Taming Him Bit By By The Bug
October, 2006

By Wanda Maynard

Care to tell me a little about your book, BIT BY THE BUG? (Include the publisher and URL for ordering information)

Preorder Amazon.com - http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=michellpillow-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=0352340843&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&lc1=0000ff&bc1=000000&bg1=ffffff&f=ifr
Release Feb 2007, available at all major bookstores
PRINT ISBN: 0352340833
Kat Matthews is in love…with her art. As a photographer, her greatest desire is to one day create a photo so potent that it will stand the test of time, the kind of picture that is looked at for centuries and remembered. If she can accomplish that, she will be content. While vacationing with her mother in Vale, Colorado, she meets an eccentric, rich couple who have a bizarre proposition. They want to hire her to date their son. And not just date him, but train him how to date so he'll continue doing so afterward. As payment, they dangle a once in a lifetime opportunity in front of Kat - the chance to have her photographs seen by the owner of the most prestigious are gallery in New York. Their terms should be simple—teaching their reclusive son how to date without him finding out. Dr Vincent Richmond unwittingly holds the key to her dreams in his hands...if only he'd notice she exists.

Care to tell me briefly of your other works?

I've published in almost every sub-genre of romance, paranormal, fantasy, dark fantasy, contemporary, historical, futuristic, and many combinations of all. My first book released in e-book April 2004 and it's been a whirlwind ever since."

I've got straight historicals, which were my first love as far as romance genres. Maiden and the Monster (Publisher: Ellora's Cave) was a Romantic Times Top pick and Emerald Knight (New Concepts Publishing) was recently released in print. These were a couple of the books I wrote before seriously thinking about publishing. I did them for fun, like other people do crossword puzzles. In fact, I still have a few of these straight historicals waiting to be dug up from their cyber graves.

I also have my popular futuristic series--Dragon Lords, Lords of the Var and Zhang Dynasty--that are all connected. The tenth futuristic book is due out soon, Zhang Dynasty: Temptation of the Butterfly, which is also a multi-cultural. All from New Concepts. This series started, in my head, as a short story in the Dragon Lords book one and grew to be a fan favorite.
For Fantasy/Darker Fantasy, Tribes of the Vampire (New Concepts) and Realm Immortal (Samhain Publishing). Realm Immortal has been doing amazingly well for me and is one of my newest series to come out. It's heavy on the fantasy and is attracting both romance readers who want the romance and hardcore fantasy readers who like the fantasy. Tribes of the Vampire has it's loyal following, as well. I think I'm lucky to have readers who enjoy the same variety of styles and genres that I do. I love genre-hopping, stretching myself and exploring different ways to tell a story.
Paranormal is one of my largest offerings, from trolls in the Naughty Cupid series (New Concepts), Taming Him (Pocket Books, Jan 2007), Pleasure Cruise and the Call of the Lycan series (Ellora's Cave), and many more. I keep my website up to date and there is a full listing by genre on there.
Contemporaries include the Virgin Books titles, Fierce Competition and Opposites Attract, both which are seeing their second printing next year in mass market, along with the first printings of Bit by the Bug and Along for the Ride. My other contemporary, Mountain's Captive (New Concepts) won the 2004 CAPA.
That's a brief run down of some of them. I've actually signed fifty contracts since the first release in April 2004, some of which are shorter works, but many for novels.

Care to give us a little taste of something that will make someone who reads our interview want to search out your work? A short teaser would work...a few sentences of plot, to make us want to pick up the review, and then the book.

