In a continuation of the Author Interviews I bring you Author, Michele Roger. Michele wrote the book, The Conservatory. I do hope you enjoy the Ten +1 questions.
What inspired you to write The Conservatory?
The Conservatory is an emulsion of childhood fears, real life experiences whilst living in an actual haunted house and midnight walks at the local community college that was once a TB Sanitarium. It too is said to be haunted. Being a music teacher and harpist in real life also added to the authenticity of the plot. The hack and slash style of blood and gore, I can only say probably was inspired by the fact that I was going through a divorce at the time.
Is there any significance to the names of your main characters?
I am completely inept at subtlety when it comes to character names. I would love to write a fusion of name and character in Henry Miller fashion but alas, the best I could come up with for the female lead music teacher sadly, was Melody. Her lover, and the male lead, Dr. Lewis is based on the good looks of a friend of mine and the logic and profound calm of my best friend, Stacie for whom, Martin Lewis derives his last name.
During the writing process did you find yourself thinking about any of your own memories?
When I was four, I had a bad case of pneumonia with a high fever that lasted all night. When I woke the next morning, I ran down the stairs straight into my grandmothers arms and told her that the little blue doctors were coming back to take me away. I then told her of their tiny knives and drills and that I was trying to call out for her but I couldn’t scream. To this day, I can still recall their rubbery skin and their nasal breaths. Was it a dream or was it real? I don’t know. But it was such a vivid memory, I used it.
What were some of your favorite books growing up?
I loved all kinds books. I read my grandmothers recipes and cook books in French. I read a lot of Asimov. For a while, I collected the sci fi series of books, “V”. Then I started my print addiction to everything Steven King. But it was in high school that I learned there was books that people said I shouldn’t read. It was a lovely form of rebellion to banned books.
Do you hear from fans of the book, and if you do what do they say?
A woman in London recently wrote me and said that she can read The Conservatory on her morning commute into work. But in the evening, when its dark outside, it frightens her too much. That is the best compliment I ever got! Another woman told me that she loves music and hence decided to read my book. She had never read horror before and now she enjoys the genre. Converting people to a new form of literature is a great feeling.
What was the feeling like when you saw the very first printed version of your book?
I was sued over The Conservatory. I never thought I would see it in print. So when the first copy arrived, I felt as if I could finally exhale. No matter how it performed on the market, The Conservatory had come to life so to speak.
Do you continue to write?
Yes. My short story, “Though She Be Little, She is Fierce” , my first zombie story, is going to be published in an anthology this fall by Evil Girlfriend Media. I am self publishing a collection of stories written by myself and friends in my own anthology to be released this summer. And finally, I’m launching a huge, new novel and podcasting it. The podcasts will of course be free. The book will be released next spring. It’s called Eternal Kingdom. Think vampire crossed with the Gladiator movie and you have an idea of the blood bath the story takes on. The characters are deep and driven and I’m having a great time writing it!
What is the message you are want people to take away from the book?
The Conservatory itself is rather tongue and cheek. When they say the music business is “cut throat”, it is. But in the Conservatory, I mean it quite literally.
If you could envision a future for your main character, what would it be?
If I tell you that here then I give away part of the ending of the Conservatory….sorry.
Who are those in the dedication of the book, and their importance to you?
I dedicated the book to my son and daughter. Both are in college right now. Both of them are taking creative career paths. I have been ridiculed for raising two kids on my own by means of music and writing. If I had a dime for every time someone asked, “why don’t you go get a real job?” I would be rich. The point of the dedication is small but poignant. Do what you love, kids, the money will come. Furthermore, if you are doing what you love, the things many people spend money on to be happy wont be necessary.
The + 1 Question:
If you had any one place in the world you could travel to for a book tour, where would that place be, and why?
There is a space ship leaving in something like ten years to go colonize Mars. I think I would like to do a book tour there. How do I set that up?