Interview with Michelle Tschantre'

What is your writing process?
The WIndmere Series started out as one of those early morning dreams one has, a dream that seems so real that even in the awakened state it continues in the mind's eye. I can still see it now as it comes to mind. That first scene would appear in my mind from time to time during that day and subsequent days, gently nudging action. Finally, in the belief writing it down would help get the idea out of my mind, I started in, longhand. Yes, I started this escapade writing longhand, on a long car trip to a funeral no less (No, I was not driving). As I wrote, the scene played and the words just kept coming. Strange to say, that was chapter four and I had to go back and write chapter 1-3 so the continuity would hold up. In the next few days, the story continuation would come to mind in the middle of the night, and by the time the story was all told, book two "Score One for Angela" was pushing to get in the door. Even now, as 1 through 7 are completed, #8 wants my attention again
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
That is really a lot to ask at my age and hundreds if not thousands of books later. But, I distinctly remember a little kids book (I do still have it somewhere) about a train engine, a story something along the lines of "The LIttle Engine That Could", back when I was still just looking at the pictures. Maybe it was the incentive, but in my "formative years" I read everything from the Frank L. Baum "Oz" series (yes, it was a series, not just The Wizard of Oz), Nancy Drew, Bobsey Twins, all that, 'In Harm's Way" before it was a movie, "I, Robot" before Will Smith was born, and more recently Isaac Asimov's "Guide to the Bible, 1295 pages of fine print. I find I also have to go back into my own writings as stories develop to make sure the story lines are correct. For instance, in book 3, Jeff is called on to complete some work started by Brad in book 2, so one needs to know for sure why Brad cannot complete the work himself. It can be complicated as the community grows.
How do you approach cover design?
Being an technical person by training and trade essentially means I cannot translate the more social than technical images of people and so on to paper; ergo, I have found someone whom I trust to do that for me. That having been said, we do go back and forth sometimes when the images provided for my review just do not call out to me. I provide things like gender, color of hair, background scene items, things like that, and I know when the cover image feels good, feels right to me. Also the good thing about being an engineer means I actually do understand some of the more mundane mechanical things that surface in the writings from time to time (book 2: how about the Corieolis Effect). Of equal importance is the sense of timing as each book relates to the others. Without going wild on the subject, the books are interrelated and can be dependent in some details on what has happened elsewhere.
What are your favorite books, and why?
Earlier I mentioned a book by Issac Asimov, a book I found fascinating for the historical accurancy. I enjoyed "Harms Way" just as much, and another Asimov book "I, Robot". Before I could finish it, someone purloined my book on George Washington's life from near birth to death; the Father of our Country in fact fathered no children. For more technical works, I enjoy the code chase through construction and life safety manuals, not as unrelated to being a romance writer as one might think. When I do a reference for some reason, I want accuracy; life is not all sweetness and light as some writers would have one believe; I prefer the realities, trending toward positive outcomes of course, but then who doesn't like happy endings. I tend to be a repeat viewer of works such as "The Pride and The Prejudice" (Kiera Knightly, Matthew McFadden version), and love Gene Wilder efforts
What do you read for pleasure?
This may sound silly for an answer, and I don't read this publication because I can play in those leagues, but I read each months edition of Fortune magazine. It tends to condense things down to readable length, things like Elon Musk and Tesla Motors and his space shuttle initiative. When Warren Buffett speaks, I am not in the audience, but Fortune delivers his thoughts to me. The other thing is, I watch DVD's as much as read, particularly where history is concerned; recently it was the HBO series "Rome", and before that "I, Claudius". The machine can take me a lot of places I otherwise would most likely never visit, and show me bucket list places I want to see in person so I have a familiarity before I get there. Reading takes time, but in this house, this person, and this family, it is as deeply rooted as the Oak in the front yard.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Personally I don't own anything that could be classified as such a device, and know a number of other avid readers who, like me, prefer somehing in one's hand that is not battery dependent, and which within limits can be dried off and put back in use having been inundated by one's beverage of choice. Try that with an electronic device. By no means am I against them, and I hope many of my writings are enjoyed that way, but I like paper in my hand or my laptop lit up (yes, I know it has a battery, but I sit near an outlet).