That's tough since I write in many genres, but since we were talking about Bit by the Bug, I'll do a small excerpt from that. If readers want to read about the different genres, they can see the booklist on my website.
Small Excerpt Bit by the Bug:
The door had said this was a laboratory, but Kat found the room odd for a lab, though the old brown tables and the old library-like atmosphere was probably suited to a guy who studied word history. Cluttered along the edge of the long counter, there were beakers, microscopes, an array of instruments from tweezers to little slides and some sort of machine that looked like it belonged in a science laboratory, but Kat had no idea what it did. She'd failed science in high school and never went to college. There'd been no point. Ever since she was little, she wanted to be a photographer. She deduced easily that the drawers had to be filled with old texts and maybe the equipment was used for carbon dating or whatever it was these types of men did.
'I don't work for you.' Kat set her camera bag on the table. Thinking to catch movement on the floor, she glanced down. It was nothing.
'Sorry, what was that?'
'I don't work for you,' Kat repeated.
Vincent stopped, standing very still as if it took him a moment to process what she said. Slowly, he turned. 'You can't quit on me. I've had too many quit on me this year.'
He held up his hands and came back to where she waited by the door. As if seeing her for the first time, he blinked, his eyes roaming over her face and clothes. 'Ah, wow, you're…'
Kat waited. Beautiful? Pretty? Sexy? Dateable? This was more like the reaction she was used to from men.
'…ah, different,' Vincent said, not exactly in pleasure. He frowned at the pink in her hair. 'Did that happen here? Did you have a chemical spill? I hope you filled out the proper paperwork. I'm not sure what I have around here that would cause such a reaction in human hair, but is why you're quitting?'
Kat tensed. Different? She was different? This nut job was one to talk. He didn't even know his own assistant's name or what she looked like.
'Here,' he reached for his wallet. 'I'll pay to get your hair fixed, only don't quit. Please. I'm so close to a breakthrough, I can feel it. I've got too much going on right now and the college won't send me another assistant until the fall semester.'
'I coloured my hair like this on purpose,' she said, dryly.
'Oh.' He looked surprised. 'Ah, well, it's lovely.'

What genre do you think BIT BY THE BUG "fits" -- paranormal, mystery, romance?

Contemporary Erotic Romance

Is writing your career, or do you have another occupation that presently pays expenses? Tell us a little about Ms. Pillow, the person.

Since publication, writing has taken the forefront to what I do, but I also own a successful business with my artist husband, which has allowed me to focus so much on writing. I love a challenge and I love learning new things. My jobs reflect that. I've been a freelance photographer--something I still do occasionally. I've coordinated banquets, worked with the state to host continuing education seminars for tattoo artists, I've done permanent hair removal, managed a big restaurant, was head waitress in a bar, worked as a CNA in a nursing home, was a baker.
I know I'll always write, but I tend to see where things lead. There is still a lot I want to do.

How does who you are influence your writing? i.e. your favorite things, et cetera?

It's only natural that what an author does or is interested in comes into writing. I love to learn and I love researching details. But, I'm also married to an artist, who's varied interests fuel mine. I'm a photographer, which my characters sometimes are, as well. Whatever I feel like learning and researching in real life, or where I travel, usually finds it's way into a book. I wanted to research entomology--Vincent was born. I'm a photographer--Kat emerged. I love pajama pants, they became the national dress for the Draig in Dragon Lords.

What inspired you to become a writer?

I just did it. Like with photographs, it's the idea of creating something tangible.

Anything you find difficult to accomplish in crafting your work?

Finding the time to write all that's in my head. Also, now that I'm published, a lot of my time is taken up with promotions and advertising. The business side of writing, though necessary, can be very draining on time and energy.

Do you have any goals in life you have yet to meet? If so, would you like to elaborate some on them?

Several. Though, I don't know that they're all so much goals as things I'd like to try. I've accomplished many things, some small like getting to fly a plane, but there is so much more I want to do. I'd love to have the financial freedom to travel. I'd like to see my work hanging in a gallery someday and assist an awesome gothic style photographer so I can glean knowledge off him/her. I think it'd be great to be involved with a Buffy/Angel/Charmed type sitcom, whether it was writing for them or acting as some strange creature (I'll have to discover if I can act first *laughing*) Or, working for Happy Madison Productions--Adam Sandler seems to take care of his friends and I love to laugh. Writing a column could be fun. I've done some magazine work, but I'd like to do more. I'd love to work in the coffee business. Oh, and I once saw a mushroom farmer on TV, out of Wisconsin. That looked like it could be cool to do.
Wow, this question is too hard. I could go on forever. :)

When you can find time for your writing, do you have a favorite place? Do you follow any specific routine?

Normally a cup of coffee is nearby. I go through phases as to whether or not I have the background noise on. Normally the television running helps me to concentrate better than silence. Comfy clothes are a must. As to where, I can work at the shop, at home, in the car, doesn't matter.

What's your opinion on the direction of the publishing industry, especially the influence of e-publishing?

I don't think my opinion isn't anything that hasn't been said a lot. Erotic and paranormal are hot right now. Everything goes in cycles and evolves. E-publishing has seemed to have some influence in broadening the market. I think it had a direct influence on changing the genres that were being published, as they e-publishers seem more willing to take chances on new ideas and authors.

