Hello Michelle, thank you so much for joining me today and inviting me on your blog tour. Can you tell me a little about your novel, When We Say Goodbye and what inspired the story?
Thank you so much for having me.
When we say Goodbye is a story about love, loss and learning to live and open yourself up to possibilities.
This book was inspired by two things. The first was the loss of someone close to me when I was the same age as Ellie. I’d also not long bought an old house which I was in the process of doing up and I believe it was that house and the responsibility I’d taken on in purchasing it that helped me through a difficult time.
There are scenes in the story that I experienced first-hand. Secondly, we here in Christchurch, New Zealand lived through a massive earthquake which had devastating ramifications for people and I couldn’t set a story here, in Christchurch without acknowledging what happened in our city.
Do you think character or plot is more important in a story?
I write character driven novels. I don’t know if this is more important it’s just my style of writing.
What would be on a playlist for this novel?
Oh, a playlist would definitely feature Coldplay and Ed Sheeran.
I need coffee before I do anything! My typical writing day starts after I’ve dropped my boys at school. I think about doing some exercise before I begin (then usually don’t!) before making a coffee and getting comfy on the couch in our conservatory. It’s a lovely space as we are surrounded by greenery and I can hear the birds and not much else.
Our black, three-legged cat called Blue usually joins me and I write until lunchtime. When I say write I flick far too often onto social media as I have a Facebook page I love interacting on.
After lunch, I carry on until it’s time to get the boys. Once they’re home, I have another coffee and work on the marketing side of being an author and then stop for the day when it’s time to make dinner.
Of course, if I have a book releasing and I’m up against it, which always seems to happen no matter how on top of things I think I am, I get back on my laptop after dinner. Most nights though my husband and I go for a walk. It’s important to get out and do that after a day in front of the computer.
What is your planning process like?
My planning is pretty much non-existent. A book begins with a thread of an idea and then I just find a place to start. I also find that the hardest part. I’m a definite pantser and the book comes together as I write.
Do you tend to edit as you go or wait for a first draft?
I edit as I go. I love playing with words. By the time I’m finished my first draft the book only needs a read through and a few minor tweaks.
I have lots but at the moment it’s conniption. I just like the way it sounds.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on Book 6 of my Guesthouse on the Green series revolving around the lives of the O’Mara family in Dublin.
Which fictional character would you like to meet?
I’d like to meet Moonface from the Faraway tree because hopefully he’d let me climb up the tree and say hello to all the people who live in it. Also, I’d hope there would be a really nice land at the top like the land of goodies! Yum.
I’d advise any new writers to keep going, and never give up. Learn from criticism so, long as it is constructive. Listen to advice from people who are successful at what they do. Understand not everybody will like your writing but when someone loves it, it is the best feeling! Strive to get stronger in your writing with each book and aim high. Lastly treat your rejections of which I’ve had plenty, as part of the learning process and never take them personally.
Michelle Vernal loves a happy ending. She lives with her husband and their two boys in the beautiful and resilient city of Christchurch, New Zealand. She’s partial to a glass of wine, loves a cheese scone, and has recently taken up yoga—a sight to behold indeed. She writes books that she hopes make you feel you are curled up with your best friend having a cosy chat.
Can you love when all seems lost?
Ellie Perkins life was right on track until her boyfriend Sam suffers a near-fatal car accident, leaving him in a coma and all their future plans in limbo.
Desperately in need of something to fix, Ellie has to find a project and when her grandparents old house is put up for sale, she jumps at the chance. Because, like Ellie, the house is broken. And if she can fix the house, then surely, it’s just a matter of time before she and Sam are back on their path to happily-ever-after…
In life, when the worst happens how do you pick up the pieces?
A heart-breaking story of love, loss and the path to forgiveness, perfect for fans of Faith Hogan and Amanda Prowse. To be read with tissues