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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Who's That Girl? interview with Michelle de Rooy

Please welcome, contest diva, fellow RWAustralia member and Jedi apprentice, Michelle de Rooy. 

RWNZ Clendon Readers' Choice
Name? Michelle de Rooy. 

Where are you? South-east Queensland. The cold part! :) 

How many years have you been a member of our organisation? I have been a member of RWA(Oz) for four years now; RWNZ for two; and RWA for two.

What genre/s do you write? Mainly Fantasy and/or Sci-Fi romance. Have written contemporary, and Romantic Suspense also. I like all the genres, but I keep coming back to spec-fic. Although I must say I loved the adrenaline rush of writing an assassin. 

Who are your favourite authors? Okay, hard question! There are so many that I have to give the die-hard faves and the most recent faves.

These are in no particular order: Anne McCaffrey; Julian May; Andre Norton; Raymond Feist; George RR Martin; Robin Hobb; Tolkein; JR Ward; Christine Feehan; Susan Mallery; Anne Stuart (LOVE her Ice series); Terry Brooks; Isaac Asimov... The list never ends! 

What inspired you to write romance? I can't say anyone in particular inspired me to write romance; it was just that I had these stories in my head.

I would read, then re-read my fave spec-fic stories and re-imagine them in my head for weeks (sometimes months) at a time with the original and different cast of characters (I'd casually delete the ones I didn't care for too much and reinsert ones I made up!).

I had no idea what fan fiction was - this began when I was 12 years old. Waaay before the Internet, LOL. I loved my fantasy books with my whole being, but I thought something was lacking. I couldn't put my finger on just what it was, though.

It dawned on me in my senior year of high school that it was the lack of a romantic relationship. Oh, there were some that had the required, "Will die/fight/insert whatever battle you like here for a princess," etc, but there was never any emphasis put on the developing relationship. It was just...there. And you never really SAW the girl.

So I started to write my books in my head. The one that is doing okay in contests at present has been in my head since I was 17; that's a long time for a story to percolate! The poor heroine underwent a few major changes in that time, too. Personality, race, name, which planet she came from, LOL - but her hair was always blindingly red. 

If I am to credit anyone with the actual romance side, I would have to say there are two novels I read in high school that really affected me.

One was a Desire - about a Venetian(?) palazzo owner and a foreign girl. I remember the gondolas. I re-read that book a dozen times or more. I can't remember the name of it, and I was gutted when my mum took it to a recycle book shop without me knowing. It was published in the mid to late eighties... I must try and find it.

The other is one called JENNY'S CASTLE. I don't know who wrote it (Kylie says: I do believe that was Elizabeth Sinclair), but I cried and cried. No matter how many times I read it, I still cried. I kept it for YEARS, and it got lost in one of my many moves after Uni. Had a yellow cover. Was an early to mid nineties Harlequin book. 

Who's your dream agent and/or dream publisher? Ahh, that's a loaded question!

I have a list, one agent on the top (Shhh! It's a secret!), but any agent who loves my book as much as I do is going to be hard to beat. I want the relationship a boutique agency offers. The in-for-the-long-haul attitude. I want someone who will guide me to make great business decisions, will teach me what I need to know about the industry, and isn't afraid to kick me up the rear if I need it. I don't need hand-holding as such, just guidance.

Publishers - the same. Someone who believes in my book; my voice. Someone who is prepared to say, "This one is IT. This one has loads of potential." 
 
What's the best thing about going to conference? I LOVE CONFERENCE!!! The first one I went to in Sydney, I felt like I'd come home. There were people there who GOT me. Who understood. Who didn't want to lock me up because I had all these wonderful characters in my head saying, "Hey! Write ME!!!"

The amazing exposure to craft help (and believe me, I needed it! Still do...); the published authors who came up and introduced themselves to a wide-eyed and terrified newbie and made her feel like one of them; the meeting of friends I'd made over the loops.

These are only the tip of the iceberg. I have made some very close and lifelong friends through Romance Writers of Australia and this is a fact I'll never forget. The networking with amazing agents and editors that I never though it get the opportunity to meet. This is what I love. 

