Thursday, February 23, 2012

Michelle Miles: One Knight Only

Michelle Miles found her love of writing buried in the fantasy books of Patricia A. McKillip and the beautiful romances of Victoria Holt. It wasn’t until her high school years she decided to take up the pen and try her hand at writing. She created faraway lands, space adventures, and even princesses who just wanted to be saved. Never learning to plot, she always believed that jumping in feet first was the way to go and has since become a self-proclaimed Pantser, writing sexy contemporaries, and sizzling paranormals, and sweeping fantasies.
A Native Texan, she loves hockey, football, baseball, drinking coffee, cross-stitching, and shopping for shoes and Coach handbags. You can read her daily antics at her blog, Ye Olde Inkwell. Michelle is also a regular contributor to Pop Culture Divas and Plotting Princesses.

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Welcome to Across the Plain of Shining Books, Michelle. So you’re a native Texan. Where are you from?

Born in Dallas, Texas. Raised in Mesquite. And now living in Fort Worth. I love my state.
What sparked your interest in writing?

When I was young, I remember reading two books that made me want to write: Patricia A. McKillip’s The Forgotten Beasts of Eld and Victoria Holt’s Paradise Island. Those two books really struck something in me and stayed with me forever. I remember thinking, "I want to write like that." I wanted to write stories that were unforgettable. I think I wrote my first novel when I was 15 on notebook paper. After that, my best friend and I would write and illustrate our own comic books, plus I wrote a lot of fan fiction. I stopped for a while but then picked it back up again seriously about 11 years ago.
What components, in your opinion, make a great story?

Unforgettable characters and a story that sweeps you away.
What inspired you to write One Knight Only?

I’ve always been fascinated with medieval things, especially jousting tournaments. I decided one day I wanted to write a story set during a jousting tournament and set out to do that. I originally started writing this book in 2005 as a straight historical. But it never felt quite right to me and I stopped writing. I picked it back up again, rewrote the beginning and finally realized my heroine was actually from the future, the hero was really Scottish and Faeries were involved. I finally got the story underway and knew where I wanted to take it.
Faeries, Scotland, and jousting. A good mix. Was there much research involved?

I read up a lot on jousting tournaments to get all the details just right. I researched banquet, what they ate and drank, the dancing, everything. Aside from jousting itself, I did a lot of research on games in the Middle Ages. Specifically card games and dice games. Hazard is the predecessor of Craps. Playing cards were actually introduced to the Western Anglo world in the mid-1300s. The suit system we know today was adapted by the French in the fifteenth century and referred to as a French deck. Other regions had their own suits (e.g. Germany, Italy, Spain). Some of the earlier suits had cups, swords, coins, and batons; others had animals, flowers, etc.
When your first started writing, did anything about the writing process surprise you?

How hard it is. I mean, everyone things I can write a book but it takes a certain type of person to actually sit down, do it and finish it. It’s not as easy as you may think it is but totally worth it in the long run.
Do you have a set writing routine?

I work full time so finding time to write is a definite challenge. I usually pack my lunch and write on my lunch hour. My goal is 1000 in an hour and I can usually meet or exceed that. On days I don’t write during my lunch, I try to do it in the evening, but it’s hard. Especially after a long day at work, dinner to cook, homework to oversee, etc.
Do you listen to music when you write?

Sometimes. If I need to block out the TV. :) I have several soundtracks I like plus a few other instrumental things. I can’t listen to anything with words because it makes me want to sing along.
Name a few titles I’d find if I browsed through your personal home library.

All of Karen Marie Moning’s books, George R.R. Martin, Nora Roberts, and Tolkien. I like a variety of things from YA to fantasy to romance. I have books double stacked on the shelves and no more room. My TBR pile is huge.
What’s next for you? Can we look forward to a new story in the near future?

I am currently working on the sequel to One Knight Only, featuring the two Fae characters, Elyne and Derron. In the Otherworld (their world) the Unseelie Dark King is ready to invade the Seelie Court and he’ll stop at nothing to get what he wants, even murdering Elyne and her mother (the queen). This book is more on the fantasy side, chockfull of Faeries, Elves, dragons, and Fae Treasures. Maggie and Finn from the first book will also make an appearance.
My latest release, Phoenix Fire, is now available at Amazon and All Romance eBooks and is the story of a gladiatrix and her assassin lover. I have completed a new futuristic that needs to be polished for submission. It will be a new three-book series and is on the darker side. I also have a novella, Take Me I'm Yours, previously published that I’m polishing and getting ready to self-pub, so look for that soon.
Who supports your writing activities most?

