...Interview Michelle Davidson Argyle

This is Michelle! But that's probably obvious. I mean, it's not me.

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One of the things that most excited me about starting a blog was the chance to interview writers, musicians and other artists whose work I admire, and I’m really excited that my very first interview is with Michelle Davidson Argyle. Michelle is a prolific writer who has published four books through Rhemalda Publishing in just two years, which is all sorts of impressive and probably makes you reconsider all those hours you’ve wasted playing Call of Duty or watching House Hunters marathons. Michelle’s most recent book is Bonded, a collection of three novellas based on Grimm’s fairy tales: a continuation of Cinderella, a re-imagination of One-Eye, Two-Eye, Three-Eye and a prequel to Sleeping Beauty (my favorite in the collection; I read it in one sitting, starting at night and into the morning).

The one question I should have asked Michelle…if her last names were reversed, her initials would be MAD. Does she regret missing out on that opportunity? We may never know. Crap.

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 What kind of impact did having a child have on your writing?

MDA: Quite a lot, actually. My daughter was the inspiration for me to write my novella Cinderswhich helped me dive into the fantasy/fairy tale genres. I thought for sure I'd never write in those genres! I also have some history with post partum and severe depression after my daughter's birth. Both of those have allowed me to draw on some darker sides of myself for specific themes in my work. 

 How do you procrastinate?

MDA: I watch a lot of Star Trek, and I love to cook. I also read whenever I want to avoid actually working.

Food does seem to be a strong component in your writing, both in your books and blog. Is there a reason for that?

MDA: I'm what some people call a "foodie" because I enjoy food so much. I love to cook food and talk about food and learn about food, and I love to eat it too. I think all of that naturally makes its way into my writing because it's something I'm passionate about and can write about from the heart.

(Ed. Note: Want one of Michelle’s recipes and a terrific sample from her blog at the same time? Click on this link for her tomato and peanut butter sandwich recipe. You think I’m kidding. I’m not kidding.)

As someone who has both self and traditionally published, what are your thoughts on the changes in publishing? Specifically, it seems like there are a lot more opportunities for writers now than there used to be, but are there pitfalls in this new landscape that writers should worry about?

MDA: I think there are pitfalls in any kind of publishing. I've experienced a bit of self-publishing, and now I'm with a small publisher. I also have a lot of friends published with bigger publishers. I've noticed that no matter where an author publishes, there are pros and cons. There is no perfect path, and every path should be different than another. I think the biggest pitfall I've seen, however, are writers who publish too early (or too sloppily) because it has become ridiculously easy to self-publish these days. Because of that, I've seen authors publish their work before it's ready -- and even worse -- before they are ready for everything opening your own business involves. 

What work(s) of art has most influenced your writing? Is there a song, book, movie, painting, etc. your work tends to return to?

MDA: One of my all-time favorite movies is Sabrina with Julia Ormond and Harrison Ford. I love that movie because of how character-driven it is. I love the music, too, and the themes. Whenever I'm feeling down, I put on that movie and I always feel better. I think it has seeped so far into my subconscious mind that it influences a lot of topics I choose to write about. 

Is there a genre you’re interested in writing in that you haven’t yet?

MDA: I've briefly thought of writing something sci-fi based, but I can't get a good enough an idea to start it yet.

What was your approach to world-building for Bonded?

MDA: The world building for Bonded happened in an organic way. If you'll notice, there's not a lot in Cinders, there's a little more in Thirds, and even more in Scales. I feel like I figured out the world as I wrote. I do remember lots and lots of time thinking about the problems that would arise and how to fix them and make them work in the stories. It required a lot of creative thinking!

The short stories I’ve read by you (particularly "White" and "This") seem intensely personal, and almost emotionally violent. What’s your approach to writing short stories? Is it different from novels?

MDA: Short stories are a completely different beast from novels. I find they allow me to explore a different part of my brain, and therefore, I tend to write differently when I work on them. I feel more disjointed with short stories, and I like that. I like the freedom they allow my creativity, as well. I also feel more vulnerable when I write them, which might explain the emotional "violence" you mention.

(Ed. Note: Michelle’s short story collection, True Colors, is free on Kindle from Amazon at this link.)

See? I told you she was awesome. Much thanks, MDA!

Next week: A Blog Post in Which I Discuss Writing Groups. Not “Writing Gropes,” which is different, but something that could possibly happen at a writing group. I’ll discuss that and more.

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INTERVIEW ROLL CALL:

Michelle Davidson Argyle (writer)

Cathrina Constantine (writer)

Jenny Drummey (writer)

Kristen Elise (writer)

Sunny Frazier (writer, publisher)

Chris F. Holm (writer)

Maxim Jakubowski (writer, editor)

Sara Jones (musician)

Nik Korpon (writer)

Barry Lancet (writer)

Sommer Marsden (writer)

K.D. McCrite (writer)

Abby Mott (musician)

Alan Orloff (writer)

Alice Peck (editor)

Lucie Smoker (writer)

Ellie Ann Soderstrom (writer, editor)

Art Taylor (writer, critic)

Steve Weddle (writer)

Sarah Weinman (writer, critic)

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