it all—a partnership, a home, and a future planned out ahead of them—until Willa’s life was threatened by a silent killer and their relationship was torn apart. Heartbroken and alone, both women struggled to live without each other for the first time.
Years later, they both believe they’ve finally moved on and settled into their new lives. But it doesn’t take long for fate, chance, and Mother Nature to step in and mix things back up. Can true love withstand both time and distance in order to bring Haven and Willa back together, or are they now as different as the sand and stars—too far apart to be together once more?
MEET THE AUTHOR
Tina Michele was raised on the Florida Space Coast. She is both an IT Telecommunications professional, and the Founder and Executive Director of a non-profit, Emerge Adventures. In her free time, Tina spends much of it daydreaming and plotting her next wild adventure. She graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies- the most liberal of the Liberal Arts degrees- majoring in Fine Art and Technical Writing with a minor in Women’s Studies. To say she is motivated by her Right brain is a major understatement. She spends a lot of time starting projects that she may, possibly, one-day, probably finish. When she isn’t writing, playing, drawing, painting or creating something of some sort, she feeds and waters her pitbull-mix Jack, who’s permanently tethered to her hind-quarters
Between Sand and Stardust is her 4th novel with Bold Strokes Books, released in January of this year.
CONNECT WITH TINA MICHELE
Thanks so much for stopping by today.