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
To be real honest, I have not pursued marketing very much. Part of that is a lack of understanding, although I did take a Marketing course as a requirement for an MBA. It is also worth mentioning that there are a lot of entities in the publishing world who would like nothing better than to promise the world and deliver any empty bank account. That is not to say solid possibilities don't exist; they do, and I will pursue that route soon. It has been a learning process, somewhat trial and error, a bit by talking with other writers on what to avoid, and a bit of mature knowledge on when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. I learned early on when an expenditure is made and book sales stay unchanged, it was most likely not a good deal. I also discovered those are the same people who will call back and call back with the superdeal of the week. I think not.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Frankly, I'm still growing up, sort of a work in progress I'd guess as each day may hold some new thing to learn. I asked my father one time how he could stand to drive the same rural mail route every day, the same roads day after day. His response was that it was different every day, things to see, maybe do a game count, people, field work going on, all those things, and I understand his response. We generally knew who was doing what, and read the local paper to see who got caught. Knowing many of the townspeople, elders, classmates, and so on, gave a good cross sectional learning experience; I draw on those learning experiences to develop characters in my writings, some good, some bad, some unsure, some of good will, some of ill will, some of little will at all, young and not so young as they interact. A number of my characters are an amalgamation of people I have known, some growing up, others along the way to adulthood. I hope to reach that adulthood some day.
When did you first start writing?
This may seem a little strange, and I have only faint memories of the activity, but I am told I wrote short stories soon after I learned how to write. Vivid imagination I guess, and there are no remaining physical traces of that activity. Still, now and then I get brief glimpses from some dust covered memory cells of what one or more of those stories could have been about. There was a consideral time gap between that writing activity and present writing activity. In retrospect, although it does seem a bit illogical when compared to present activities, as a technical professional I wrote a lot of proceedural instructions for out of ordinary situations. That in itself required a continuity of thought processes, attention to detail, and a rational approach to the possible realities that may surround any given situation; that aspect does carry over into fiction writing in that each story should have some logical sequence of progression to be truly plausible to the reader. To the best of my knowledge, I have not written anything into a story that is not either real or on the verge of becoming real, including the rapid prototyping of replacement body parts referenced in book 4..
What's the story behind your latest book?
Each book in the Windmere series has started to come into being before the previous book was completed. The exact opening line of book 2 ran through my mind time after time before I completed book 1, and so on. When this all started out a few years ago, I would not have believed there was a book after #1, but there #2 was, and as I completed the draft of #7 the premise of #8 started nudging me. Sometimes it happens when I am in process, sometimes when I'm in the twilight sleep zone trying to ignore what the clock says. I can be in the middle of some daily living activity and have a thought pop up. When I was still spending a lot of road trip time, whole sections would grow in my head as the dashed white lines went by. Even now as I write this there are thoughts about when Jim and Kendra will each decide they want more than hand holding or a goodnight kiss, much more, and very soon. Will there be a #9? I have no way to know at this time.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
First of all, being published by one of the major established houses is fairly easy if one is already being published by one of the major established houses, rather a self-perpetuating cycle for the Rowlings and Greshams out there. For those of us with much less standing it becomes a near impossibity with thousands of authors out there, all believing theirs is the next great novel. I harbor few delusions about that, and while I do enjoy the many favorable comments I have received from my proof readers, I also realize the statistical odds of beating the statistical odds. Indie route is a more feasible path. I am not depending on this avocation to pay the bills, none of that "starving artist" stuff, but of course I would be well pleased with some success. I understand my writing style may be somewhat different in that along the way there may be some technical jargon or some scientific fact or real life experience dropped into the narrative; Angela learned how to leapfrog a track hoe, something done now and then in real construction sites.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
It has given me the ability to get works out to the public, while not breaking the bank. It is encouraging to see the number of hits, samples read, that sort of thing. There is also a rigorous process to pass through, which makes me think a bit about the process as I write. Aside from that, maybe I need to write a time line for all the completed books, sort of a cross reference so I keep things time coherent. Perhaps that is the next thing up, right after I get Jim and Kendra settled in, and Owen and Joyce come to terms with the reality of their long term situation in which neither, to the present point, has received the good fortune the other can provide toward a life well lived. And, I have wondered from time to time if I should go back and expand on some of the ancillary characters one meets along the way, maybe Ari Schoenroth or his brother Mel. There is, of course, that held hope that one day maybe I can find a LaSalle auto, as did Ron Weston in book 7 (2015 publish date)
Published 2015-01-18.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Heart Menders
Series: Windmere, Book Twelve. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 108,480. Language: English. Published: July 23, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Zach is a discharged Army veteran; he suffers from reactions to unusual conditions. The last Afghani fire fight is still raw in his mind. Katherine is living under the controlling thumb of her mother, a situation her mother has constructed with concealed intentions. Katherine helps Zach back into a more social world, while he becomes her knight, freeing her from her mother’s yoke of oppression.
