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Michelle Buckley

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Author Spotlight: 
 
 Michelle Buckley
Author of  the debut novel
"Bulletproof Soul"

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Within the past year, entertainment reporter Lacy Foxx has been through the ringer. Not only did she break up with her ex-fiance’ Sebastian, but she suffered a miscarriage of their twin babies. Now that she’s come up from the depths of heartbreak, this twenty-something, single sister needs some lovin’... While covering a story she meets the arrogant, but sexy Wynn and he’s just the man to fit the bill. But when he goes from “bootie call” to “boyfriend,” his dark secrets start spilling out every way Lacy turns. As she questions his faithfulness, she’s also got to confront her own. And it doesn’t help that her grandmother makes sure that Sebastian is in her face every chance she gets. Everybody thinks they know what’s best for her, but it’s high time she found out for herself…

Meet Michelle Buckley

 Author of

 " Bulletproof Soul" 

 

 

SC:  When did you decide you wanted to write?
 
 MB:  I don't think I chose writing, I think it chose me.  I've know since I was a child that I wanted to be a writer.  I used to write misadventures for Curious George in elememtary.  And you know that assignment that everyone of us got in elementary school:  "What do you want to be when you grow up?" When I got that assignement in the 5th grade, at the age of 10, I wrote then that I would be a writer.  (My mother recently found the assignment and has the paper to prove it :-).  Plus, in middle school, I had a history teacher predict that one day I'd be a writer.  So, I'd say the expectation for me was set pretty early. 
 
SC:  How many novels in all have you written?
 
MB:  This is my first novel, although I have been published before.  In 2000, I wrote an essay for Souls of My Sisters-----a compilation of real life stories written by black women for black women.  I wrote about the death of a close friend to cancer in her 20's.  Being a part of that important project helped me truly realize for the first time, the power of how my writing can impact and touch others. 
 
  
 
SC:  How long did it take you to write your first novel? 
 
MB: The actual writing took about a year.  I'm not a write every day kind of writer, plus I write everything in long hand and then retype it!  I know, I'm just making things harder than they need to be!  But, it's what works for me. 
 
SC:  What inspired you to write a story like Bulletproof Soul? Are the characters based on real people? 
 

MB:  I wanted to tell an entertaining story that celebrated women and our resiliency.  Black women especially go through a lot in life and it’s amazing to me how so many of us are not destroyed by the things that happen to us.  I wanted to honor that strength of spirit.   Also, I wanted to write a story that celebrated the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren.    

 

Additionally, I wanted to write an anti-‘Men are Dogs’ book.  Good, take-your-breath-away men do exist.  The men in this book aren’t perfect.  They’re flawed and misunderstood.  They’re not out hurting people intentionally.  They realize they’re flawed and aren’t particularly proud of the fact.  But, like the rest of us, they’re simply human beings attempting to navigate life’s tricky lessons.  At their core, all of my characters are struggling to be good people who do the right thing.  But, they’re only human and prone to making mistakes.    

 

Some of the characters are based on real people and others aren't.  I'm keeping to myself, which is which!  :-) 

 
SC:  Where do you get your inspiration for your stories? What motivates you?
 

MB:  A writer friend once said to me that writing is the fingerprint of her soul on paper!  And I couldn’t agree moreIn the past, because of my writing, people have thanked me for saying things they couldn’t express.  I want to continue to be able to allow people to pick up something I’ve written and see their own soul; their own stories written there on the pageThat’s what motivates me.  I'm inspired by real life, not fantasy land.  In Bulletproof Soul, I've written about love, death, career challenges, family interference, friendship drama, infidelity, infertility, betrayal, forgiveness, single motherhood . . . these are issues that have affected many of us.  I’m dedicated to dealing with real issues because it’s a way of connecting honestly with readers.  And if I provide a little hope, inspiration or perspective along the way . . . that’s great.

    

SC:  After writing your first novel, did you self-publish?? If so, how was that experience?
 
MB:  My publishing journey has been wonderful!  Early on I found support from some wonderful people like Dawn Daniels, an editor that formerly worked at Simon & Schuster who discovered Iyanla Vanzant.  While traveling with Iyanla on a card-signing tour for Hallmark Cards, she introduced me to Dawn, who was one of the first people to encourage me about my writing. 

