BIO: I was born in New Jersey and grew up an only child on a small farm in the “Garden State”.
Books have always been my escape into love and adventure, and through reading I have been able to be many people, do many things, and go to many wonderful places I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to be, do or see.
After my job as a paralegal was ended by the economic downturn, I decided to finally write the stories I’d had in my head for many years. I had always wanted to write romance novels.
GRACIE: I’m excited to have you here at The G-Spot, Skye! Please tell us a little about yourself (or a lot J) and how and when you got into writing?
SKYE: After losing my job three years ago and seeing what was happening in the e-book industry, I decided to give it a try. I sent my first manuscript to Siren Publishing because I had enjoyed many of their authors. They accepted the book, and I have been with them ever since. I have always been a big romance reader starting with Silhouette way-back-when, and really wanted to give it a try. Everyone thinks they can be a writer. What makes the difference is actually doing it. You have to put yourself out there and possibly court failure – or hopefully success.
GRACIE: Is there any one thing or person in your life that inspired your writing? Any one thing or person that influenced the genre you write in?
SKYE: When my daughter bought me a Kindle for my birthday and I downloaded a few of the erotic romances, I found I really enjoyed them. They had much more of an edge than the traditional “sweet” romances. I had always wanted to give romance writing a try but was too busy with work, etc. to buckle down and actually do it. Now I write love stories that don’t end at the bedroom (or dungeon/LOL) door. Sex is an important part of life and one of the great gifts, and we should celebrate it.
GRACIE: When did you get The Call and what was your first published book?
SKYE: I started writing in the summer of 2011, and my first two books were published in January and February of 2012 by Siren Publishing, the first publisher I sent them to. The first was Calleigh’s Collar, Book 1 of the Le Club Series.
GRACIE: What do you know now about writing and the publishing industry that you wish you’d known before you started?
SKYE: Well, the editors at my publisher are all over head hopping and point of view, about which I knew absolutely nothing when I started. I didn’t even know what they were talking about when they requested changes in the manuscripts. Now that I understand what it is and how to write to avoid it, edits go a lot more smoothly. My questions is: If I can’t head hop, why can Nora Roberts??? Oh well, when I have that many books out there maybe I can make my own rules too! Just kidding. Nora is one of my favorite authors and she is amazing.
GRACIE: Please, give us a little story behind the story and what inspired your spicy BDSM series – The LeClub Series and The Golden Dolphin Series.
SKYE: I WISH I KNEW! The story for the first Le Club book, Calleigh’s Collar, was just in my head. I have a small farm and vacation home in Ocala, Florida, and the downtown historic district is one of my favorite places. The story of Calleigh and Jason was fun and easy to write. It’s the shortest of my books and introduces most of the cast of characters in the other five books of the series – a group of friends that belong to a secret BDSM club located in the historic district in a renovated Victorian mansion behind a ten foot wall (Calleigh was the project architect but didn’t know it was a BDSM club!).
The Golden Dolphin series is a spinoff – Jamie Devereau from Anne’s Courage (Book 3) a bad boy billionaire bought the 300 foot mega yacht, the Golden Dolphin, for BDSM cruises! If you would like to see the actual ship that is the basis for these books just Google Attessa IV. I have made a few changes to fit the stories, but basically that’s my boat, baby. Also, I just couldn’t bear to say goodbye to my Le Club characters. While each book focuses on a different new couple, occasionally some of our old friends take a cruise on the Golden Dolphin so we can see them again. My next book coming out (Pandora’s Box, the Alaska cruise) has three of the original couples on board, as well as continuing stories for some of the sexy crew members.
GRACIE: What about BDSM intrigued you enough to build two series around this theme?
SKYE: It’s interesting, sexy and a little edgy. I was writing in this genre before I ever heard about 50 Shade of Gray. My heroines (while submissives) are not downtrodden spineless women. They are accomplished women who have minds and hearts of their own and choose to give the gift of submission-or not (witness Paula Greenley in Paula’s Commitment who is always topping from the bottom). They are not all perfect Victoria’s Secret women. Anne in Anne’s Courage had body image issues due to scars from her breast cancer surgery and Jamie had to break through some serious barriers. My heroes are not all perfect either. They are all successful, but they have their own issues to overcome.
GRACIE: As an ambitious attorney and a Domme, Harper Cameron, by necessity, has a strong and dynamic personality. What do you think is the powerful attorney’s Achilles’ heel and how do you go about stomping it in Harper’s Submission?
