Michelle Streetmatter is a high-tension romantic suspense writer. Her current Fisher Creek Collection has semi-finaled in the 2011 Genesis Contest and earned Bronze Medal Recognition in the Frasier Contest in 2010.
Michelle lives in Minnesota with her husband and four rambunctious kids who keep her life full of laughter and suspense. A graduate of North Central University, she taught in Minneapolis Public Schools for eleven years before becoming an at-home mom. During her teaching years she developed arts integration curriculum, coordinated the grant writing task force, and directed the Children’s Ministry Department at her church. Michelle serves as the Vice President of MN N.I.C.E., a local American Christian Fiction Writers chapter.
When Michelle has a moment to spare you might find her out fishing, reading a book by the shore, or covered in chocolate handprints while baking cookies with her kids. A chocoholic at heart, she is on the quest to find the perfect chocolate to compliment late nights writing.
When did you fall in love with romantic suspense novels and decide to write your own?
In the summers when I was growing up my sister and I had reading contests for who could read the most books. So I fell in love with books when I was a girl, but suspense captured my interest with the debut of Dee Henderson’s Danger in the Shadows. Being an avid suspense reader I became fascinated with plot and an idea for a story scene drew me to put my thoughts on the page.
How long did it take you to complete your first manuscript? Did it fly from your fingertips, or did the story emerge slowly?
My first manuscript happened over the space of a few years. I was teaching full time and just jotted down my story as thoughts emerged. Then when I finally felt I had the plot in my head it flew quickly onto the page. The rewriting and editing took a bit longer.
Your stories have done well in contests, garnering you a Genesis semi-final this year and a Frazier Bronze Medal Recognition last. Congratulations on those impressive achievements. And I gotta know. Did you laugh, cry, or sigh when you received the good news from the contest coordinators? Or are you more the happy dancing, shriek-your-lungs-out type?
When I first found out it was more of the, “You’re serious?” type response. I was so excited and giddy all day, but still expected to wake up from the dream at any moment.
We’re all writers, whether our efforts are emails, grocery lists, or notes to our children’s teachers. You were a journalist in college and had a number of articles published in the school’s paper. How do the skills you learned then contribute to your novel writing?
My writing experiences helped me see the most important components in a story and the power of words on a reader. But even more than that true stories are often unusual and complex.
What sparks your story ideas? A person? A place? Or, since you write romantic suspense, perhaps a news story about an intriguing police investigation?
My ideas come from everywhere. The quirky person sitting in the café I saw on vacation, a fun news headline, an unusual career, or a middle of the night pizza dream. There is no bad place to find a good idea.
When you approach your writing, do you tend to be OC or “Let’s see?” Are you all about schedules, charts, and character outlines, or do you plant yourself in front of the screen, hands poised over the keyboard, and let the words fly from your fingertips, surprising you with their brilliance?
When I first started writing I was a total seat of the pants writer, I let my plot spin in the wind as it came through my mind. After editing for a while, I realized that there are some components that are better if planned ahead.
The character’s journey and finding a picture for every character is something I do before writing. As for plot, I have a general idea where it is going and where it will land, but most is discovered as I sit in front of the blank page.
I still break out in hives at the thought of an outline and I still let my story take me where it will go, but I do some preliminary work on my characters before I start. Now I call myself a purposeful pantser.
With four children living at home, I can’t help but wonder how you find time to write. Do you hide in the bathroom with a laptop, leave dad in charge and head for the local coffeehouse, or make use of time spent waiting for your kids at their various activities?
Family life can sometimes make time for writing a bit more complicated, okay total chaos. But my family believes in my dream. I take occasional trips to the library, but most of my writing is done burning late night hours after the kids are in bed.
Who holds the position of President of the Michelle Lim Fan Club, and who are some of the other members?
My husband Hui Hong is probably the President of my fan club, especially since it involves time and money to go to workshops to improve as a writer. If I ever feel like giving up, he talks me out of it. If an opportunity arises, he encourages me to go for it.
A close second would be my Mom who got me started writing in the first place and believed in me before I even believed in myself.
Some of the other members of my Fan Club would be my kids, my sister, Lisa Jordan, Amy Lindberg, Amanda Stevens, MN N.I.C.E. (my local ACFW Chapter), and more than I could ever list here.
Five Ways Michelle Fuels Her Creativity
Spending time in nature enjoying the quiet of God’s beautiful creation fuels my creativity.
Reading books with rich plots fills my head with new ideas.
Reading newspaper articles fuels my creativity to explore new plots.
Spending time with my family gives me new inspiration for the journeys of life that my characters experience.
Time with unique people gives me new perspective to create richer characters.
Michelle’s Question for You
Where have you found the best ever chocolate?
Michelle has offered to give away a Spring Chocolate Gift Box from Godiva Chocolatier.
To enter the drawing, just leave a comment for Michelle by June 20th and enter your email address when prompted during the comment process. On June 21st, I will hold the drawing and post the winner’s name here as well and will contact her/him via email to get a mailing address.
Congratulations to Andrea Nell, winner of the chocolate!
Note: Offer void where prohibited.
Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.
Prizes will be mailed to U.S. or Canadian address only.
Learn More About Michelle
Visit her website ~ Michelle Streetmatter
Friend her on Facebook ~ Michelle Lim