On the Road to Love
Series: Windmere, Book Eleven. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 70,470. Language: English. Published: March 15, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
In the early morning hours, Rich stops to help a stranded woman. Lindsey falls asleep in his cargo van, but not before making an impression on him. At a later time, Rich calls her when looking for temporary office help at his trucking company. As events occur, she becomes immersed in the office and his life. As events unfold it is discovered people may not be all they seem.
Love's Healing Power
Series: Windmere, Book Ten. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 76,880. Language: English. Published: December 7, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Kevin Emerson inherits Emerson Tree Service. Margaret Shafer lives in an emotional shell, one that began during high school. Her reclusive lifestyle doesn’t encourage friendships, until she meets Kevin. When a spring ice storm wrecks havoc on the town, Margaret is the requested CDL driver. Will Kevin be able to dissolve Margaret’s shell and bring her back into life, or is it already too late?
Love Unlimited
Series: Windmere, Book Nine. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 87,820. Language: English. Published: November 23, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Ed Long loaded his truck and set out for his parents’ home. A day later he’s working for Walter Short, owner of Precision Machine Specialties, whose life he saves! Walt’s daughter, Sydney, comes to Conyerville after getting Ed’s call. And in the dark of night she rides away with a man she has never met. Will Sydney stay after receiving a job offer elsewhere? And what does the IRS want anyway?
Love Unexpected
Series: Windmere, Book Eight. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 93,700. Language: English. Published: October 23, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Jim Madison never expected to own a thriving marina, but he does. Kendra Millen always expected to go to college, but she can’t. Kendra resorts to a temp job service where she meets Jim not once, but twice. By meeting three, Jim realizes he loves her. But if he proposes, will Kendra think it’s about obtaining child care for his new ward, Lily?
Trading Up to Love
Series: Windmere, Book Seven. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 87,850. Language: English. Published: June 26, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
A tale of modern romance between 30 somethings, both professionals but far apart in their respective fields. He needs a job; she has an opening. As story unfolds he regains his financial and professional footing and the wall around her heart opens a doorway to her happiness. A testosterone safe read for both sexes, safe for young and old, without scatalogical phrasing, but not without inuendo.
Double the Love
Series: Windmere, Book Six. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 87,200. Language: English. Published: February 10, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
A romance novel about twins meeting men far different from their prior experiences. There is a drunken ex-husband demanding his forfeited rights; he has much to learn. Randy, who finds the sisters living in his home, learns about family, while Don, who meets one of the sisters, is in the words of his employer "a goner when he saw her."
Constructing Love
Series: Windmere, Book Five. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 99,240. Language: English. Published: December 18, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
A tale of a first true love, a connection that is worthy of being called love in its forgiving and accepting aura. When a spring storm throws them together for the first time, Jake Todd and Sandy Beech forge a link, perhaps weak at first, but growing in strength each day as Sandy seeks to rid herself of the painful guilt she feels from an earlier devastating relationship. Jake is her white knight.
The Age of Love
Series: Windmere, Book Four. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 98,350. Language: English. Published: August 5, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Adult
A romantic tale between an engineer and his young new assistant, two persons held apart by a decade of age difference; each believes age will keep them separated from love. Although they grow closer each day, the situation remains unresolved, each in their own world of denial, until he can no longer put off the resolution. Can they overcome the age issue, or does it really matter at all?
Magnetic Love: The Attraction of Opposites
Series: Windmere, Book Three. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 100,710. Language: English. Published: July 1, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
When two people of polarizing opposite personalities meet, is there any possible basis for love to develop between them? Marti is strong, successful in a financial sense, independent, yet embittered by a failed marriage. Rob Roberts is her direct opposite, beaten, but not down, struggling with life's travails, but always hopeful. Can two people so very opposite discover a magnetic love?
Score One for Angela
Series: Windmere, Book Two. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 128,530. Language: English. Published: May 29, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
In the second book in the Windmere Series, Angela Harmon’s husband loots his bank and flees the country, with a bank assistant. Heading to her parent’s home for refuge, Angela’s car breaks down. Brad Jennings rescues Angela and her children. She realizes from that moment her life will be well-lived, in the arms of a good man.
Laura's Big Win
Series: Windmere, Book One. Price: Free! Words: 115,140. Language: English. Published: April 8, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
(2.00)
In Windmere Series, book one, “Laura’s Big Win”, we meet Laura Nessing and Ryan Williams who have deep emotional voids in their hearts. The common thread is WINDMERE, a former private estate, cloaked in mystery and magic, but certainly with dynamic relationships as things evolve between Laura and Ryan, each filling the void in the other’s life as their love grows.