SKYE: My hero, Morgan Court (pharmaceutical entrepreneur) has a hard row to hoe with Harper who was abused as a child and has trust issues. She tried various therapies over the years and it was suggested that she try being a Domme in order to gain control of her life. Morgan thinks that if he can get her to submit and trust him he can break down her walls. I have a friend who faced this problem, and I know some of this was hard for her to read.
GRACIE: In Ivorie’s Surprise, what is it you believe makes ultra-successful businessman Drew Blessingame a perfect match for his second assistant Ivorie James and vice versa?
SKYE: I LOVE these two characters. Drew has to learn to become human, and Ivorie is just the girl to kick his butt. She’s taken the second assistant’s job because even though she has her degree good jobs are hard to come by, and she wants to get her foot in the door of Blessingame’s conglomerate. However, he is far from a pleasant guy to work for. He’s had his challenges too. Having to basically take over running the family business at 25 years old after 911, the stress has been enormous and has soured his easy-going personality. As the guy at the top, he takes his obligation to make sure his employees can earn a living very seriously. It takes her a while but Ivorie eventually gets under his skin, and he realized he has to make some changes in the way he deals with people.
GRACIE: With its equestrian theme of polo and international level dressage riding, what sort of research went into The Appearance of Impropriety and did you find realistically portraying this intriguing world for your readers challenging and/or fun?
SKYE: This was my first book started 20 years ago. After my parents both got sick and died, I put it aside half finished. When I was between other books, I took it out and finished it, so it is my first love and was lots of fun to write. I am a horsewoman and have played around with musical freestyle dressage myself. (Played around being the operative words here.) If you would like to see some musical freestyle, you can view the YouTube video entitled “Ravel & Steffen Peters – FEI CDI Grand Prix Freestyle – An Evening of Musical Freestyle. It feels like riding the drums in the band when your horse is right on the beat and not just going to elevator music. My daughter rides dressage as well. I also love going to the polo games in Palm Beach (especially the practice matches at the private polo fields in Wellington), so I really already knew quite a bit about both of those worlds. Nonetheless, there was some research to do to make sure I got it right. Actually, the technological side of the story involving the computer program stolen by email etc. was more challenging to write. Thank goodness my daughter, the Goddess of Technology as we like to call her, was able to help with that. She sat me down and clued me in on the changes that had taken place in 20 years-Yikes! I love to be able to take readers to places they might not have been able to go in their lives and make them feel like they have attended a tailgate party at the polo club or watched international dressage. After all, this is romance and escape from our daily lives.
GRACIE: Of all the stories you’ve written, which is your favorite and why?
SKYE: That is so hard to answer because I love them all like children. They are all different, but equally loved. I would have to say The Appearance of Impropriety is my absolute favorite because I never thought I would finish it. It was a huge undertaking to just sit down and start writing that first book. I love Tori and Zack, and I adore Rocky (Rachmaninoff), the dressage horse who has a running competition with Zack for Tori’s attention. That the backstory is set in the legal field is also part of the attraction since I spent my entire adult working life in that arena. I am also particularly proud of Book 5 and 6 of the Le Club Series, Madison’s Choice and Belinda’s Crown, which are set against the Kentucky Derby and the Triple Crown. As the song says, “My horse naturally won.” I love the horse character in these books, Rockstar, the one-eyed race horse.
GRACIE: I know this is like asking a mother which is her favorite child, but which of your characters is your favorite and why?
SKYE: I love Jamie Devereau (Anne’s Courage, Book 3, Le Club) because he gets it. He gets Anne, and he loves her no matter what and no matter that she fights him tooth and nail the whole way. He definitely has a sexy edge, and it would not be wise to cross him twice. I also really like Drew Blessingame (Ivorie’s Surprise, Book 1, Golden Dolphin) because he came so far in his personal development. Of the girls I love Anne because I too had breast cancer and some issues. I also love Paula (Paula’s Commitment, Book 4 Le Club) because she is always getting into trouble. If God lined up all my men in a row and then said, “They are real, and you can have only one” I don’t know what I would do. But it would be a wonderful dilemma! Thirteen of the handsomest men on the planet-how would one choose?
GRACIE: What about your characters makes them unique?
SKYE: I try to make each of them different and set them in a different location or profession. None are stock characters, and all have obstacles to overcome. I have them in my head all the time and will frequently wake up with snippets of dialog in my mind that I write down immediately before it slips away.
GRACIE: What is your favorite aspect of the writing process? Your least favorite?
