Hello again! Today on the Author Spotlight, we have the lovely Michelle Birbeck. Michelle was kind enough to let me interview her today:
Hello Michelle! Please tell us about your current release.
The Last Keeper follows the story of Serenity Cardea, an immortal being part of the race charged with protecting the balance between the races. For centuries she’s been forced to watch as the vampires slaughtered her family and friends, waiting until they found their partners before attacking. Because the only way to kill a Keeper is to kill their partner.
So when Serenity meets Ray Synclair, her partner, in 1940s London she must fight to keep him away from the vampires. But Ray is training to be a history professor, and his mentor is married to one of the world’s most notorious vampires.
Sounds like Serenity has quite a challenge on her hands! What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m currently working on the third book in The Keepers’ Chronicles series whilst my editors work on book two. I can’t say too much about book 3 at the moment, because not a lot of it will make sense unless you’ve read book 2, which isn’t out until 2013.
However, I can tell you something about book 2. It’s called Last Chance, and it set about fifty years after The Last Keeper. The records are still being kept with Lizzy in her house near the colony, but one night whilst she’s out celebrating the newest Weres someone breaks in. They’re after one thing; the records. When Serenity finds out, she isn’t inclined to sit back and let her family be hunted down again, so she makes the only decision she can: move everyone. Their entire race, their families. Moving home, changing job, identity. For one person it’s a hell of a task, but for an entire race… can they get everyone to safety in time? Or will whoever stole the records act on them.
There’s a sneak peek in the back of The Last Keeper, and the trailer will be doing the rounds at the end of October, with the book coming around May.
That sounds great. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I have one that’s both interesting and apparently freaky. It’s a great party trick, too.
I learned to touch type whilst I was working, and with practice the talent has stuck with me and improved. I’m now at the point where I can not only write the more adult parts of my books with my eyes closed, but I can also write while carrying on a conversation. It freaks people out quite a bit when they first meet me and I’m sat there typing, looking at someone else and having a conversation… and everything I’m writing makes sense.
Impressive! My husband can type and talk also. Not me, I am a complete failure when it comes to multi-tasking! Who is one of your favorite characters that you have written? Please tell us about him/her and what book they are in:
Georgianna has to be one of my favourite characters. She’s strong, and scary, and powerful, and everything you’d expect the big bad witch of the west to be. She’s the Crone of the witches in The Keepers’ Chronicles, the biggest and baddest of them all.
She looks like any good looking blonde with bright blue eyes, but only if you don’t look too closely. For those who know what they’re looking at and look closely enough, they can see the power radiating from her.
With the witches, they’re born into their powers, and with age they grow. Use too much or cast certain types of spells, and they age and die. But Georgianna is the oldest, and has by far more power than anyone could imagine.
We see her briefly in The Last Keeper and get a glimpse into the world of the witches. However, she has her own story, one that I wrote with the sole purpose of breaking her. Despite her being one of my favourite characters, she was too strong in my mind. She had too much power and was capable of anything, so I had to break her, to explore her character and find her weaknesses. It was fun doing so.
That does sound fun. Is there a writer that you would love to co-write a book with?
It would have to be one of two. If it could be anyone alive or dead, I would have to pick Richard Laymon. I love his books and the way he plays with both horror and paranormal, and I adore his way of writing.
But in the land of the living, there’s only one. And that has to be J.R Ward. I would give pretty much anything for a chance to work with her, and if that means a new Black Dagger Brotherhood book, then sign me up! I am a total fangirl for those books and for Ward’s style of writing.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
The first review I got from someone I didn’t know. My publisher handled the blog tour and reviews that came in before the book was released, and for the most part I was happy to let them get on with it whilst I worked on the last of the edits.
Then one day I spotted a tweet in my mentions regarding the book. It was the start of a review, one by the Talk Supe blog. It was the first review of any kind I’d seen outside of my friends and family. It was that review that was picked to go in the front of the book, and I didn’t get to see it in full until my copies of the book arrived on my doorstep.
When I read it, I cried. The fact that even one person out there had taken the time to read my book and had loved it meant the world to me. And it still does. I still get all excited whenever there’s a new review, and I still have to tell my friends and family straight away so they can share my excitement.
I agree, that is a great feeling! Okay - on to some fun stuff:
Cats or Dogs?
If my husband isn’t about, dogs. But they have to be big, fluffy dogs. I love German Shepherds, and New Founderlands. Anything big, fluffy, and not yappy.
But since meeting my husband I have a soft spot for cats. We have a big male called Loki who has a habit of running through the living room when we have new guests and scaring them. Mainly because of how big he is. Last time we had him weighed, he came in at just over a stone, and most of it is muscle.
I’ve also got a huge soft spot for the big cats. Tigers and panthers and leopards. It’s one of the reasons I have werecats in The Last Keeper and not just werewolves. There’s something very alluring about the big cats, the way the move, act, and all that sheer power hidden just beneath their skin.
Do you have any hobbies?
Do books count? I love reading them, but I also love collecting them. I’ve a special cabinet in my house just for special books. Frist editions, rare, old, signed. My own books have now been added to the collection, but my pride and joy books are a limited edition Richard Laymon hardback called Triage. Another is my 1927 edition of Wind in the Willows. It might not be a first edition, but it’s old and in pretty good condition.
Lastly is the oldest book I own. I inherited it from my mother. It’s called Tales and Sketches of the Covenanters, and was printed in 1885. That’s a whole other century! Most of us were around for the last one, but there isn’t anyone alive today who was around when that was first printed.
My other love is faeries. I have whole cabinets full of them. Big ones and little ones, painted and cross-stitched, ornaments and clothing. Anything that I can get, I have. My house is full of them, and there isn’t a single room that isn’t home to at least one faerie.
Your home sounds like a very cheerful place, and I would love to see your book collection! Is there anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I’m about on twitter and facebook almost every day, and I love talking to people about The Keepers’ Chronicles. So if you ever want to drop me a line, say hello, have a quick chat, just tweet me or post on my facebook page. I’m always happy to answer questions (so long as I’m not giving away spoilers!) and talk to people!
Where can people find you and your books online?
I can be found on my website: www.michellebirbeck.co.uk or on twitter @michellebirbeck and I’m on facebook, too: www.facebook.com/MichelleBirbeck
The Last Keeper can be found at the following outlets:
And Lulu: http://www.lulu.com/shop/michelle-birbeck/the-last-keeper/paperback/product-20107382.html
Michelle has been reading and writing her whole life. Her earliest memory of books was when she was five and decided to try and teach her fish how to read by putting her Beatrix Potter books in the fish tank with them.
Since then her love of books has grown, and now she is writing her own and looking forward to seeing them on her shelves, though they won’t be going anywhere near the fish tank.
When she’s not writing, she’s dressmaking or reading or plotting another story to write.
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