Thursday, September 4, 2008

An Interview with Michelle Sutton & Book Giveaway

I welcome edgy fiction writer Michelle Sutton today. Michelle is one very busy woman who’s getting her name out there big time. She is the creator of, a social network, and of the Christian Fiction Online Magazine, as well as the author of her debut young adults novel, It’s Not About Me.

Q: We know that It’s Not About Me is a young adult novel, but do you write in other genres, too?

Michelle Sutton responds: I write in two main genres. Young Adult and Women’s fiction.

Q: How many books have you written and over what period of time?

Michelle Sutton responds: I’ve written nine books and several additional proposals, but this story is the first one I’ve sold. The rest of the series is pretty much contracted, too. We started the cover of the next book and added the first chapter to the end of It’s Not About Me, so this isn’t just a one book deal.

Q: Did you enter any writer’s contests prior to publication?

Michelle Sutton responds: I finaled in the very first contest I entered. It was the Great Beginnings contest through RWA. I finaled in 2005. I haven’t sold the book yet, but had a few close calls. I’ve never entered the Noble Theme or Genesis contests.

Q: Besides novels, have you had any other work published?

Michelle Sutton responds: If you want to count the hundreds of book reviews I have published all over the internet and my magazine columns.

Q: Tell us something about yourself. What are your hobbies?

Michelle Sutton responds: Right now? Just reading. I used to enjoy cross-stitching and watching chick flicks but I don’t have time to do that anymore. I still enjoy a nice walk or playing board games with my family. I still enjoy singing.

Q: Is there something unique or special about you or how you write that you would like to share?

Michelle Sutton responds: I like reading edgy fiction and I love writing it. Edgy fiction to me is fiction that dares to tell the truth about the human condition. That’s what I write about. My characters all hunger for something. Some find out it’s Jesus they’ve been looking for. Some never figure this out. Some already know Him in my stories. My characters don’t always make the wisest choices but they always suffer full consequences for their actions. My characters have emotional lives, spiritual lives and sexual desires. I consider them fully human. That’s what I like to write. If you read any of the reviews posted on my book you’ll see that my writing is described as daring, honest, etc.

Q: How long did you concentrate on learning the craft of fiction writing before you received your initial offer?

Michelle Sutton responds: About 3 ½ years.

Q: Were rejections a part of your writing journey?

Michelle Sutton responds: I stop counting after the first twenty. I never allowed myself to focus on the fact that my stories weren’t a good fit. In fact, most of my rejections were very nice. They liked my writing and even my story but didn’t think they could sell it and did I have something less edgy to offer? I’ve never had a rejection that was mean or said I had no business trying to sell my work. That was very helpful in keeping my spirits up. A lot of people said that publishers weren’t ready for what I had to offer yet, but they would be soon, and I’d be ready. I tried focusing on that perspective rather than the rejection of my manuscripts. In truth, I’m glad I didn’t sell sooner because it took me four years to get my name out there and attract a following of likeminded readers. They will be what keeps me going in the publishing business. Them and God, of course.

Q: Do you hope to sell all the novels you have written so far?

Michelle Sutton responds: I have a few novels that are great but so poorly written (head-hopping and passive language) that I’d have to completely rewrite them to make them good enough to sell. I may do that someday but for now I’ll consider them practice novels.

Q: Initially how long did it take for you to write a novel? And what about now?

Michelle Sutton responds: About six months. Now I can whip out a nicely polished 100+ word manuscript in four months, tops.

Q: What is your writing method?

Michelle Sutton responds: I write SOTP (Seat of the pants) but not until I’ve mulled over the plot in my head for months on end. By the time I sit down I already know what I’m going to write (in my head) and where the story is going. I just need my fingers to catch up with my thoughts.

Q: What was the timeframe involved between signing your initial contract to seeing your book on the shelves? And tell us about the revision process, please.

Michelle Sutton responds: From the time I signed the contract until the time it would be on the shelves was about 10 months. I only had to do minor revisions to eliminate pet phrases and such. I did this twice. No gutting of the story or anything jarring to deal with. The story is essentially the same, just tighter now that I’ve edited it again.

Q: What does your publishing house expect of you with regard to self-promoting your novel(s)?

Michelle Sutton responds: No more than any other publisher does. You have to get reviews and endorsements and have people get a buzz started about your book. Whether it’s a big house or a small press, the promotional piece is largely left up to the author. And honestly, I don’t want wimpy sales numbers. They are a career killer.

Q: Do you have any direction for or thoughts that you care to share with weary authors-in-training?

Michelle Sutton responds: Just keep honing your skills and writing until you find your voice. Attend writer’s conferences and read books on writing. You’ll know when you are getting closer to publication when people get excited about your stories and it’s not just because you are friends.