My husband. He is, hands down, my biggest support and fan. He’s also my accountability partner. Whenever I finish a writing session, I always send him a text or an email or shout from the other room what my word count was. Keeps me honest.
What advice would you give an aspiring author?

Even if you think you can’t do it, if it’s something you love never stop writing. Never stop hoping, trying, striving to be better than your last book. Perseverance is key and anything is possible in this new age of publishing.
Name a few of your favorite non-writing activities.

Aside from reading, I enjoy cross-stitching. I usually have at least one project going. I also enjoy watching movies, either at home or at the theater.
Blurb for One Knight Only:

A snarky Faery princess, a Scottish knight with a gambling problem, and a murderous earl all add up to one thing: Trouble. Maggie’s medieval education never prepared her for life in the Middle Ages!

Do-gooder Maggie Chase throws her thesis out the window when she wakes up in the arms of a hot Scottish knight. When she realizes she’s somehow ended up back in time, she embraces the persona of Lady Margaret. But she may be in over her head when she realizes she has to keep the sexy knight alive during a jousting tournament in order to get back to her own time.

Sir Finian "Finn" McCullough is a gambling man and owes a very large debt to an evil earl who is after his family estate. When the beautiful and outgoing Maggie arrives in his bed, he can’t remember tupping her the night before and thinks she’s a spy for one of his neighboring clans. He intends to find her kinsman and return her safely but he can’t resist her charms, her smart mouth or her sex appeal. Instead he keeps her close, taking her with him to an important jousting tournament—one he has to win or lose his castle forever.


"This is a dream," she said aloud.

It had to be, right? It wasn’t real. Because it was the only explanation her tired mind would accept. Maggie slid to the edge of the bed, her bare feet hitting the cold floor and sending a shiver up her spine. Glancing down, she wore the underwear she had changed into last night—her lacy black bra and matching panties. But where were the rest of her clothes? Her suitcase? How in the hell did she get in this bed?

Staring into the fire, she mentally retraced her steps. The car breaking down, walking in the rain, getting soaked to the bone. And then the castle on the hilltop that was there and then wasn’t there. Yes, the castle. She glanced around. Was she still in that castle now? This one was fully furnished, it seemed. Whereas the one she ended up at last night was empty. And cold. And dark.

Maybe someone found her sleeping on the floor? She’d been so tired she didn’t notice when that someone had lifted her and brought her back to a warm bed. And any minute now that someone would bring her a steaming mug of coffee.

A groan behind her made her spin around, grabbing the linen and holding it to her bosom. On the bed, a dark-haired man she had never seen before rolled onto his back. He was shirtless, showing off every ripple of muscle and fantastic pectorals, the likes of which she had never seen in her life. Smooth, hairless skin with tremendous biceps and a narrow waist disappearing into the bedding that made her imagination run away with hot fantasies.

"Ooohhhh," she breathed.

Who was this man? More importantly, where the bloody hell was she?

A soft snore escaped him and Maggie couldn’t stop staring at that beautiful chest rising and falling with every breath. His long dark hair spilled around him. And his face…


The word slipped out before she could stop it. His chiseled face hosted a strong square chin with a tiny indention in the center covered with a day’s growth of beard, a perfect nose, pronounced cheekbones, dark eyebrows. She propped a knee on the mattress, scooting closer to lean over him for a better look, amazed at how powerful his face appeared. Fierce. A man not to be trifled with. A man who knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to get it.

Maggie cocked her head to the side, enjoying her view, a smile tugging at the corner of her mouth. For a moment, she had forgotten the fact she was in a strange place. Her long, auburn locks cascaded over her shoulder and brushed against him. The baby-fine strands must have tickled his skin, for his eyes popped open and stared back at her.

Gorgeous silvery eyes met hers and she blinked and pulled back.

But he was faster than she. He grasped her by her upper arms and dragged her to him, placing her on his lap as his large, powerful hands gripped her hips. Maggie was completely aware of all of him now. A hot fantasy splashed through her mind as she shifted on top of him. What was under the linen was apparent between her legs. Every last inch of him. Her hands landed on his chest, her senses delighting in the warm, soft skin beneath her palms.

His gaze lingered on her face a moment before gliding down, pausing on her lace-covered breasts and then continuing his downward jaunt. He fingered the waistband of her panties, running the pad of his forefinger over first one hipbone then her abdomen and back again.

The small movement sent white-hot heat shooting through her, awaking parts of her that weren’t used to being on alert so early in the morning. Especially without a cup of coffee.

His hands moved up her sides then, desire evident in those depthless silver eyes…and the appendage on which she happened to be sitting.

