Saturday, June 25, 2022



I want to thank Michelle Dayton for taking the time for this interview!


There are only three things Michelle Dayton loves more than sexy and suspenseful novels: her family, the city of Chicago, and Mr. Darcy. 

Michelle dreams of a year of world travel – as long as the trip would include weeks and weeks of beach time. As a bourbon lover and unabashed wine snob, Michelle thinks heaven is discussing a good book over an adult beverage.

When and how did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Pretty early! Reading was my very favorite thing when I was a kid (still is!) and once I realized it was an actual job … I knew that I wanted to do it.


Did you have any influencing writers growing up?

I think every author I read as a child influenced me.  Everything from Little Women to horror stories by Christopher Pike. I think I absorbed something from them all.


Are any of your characters based on people in real life?

No.  I’m sure they share some of the personality traits of people I love in real life, but I’ve never created a character based on someone I know.


Where do you draw your book inspirations from?

Everywhere!  Often a headline in the news will spark a “what if” kind of idea in my mind.  

When I read an article about the amount of money Americans have lost in romance scams, that’s how I got the story idea for my last book, Scammer Girl.  

Conversations with my girlfriends are another very fertile ground for ideas. 😊


Do you use have a basic outline when starting a new story or do you let the characters lead the way?

Oh, I must outline.  No outline, no book.  

I’m amazed at people who can sit down without one and produce a book.  That’s sorcery!


When you are picturing the characters in your book, do you have a cheater photo for inspiration?

No clear photos of people. I see them more clearly in my mind if I don’t have a concrete photo. 

Sometimes I make a collage of photos for the overall vibe of the book though.


Many people read as a form of escape and relaxation.  What is your favorite way to sit back and relax?

Those are my people. Definitely reading for me too!


Who are your favorite current authors to read?

Fabulous question.  

In romance, I’m loving Emily Henry, Tessa Bailey, Abby Jimenez, Sally Thorne.  

For thrillers, I am recently obsessed with Lisa Jewell. I’m reading everything of hers!   

In literary fiction, my current favorite is Emily St. John Mandel.


What are your favorite books by others?

Nope. That’s just too hard of a question. 

If you saw the dozens of bookcases in my house and the piles of books all over the floor, you’d understand.


Do the locations in the stories have any meaning to you?

Definitely.  Locations are really another character. They can add such depth to a story.


Do you write in single or multiple POV?

I do both.  In my current series, it’s single POV of the main character because the book is about her personal growth as well as the romance.


What do you find to be your best research tool?

I usually start with broad searches on the topic I’m researching and then dive into articles from the appropriate experts.


Do you write under a pen name?  Also, do you write under more than one name?

Not right now. Everything I’ve published is under Michelle Dayton.


What genre do you write and why is this your preference?

Most recently I’ve written a combination of contemporary romance and humorous women’s fiction.  I’m just a sucker for a good love story. And I love writing women who are on a journey of growth.


Tell me something about yourself outside of writing.  Jobs, accomplishments, family, quirky trait...what led to you being you?

I’m a busy person! I have a full-time job in IT and I have two school age children. 

Navigating all of them plus writing can be overwhelming sometimes – but the creative outlet is worth it!


What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

Read. A lot. In your preferred genre and out.  

When you write, don’t be afraid of shitty drafts.  You can always go back and fix it. The important thing is to get drafts done!


How do you deal and process negative book reviews?

It’s certainly hard to read a negative review of something you’ve spent so much time on and agonized over.  But you know what?  I don’t love every book I read either. 

So, I’m usually able to just sigh and remember that my books aren’t going to be for everyone and move on.


What is the most difficult part of your writing process?

Drafting.  I LOVE outlining and I LOVE revising.  Creating that first rough draft is the most difficult part for me.


What do you need in your writer’s space to keep you focused?

A door, lol.  I just need a door between me and others or I WILL get distracted.


What is your naughty indulgence as you are writing?

Most of the time, I wouldn’t say I have a naughty indulgence.  On rare occasions I will write late into the evenings and in those times, I will sip from a glass of bourbon.


If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose?  And why?

Probably Nora Roberts.  

I’ve heard her speak at conferences and she is so tough and hilarious. Plus, she could give seminars on productivity and time management.


What is your schedule like when you are writing?  Do you have a favorite writing snack or drink?

I mostly write on weekend mornings. It’s such a relaxing, happy time.


Do you listen to music when you write – what kind of music is your favorite?

Nothing with lyrics!  If there are words in the song, I find myself typing them, lol.


Have pets ever gotten in the way of your writing?

YES.  My dog, Bruce, likes to sit in the office doorway and bark at me for attention.


What is your kryptonite as a writer?  What totally puts you off your game?

I think every writer faces this – the dreaded middle of a draft.  Usually it feels great to start on a new project so you get the beginning done quickly and with energy.  And if you outline (as I do), you know where the book is going to end up.  But it’s so easy to lose momentum and pacing in that “dreaded middle.”

Have you ever killed off a character that your readers loved?

No.  Sometimes my characters are dealing with the grief of a dead loved one, but I’ve never killed a beloved character within the story.


How do you celebrate after typing THE END?



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