Today's Muse: Michelle Rowen
Author of: Demon Princess (review here)
Interested in winning a copy of Demon Princess? Enter my birthday contest here!
Bookworm: Welcome, Michelle! To start, will you please tell us how the idea for Demon Princess came to you?
Michelle: It was a number of things that sparked the idea for Demon Princess. Originally, Nikki wasn't even a princess, she was just the daughter of a demon, but I though making her a princess and heir to a demonic throne helped to mess up her life just that much more. ;) I was partially inspired by the Disney Princess fad that seemed (and still seems) to be everywhere and I thought a demon princess would be the exact opposite of all that cutesiness. I was also inspired by Meg Cabot's Princess Diaries, but I thought--what if you found out that not only were you a princess, but a DEMON princess? The story possibilities this opens up are really endless.
Bookworm: What was your inspiration for the characters?
Michelle: The characters for this book just sort of evolved. I knew Nikki would be the kind of heroine I typically like to write--the "everygal" thrust into a crazy, fantastical situation. I knew Michael, her guide and bodyguard would be the weird (but hot) guy who takes her attention away from the guy she thinks she wants to date. From there, they just became very real in my mind as I began writing them.
Bookworm: Who was your favorite character to write in the book?
Michelle: My favorite character and the one I know the best is the lead, Nikki, since I'm in in her head the whole time. She's fun and brave and has a good outlook and is able to see the humor in life. Secondly I love writing Michael because he was just so mysterious and secretive. I liked peeling back his layers and seeing what was underneath. That didn't sound right, but you know what I mean! ;)
Bookworm: Demons or vampires?
Michelle: I can't pick! I've always loved the vamps (well, the nice ones, anyway), but lately my books have become more focused on the demonic. Can't I have both?? [Bookworm: Agreed. Sorry Edward, but vampires are waaaay overrated!] (:
Bookworm: How long did it take you to write the book, start to finish?
Michelle: I wrote the first draft of Demon Princess for Nanowrimo 2006, but it wasn't quite ready when I was done. I considered abandoning it entirely but there was something about the book that I really liked and my gut told me to do the work and make it better. I had to completely rework the second half in my rewrite--originally I had this whole Lord of the Rings feel and there were wars and things that took away from it being specifically about Nikki. Once I rewrote it, my pacing was off and I had to go back in again. By the time my agent submitted it to publishers I probably poked at it for about six drafts, which is about four more than I usually do! It sold in the summer of 2008, so that means I worked on it for nearly two years and I'm very glad I never gave up on it!
Bookworm: What was your soundtrack while you were writing the book?
Michelle: My soundtracks for my books tend to rely very heavily on a lot of Pink (specifically her song "Trouble" and "Get the Party Started"), and Avril Lavigne ("Keep Holding On"). Some vintage Gwen Stefani, too (like "Spiderweb"). My computer crashed last year so I lost the specific track list I listened to for Reign or Shine, but those artist definitely help to sum it up. The second book, Reign Check, has a disconcertingly high amount of Miley Cyrus on it.
Bookworm: Speaking of which, can you give us a hint at what's next for Nikki in Reign or Shine, the sequel to Demon Princess?
Michelle: Oh, I have a lot of plans for my little demon princess. In book 2 she's really hoping to be able to balance her royally demon side with her normal teen side, but she finds out rather quickly that's going to be harder than she thinks, especially when dangerous parts of her "other" life visit her at her high school. Also, the news that she's half demon has reached the demon council in the Underworld and they very much want to meet her--whether she wants to or not. Nikki also comes to realize that having a boyfriend whom you're basically forbidden to openly date is not an easy task. ;)
Bookworm: What YA book have you recently read and loved?
Michelle: I devoured Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins a little while ago. The Hunger Games trilogy is absolutely brilliant. I'm currently reading Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston and am finding it brilliantly written.
Thanks so much, Michelle! You can visit Michelle's website and check out a 2-chapter excerpt of Demon Princess, which was released in October, here
Reign Check will be out in June 2010--I can't wait! (: