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Can you tell me a bit about your book, Wrong Guy, Right Room and what inspired the story?
Twenty years ago, we started a book club and fell in love with the romance novels our group read. Inspired, and wanting to work together, we immediately started dreaming up characters.
Unlike traditional rom-coms on the market, we wanted side characters that had agency and strong voices. Together, we imagined scenarios involving two lost loves forced together in impossible situations. We all have a “WHAT IF” person from our past and it was fun to fantasize about a reunion.
Once we started writing this book, the characters presented themselves. Wrong Guy, Right Room is a stand-alone contemporary romantic comedy about second chances and reconnecting with your soulmate.
What’s your typical writing day like and do you have any pre writing rituals like needing coffee and silence?
First, we begin with an ancient chant, and then do an incense ritual to clear our space. Totally JOKING! Between juggling kids, husbands, and part-time jobs, the writing time happens when it can. Luckily, we have one another on speed dial and chat often about crazy ideas. There is rarely a hello, just diving into work the moment we answer the phone. Since we write together, we share docs and emails constantly. While there is no specific ritual, there might be a little mind reading.
What are the challenges of co-writing a novel and what’s the most valuable thing you’ve learnt about the process since starting?
Honestly, the biggest challenge is the writing software. Our first novel was eaten by Google Docs. Trust us, it was an AMAZING book. Otherwise, we both feel super lucky to have a balanced and creative partnership. We have different skills sets and they match up perfectly.
What songs would be on a playlist for this novel?
You can almost hear the background music in our novel. Our characters have distinctive personal soundtracks.
Beyoncé- “Single Ladies”
Rihanna- “Birthday Cake”
Madonna- “Express yourself” and “Open Your Heart” from the Blonde Ambition tour
Jennifer Lopez- “Flashdance”
Billie Eilish- “Bad Guy”
Bach- The Violin Concertos
Edith Piaf- “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien”
Michelle: Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo. I wish all our female characters were this badass.
Angelle: Jamie Fraser from Outlander . . . because holy hotness.
What elements do you feel make a good story?
We are suckers for great characters. Before we begin, we sound like an episode of The Actor’s Studio. It’s a method acting approach. What do the characters desire? Why? What brought them to this place? Once we understand our characters’ backstory and their motivation, the plot and setting follow suit.
How do you approach the process from idea to final draft and how long does it take you to write a first draft?
When we are ready to write, we do it upside down. We start with the blurb then work on an outline. The blurb sets the tone and acts as a guardrail for when we veer off course. The first draft comes quickly, sometimes in a matter of months, but the editing is endless. We could “fix” our books for years.
Which authors do you admire and why?
Michelle: Elizabeth Strout. She’s not afraid to create flawed characters.
Angelle: T.C. Boyle. His quirky stories always have heart, and he is wonderful at dialogue.
What’s your favourite word and why?
Michelle: onomatopoeias…splash, gurgle, sizzle,
Angelle: antidisestablishmentarianism. One of my middle school friends used it all the time and hearing it still makes me think of him.
Any other advice for new writers?
Read a ton. Write when you can without putting pressure on yourself. Be true to who you are in the process. Don’t get distracted by the outside world and what you should do instead of what you want to do. Listen and trust yourself.
About Michelle Angelle:
Michelle Angelle is the pen name of two good friends. Our love of clever romances, great breakfast diners, and late-night wine tastings led to many sassy stories. One day, we started writing them down.
About Wrong Guy, Right Room:
To complicate matters, a virus outbreak locks down the hotel, forcing them into quarantine together.
Wrong Guy, Right Room is a meet-cute set in a hotel where the wrong guy might be just the right man.
Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.