M.W. (Michelle) King: Mother, collaborative writer, author
Meeting the Rising Writer No. 15
I didn’t realize until today that I somehow managed to interview all three current admins of Authors’ Tale, consecutively. Today, I’m interviewing our third, Michelle King. Michelle’s full name is Michelle Williams-King, however, she goes by M.W. King in her writing.
Michelle agreed to a virtual interview with me today. Remember, I’m not the only one asking questions; you can ask her anything you like, as you can with all Rising Writers!
Thank you, Michelle, for agreeing to an interview.
When did you start writing?
I started writing in the second grade. My teacher had a stuffed animal, the monster from “Where The Wild Things Are,” that she would send home with one student every weekend. The student’s assignment for that weekend was to write in the stuffed animal’s journal. Every time it was my turn I would fill pages and pages (which probably wasn’t much with my messy handwriting) with stories about adventures we would go on. From there, writing has always been something that I enjoy.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
When I’m not writing, I feel like there’s almost nothing that I’m not doing! My list of hobbies is pretty extensive, the main ones being knitting, crocheting, sewing, and esthetics. I also work one day a week as a receptionist and go to college classes three nights a week, working toward my BA in Business Management at Boston College. I’ve been hoping to open a business. Either a spa or fabric/craft store. I’m also married and the mother of three very destructive, very rambunctious young boys.
What role does your family play in your writing career?
They definitely provide a lot of inspiration. My oldest is pretty supportive; he loves all the children’s stories I’ve written and encourages me to write more to read to him. My husband doesn’t mind it. He isn’t exactly supportive all the time, but he is when it counts.
What inspires your writing?
I would say the same as almost any other writer. Life. Inspiration strikes at the oddest moments, cued by random images or snippets of conversation; even songs and movies spark seemingly random ideas.
What is the biggest mistake you think you make while writing? How do you overcome it?
I think the biggest mistake I make while writing is not having enough confidence. One problem this causes is that I write in passive tone far too often. I get nervous about asking for feedback from people who are outside of my circle of trust, and I think that is one thing that is the biggest hindrance. I suffer from anxiety and sharing my work is definitely a trigger, but I suppose I overcome it the way I overcome most things; I just do it. Even when it makes me uncomfortable, or when it makes me want to run and hide in a blanket fort, I just go for it. 99 percent of the time, it works out amazingly well compared to my fears.
What are you currently working on? How did you begin working on it?
Right now, I’m working on a collaborative project. My novel is called “Shadow & Light,” which is a companion novel to Crystal M M Burton’s “Light & Shadow.” It’s a fantasy story about a boy named Orpheus who finds himself stuck in some sort of alternate reality where there are two kingdoms, Light and Dark. He doesn’t remember anything about his past, but he later realizes he is the King of the Darkness and the rightful ruler of the Light Kingdom as well. He must defeat Queen Lucia to gain control of Light and Dark, which will give him the power needed to recover memories he lost.
I began working on it after Crystal came to me with her idea about writing a story from the POV of Lucia and offered some sort of collaborative project. We came up with the idea for me to write the POV of her antagonist, and it morphed into two separate novels with each protagonist the opposite novel’s antagonist. We completed NaNoWriMo together with many conversations brainstorming different plot points and loose outlines. This is the first project I’ve ever worked on that I’ve made an outline for, and it wasn’t as bad as I imagined it would be!
Give us insight to your main character. Who is he? What is his purpose?
Orpheus starts out as a seemingly open-minded, yet confused, individual. Once it is revealed that he controls all the realm’s shadows, the power begins to seduce him. He starts down a path of darkness where it benefits him to be more arrogant, cruel, and heartless. If he doesn’t realize the error of his ways in a reasonable time, he may end up losing sight of his original goal: to recover his memories.
How have yours and Crystal’s collaboration benefited the story? Would you do it again?
It has benefitted the story by having two different perspectives on it. It’s also great to be able to literally ask the antagonist what they would do in a certain situation. As far as doing it again, I’m definitely more open to collaborations than I was before but still hesitant. It was so easy with Crystal.
What/who are your favorite or most reliable support groups?
Obviously, this would be the place that I give Authors’ Tale a shout out. I found this group by chance after a long writing dry-spell. I had just barely begun writing little snippets of things again, but without the encouragement of Cayce and all the other friends I’ve made in the group, I would have never dove right back in as I have.
I have a handful of friends and family that I am comfortable enough to share some of my most personal work. They have always been a great source of support for me, and if I had to choose a favorite “group” from what I’ve mentioned, it would definitely be these people.
Which authors inspire you?
If you had asked me a year ago, or even six months ago, I would’ve given you an answer probably along the lines of J.K. Rowling, Shel Silverstein, Stephen King, and other amazing best-selling authors whose work I love. What I’ve come to realize recently, though, is that even more than them, I’m inspired by my fellow writers. The ones I interact with daily or even just occasionally. The ones that take the time to give me opinions on my own writing and we create a friendship of sharing and building each other up. I’d say I get a million times more inspiration from the authors at a closer level to me than any superstar.
What do you think about being one of the admins for Authors’ Tale?
I was nervous at first because I didn’t know what to expect, but it’s been surprisingly easy and really not much of a change to how I already interacted with everyone in the group anyway.
How do you think you’ve grown, as a writer, in the passing years?
My secondary character development has improved. I’m still working on my confidence level, but that has definitely improved. I don’t find myself continuously beating around the bush when trying to talk about something that isn’t exactly comfortable for me.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Oh, jeez. I have enough advice for my younger self to probably fill a novel or two. Things such as: that boy was no good for you anyway, that situation won’t last, stand your ground, you’re not alone, be more careful who you trust, along with a myriad of other things that made me feel overwhelming teenage angst. Ultimately, though, I don’t think I could go through with it. Every single experience, no matter how heart-wrenching or angering, acted like an artist, slowly but surely molding me into the person I’ve become — am still becoming.
How can readers and fellow writers discover more about you and your work?
BONUS QUESTION: If you woke up without your memories, how do you think you would react? What would you do?
Well, I suppose the first thing to happen would be me having a panic attack before even getting out of bed. From there, I would probably search the room or area for some clues. As a child, my best friend and I would pretend we were detectives and would walk around our small town acting like random things were clues. I feel like those skills have always been kind of natural to me, trying to find solutions rather than wallowing, so I would probably go into that mode. Hopefully, I’d have my phone near me so I could text everyone and try to see (covertly, of course) if they know who I am.
Thank you so much to those who took time to read the interview. I know a lot of these questions are similar, but every writer has a different answer, and I always dig a little deeper so we have a more personal interview with each writer. We’ll never learn about all the writers in existence, but we can learn about some of them. Every writer has a story, and it’s always neat to learn more about them. After all, who are we if we aren’t interested in someone else’s story?
Have a wonderful day and a Merry Christmas!