I am literally kicking myself for not having the time to read either of Michelle Muto’s books because both sound amazing! Don’t Fear The Reaper seems to be a dark exploration of life after death, of course with some chilling supernatural aspects and The Book of Lost Souls is a much more light-hearted novel about a teen witch, which was actually the first one that caught my eye. They’re both very, very high on my TBR list because they both sound utterly amazing in their own ways!
However, I am delighted to welcome Michelle Muto onto the blog today!
Please tell us a little about yourself
I’m married, have two dogs, and live in the suburbs of NE Georgia. I’m a complete insomniac, I have a bizarre imagination, which is perfect for a writer I suppose, and beneath my somewhat tomboy exterior, I’d like to think I’m a real softie.
Who are your biggest influences?
Foremost it would be my late parents. My mom loved books and my dad taught me to believe in myself and the power of persistence. My biggest influence, as far as the craft goes, would have to be Stephen King, followed by J.K. Rowling, Alfred Hitchcock, and Rod Serling. Odd combination, isn’t it?
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Life. My family. They’re always there for me, which allows me the freedom to let my imagination play. Sometimes, music is my muse. The words can spark an idea. Like I said, I have an overactive imagination. I’m always thinking of new ideas or at least, new twists. I’l come up with an idea and then ask myself, “What if…”
What sparked the ideas for The Book of Lost Souls and Don’t Fear the Reaper?
With Don’t Fear the Reaper, my inspiration was also my real-life grief – the loss of some of those I’ve loved most in life. With The Book of Lost Souls, my inspiration was the early Harry Potter books. I loved the hilarity, the friendship, the magic of it all. I just wanted a FUN book to read for a change. So, I wrote it.
The Book of Lost Souls and Don’t Fear the Reaper are two very different styles, what else do you have in the pipelines?
I’ve written and trunked an adult novel that to this day is my sister’s and husband’s favorite over anything I’ve written. It needs some revising. And, I have a YA horror story that’s now on hold while I write sequels to The Book of Lost Souls and Don’t Fear the Reaper. There’s also two other story lines I’ve jotted down a good deal of notes on.
Why did you decide to go with indie publishing? What do you love about it?
A really HUGE literary agency had The Book of Lost Souls for a while. I worked on rewrites from a revision letter. But in the end, another more established writer with the agency decided to write a YA teen witch story and that was the end of that. At the same time, I had several agents hand me some of the best compliments I’ve ever had on Don’t Fear the Reaper, but ultimately, decided the economy and the market wouldn’t bear such a story. It was either start over with something new, or go indie. I’d read about Amanda Hocking, Karen McQuestion, and Joe Konrath and figured I really had nothing to lose.
What I love? The total freedom to keep the story mine. Before Super Agency, there were two other agencies that were interested in The Book of Lost Souls. I did rewrites for them, too. Each agent wanted something entirely different from the other. I love having the final say on the story in my heart. I have a couple self-pubbed friends who aren’t very happy with the way things are in their contracts. I don’t have to worry about any of that, either. My boss can be a bitch at times. Oh! Wait! I AM my boss. *grin*
What is your preferred writing environment?
Quiet. I can’t write with iTunes in the background or a ton of commotion or interruptions. But, I can write day or night or in any room even though I have a dedicated office.
There is a lot about death and the afterlife in Don’t Fear the Reaper, what are your thoughts on life and death?
Have you ever watched the movie Contact with Jodie Foster? She asks her dad if there is life on other planets and he thoughtfully answers, “I don’t know, Sparks. But I guess I’d say if it is just us… seems like an awful waste of space.” I think the afterlife is like that. We live these immensely intense, emotional lives. It’d be a shame that after all we learned and did that that’s it. I think you could essentially take that movie and make it about ghosts rather than aliens and the result would be the same. We can’t prove we’re not alone. But what is proof, after all, in the grand scheme of such things? Science has never been able to dissect and explain the human spirit.
You have absolutely gorgeous book covers. Could you tell us a little about them?
The Book of Lost Souls is the collective effort between myself and indie author Sam Torode, author of The Dirty Parts of the Bible. Don’t Fear the Reaper is artwork I purchased from the mega-talented Claudia McKinney at PhatPuppy Art. The girl on the cover is actually her daughter. Sam put the cover together for me. He’s genius.
How can we find you?
My books are available on Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Createspace, and even on iTunes! My Amazon author page.
Thanks Michelle! 🙂
So I figured you’d like to know just a little about Michelle’s books. Here are the blurbs with Goodreads links and a few reviews.
When teen witch Ivy MacTavish changes a lizard into her date for a Halloween dance, everything turns to chaos. And when no one is powerful enough to transform him back except Ivy, it sparks the rumor: Like father, like daughter. Ivy has heard it all before – that her father, who left when she was seven – was involved with the darkest of magic.
Making the rumors worse, someone uses an evil spell book to bring back two of history’s most nefarious killers. Ivy’s got a simple plan to set things right: find the real dark spell caster, steal the book, and reverse the spell. No problem! But she’ll have to deal with something more dangerous than murderous spirits that want her and her friends dead: the school’s resident bad boy and hotter-than-brimstone demon, Nick Marcelli. Nick’s offering Ivy more than his help with recovering the missing book – he’s offering her a way to ditch her scaly reputation as a lizard-lover. Demons are about as hard to handle as black magic, and as Ivy soon discovers, it’s going to take more than a lot of luck and a little charm if she wants to survive long enough to clear her status as a dark witch, get a warm-blooded boyfriend, and have her former date back to eating meal worms before the week’s end.
Grief-stricken by the murder of her twin, Keely Morrison is convinced suicide is her ticket to eternal peace and a chance to reunite with her sister. When Keely succeeds in taking her own life, she discovers death isn’t at all what she expected. Instead, she’s trapped in a netherworld on Earth and her only hope for reconnecting with her sister and navigating the afterlife is a bounty-hunting reaper and a sardonic, possibly unscrupulous, demon. But when the demon offers Keely her greatest temptation—revenge on her sister’s murderer—she must uncover his motives and determine who she can trust. Because, as Keely soon learns, both reaper and demon are keeping secrets and she fears the worst is true—that her every decision will change how, and with whom, she spends eternity.
Michelle is kindly offering to give away your choice of an ebook of either The Book of Lost Souls or Don’t Fear The Reaper to one lucky winner, whichever appeals to you the most! Click on the ‘read more’ link to fill in the Rafflecopter.