SKYE: When a story is flowing, there is nothing like it. Your fingers can’t go fast enough on the keys. Then about in the middle, I may have to slow down and figure out where the story is going. Since I don’t make an outline first, that can be a problem. In Violette’s Vibrato (Book 3, Golden Dolphin), my heroine, first violinist with the New York Philharmonic, has a problem with a jealous competitor and the Russian Mob. Well, how do you get rid of the Russian Mob? – not very darn easily that’s for sure. I had to figure that out and then go back and write in some changes to facilitate my solution. I love everything about writing. It is so much FUN! And these people live in my head. I’m really never alone – don’t tell the guys with the white jackets who are knocking on the door.
GRACIE: LOL, you already answered my next questions, but I’ll ask it anyway: Are you a pantser or do you outline?
SKYE: I never outline. I just sit down, write a prologue and Chapter One and GO. I will have the main characters in my head and a few sentences of what the story is about. Sometimes that can be a problem if I haven’t thought the plot out far enough in advance. I will often discuss a plot line with my friend/editor or my daughter, and they always have good ideas.
GRACIE: If you weren’t a writer, what other profession would you have chosen to pursue?
SKYE: I was a commercial real estate paralegal for many years. I loved it. The big deals are exciting to work on, and I got to meet some really interesting people. If I had known what I wanted to do when I younger, I probably would have become an attorney, but I couldn’t face going back to school and all that would have entailed.
GRACIE: Who are some of your favorite authors and why? Name some of your favorite books and why they’re your favorites.
SKYE: Of course, I love Nora Roberts (even if she does get to head hop occasionally), particularly The Bride Quartet, and I recently read all eight of the Rock Chick series by Kristen Ashley and loved it. Sometimes I have to get out of my own head and give it a rest. You can see a theme here. I love the groups of friends and how they interact.
GRACIE: What are you working on now and what should readers be looking forward to from you in the future?
SKYE: In February, 2014, Pandora’s Box, Book 5 of the Golden Dolphin series will be released. That is the cruise to Alaska. It’s fun to see some of the original characters again and to follow the continuing stories of some of the crew members (Captain Con Cortelis and Purser Casey Campbell as well as First Mate Alex Dragados and jewel thief Baylee Baxter). The main characters are Pandora Wescott, wildlife photographer, and Dr. John (Gray) Grayson, neurosurgeon. Researching a whole Alaskan cruise was daunting not to mention gold mines and other assorted things. Thank goodness my friend had just gotten back from one and brought me tons of literature. I have an idea for a third series, but I am still mulling that over in my mind.
I’m currently working on Book 6, Hannalore’s Treasure, which continues after the Alaskan cruise. The Golden Dolphin goes down the West Coast, through the Panama Canal to Miami and has an archaeological back story that takes place in Guatemala. I’ve currently got 38,000 words – a little more than half – finished.
GRACIE: Do you have a website and/or how can readers contact you?
SKYE: I have a Facebook fanpage, Skye Michaels Books, and can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
GRACIE: Where and how can readers purchase and/or read samples of your work?
SKYE: My fan page has the covers of all the books and first chapters. The books are available on Bookstrand.com for the first six weeks after release and then are available on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and various other sites.
GRACIE: What advice do you have for beginning writers?
SKYE: Just sit down and start. If you have an idea that keeps buzzing around in your head, go for it. Get something on paper even if it’s very rough or just notes and ideas. That’s what editing is for. I constantly go back to the beginning and re-read my work as I go, so there is not so much editing –at least until my first editor get her hands on the first draft before it goes to the publisher. We don’t call her Ms. Red Pen for nothing. But everyone works differently. The thing is to just get started. You will feel so proud of yourself if you do. Don’t be the one to say “I wish I had…” For me the story is the main thing. If you don’t have a good story, you don’t have a book. You can have all the kinky sex in the world, but if the story isn’t good it will be boring.
GRACIE: Anything else about yourself or your writing you’d like to share with your readers?
SKYE: I just want to thank everyone for their support and friendship. I know I can’t please everyone every time, but I do try. I love to hear from readers and know what they think. I recently had two surprises. Two of my readers told me that they stayed up all night to finish Cassandra’s Revenge and were sad that it was over. Another person told me that her HUSBAND was my biggest fan, had read all the books and loved them. I was really surprised since they are erotic romance geared to women. Some readers have said they wanted longer books, but then complained when the prices went up. They probably don’t realize that the price of many of the books is controlled by the length and that the publisher and/or Amazon etc. set the price, not the authors.
GRACIE: Like you said, you can’t please everyone, but your output and quality should bring you pretty close, Skye! Thanks so much for taking time from your busy schedule to share yourself and your work with us at The G-Spot and giving us a little insight into your writing and the writing process! We’ll let you get back to writing those wonderful books you write! All the best!