Friday, May 13, 2016

Author Interview: Michelle Johnson, Oleah Chronicles

I am beyond honoured to have author Michelle Johnson here on my blog today! Michelle is the author of the fantastic ongoing series Oleah Chronicles. The second instalment, Justice, is being released on Sunday, and not only was I lucky enough to score an ARC copy of it, but also an interview with the brilliant mastermind herself!

Michelle Johnson

Throughout my childhood I was always told I had a very creative imagination. I was drawn to stories of mythical creatures and all things that would usually give my peers the heebie geebies. Shows like Tales from the Crypt Keeper and Buffy the Vampire Slayer were among some of my favourites.

I developed a strong passion for design and illustration, drawing the ideas that arose in my head and finding great excitement in bringing them to life. This led me to pursue a career in graphic design and marketing so that I could always use my creativity to the fullest.

I have always loved reading and the way a compelling story would allow my mind to absorb its detailed imagery. I began to use writing as a tool to bring my creative thoughts to fruition one day, which has brought me to this moment.

I'm a romantic at heart and a sucker for stories about true love which is reflected in my writing and helped bring the Oleah Chronicles to life. I hope you enjoy my first book and through it you experience the eccentric vision that began in my mind so long ago.

Without further ado, I'd like to formally present and welcome Michelle to my blog!

1. Hi Michelle, and welcome to my blog! I want to thank you so much for taking the time to speak to me about your work. First off, can you tell me a bit about how you got into writing, and what drew you to the fantasy and romance genre?

Thanks so much for giving me this opportunity Erika, I absolutely love getting to connect with my readers!

I’ve always had a passion for writing. Something about the creative expression released through written word has always spoken to me. As a kid, I used to constantly write short stories or make comics because I loved the idea of bringing the thoughts inside my head to life. Being a little bit of a weirdo, my interests were much darker than most kids at an early age. Developing a love for horror stories and all things paranormal, authors like R.L Stine and Christopher Pike were my favorite growing up.

As far as romance is concerned, books always had a way of making everything so much better. Portraying the perfect love stories with the most perfect guy, ugh! How could I not be sucked in! HAHAHA!

2. The idea of an Oleah is unique and very original. How did you come up with such a cool concept?

Thank you! Truth is, I’m just a lover of cats. Lions are such majestic beautiful creatures and have been my favorite animal from since I can remember. The idea to blend their features into a more human-like shape was something I wasn’t sure I could properly execute in word format at first. There were a lot of sketches in the beginning of different variations of Oleah’s and it literally became a process of elimination until I was satisfied with the outcome.

3. You have some really stunning covers. Can you tell me a bit about them, and how they were created?

That means so much to me, because the covers are something that I’m truly proud of. My background is actually in graphic design. When I first started writing Truth, before I even finished the first chapter I knew exactly how I wanted the cover the look. Being self-published, I have that freedom of full creative control and I was so happy that I could use it to my advantage and breathe life into this series.

The cover model for Truth and Justice is actually my niece! I searched high and low on stock photography sites and could never find the type of image I needed, which was really frustrating. The thought came to me that I could possibly use my niece as she fit Angel’s description almost perfectly. It took a little convincing at first, but once I got the green light from her, everything just fell into place. It was a great bonding experience! I did her makeup for both covers, shot the images, brought them into Photoshop and was thrilled with how they turned out.

(Yes, Michelle designed these! Aren't they amazing? She's so talented!)

4. What were your inspirations for Angel and Zander's characters? Are any aspects of their personality based off real people?

Angel is actually a lot like me, which was unintentional. I believe that the similarities came across subconsciously as I wrote. She needed to be relatable, and to tap into that I often referenced my old diaries to see how I was as a teen. What were the things I freaked out over? What was I insecure about? How did certain things make me feel? All these questions helped me mold Angel into the character she is, while adding in various elements to make her stand alone.

As for Zander, I wanted to make him delicious, dangerous, mysterious and intense. He’s basically all my favorite book boyfriends merged into one. Edward from Twilight, Bones from the Night Huntress series and Patch from the Hush Hush series. One smoking combination!

5. Describe Angel and Zander in three words each.

Three words? Yikes, that’s tough! Angel would be…powerful, loyal and humble.

Zander would be…passionate, devoted and romantic.

6. Do you have a favourite character, scene, or quote from Truth or Justice?

Absolutely! To do something different, I’ll pick scenes.


My anger took over and I rose my hand up to strike him, but he caught it just before it hit his cheek, gripping my wrist tightly. His eyes were enraged and wild but I didn’t care, I glared back at him just as infuriated. Before my mind could register what was happening his lips crushed down on mine in a frenzy.

This scene was so much fun to write! Zander and Angel had a tremendous amount of tension building up to this point, and I couldn’t wait to have it combust at the seams. Neither could hold in what they were feeling for each other anymore – hell, neither could I! It was a turning point and one of my favorite scenes.


How loud do you think she screams, Luca?” He licked his beak, sounding like an overexcited dog.

Luca looked to Tanis with an elated smile. “Very loud, brother.” His eyes brushed over me again before meeting back with Tanis’ “How soft do you think her skin is?”

Tanis began what can only be described as a mix of snorting, squawking and grunting. He sounded like a horse in heat, ramped up on acid.

