Meet Author Michelle Diener

Friday is Tuesday here at Making ‘Baby Grand.’ (Still some collateral damage from Hurricane Irene.) Today’s featured debut author is Michelle Diener. :)

Name: Michelle Diener
Name of book: In a Treacherous Court
Book genre: Historical suspense (with a romantic element)
Date published: August 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Gallery Books
What is your day job? Writer
What is your book about? In a Treacherous Court is about the trouble Flemish artist Susanna Horenbout gets into on her trip to Henry VIII’s court and how she survives being caught in the middle of a plot against the king.
What would you say is the most challenging part of writing a book? The first draft, without a doubt.
What motivates you to write? The story and the characters. I love the satisfaction I get from writing a story I’d like to read.
Did you experience writer’s block? I experience an unwillingness to write. I’d rather do anything else, sometimes. But I force myself to sit down and write something, and generally, doing that often enough gets me back in the story.
How long did it take you to write this book? It took a year.
How long did it take you to find a publisher? Around four months, I think.
Do you have an agent? If so, do you think it’s vital for first-timers to have one in order to snag a publishing deal? Yes, I do have an agent. I would certainly not have gotten a contract with Simon & Schuster without my agent, as they don’t take unagented submissions. It depends who the author is targeting, I think. For many of the new ebook only imprints, agents aren’t necessary, but I know having one has helped me tremendously.
What is the biggest misconception about writing a book? That once you’ve written it, you can get it published straight away, and earn a lot of money off it.
What was your favorite aspect of the writing process for this book? I found it very satisfying to weave fact and fiction so closely together.
What tools/methods have you employed to promote your book? What advice would you give to writers regarding promotion? I’ve done a blog tour, offered a giveaway on Goodreads, and with my publisher’s help, sent out numerous advance reading copies for review. My advice is to do what you can, but don’t let it take away from your writing. Your best promotion is an excellent next book.
How has life changed for you since the publication of your book? I’ve finally “come out the closet” and admitted to people that I write for a living. Before, it was often too exasperating to explain that no, I wasn’t published yet.
My favorite last question: Oprah once famously said that there is no such thing as luck, without preparation and a moment of opportunity. Would you agree or disagree with regard to your own success as a writer? Most definitely. I’d written five books before I found my agent with Book 6. I had by then learned a lot about the publishing industry, querying agents, had a great writing support network and knew far more about the craft of writing fiction. I was prepared, and the opportunity was there, and I could recognize it and grab it.

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