Meet Novelist Michelle Streetmatter

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.


Michelle’s Journey

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’s Drawing

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

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About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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37 Responses to Meet Novelist Michelle Streetmatter

  1. Diane says:

    You had me at Godiva…….. Congrats on your wins and all your upcoming projects! :O)

  2. Debbie says:

    I love what you said about your husband! Four kids! Girl, when DO you find time to write??
    debbied_archer@hotmail.com

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Diane!

  4. I am a long time lover of the suspense romance genre, starting with old Nora Roberts books up to the latest on the market. Your work sounds like the perfect book for a cold, rainy evening curled up on the sofa with hot chocolate and the wind beating on the window screens. Yikes 🙂

    Michelle, I love it and I wish you only the best with your work.

  5. Janet Kerr says:

    Hello Michelle,
    Thank you for sharing your journey!
    And I am enjoying your brainstorming @ MyBookTherapy
    Jan

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Janet! Brainstorming is one of my favorite things to do!

  7. Fun interview, Michelle. 🙂

    As for chocolate, have you tried that quaint little chocolate store on the North Shore in Knive River, MN? (http://www.greatlakescandy.com/) My daughter & I stopped there recently & it was fabulous (& a great setting for a book). If not, you’ll have to sample it when up in Duluth for the Writing Retreat.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks Brenda! I haven’t tried that one. I will check it out this summer. Thanks for the tip!

  8. Great interview! REally looking forward to Michelle’s first book–I know it’s coming. Really don’t see how you find time to write, though. We have a little shop here in town that has absolutely wonderful chocolates!

    • Michelle Streetmatter says:

      Thanks P.T.! Writing often happens at midnight around my house. The chocolates sound wonderful!

  9. Beth Vogt says:

    Loved learning more about Michelle. She’s a great person to brainstorm with.
    Where have I found the best chocolates? The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory right here in town. I love their caramels covered in milk chocolate.

  10. Andrea Nell says:

    I’ll join Michelle’s fan club! Michelle – You are an excellent writer and I learn sooo much about the writing craft everytime we talk. (So I guess you are still a teacher – even if you don’t claim the title. :)) Brainstorming with you is always eye-opening and enlightening. Thank you for sharing your skills and tallents! I can’t wait to see your name on the shelves!

    • Andrea Nell says:

      P.S. Best ever chocolate – Toblerone. Yum! I had it for the first time in an airport in Holland on a layover on my way to Paris – So good memories too. But I was thrilled to come home and discover it can be found in the US too.

    • Andrea, I have so enjoyed getting to know you and your stories as well! Thanks for the compliments!

  11. Stacy says:

    So fun to learn even more about you, Michelle! You’re such a talented lady – wife, mom of 4, VP of MN-NICE, top-notch brainstormer for My Book Therapy and a fabulous suspense writer. You go, girl!! Can’t wait to get a signed copy of your first book.
    I’ve never met a chocolate I didn’t like (except that cheap, pretend stuff they try to pass off at Easter) – and the setting only makes it better. A piece of Godiva sitting along the shore of Lake Tahoe – perfect!

  12. mmgriep says:

    Truffle Hill…right in Minnetonka, girl! Check it out.

  13. Count me in your fan club, Michelle! Great interview. I’m saving a spot on my bookshelf for yours.

    Best chocolate? Hmmm… I remember a fudge shop in Estes Park, CO fondly… There’s a great chocolate shop in Galena, IL, too… Funny, I don’t remember the shop names, but I could certainly take you right to them. 🙂

  14. Thanks for sharing, Michelle. Great interview as always, Keli. Love Godiva but on my budget my favorite chocolate is in the candy aisle at the grocery store – Lindts 85% dark. It’s a huge bar and I break off a piece every afternoon. Good luck with your writing!

  15. Brenda, chocolate doesn’t need to be gourmet to be amazing…It is all good! Thanks for the best wishes!

  16. great job Michelle!!! so proud of you!!!!!
    though not much of a choc. fun as you know 😉 my fav would have to be Lindt Lindor Chocolate Truffles 🙂

  17. Amanda G. Stevens says:

    Yay Michelle! 🙂 I can’t help with the chocolate thing … although I do love a Godiva Chocolate Decadence drink in the late fall while wandering an outdoor mall. It’s like drinking melted chocolate. And I agree, local news is a great place for story fodder … though it’s not always pleasant story fodder … But we’d probably get bored if we wrote pleasant stories.

  18. Great interview, Michelle! It was great learning more about you. Us romantic suspense writers need to stick together 😉 As for the best chocolate I’ve ever had, it would have to be Cadbury chocolate my sister brought back from Egypt. It’s nothing like the chocolate we have here. Talk about sinfully delicious! This chocoholic was in heaven!

  19. Susan Miura says:

    Great interview, Michelle! I never realized you were a teacher for 11 years. I liked what you said about “no bad place to find a good idea.” So true. Bring on the chocolate!

  20. Thanks Susan! I find ideas in the most unusual places…I think a lot of us do!

  21. Lisa Jordan says:

    I just ate some dark chocolate from France. Yum! So rich. I’m honored to be a part of your fan club. You’re the best craft partner ever!

  22. Keli Gwyn says:

    Thanks to everyone who stopped by to learn more about Michelle and to those who left her a comment.

    My apologies for being slow to hold the drawing, but I’ve now done so. The winner of the Spring Chocolate Gift Box from Godiva Chocolatier Michelle so generously offered as a prize is Andrea Nell.

    Congratulations, Andrea! I’ll be in touch.

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