Get to know more of the wonderful authors that are going to be signing at YA Fest in October 2015.
Author of Fire & Ice and Bittersweet.
YA Fest: Favorite YA authors?
Michele Barrow-Belisle: There are so many that’s it a hard list to pull together. Many of the books I enjoyed in high school, such as Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, I still enjoy today. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series… loved it. Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga… enjoyed that too. A few newer additions to my ever-growing list of favorite YA authors: Holly Black, Jackson Pearce, Jennifer Armentrout, Colleen Hoover, Lauren Kate, Veronica Roth, Michelle Hodkin.
YA Fest: Favorite YA books from the past year (2014/2015)?
Michele: Never Never by Colleen Hoover, the Eagle Elite Series by Rachel Van Dyken, Wicked by Jennifer Armentrout, Storm Siren by Mary Weber, Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han…. And the list goes on and on and on. If they ever figure out a way to create a 72 hour day, I may have a chance of getting through my to-be-read pile to discover my next favorite book.
YA Fest: How/why did you start writing?
Michele: I’ve always had a love affair with stories and make-believe. Creating up scenarios and people in my head comes naturally to me, so I think becoming a writer just gave me a legitimate outlet for my overactive imagination. I used to write plays for my friends to star in, when I was a kid. I’ve written in a journal or a diary since childhood too, and the ideas for stories, characters and plots dance in my head constantly. I’ve written in some form for as long as I can remember. I took a break from it after university, but coming back to it again has been like finding a piece of my soul. And now I’m just thoroughly and utterly addicted.
YA Fest: One piece of advice for young writers?
Michele: Once you’ve decided you want to write, START WRITING…and never let anyone or anything derail you from your dream. It was a dream of mine to see my debut novel Fire & Ice on the big screen, a feat so many told me was virtually impossible. Well, fast forward a few years and here we are, with the option to the trilogy sold to a production company and a major motion picture in development. If that’s not proof enough to go after your dreams no matter what, then I don’t know what is. There’s really nothing you can’t achieve with a little persistence and a lot of faith. Hone your craft, write what you love and don’t stop believing, cliché as it sounds, it’s true. Once I made the decision to start writing, magic truly followed.
YA Fest: What are you currently working on? (Give us your elevator pitch!)
Michele: I’m immersed in writing the third book in the Fire & Ice/ Faerie Song Trilogy. (Darkest Light) I’m told that fairly soon I’ll be working with the screenwriters to assist in taking Fire & Ice from page to screen. And I’m also revising two other stories, one is a YA historical fantasy romance.
A deadly struggle between crown and cross, set in an alternate 1500’s France amidst the decadence and dark sorcery of French Court.
Aberdeen Grenfell awakes with no memory of her past, to discover she’s the Queen of Scotland, betrothed to the King of France. Together the adolescent rulers are expected to stabilize religious unrest and thwart the up-rise of Pagan Witchcraft. But as her memories resurface, Aberdeen suspects may she possess dark magic and an even darker agenda. Will she be the kingdom’s weapon of salvation, or their final undoing?
YA Fest: Are your characters/stories inspired by real people/events?
Michele: Yes and no. (Did I mention I’m a Libra and can argue both sides of any point?) There are elements of real people and events peppered throughout my stories, because everything we’ve lived or experienced and every person we’ve encountered becomes a part of us in some way. So I think it happens organically when I’m writing, even if not intentionally. You can’t help but be inspired on some level by the life you’ve lived. And while I’ve been known to warn family and friends that if they cross me I’ll make them the villain in my next book and kill them off, I haven’t actually done it—yet. 😉