We had the chance to interview Micah Persell, author of Of Eternal Life and Of the Knowledge of Good and Evil recently, and asked her about everything from her favorite romances, to what casting the movie for her books might have looked like, as well as what her upcoming projects are.
booknosh: Of Eternal Life was your first published novel… but is it your first published work? Or have you written other stories, novellas, etc?
MP: Of Eternal Life is my first everything: my first finished novel, my first published work. Unless you count my Master’s thesis. My novels are right beside my thesis on the bookshelf in our home. That puppy was much harder and took much longer to write than any of my novels. A non-fiction writer I am not!
booknosh: If you had to pick out your literary parents, who would they be? How would you describe yourself in the context of author/creative directors parenthood? Jane Austen meets Stephanie Laurens? Ayn Rand meets Virginia Henley?
MP: Okay, I got really excited at the idea of Jane Austen and Stephanie Laurens being my literary parents, so I want to go with them. Like Austen, I think it’s important for the hero and heroine to be friends as well as lovers, and like Laurens, I think they should also burn up the sheets something fierce!
booknosh: Paranormal romance is an increasingly popular subgenre for romance… but tell the truth, has this always been the genre for you? If so, why? What are your favorites in this genre? And will you explore others? Or is paranormal romance where you want to leave your mark?
MP: As a reader, no, I was not always a paranormal fan. My first romance novels were Westerns. I love a good cowboy, or mail-order bride, or Native American-steals-Frontier-woman story. This naturally progressed into historicals of all kinds, and I made the leap into paranormal right after that. For me, the draw of historical romance is a world with rules different than ours. Different manners, expectations, societies—sound like paranormal? To me it did. I think those genres are closer than a lot suspect.
I think I will always write paranormal, but I will definitely delve into historical, and I’m plotting a sci-fi trilogy right now!
booknosh: What is your next project now that Of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is done? And really? Are you going to stick with a two books a year schedule?
MP: I’m very excited about my next project. I’m under contract for a twist on Jane Austen’s Emma. The final title will be Emma: The Wild and Wanton Edition, and it will be a part of the same Wild and Wanton line that has already produced Pride and Prejudice: The Wild and Wanton Edition and Wuthering Heights: The Wild and Wanton Edition.
I’ve got my fingers crossed that I can keep up my current writing schedule of at least two books a year. It works now because it’s just my husband and me at home—no kids. I realize the jig is up as soon as little ones come along!
booknosh: Speaking of schedules, your biography lists you as a high school teacher, so when do you find time to write? Before school? After school? Summers only? Are you John Grisham and stick to a schedule and routine? Or do you operate in a more free-style format?
MP: I’m a schedule girl! After I’m done plotting a book, I sit down and write out a schedule—I will write so many words by such-and-such date—and then I stick to it religiously. Sometimes that means I pull out my laptop after the kids leave the classroom, and I’m not allowed to go home until I reach my word goal. Student holidays are intense work days. I chain myself to a desk and write all day. I’m only three books into my writing career, but I’m already looking forward to the day I can become a full-time writer and keep “normal” hours!
booknosh: How/when did you know you wanted to be a writer? Were you a romance reader who wanted to write? Or a writer who happened to like romance?
MP: More romance reader who wanted to write than anything. Secret time: I’ve never been confident in my writing. I’m one of those authors who has a “horror story” about a teacher telling her she’s terrible. I had a professor for my Bachelors and my double Masters who hated everything I wrote. As luck would have it, we had eight solid years of daily interaction. She was brutal, and she literally told me one day, “You’ll never get published.” Now, granted, I’ve already confessed to being a horrible non-fiction writer, so in that arena, she was absolutely right. But it did stick with me. So, I was shocked when I started writing Of Eternal Life, and I had this weird feeling that it was actually…good. And then it got published. No one was more surprised than me. Except maybe that professor. I looked her up and sent her a quick e-mail letting her know the release date of my first book…
booknosh: All time top five books, go!
MP: Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward; Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward; Demon from the Dark by Kresley Cole; Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean; Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
booknosh: All time top five romance movies, same
MP: While You Were Sleeping; The Princess Bride; Never Been Kissed; Gone With the Wind; Ghost
booknosh: What was your original inspiration for the Middle of the Garden series?
MP: The scene where Eli dies and comes back to life in front of Dr. Abilene Miller just popped into my head one day. I didn’t know the characters’ names, the setting, anything really—I just knew it was a cool idea, and I had to write it down. I had no plans to make it a book, but once I got started, the story really flowed, and I was at 45,000 words before I realized I was actually writing a novel and should see it through!
booknosh: If this series became a movie, and the sky was the limit, who would you cast in the lead roles?
MP: Eli = Henry Cavill; Abilene = Meg Ryan (City of Angels Meg Ryan); Jericho = Paul Walker; Dahlia = Eva Mendes
You can check out her website if you’d like to learn more!