Of your characters in BIT BY THE BUG which is your favorite?

Mm, that's hard. I like Kat's love for her art, but I have to say Vincent.

What makes them your favorite characters?

Vincent is so distracted to life, almost comically so, but yet so focused on his job. I can relate to that. And, he's genuinely a good person.

Do you believe its possible for authors to write characters opposite their own gender, successfully?

Yes, definitely. There are trait differences between the opposites sexes, but really, we're all people with the same types of emotions.

How do you control your characters? I know of several authors who are driven to write 'what their characters tell them'.

I put a lot into world and character building. I create the characters, their backgrounds. I give them a name, a past, a job, influences and then I just let them develop the way they would in their worlds. I set the scent and the put them down in it with a basic idea of what will happen to them. Then, I just let them react as their personalities would react. They run the show, I'm just there to record the events. It's hard to explain, they just are who they are and I don't try to force them to do differently.

How would you decide, or how would your characters decide what is "workable" if they are responding to an event in their "lives" that's totally out of the ordinary?

It depends on the characters. They each react differently. And it depends on the event. I guess their instinct would kick in, fighter fight, screamers scream, introverts clam up...

What do you suppose is your greatest strength as a writer? Character development? Place? Something else?

I think it's character and world building. I put a lot of research and planning into what I do. Some people like crossword puzzles, I like creating things.

Who were/are your major influences that guided you to become an author?

My parents. My mom always believed in us and encouraged us to be who we are. My father, because he instilled a hard work ethic in us. Then, there is my husband, whose support keeps me going.

Answer this one in any way you wish....What advice do you have for potential authors?

Do your research, do the writing, do your thing. But, mostly, do your research.

Where do you see yourself going in the future with your writing?

It's really hard to say. I enjoy writing and it's a wonderful job. I get paid to make things up, who wouldn't love that? I can only hope that readers continue to enjoy what I do and publishers keep hiring me to do it.
I love new experiences and try to stay open to where life leads.

Do you have further adventures of Kat and Vincent planned? Tell us a little about them if you do.

Not for the two characters directly, but for Kat's sisters where both characters will take secondary roles. Book two is contracted and set to release Fall 2007.
Along for the Ride, features Kat's oldest sister, the detective, Megan. In Kat's book, Bit by the Bug, Megan helps solve a high profile crime by arresting a serial killer with the help of Vincent. Her picture is taken by Ryan Lucas, a photojournalist, making her an instant legend. In book two, we see Megan a year after the hype. She's transferred away from homicide and she's trying to live down the unwanted publicity. Ryan, the man she blames for the unwanted fame, is now working with the department as a crime scene photographer--not to mention he's friends with her sister, Kat. Everywhere she turns lately, the man is there.
Ryan fell in love with Megan, almost at first sight and has been trying to get her to notice him. With the encouragement of her well-meaning, but perhaps misguided sister, he's trying to get her to date him. One night at a crime scene, he finally asks her out--a completely botched experience that ends with him taking another 'damning' picture of her. Megan offhandedly tells him what she wants in a husband and Ryan, desperate, allows Kat to convince him to be that man by telling Megan's family their engaged.
Three more books are planned for the series, featuring the three remaining Matthews sisters.

Do you have a fear? If so, would you care to tell us about it?

Wow. That's a hard one. I think it's apparent by my earlier responses I don't want to be doing the same exact thing the rest of my life. It's not for me. I don't know that the idea scares me, though. I get edgy around spiders and snakes--yeah, I know it's a girly fear, but it's there.

How would you like for readers to remember you?

As someone who helped them escape reality for a short time. And, if they're reading my books, not to remember I'm there at all, but to be in the world and their imagination.

Is there anything else you wish to tell us about that is important to you?

If readers want to learn more about me:
Website: www.michellepillow.com
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/michellepillow
Newsletter (announcement only): http://groups.yahoo.com/group/michellempillow/join
Blog: http://michellespillowtalk.blogspot.com/
Chat Group with Mandy M Roth, called The Raven: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/The_Raven_Vampire_Nightclub/join
Free online, ongoing story “The Raven” co-authored with Mandy Roth:

Links to Ms. Pillow's Various Publishers are below:
Bit by the Bug is at Virgin Books. They are completely overhauling their main website right now, but the links I have are below:
My Virgin Books on my Website- http://www.michellepillow.com/virgin_pub.htm
Buy on Amazon.com-