rarely fangirl for any author because I don’t roll that way lol, but this up and coming authoress has been on my radar for a minute. She holds a special place in my heart because not only do we share the same first and middle names (I’m still tripping over that), but also the same last initial. (If we had the same last name too, I would have fainted). But more importantly, this young lady is genuinely a nice person. She don’t trip, get caught up in industry drama, or speak a bad word about anybody, and stays in her lane! (And this is where we vastly differ lol. Although I am not a mean girl contrary to popular belief. I just speak my mind.) So without further ado, I present to you the young, the beautiful, and the talented Michelle Hardin! Who is she you may ask? Well she’s only written one badass Mafioso series entitled Dangerous Beauty, and Part 2 dropped TO-DAY! After you check out our tete-a-tete, head on over to Amazon and cop Dangerous Beauty 2 (and get part 1 too if you haven’t already!)
misspmh: You’re very new to the romance writing world and just published you’re very first book, Dangerous Beauty. How did this project come about?
Michelle Hardin: The story of how I became a romance writer is quite unconventional. I read one romance novel about three years ago and then I couldn’t stop reading. Reading romance quickly became my number one hobby. About a year before I wrote Dangerous Beauty I asked myself if I’d ever be able to write a romance novel. I knew in my mind that I enjoyed dreaming and creating stories, but I mostly just thought about fun potential T.V. shows or movies. I never thought I had the ability to use words to create a real picture like authors do. I was intimidated by even the thought. But a year later during a summer off from school, for kicks, I decided to open up Microsoft word and try to write something. The story started out as a college romance (I still may write that story, because I did like it). Boy meets girl they fall in love, with some surprising obstacles along the way. But I scraped that one. Then the story became beautiful new college student meets the tortured son of a Mafia Boss. lol. That story got too draggy for me, so I scraped it. Then I just stopped thinking too much and started writing. First came chapter one, then chapter two, then I back tracked and wrote the prologue. Nathan’s character was decided, mostly, but Carter’s character came about after I read a Mafia romance story that had a heroine that infuriated me. So I asked myself “What story haven’t I read before?”…Then I wrote it. I wasn’t going to send it anywhere, but after my sister told me it had potential, I did what I was afraid to do. I sent to a publisher. Lol, and the rest is history.
misspmh: Why IR romance?
Michelle Hardin: When I read my first IR romance novel, I was hooked. The story was different and amazing. IR adds this extra ( I don’t know how to put it into words) something that draws me in. I love the possibilities, the different directions the story can go, and the obstacles that the couple can face. For me the IR factor automatically enhances the story. I rarely read anything other than IR. I love the genre and I love the community, so I thought” Hey wouldn’t it be fun to write it” :D.
misspmh: Who are some of your favorite authors?
Michelle Hardin: Top Three Automatic one-click authors: Go!
Pepper Pace, Ancelli, and Zena Wynn…
misspmh: Do you read your reviews?
Michelle Hardin: Yes, I read ALL reviews. They are very important to me. They help me become a better writer and they help me to not make the same mistakes twice. I’m a new author. I want readers to tell me the truth, tell me what I can do better. As long as no one is super mean about it, I’m cool with accepting the criticism. I want to learn and grow from my mistakes. I’m not the sit around and pout about it type of girl. Although there are a few reviews that sting a little, they help me improve my writing. I’m now a better writer than I was a year ago when I wrote the first book, and that is because of honest feedback and practice.
misspmh: When writing, do you create stories that personally appeal to you or ones you think the reader will enjoy?
Michelle Hardin: I create stories that personally appeal to me. I look at it this way. “I am the reader. Do I enjoy this, or do I hate it?” I try to be completely and brutally honest with myself. If I’m not pleased with the story no one else will be. If I’m bored writing it, the reader will be bored reading it. If I’m writing it and I feel it too predictable or I feel like I’ve read the story a thousand times before, I toss it.
misspmh: Describe your writing process. Do you outline, research, write a draft then edit or is it more of a stream of consciousness where you get a thought or idea and just write till the words stop flowing?
Michelle Hardin: I sit down and I write. I’m unorganized, but it works for me. Rarely do I plan the story before I write. I dream the idea in my head, and the rest comes to me as I go. I start writing and I don’t stop until it’s done. If I have to go back and tweak something, add some words or emotions, then so be it 😀
misspmh: Does writing IR romance pose any special challenges-specifically when dealing with characters of other races and cultures?
Michelle Hardin: Fun challenges so far. I love the many different cultures and languages I’ve explored in my books already. I’m sure there will be more in the future when I decide to tackle stories that involve more research on a different culture, but that is one of the things that are most rewarding about writing and reading IR romance. You’re always learning something new about different cultures.
misspmh: Are you pleased with the reception Dangerous Beauty has gotten? Have you actually read the finished product and said to yourself, “Wow, I should have written that scene differently…”
Michelle Hardin: Dangerous Beauty has gone far above my expectations. Many of the comments I’ve read are humbling. The majority of the readers have been so kind, and encouraging. They make me smile, and tell me not to stop writing. It’s been better that I ever dreamed it would be. I thought that there would be dislike for my approach to the mafia life style. Although the characters were all super mafia, they were also normal young people. One moment they’re gathering in a warehouse cutting people’s throats, and the next they’re in a bar having a beer and a burger like us normies 😀 I was afraid that readers wouldn’t like Carter either. I thought that maybe they’d think she was too much, too involved in Nathan’s lifestyle. I’ve never read a Mafia romance that had the woman so involved before, and I was afraid that readers wouldn’t like a heroine that was just as scary as her man. So I was super glad that I was wrong there. Even people that hated the book loved Carter lol…
Although I can look at a scene and see it going differently or think of another way I could have written it, I do not think “I should have written that scene differently…” It’s more like “I could have written that differently, but it’s okay that I didn’t:) I try my best to have no regrets with the finished product.
misspmh: How easy or difficult is it for you to write love scenes?
Michelle Hardin: VERY difficult! I will stare at the page for three hours and wished the words would just appear on the page without me typing them. Dangerous Beauty One is not heavy on the love scenes, and that’s the reason why. I’m better at telling a story than I am at writing a love scene, but sometimes it’s necessary, so I write them… even though it tends to take me hours to do so.
misspmh: What can we expect from Michelle Hardin in the future? Any more new releases this year?
Michelle Hardin: Well, you can expect Dangerous Beauty Part Two (which dropped TODAY so go cop that!) You can also expect many works from me in the future. Dangerous Beauty is a big series. Carter and Nathan’s story is told in three books, then readers can expect some stand alones for some of their favorite characters (OH SNAPPPPPPP).
In the future I will be coming out with many works, just keep an eye out. Soon I will be putting up samples for feedback on my website. Right now I’ve been so busy with the Dangerous Beauty series that I haven’t really been able to devote much time to anything else. That will change after the third Dangerous Beauty is complete and I begin the stand alone novels for the others:) I’m talking friends to lovers’ stories, numerous new adult romances, a paranormal romance series (with no cliffhangers…lol…), and a lot more. I have a ton of great ideas that I really think readers will enjoy.
Thank you so much Michelle! I appreciate your time, and I have so enjoyed the Dangerous Beauty series. If you haven’t read them already, Parts 1 and 2 are available on Amazon. And if you haven’t already, please follow her blog, like her FB page, and follow her on twitter. She errywhere…