Thanks so much for sharing with us, Michelle. I wish you all the best with your writing and life. To learn more about Michelle Sutton please visit or

It’s Not About Me (A Second Glances Novel, #1)
YA fiction, in stores Sept 1, 2008.
ISBN-13: 9780979748516
Sheaf House Publishers, LLC
Available now for pre-order online at and Barnes & Noble.

Annie has it all. She's attractive, graduated with honors, was accepted at the college of her choice, has supportive parents, good friends, and a steady boyfriend who loves her. One night when an unexpected visitor appears, Annie's safe world is destroyed. As she tries to recover the pieces of her broken life, a war ensues between two brothers who both claim to have her best interests at heart. But who will Annie choose? Or will she decide to turn her life in a different direction?

Book Giveaway: For a chance to win a copy of Michelle Sutton's It's Not About Me, leave a pertinent comment in this post by 9:00 pm Eastern time on Wednesday, September 10, 2008. Good luck to everyone.

Congratulations goes to Little Missus Sunshine. She won Michelle Sutton's book.


Cecelia Dowdy said...

Great interview! I'd love to win a copy of Michelle's novel!

~Ley said...

I'm so excited about this book! It sounds wonderful.


cathikin said...

Nine books already written! I look forward to seeing all of tehm published once people find out what a great writer your are, Michelle. I'm ordering the book, since it came out a couple of days ago, but I would still love to win one. That way I can give it to a friend or my church library. Or I might have to buy another so I have one to loan to friends and one for the library. Anway, please enter me!
chassan2 at hotmail . com

bigguysmama said...

I'm so glad you received nice rejections! :) What does SOTP mean? I went back thru the interview and missed it. Is it a term everyone else in the world knows except for me?! hahahaha

Mimi B

mnjesusfreak at gmail dot com

Michelle Reneee Kidwell said...

Definitely sign me up I'd love a chance to win a copy of Michelles book...
In Christs Love

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Mimi, SOTP stands for: Seat of the Pants. I edited the post and clarified that. Megan DiMaria prefers to use the term Intuitive Writer for this style of writing, perhaps you've heard that term instead.

Glad to see you all stopping by. I have yet to receive my copy of this book. In Canada it's still on the preorder list, but hopefully I'll find it in my mailbox by early October. I'm looking forward to reading this one!!!



Anonymous said...

I really look forward to reading all of Michelle Sutton's works. I am very interested in winning a copy of Michelle Sutton's It's not about me .
Anna Bajus

Abi said...

I have been trying to win one of Michelle's books for a long time. One of these times I know I'll win one. I'd love to win this book. \

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Stacey said...

I would love to read this wonderful sounding book with my teenaged daughter. Please enter me in the drawing. Thank you.


Anonymous said...

Great interview!!! I'm excited for this book!


angela said...

Thanks for sharing, Michelle. And I look forward to hearing about the rest of the series.

Little Missus Sunshine said...

I've been a fan of her blog for a long time now and would really enjoy reading one of Michelle's books. Thanks!

Tara said...

I like her description of Edgy inspirational writing.

Audra Elizabeth said...

I liked how she described her writing. That was pretty neat to read. Plus this book sounds really great. :)


windycindy said...

Michelle is great. I visit her "Edgy
Inspirational Author" site almost every day. I would love to win and read her book. I remember voting for the cover of her book. Please enter me in your drawing. Many thanks,

Joyce said...

Hey Michelle! I can't wait to read this book! I always love your books! Count me in on this one and I think I may be ready after the first of October to start reviewing books for ya'll!
God Bless!
P.S. You can contact me on shoutlife!

Anita Yancey said...

Sounds like a really good book. Would love to read it.

Pamela J said...

I have to hand it to Michelle for daring to tell the truth about the human condition. To write about characters who don’t always make the wisest choices is a hard topic to cover. I'm glad to know we will read about after choices, there will be suffering consequences for their actions. Who knows of ones who don't suffer their consequences and still grow? Usually the growth isn't to the fullest extent AND it isn't as lasting as it is otherwise.
I'd LOVE to read this book, please enter me in your drawing. Thanks.
Pam Willaims
cepjwms at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

Fantastic interview. I really like that you don't gloss over the rough parts of life and you write with real honesty. Life is not all goody-goody and I appreciate your willingness and desire to reflect that. I would very much like to read your book!

lilac grandma said...

Can't wait to read this book, Michelle. Then pass it on to my sixteen year old daughter and her friends. love and prayers Melody

AmandaSue said...

sounds like a good book, and michelle the author is awesome :)

Janna said...

I would love to read this book, been hearing so much about it through ACFW :-)

ryanx6 at msn dot com

Patty said...

Another chance to win It's Not About Me, yeah! I would love to win a copy.


Donald James Parker said...

Enter me please for this. I read the first chapter before it was accepted for publication and am ready to read the rest.
Donald James Parker
Author of Reforming the Potter's Clay

smilinkyn said...

Mornin'! Please enter my name in the drawing for this book. It sounds awesome! Thanks & God Bless!

Carly said...

Please enter me!