And God put other wonderful people in pathMonica Jackson, a writer based out of Topeka, referred me to Donna Hill, a best-selling author, who at the time was also acting as an agent.  Donna liked my book and agreed to represent me.   She then sold the book to Carl Weber, who owns Urban Books, which is distributed by Kensington, a major publisher/distributor.  Around Christmas 2003, I got a 2-book deal offer from Carl Weber and that was the best Christmas gift I could have asked for. 

SC: What feedback have you received from fans?
 
MB:  First off, I've received a lot of positive feedback for my cover!  Everyone seems to love it!  I think the photographer, Maurice Fields and graphic designer, Jim Ellsworth, did a great job of showing a female character that's both strong and vulnerable -- which is exactly what I wanted.  Also people seem to love the relationship between my main character and her grandmother!  Together they are a hoot!  And, people like the main male characters because they're not out there trying to be dogs -- but instead they're trying to do the right thing, even though they occasionally get sidetracked -- like we all do!
 
SC:  What authors do you admire? Did one of them inspire you?
 
MB:  I like period writing and am a big fan of William Shakespeare’s.  I also love Toni Morrison.  Song of Solomon is one of my favorite books.  She has such a lyrical writing style that I absolutely love!  I have paid homage to Ms. Morrison in my debut novel, Bulletproof Soul.  I challenge anyone that's read the book to figure out how! 

Additionally, I like Edith Wharton who creates strong, moral, duty-bound female characters.  House of Mirth and The Age of Innocence are two of my favorites.  And of course I’m influenced by Carl Weber -- the King of Drama.  Donna Hill, the Queen of classy stories and Monica Jackson, one of the funniest writers on the planet.   

SC: Is writing your only passion?
 
MB: I'm a big fan of tennis.  In another life, I swear I was Serena AND Venus !:-)  Also, I love to travel and I love history!  Whenever I travel, I always have to see all the historic sites which drives the people I'm traveling with crazy!  
 
SC:  Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 
 
MB:  I'd like to be writing full-time!  With 1-2 books coming out a year!   
 
SC: What advice would you give aspiring authors?
 
MB: This is gonna be a long answer ... To be a successful writer, you have to be passionate about the written word and you have to have a vivid imagination.  You also have to be self-motivated and you can't be afraid of a little (or a lot) of rejection.  Beyond that, you of course have to write!  I talk to so many people that say they want to be writers, but when I ask them are they doing any writing -- they tell me "no."  I know that part of that is because "life happens" and it can keep us so easily distracted.  Also, it's really hard to focus on our "dreams" -- especially when the pay off isn't definite and immediate.  But if you want it bad enough, you truly have to start somewhere!   

For those that are serious and are writing, it's also easy to get discouraged during the process.  Whenever I thought -- "there is no way I'll finish a 300 page book" or "my writing is off", I would just go to those portions of my manuscript that I thought were well-written and I would re-read those passages!  That really encouraged me to keep at it! 

Finally, once the book is done, I’ve learned the hard way that you can’t share your dream of writing with just anybody, instead share your dream with only people who will help you nurture it.  Show your writing only to people that support what you're doing and people who will give honest, CONSTRUCTIVE criticism.  Also finding writing mentors, reading other writers you admire and learning about the craft and the industry are extremely important and will only help you in the long run!   

SC:  What would you like readers to learn from your stories? 
 
MB:  I just want folks to realize there are ALWAYS options.  We all have choices and there are always consequences to the choices we make.  Also, I'm an eternal optimist, and no matter how dire the circumstances, in my stories, there will always be an element of hope!
 
SC:  Are you working on another novel? If so, what is it about?
 
MB: I'm writing my second novel for Urban Books.  It's about a co-ed travel club.  Here's my tag line:  
3 fabulous trips.  8 crazy people.  Tons of mad drama.  Buckle up and enjoy this literary ride!  
 
SC:  What else are you doing?
 
MB: I'm having fun promoting my current book, Bulletproof Soul.  For book clubs, or bookstores that want to throw a Bulletproof Soul (Pamper Your Soul & Spirit) Book Signing Event, they can email me at prgalkc@hotmail.com. Also, I've just finished a screenplay------a period piece about black womens' service to our country during early wartime.
 
SC:  Where can people purchase your books? 
 
MB:  The book is available on cushcity.com, amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, walmart.com and elsewhere online.  Also, it's available in stores everywhere!  If you can't find it in your local favorite bookstore, ask them to special order it, and they will get it for you at no extra charge.  
 
SC:  Do you have a website? 
 
MB:  My website address is www.michellebuckley.com.  Stop in and give me a holla! 

One of my favorite sites for info on Black Authors
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