It’s A Book Thing Presents: An Interview with Michelle Paris, author of New Normal
Author’s Bio: Michelle Paris is a Maryland writer who believes
laughter can heal the heart. Her debut novel, New Normal is loosely based on
her own experience as a young widow. Her personal story of overcoming Grief was
featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. And her essays about
Grief and mid-life dating have appeared in multiple editions of the Chicken
Soup for the Soul inspirational book series as well as in other media outlets.
She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Maryland Writer’s
Association. Currently, Michelle is enjoying chapter two of her life with her
new husband, Kevin, who keeps her from being a cat lady but only on a
She was recently featured and
interviewed by the various outlets below:
Baltimore Sun 4/12/23
WYPR radio interview for On the
Record with Sheilah Kast, 5/2/23
Widow We Do Now Podcast
Deliah Lawrence: What inspired you
to write your book?
Michelle Paris: New Normal is
loosely based on my personal experience of being widowed suddenly at the age of
40. As a new widow, I searched for books and movies that dealt with the loss of
a spouse to make me feel better. I wanted characters I could relate to and seek
comfort from—ones that had endured loss and not only survived but thrived.
stories with middle-aged heroines Moving on were divorced, few, if any, dealt
with loss. So, I decided to turn my own personal experiences into a novel—part
memoir, part imagination–one that tells the story of loss in a heartfelt and
DL: What elements do you think
make a good story?
MP: In my opinion, what makes
a good story is characters you can relate to and a plausible plot. I like being
so emersed in a book that I don’t want it to end, and I often think of the
characters afterwards as if they are my friends.
DL: What were some of the challenges
when writing this book?
MP: Great question. At times
it was hard to stay motivated enough to carve out time to write. For me, I
can’t force the writing process—I can’t say “I’m going to write every Sunday at
1 p.m. until the book is done.” That doesn’t work for me. I tend to write best
when an idea comes to me, and I can flesh it out. Some of the best advice I got
early on was to turn off the TV! As simple as that sounds, I know I waste a lot
of time in front of the TV.
DL: If you were hosting a dinner party
which three authors would be your dream guests and why?
MP: I would invite Kristan
Higgins, Jennifer Weiner and Oprah. Kristan and Jennifer because I love their
style and sense of humor. Oprah because, well, let’s face it, who doesn’t dream
of having dinner with Oprah. Plus, she could add New Normal to her book list.
DL: What are the keys to success
in marketing your book(s)?
MP: I found that
getting advance copies of the book to reviewers several months before the
release date was helpful in creating a buzz. I went into the launch date with
15 reviews on Goodreads and social media hype. I also think because my novel
has a personal story associated with it, there was a natural hook for the
media. That helped in generating press.
DL: What tips would you give to aspiring
MP: The best advice I can
give aspiring writers is to believe in yourself and never give up. If you have
a story to tell, write it. There will be times you’ll want to give up, but don’t.
Stay the course. The other advice I would give would be to find a critique
I met three wonderful authors at a novel writing course at my local
community college. We formed a group that offered advice, encouragement and
friendship. As I mentioned earlier, I struggled to commit time to writing. The
critique group kept me accountable.
DL: What are three fun facts
MP: Here you go:
- I have four (!) cats. I know that
sounds more nuts than fun; but we took in my mother-in-law’s cats when she went
into assisted living.
- I love to travel. I spent my 35th
birthday in London, my 40th birthday in Venice, and I will be
spending my 60th birthday in Paris!
- I am really good at Trivia
DL: Would you like to share an
excerpt from New Normal?
MP: Sure, here is the first
few paragraphs of New Normal.
Emilie tilted the
rearview mirror to assess the damage. It was worse than she expected. Chocolate
on her chin and even her nose—it had been a bumpy ride. Using an old napkin she
found in the glovebox, she wiped away the evidence she’d scarfed down a brownie
on the short drive to Viv’s. Satisfied she no longer looked like Augustus Gloop
from Willy Wonka, she balled the napkin up and threw it at the dashboard in a
failed attempt to block the blinking digital clock. Eight thirty. Sigh. The
party began more than an hour earlier. “Just stay until the fireworks—thirty
minutes tops,” she said to herself, giving a pep talk of sorts to summon the
courage to leave the safety of her car.
It had been almost
five months since she began her self-imposed exile. She couldn’t hibernate
forever, even if that’s what she really wanted to do. Attending Viv’s annual
Fourth of July party tonight would be a baby step in the right direction. A
She tugged the
collar of her T-shirt to get it close to her nose, hoping to catch a trace of
his scent—Hugo Boss cologne mixed with an occasional cigar—but only the scent
of lavender fabric softener remained. Memories would have to suffice. She
thought of the last time Rob, her late husband, wore the shirt a year ago to
the day. . .
DL: What new projects are you
currently working on?
MP: I recently signed a
contract with Apprentice House to publish my second novel, Eat Dessert First.
It’s about an overweight baker who learns in order to find love, she must first
love herself. It supports my belief that heroines should come in all shapes and
sizes. It will come out in spring of 2024.
DL: Where can readers learn more about
you and purchase your book(s)?
MP: Readers can get more information here:
- Website: www.michelleparisauthor.com
- Amazon Author Page: https://amzn.to/44CMbNr
- Facebook: michelle.paris.7399
- Instagram: michelle.paris.7399
- Book Buy Links:
DL: Thanks so much for being
here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your
MP: Thanks for the
Originally Published on https://vocalexpressions.blogspot.com