I show concerned parents who want to give their children the best start to life how to better understand their children.

17 Oct 2012

Indie author interview
Michele Shriver

Indie author interview time: Michele Shriver and her book Sixth South.

Let's dive straight in.

1)  You say you are a lawyer currently. What do you think of the stigma attached to lawyers? Why the move from being a lawyer to a writer?

I don't like the negative impression that most people have of the legal profession, but I do understand it. Most of the time people don't go see lawyers because they want to, or because something good is happening in their life. Usually they're in some sort of trouble, a marriage is breaking up, they've been injured, or someone close to them has passed away. So we're meeting people at some of the lowest points of their life. Is it any wonder they don't really like us?

Also, most legal proceedings are adversarial in nature. One person against another, and someone's going to lose. People hate going to go court, because most of the time someone loses. The only real exception to that is adoptions. Adoptions are happy occasions where everybody wins.

I do it's shame, though, how vilified the profession is because it's been my experience that most lawyers are good, honest people who are sincerely trying to help others, but that gets lost in the adversarial nature of the profession.

As for moving from being a lawyer to a writer, I haven't really moved. I'm doing both, but I'd like to write full-time. Writing is less stressful, allows me to keep my own schedule, and I can still reach people, albeit in different ways. Writing fiction is a wonderful escape from the daily stress of a law practice. Judging from the number of lawyers turned writers, I'm not the only one who thinks that!

2)  Congratulations on your book Sixth South. You write about themes such as betrayal and trust. Why did you choose to write about such themes? Is there any significance?

Thanks! It's exciting to have finally reached this stage. The book is about four friends who are colleagues on the same sixth grade faculty, and each has a personal struggle to deal with. The theme that runs through each of their stories is trust. When a person has been betrayed or suffered a great hurt, how do they trust again? What relationships can survive a breach of trust, and which ones are damaged beyond repair? When the things you hold dearest are being threatened, how do you maintain your spirit and basic trust that things will work out in the end? Those are some of the questions explored as friendships are tested and strained and relationship dynamics shift.

I didn't really set out to make those the central themes of the book. I just wanted to tell a story featuring four interesting characters that I thought- hoped- readers would be able to connect with, empathize with their struggles and root for them to overcome.

3)  You also write about gay and lesbian rights and the porn industry. Can you elaborate a little more on that?

One of my main characters is openly lesbian, married to her long-time partner and has two adopted kids. She's happy. Her life is great. Then she gets publicly outed, and a parent of one of her students files a complaint with the school board, trying to get her fired.

Meanwhile, her best friend discovers her husband has in addiction to internet porn, specifically lesbian porn. You'll have to read the book to see where that ends up!

4)  In your real life, are you involved in any of the above topics?

I'm strong advocate of equal rights. It's a topic that's very important to me. I didn't write this book to send a message about that issue, though. My only goal in writing this book was to tell a compelling story. I hope I've achieved that.

As for the second, writing about addiction is not new to me, as I had a character in my first book who was an alcoholic. My current WIP is about a drug addict trying to turn her life around. I think when most people think about addiction, they do think of drugs and alcohol. Through my work in juvenile court, I do see a lot people struggling with these types of addiction.

Porn is probably not the first thing that comes to people's minds when they think of addiction, and I can't say I have any personal experience with it. I just thought it might make for a good plot twist!

5)  When you were growing up, what did you want to be?

You know, I actually wanted to be a lawyer, as scary as that sounds! But I wanted to be a writer, too. My sixth grade teacher gave us an assignment to write the first chapter of a book and I wanted to write the whole thing.

6)  Tell me some of the struggles that you have encountered as a writer.

The hardest part as an indie author is simply getting the word out. With the changes in publishing, it seems like everyone wants to publish a book, and there are so many out there. So how do I get them to find mine? I haven't figured that out yet.

The hardest part of the writing process itself is characters having a mind of their own. I want the story to go one way, but they have other ideas. Usually they win.

7) What do you think about Charlie Sheen?

Oh, man, There's a loaded question. I grew up in the 80s, and I always liked his brother, Emilio Estevez much better. Charlie did some good movies, though, before the drinking and the boozing took their toll. I'm a little surprised he's still alive, given what he's done to his body. He's a guy who's not afraid to speak his mind, for sure.

8)  Often writers are portrayed as insane in movies and on TV (Secret Window and Californication). On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being totally normal and 10 being crazy like Joker, where do you fit in?

Someone once wrote in my high school yearbook "Always remember, only crazy people are normal." I'll rank myself as a 4. I think I do a good job functioning as a sane, productive member of society. I just hear these voices inside my head...

9)  We call it soccer too :) Who is your favorite player?

Can I name two? I'm going to name two. On the men's side, Mesut Ozil of Real Madrid and the German National Team. Great, crafty player who makes good things happen when he has the ball.

On the women's side, Megan Rapinoe of the United States Women's National Team. Like Ozil, a crafty, playmaking midfielder who is a lot of fun to watch on the pitch. And she's a great person off the pitch, too, which is an added plus.

Well I think that was a pretty cool interview.
Thanks for taking a stand on the issues and writing about something interesting and controversial.

Michele is a soccer loving, 40 years old woman living in Texas. She is an attorney practicing in juvenile law. She hopes to one day pay the bills with her writing (let's see if we can help her get there). Sixth South is Michele's second novel, which is in the women's fiction genre. Sixth Sense is about four friends who are teachers at the same school and their personal and professional struggles during a difficult year. It explores themes such as betrayal and trust. One of the main characters is a lesbian, and part of the story focuses on homophobia and gay rights. Oh, and there's also sexual harassment and internet porn.

"Hey, you asked for controversy. I think I've got it covered in this book" - Michele Shriver

To find out more about Michele and her book catch her on her
Web site www.micheleshriver.com
Twitter @micheleshriver
Facebook www.facebook.com/michele.shriver
Barnes and Noble

Till the next one have a good day
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  1. Great interview! Loved hearing about the lawyer perspective and that is a good point they always see people in rough times.

    However, I've read Sixth South, and I can attest that this particular lawyer makes a GREAT author! Wonderful!

  2. Thanks Chantel
    I appreciate the comments.
    I'm so bored of most interviews, so I try change things up a little.
    I'm glad you liked Michele's novel :)
    That's really great for her!

  3. Thanks, Daniel. I had a lot of fun doing this. It's not every day I get to talk my book and soccer in the same conversation!

  4. Hi Michele

    I'm glad.
    I try keep things interesting.
    Tell all your friends.
    Ciao :)