“Velvet soft. Just imagine what it would taste like. I’d love to see the way her bronzed complexion would redden and swell after my beak would break her skin, over and over again.”

They both shuddered with arousal, now looking to me with hooded eyes. I couldn’t stop the sheer look of disgust that locked itself on my face or the glow that ignited in my eyes.

Tanis and Luca were by far my favorite to write. They were so perverted and annoying, I had a lot of fun cringing at their actions as the words just flew out of me onto paper.

7. Where are Angel, Zander, and Julie's dream vacation? Why?

Zander would definitely want to bring Angel to where he grew up in Italy, and she would be happy to experience it with him. Getting to know more about his history and who he was before everything happened is something she would jump at the chance for.

Julie..., well before everything happened, she would absolutely want to be sun bathing on a tropical beach somewhere.

8. How different do you think Angel would have been if she had grown up knowing the truth about her Oleah heritage? Do Angel and Zander have any secret pleasures?

Extremely. She would not be the same person at all. Had she known who she was from the start, it would have changed her. Knowing that she was indeed different, there would be no way for her to relate with anyone or live the care-free life she once knew. It would make her much colder as a person.

9. Do Angel and Zander have any secret pleasures?

Good question! Angel is so much of a fangirl at heart that guaranteed, she more than likely has multiple fanclub memberships to all her favorite boy bands.

Zander. I’m not too sure. He’s from such a different era, I couldn’t see him being a secret lover of reality tv or something, you know? He more enjoys life’s moments, like the feelings that can be evoked from music, family and love.

10. One of my favourite aspects of your story are Angel's parents. I absolutely love how supportive and involved they are. Can you give us a bit more background information on Eli and Satine, like how they met, how they adjusted to life on Earth, hobbies, etc.?

That is something that’s currently being developed for the third – and possibly final – instalment of Oleah Chronicles. So, you will have to wait and see.

11. In Justice, we get both Angel and Julie's narratives. How did you decide where to put in Julie's perspective? What were the main differences in writing from Angel and Julie's perspectives? 

Although Julie was major in Justice, I wanted to keep her somewhat of a mystery and purposely just sprinkled her in at the beginning, middle and near the end. It was important for me to show readers that Lou was in her head and give the idea that he’d told her enough lies to completely warp her mind.

Angel is about everyone, but herself. While Julie can be more selfish. I’d say those are the primary differences in their perspectives. Despite Julie loving Angel just as much as Angel loves her, Julie is an opportunist and would be the first to seek out attention, while Angel is happy staying in the background.

12. Truth and Justice have two very different plot lines and concepts. Which one was more fun to write, and why?

I’d have to say Justice. There was more liberation in what I felt like I could express without having to worry about how it might come across. Truth, I was weary of putting in certain aspects like too much romance, or too much darkness because it terrified me to think I’d be judged based on my choices. But, after Truth was released I realized that you can’t please everybody. People are going to judge and criticize one way or another, so I should be free to express myself and my thoughts the way I want to. Life is too short to hold back the things that speak to your heart.

13. Do you have a specific writing schedule you stick to? Any necessities when writing (music/silence, specific time of the day, place, etc.)?

Can’t say that I have schedule, but it is a goal to write daily. Some days it’s literally only a couple of lines or paragraphs, while others it can be pages. Writing is something that has to come organically, but you can in a way train yourself and your mind to release what’s inside when the feeling arises.

14. Can you offer any advice for aspiring writers?

Don’t give up or be discouraged. Writing is a long distance race, not a sprint. It takes time, energy and lots of attention to reach the levels of success we all strive for. One thing I did that really helped me hone in on my craft was join a writing group. Learning from other authors on what’s worked for them along with discovering different techniques has really helped shaped my writing. Research and network as much as you can because there’s always something new to learn.

15. How many books can we expect to be in the Oleah Chronicles? Any future works planned after it?

The original plan was to make it a trilogy. Although, a close friend of mine shared a dream she had that I wrote another book about Zander’s life before he met Angel. A very interesting concept…, one that I’ve kept on the back burner and just might revisit in the future.

Sadly, that's it! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions, Michelle. It truly means a lot to me, to have you here. You are a wonderful, wonderful person! I'm dying to read the next book, and I'm sure the rest of your fans will be too, as soon as they finish Justice! Once again, thank you so much for everything, and good luck on the final instalment!

For everyone else, if you haven't read Oleah Chronicles: Truth yet, you definitely should. It's such a new and fresh idea, and contains all the elements of a book every book nerd loves. And you all should definitely be following Michelle on Twitter and Instagram!

And just bit more about Justice, which is released on Sunday (and you can also read my ARC review here):

After discovering the truth about her Oleah origins, Angel thought she could still have a normal life, consisting of normal things – like her seventeenth birthday party. But there is no such thing as normal for Angel anymore. She learned that the hard way after Sindrell – the most powerful sorceress in the universe - crashed her party, destroyed the city, and took her best friend, Julie, captive. Determined to defeat Sindrell for good, Angel must risk her life, along with the fate of the entire universe to get Julie back…alive. The only way she can do this successfully, is to embrace her Oleah instincts and learn what it takes to become a true warrior. Problem is, Sindrell has an insurance policy of her own that will put millions of lives in danger - including Zander’s - to ensure her quest for power is brought to fruition. One way or another. In order to protect Zander, and save Julie, Angel has to make a choice... but will it be the right one?

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