Author Interview: Michelle Keener
If you love Christian Romance, you'll want to check out Michelle Keener's latest book, Mission Hollywood. In addition to writing, Michelle is also a workshop leader, military wife, mother (to humans and a fur baby) and a treasured daughter of the King. Her books are fun and inspirational and I'm so tickled to introduce you to Michelle:
What is the name of your book? What is it about?
My latest book is Mission Hollywood, a contemporary Christian romance novel set in Hollywood. It’s the story of a bad boy movie star who unexpectedly meets a pastor’s daughter. In an attempt to avoid a scandal, movie star Ben volunteers to work at Lily’s church. It’s a romance novel, so of course, sparks fly, but there is much more than fame separating them. Ben walked away from God and the church as a teenager. Can he find his way back? Do he and Lily have a chance or will the pressures of celebrity keep them apart? It’s a story of love, faith and second chances.
What surprised you when writing this book?
I was surprised to find that there were actually two love stories in the book. There is the romance story of Ben and Lily, but there is also the story of God’s love for his children. Ben pursues Lily, and at the same time God pursues Ben. Seeing the two stories play out was really special.
Are any of your characters introverts? Give us a sneak peek into their personality.
Lily is definitely in introvert. When she has a chance to attend a movie premiere, it is really outside of her comfort zone. Even though she is the worship leader for her dad’s church, she is much more comfortable with her close friends and family and likes to avoid the spotlight.
Do you have any interesting writing quirks or habits while you write?
I often talk to myself while I write. I’ll try out lines of dialogue or sentences before I type them. Seeing how they sound and how the lines flow. Sometimes I offer running commentary on my writing as I go, like: “Just finish this scene, Michelle” or “Oh my goodness, just pick a word!”
I am also a huge fan of writing snacks. I always have something to munch on nearby…usually something involving chocolate.
Tell us something interesting about yourself unrelated to writing.
I used to be a cake decorator. Wedding cakes, baby showers, birthdays, I made all kinds of cakes. I taught my daughter and now she’s the chief cake decorator in our house.
Do you have a word count goal each day or do you write for hours when you feel inspired?
I usually aim for 1,000 words a day. I think that’s because I have a thing about nice, round numbers. But I don’t beat myself up if I don’t make it. Some days life gets in the way and every word is a struggle. If I’m on a roll, I may type 3,000-4,000 words. The important thing is consistency. Show up and start typing and see where it goes from there.
Do you have an “author verse” – a truth that you cling to while writing?
When I’m writing a first draft, I remind myself (many times) “Just get it on the page.” In terms of Scripture, the verse that covers all of my writing is Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path.” If I keep God as my focus and choose to honor Him and entrust everything, including the words I write, in His care, then I move forward knowing that He is leading the way.
Can you share with readers how they can help you as an author?
Well, I’d love for everyone to buy my books! But sharing the books on social media or recommending them to a friend is also a huge help. And if you enjoy any of my books, I hope you’ll leave a review. Reviews are like gold for authors.
Have you thought about writing in a different genre? Which one?
I’ve already crossed several genres lines. I’m a bit of a rebel that way. My first book was a memoir, then I released a devotional. Mission Hollywood is a Christian romance and my next book, scheduled to be released in December, is a women’s fiction novel. So, I’m all over the place. I write the books I’m passionate about and tend not to worry about genre limitations.
Who is your favorite character and why?
It’s a tie between Ben and Lily. I absolutely adore both of them. Ben’s journey is compelling and it touches my heart. And I see a lot of myself in Lily. I’m drawn to her compassion and her gentle spirit. Putting the two of them together is like peanut butter and jelly, they just fit.
What else would you like to share with us?
I’m truly grateful for the opportunity to share these stories. I hope readers find something in my books that speaks to their hearts and blesses them.
I have a free ebook of my 30-day devotional You Are available on my website and I’d love for everyone to stop by and grab a copy.
Michelle Keener is wife, mom, and multi-genre author. Her latest book, Mission Hollywood, is a contemporary Christian romance novel set in Hollywood. She lives in Southern California with her retired Marine husband, their two children, and one spoiled dog. When she isn’t writing, she is busy homeschooling, teaching creative writing workshops, or baking something involving chocolate.
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