"Now, lass, you best be telling me who you are and why you’re in my bed. Not that I mind, but I canna recall tupping you last eve and I always remember bonnie lasses I tup."

His deep-timbre brogue purred the words and sent a delicious rumble right through her. She resisted the urge to shudder. She loved sex-with-stranger dreams and this one was starting off with a bang.

The only thing she did know was that she was in a strange place with a very sexy man beneath her hands, straddling his lap with nothing but a breath of linen and cotton between them. It wouldn’t take much for her to remove that material and get exactly what she was feeling.

But she wasn’t the kind of girl to have sex with a stranger, was she?

I could be.

Besides, this was just a dream. She would wake up any minute in the cold, deserted castle all alone. And then she would be faced with the problem of how to get herself back to civilization. In the meantime, she could do anything she wanted in her dream. Couldn’t she?

"I certainly don’t mind being in your bed," she told him. He really was quite delicious. She ran her hands along the smooth skin of his chest and leaned toward him.

He grasped her wrists in iron fists and pushed her back. "You are the one trespassing."

How in the world could he have the nerve to look angry at her? Maggie wrenched her wrists free and sat up, crossing her arms over her chest. She could play that game too. She was good at it. Sitting on his lap, she thought, gave her a position of being in control. She glared down at him, though even she had to admit it was hard to glare at a man that looked as good as he did.

"Maybe you should tell me who you are, then?" she demanded.

The burly man gripped her hips and flipped her onto her back in one swift movement. Suddenly her position of control and power was removed as he hovered over her, pinning her against the mattress. His brawny weight pressed into her. With one hand on his shoulder, Maggie tried to push him away but he quickly captured her wrist in his big hand and held her arm above her head, thereby removing any chance she could wiggle free.

"You best not play games with me, lassie."

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One Knight Only - Available in E-book or Print from:
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  1. Replies
    1. My pleasure, Michelle. Great to have you and One Knight Only.

  2. Great interview Pat!

    Hi Michelle,

    I'm still smiling over, 'I could be'. LOL! this one's going in my TBR file. :)My honey is 100% supportive of my writing too. Don't you love that?


    1. Hi, Riley! It's very nice that he's so supportive. I've been with someone who hasn't been and it's not easy on the writer. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Enjoyed the interview!

    Cute title. I love the medieval period!

    Glad to hear your husband is supportive. So is mine. I've talked to authors whose husband's "claim" to be supportive and yet put up obstacles to their writing time. I don't know how they do it! My husband is my speller! I can't spell worth a darn.

    Good luck with your book!

    1. Hi, Cynthia! Thanks for stopping by! My husband is my line editor. He's so good at catching those little mistakes. :)

  4. Great interview Michelle. This book is in my TBR stack, has been for a while but I'm thinking I need to move it to the top now! Great excerpt, too. I understand about trying to squeeze in writing time when you work full time, and trying to have a life too. It's hard but we can do it. :-)

    1. Hi, Kathy! Thanks for coming by! Nice to see some fellow Princesses here ;) And you're right - We CAN do it!

  5. Ooh, lovely excerpt, Michelle! I see my TBR list growing. :)

  6. Anyone who's enjoyed Karen Marie Moning's "Highlander" time travel series will love this book. :)

  7. Hi, stalker buddy! I can't believe hubby is more supportive than me. LOL Good interview. OKO is a good book too. Now if I could just finish one of our compadre's and get to Phoenix Fire...

    1. Hi, stalker buddy! Thanks for stopping by, dearie!

  8. So glad you are all ("y'all are" to you Texans :-) enjoying the interview and excerpt. This story sounds like great fun, a nice escape. Thanks for stopping by!

  9. I always enjoy catching up with you, Michelle! LOL that your hubby keeps you honest on your word counts!

    You already know I loved ONE KNIGHT ONLY, and I'll look forward to seeing Elyne and Derron again!

    Pat, thanks so much for hosting Michelle. Y'all have a great upcoming weekend!

    Nancy Haddock

    1. My pleasure, Nancy. Have a great weekend yourself!

    2. Thanks for stopping by, Nancy! You're a sweetie and it's always good to "see" you :) Hugs!

  10. Great interview! I always love learning more about my talented authors :) Looking forward to that sequel.

    1. Thanks for coming by, Grace! I am so ready to be done with that book. LOL

  11. Great interview, ladies! And the story sounds good too!

  12. Sorry it took me so long to get here! Day job is being a real pain right now, becoming a night job too. Pant, pant. But anyway, it was worth running in to read that excerpt and remember the whole book. Fun!