Michele M. Reynolds, author
I am Michele M. Reynolds author of Trail Swap, Off-Trail, & Tunnel W. The title
Writer & Wilderness Girl Under It All comes from my love of writing and my roots of working and living in the woods for some years after college. Frequently, I lean towards a life of simplicity, and dream of living back in a tent contstructed of pine tree uprights, ridge poles, side-rails, rafters, and a thick yellow tarp.
Since age 5 I knew I wanted to be a writer, and I told everyone I knew that is what I wanted to do. I studied journalism in school, and then went another route when I realized being an author was not in the cards for a solid career path. Now I live in New England and have a day-career by day. Still the creative bug is at work all day and night to create more characters and stories.
I currently live in New England with my family of 5 people + 4 cats + 1 Dog. I have a roof over my head (not a tarp), electricity (not kerosene) and still I firmly believe I am a Writer & Wilderness Girl Under It All.
I hope you enjoy the blog I plan to write about the outdoors, writing, parenting, life in general, and randomness.
Trail Swap: Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Trail-Swap-ebook/dp/B009EHR4R2
Trail Swap: B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/trail-swap-michele-m-reynolds/1114076961?ean=2940044210165
FREE Tunnel W & Off-Trail: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/gothrulifeinspired
#1: How much time have you actually spent living in the woods and what is the longest stretch?
21 days in a row. I, however was a wilderness counselor for about four years. We typically worked five 24 hour days on and 2 days off. It was a residential program for at-risk youth. Sometimes their choice was jail or there. We built our own living structures out of trees and lived in them year round. I worked out of camps in Florida and North Carolina. We went on 21 day backpack and river trips, too.
#2: You mentioned knowing you wanted to be a writer at age 5. That's about the same age I first knew. Tell us about those memories.
As most writers probably start, I loved to read. I, thus, wanted to create what I loved. I remember my Aunt Gloria usually gave me these writing journals and personalized the inside in calligraphy. I wrote about my stuffed animals. What else would a five year old write about? I remember telling my mom's friend Mrs. Kelly that I wanted to be a writer when I was in preschool. She tactfully told me I would need a back-up plan.
#3: How long did it take you to write Trail Swap and why should people read it?
I started Trail Swap about 12 years ago. It originally was two stories and then I decided to have the two main characters cross paths. That solidified the story. I put it away for 6 years... then took it back out and worked on it. Then took it back out 6 years later and finished it. Life just happened.
You must read it because: Trail Swap is about an amusing woman who decides to hike the Appalachian Trail to find new direction in life while battling her fear of life's heartbreaks. The best part about it to me, is no matter how many times I read it, I find it hilarious, witty, and entertaining. If nothing else, it is packed full of memorable characters.
4: I would imagine your journalism training taught you to be a very organized writer. Do you outline first or dive in and let the characters take you on a journey?
Great question. I was a journalism major for three semesters and then changed to sociology and minored in journalism. I think the structure of journalism turned me away from it. You are supposed to put the best part of your stories in the beginning because editors usually cut from the end. I like the freedom of being able to write without an outline. My characters usually take me on a voyage, but sometimes I have to pull the parking brake and say, "Woa let's figure out where this is going." I am starting to outline a little bit, but my characters pick what routes we are taking to get there.
#5: I've heard it said that an author puts more self into the first novel. How much of you is in Trail Swap?
You know I haven't heard that, but it makes sense. A lot of the 12-year-ago-me is in Trail Swap. I poured a lot of energy, thought, and heart into the book. A lot of characters fill-up the book, and they mean a lot to me.
#6: Suppose the country's infrastructure suffered a catastrophic failure tomorrow and we were all left to survive in nature. Describe your first day. Where would you go and what would you do first?
I would get my family, and find a good water source area. Of course bring any and all resources that might have survived (tent, water purifier, etc) with us. I would break into the library and "borrow" some survival and plant identification books. I am not doomsday prepped, so I am not so prepared for this question. Next question. . .
#7: What other books have you written?
Tunnel W & Off-Trail.
Tunnel W - After being forced to run into a high-risk prison tunnel, a fearless woman uses two officers who chased her in there to help her escape.
Off-Trail is a trailer of Trail Swap of some sorts. It is the behind the scenes look at Trail Swap. After being put in command by his CEO, a rookie reporter must go into the field and pull-off the interviews of his life while nursing a broken heart.
#8: What's your next project?
I am working on another book based in a wilderness camp in the 2040's. It is not actually post apocalyptic but is based on the premise that the government shifts from "no child left behind" to "only the strong survive" mentality. There is a feisty young female who is brought into this wilderness camp in the Florida Everglades and causes a lot of waves with the directors. I am hoping to publish it in August 2013. There is no title yet.
I am also working on getting Trail Swap into hardcopy. Even though I love the ebook revolution, it is a life dream to see my book in print.
#9: You are in your tent in the middle of the wilderness writing your next book. Paper and pen? iPad? Laptop?
Laptop. I have one that is heavier than two cinderblocks and probably is from the early 90's. Any readers out there, I am taking donations for a new lap top!
10: Let's do something different. There has to be a question you were hoping I would or wouldn't ask. Ask yourself that question (please let us see the question), then answer it.
Why am I any better or just as good as any other writer out there? Aren't I just a wannabe writer?
How dare I ask me that question?! I believe I am a rookie writer, but I have witnessed a lot of freshman come off the bench and dominate the game. I think I was meant to write. I love to write, and I have a lot of good ideas. I have read a lot of "famous" writers and said, "My work is just as good or better than theirs." I am so excited about the ebook revolution, because I do not have the leisure to quit my job, forget my family, and wait for the rejection letters to come in. I am learning every day, building characters, and hope I can inspire or entertain someone with my books.
Thanks Michele, for a great interview.