Name Michelle Venn
Where are you from Bath, Somerset
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I studied law at University but found it so boring! When I left I didn’t want to pursue a career in it, luckily I sort of fell into a Graphic Design job and worked my way up for a couple of years until I left to start a family. I’m now living just outside the beautiful city of Bath with my husband and our three little girls, I run a home-based graphic design studio called ‘Designer Emvy’ and write if I ever get a spare minute!
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I am currently in the middle of my campaign with ‘Britain’s Next Bestseller’ promoting my debut novel ‘We Owned the Night’
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Back in April 2013 I had a really great dream, one of those where you wake up in the middle of it and wish you could go back to sleep and carry on where it left off. I was woken up before the end of the dream and I was desperate to know how it would have ended, I tried to go back to sleep in the hope it would continue but it didn’t. This particular dream/story stuck in my head for days and I thought to myself this is something I would really want to read and I remembered someone once saying to me, to be a good writer you should write what you want to read, so I started writing a first chapter but as I expected (I’m a self confessed quitter!) I got bored and put it away and forgot about it for about 6 months. When I decided to look at it again I started writing and got so into the story that I couldn’t put it down and wrote an entire book!
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I don’t, I’m not sure at what point I will.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I didn’t ever set out to write a book so there was no real inspiration behind it but I suppose just how drawn I was to the story I had in my head pushed me to start writing. The story itself is partly inspired by my love of music, singers, bands and going to gigs and music events, music is a big thing in my life so it made the writing process much more enjoyable to be writing about something I really love.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I’m not really sure yet, maybe I’ve not written enough to know just yet. But I do think my writing is quite simple; I’m not a big fan of the overuse of similes and metaphors. I prefer to just tell the story and describe the scene, the character etc without using them where possible. Sometimes I think simpler is better.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Originally the title was something else but as the story progressed it just didn’t fit so the new title of the book came from a song of the same name, it just felt right and fitted in with the story, It’s the last line of the book. In the song the singer describes a girl, she was exactly how I imagined the character of ‘Millie’ to be. One line from the song is ‘You had me dim the lights, you danced just like a child, the wine spilled on your dress and all you did was smile’ from this I imagined a fun, happy, care-free kind of girl and that was what I based the character of Millie on.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The story is based on the notion that a single moment can completely change your life. It doesn’t matter who you are or what walk of life you’re from, it can happen to anyone.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
I hope the entire book is believable and true to life. I did a lot of research and talked to musicians and people living a similar lifestyle to my characters so I hope it’s realistic.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
No, it’s mostly fictional. There are moments in the book that are based on my own experiences as I do believe the best writing comes from things you have personally experienced. I went to a music festival so that I could accurately write it into the story and quite a lot of the places I describe are places I have personally visited as I find it much easier to describe a setting if I’ve seen it myself but the characters and the plot itself are fictional. People do tend to speculate and say to me it’s about ‘X’ isn’t it but it’s not about any real person or event at all.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I wouldn’t say any one book has influenced my life but my favourite book is ‘Thanks for the Memories’ by Cecelia Ahern, I love all her books but that particular one I got completely sucked into, I’m a very slow reader and it often takes me weeks and weeks to finish a book but I read that one cover to cover in 3 days, I couldn’t put it down.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m reading ‘I Blame Morrissey’ by Jamie Jones, a fellow Britain’s Next Bestseller author.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
All of the Britain’s Next Bestseller authors I have come across since I started my campaign, they’re all talented writers and lovely people, everyone’s been so supportive.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I have started a sequel to ‘We Owned the Night’ but I just can’t get into it at the moment, I’m torn between carrying on or starting something totally new as I have a few other ideas. Problem is I’ve fallen in love with my characters and I’m not sure I can tear myself away from them and write new ones.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I’m not sure I’m far enough along in the campaign to be able to answer that just yet but I have had some really kind people offer to do things such as this interview, book spotlights etc to help me and I’m very grateful to everyone who’s helped publicize my book and my campaign.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
It would be amazing to have a career in writing but honestly no, not at this moment in time. Perhaps in the future I could see it but you have to be so committed and so disciplined with yourself to be able to write a whole book and with having three children between 8 months and 5 years old they are too demanding of my time. I’ve got little ones at home in the day, school runs, nursery runs, art classes, dance classes, one attends stage school at the weekend just to name a few things, my youngest doesn’t sleep well so I’m up most of the night too! They need my full attention whilst they’re little so realistically I couldn’t devote enough time to it for a career in writing. I hope as they get older and I get a little more free time I’ll be able to write more though as it is something I’ve really come to enjoy.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I don’t think so; I spent a year editing it so I’m happy that it’s everything I wanted it to be. I guess the only thing I can think of would be to take more care and pay more attention to grammar, spacing, punctuation from the very first draft as the book was professionally edited and the editor had to correct 31,511 issues!! I’m pretty sure that’s some kind of record!
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Well I did get an A* in English Literature in my GCSE’s! haha but other than that I’ve never really had an interest in writing until I write this book, I had no idea I’d enjoy it so much!
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
As above I’m still not sure if I am going to see the sequel through to the end or start something new, there will definitely be another book but I’m just not sure exactly what it will be yet.
I can share a little bit about the sequel – or at least the idea I have for it. I am planning to start where the first book left off but shift the focus from the main characters so that secondary characters become the main characters and the story will follow their lives – if that makes any sense. One secondary character in particular has quite an interesting story to tell. I’m hoping it’ll work.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The main problem I encounter is sometimes I get stuck on writing something or explaining something and I can’t get past it, I’ll keep going back to it and trying to figure it out but if it takes a long time to work out how to move on from it I get stuck and tend to lose interest – which is currently what’s happened with writing my sequel.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Cecelia Ahern. I read one of her books years and years ago and loved it so I tend to mostly stick to her books, I’m a bit of a creature of habit!
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, but to be honest with my little ones at home I couldn’t anyway.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Me, perks of being a graphic designer!
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Mainly just being disciplined enough to stick with it.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
That I don’t quit everything I start. Just most things!
and that I have more belief in myself than I thought!
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
I’d just like to pass on the advice that helped me ‘Write what you want to read’ and don’t quit!
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
If I (self confessed quitter) can do it, anyone can!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My children, in equal measures.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Can I have two? Or I guess either one of them will do! The Wright brother’s; inventors of the first successful airplane. I am petrified of flying and I have some questions!
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
“She was just a nice girl” Because it’s all I strive to be in life, it’s important.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Design as well as being a job it’s also a hobby and something I really enjoy. Baking, I can’t cook but I make a mean cake! Watercolour painting, I suck at it, but I enjoy it! Going to gigs, I love music.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Friends will always be my favourite tv show but I like anything funny.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Chip addict / Grey (if that counts?) If not, pink / Indie-pop/rock
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Exactly what I do now, Design, I’m a very creative person and I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
My book can be found here: https://britainsnextbestseller.co.uk/book/index/WeOwnedTheNight
And my blog is here: http://designeremvy.format.com/blog