And lastly, finish these statements... 
My greatest strength as a writer is...strong characters, and dialogue. Sometimes my settings can be a little light on the fizz, something which my wonderful CP's pull me up over VERY quickly, with an, um, excuse me??? 
The eyes have it...
A sexy hero needs...eyes to die for. And a sexy butt!! I admit it, I'm a butt girl! And usually thick, raven hair...
My latest WIP (work in progress) is about...an awesome space-fighter pilot who finds himself in a rather unique situation, he's in love with the woman who was to be his adopted sister; and a heroine who has loved him for many years, who goes missing...
When I write I like to...  play new-agey type music, no lyrics or I'll sing along and write the lyrics instead of my ms! Also, the LOTR soundtracks get played a lot.
My best writing milestone to date is...I'm going to be greedy here and take four: Actually FINISHING a ms; winning the RWNZ's Clendon Award Reader's Choice Trophy; finaling in the RWAustralia Emerald Award top 3 two years running; and finaling in my first US comp - the RWA Emily - coming fifth.

Michelle, thank you for taking the hot-seat this week!
Good luck in all those finals and see you in Melbourne (and Auckland!) in August!

17 comments:

  1. Hi Michelle,
    don't you hate it when a fav book goes missing!!!! I'm now on the lookout for a historical book I loaned to someone... *sigh*
    And fantastic achievement on all your wins and finals! =)

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  2. You're awesome, sister! Can't wait to see you again! <3

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  3. Love the interview Michelle! You look smashing ni the pictures.

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  4. Lovely interview, ladies! What fabulous contest success, Michelle- congratulations! And I know exactly what you mean about conference :-)

    Love the sound of your WIP - a hero who's a space fighter pilot sounds like my kind of story!!

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  5. Conference time is coming faster than we realise, ladies! Thanks for stopping by and saying hi to Michelle.

    Bec, who's going to forget the memorable corsetted outfit from last year's cocktail party???

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  6. Helene, LOL on liking Michelle's space fighter pilot SFR!

    Interesting to note that in the Golden Heart this year there are 3 sci-fi romances listed in the finalists of the paranormal section. Maybe SFR is finally getting some interest from the publishing houses? :-)

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  7. Michelle de RooyMay 12, 2011 at 9:27 AM

    Hi, ladies! Thanks Kylie, for having me. Thanks Mel, and yes, I hate that I've lost books like that too. People just dont return them!

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  8. Michelle de RooyMay 12, 2011 at 9:28 AM

    Hi, Jennie! Yes, will be great to catch up again. Hopefully soon! Thanks for coming!

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  9. Michelle de RooyMay 12, 2011 at 9:29 AM

    Hehehe, thanks Bec! I LOVE that outfit. I need to find a reason to wear it again... :D

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  10. Michelle de RooyMay 12, 2011 at 9:32 AM

    Hi, Helene! Lovely to see you here. Thanks for the congrats, it's been a whirlwind 12 months. Hopefully it's onward and upward from here, eh? *vbg*

    And yes, Im rather partial to my pilot, myself... LOL

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  11. Michelle de RooyMay 12, 2011 at 9:33 AM

    All I can say on the SFR front, Kylie, is I really hope so. It's such a fantastic genre. Such possibilities!

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  12. Hi Michelle and Kylie

    So great to put a face to the name, Michelle. Love the photos!! And thank you for sharing so much of your writing journey. It is always wonderful to read about them.

    A big congratulations on all of your achievements to date. You are so, so close to making it! I can just feel it!

    Looking forward to "meeting" you in Melbourne.

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  13. Hey, Chris, August is going to be a hoot - will be great to intro you to the "gang".

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  14. Michelle de RooyMay 12, 2011 at 6:33 PM

    Hi Chris! Yes, it can be interesting to see what people 'really' look like. I know that when I email the loops, I get this idea in my head of how each person looks, and most of the time get it VERY wrong, LOL.

    Can't wait for conference!!! Already booked out the time at work! Had so much fun in that outfit. Some of the looks I got were quite interesting *vbg*

    Thanks for stopping by.

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  15. Michelle de RooyMay 12, 2011 at 6:38 PM

    Thanks for finding that cover, Kylie. The one I had was very different. And bright yellow, LOL. Interesting how they have different release covers in different countries.

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  16. Blogger took away about a dozen comments from this post and I have no idea where they hid them.

    Sorry, Chelle, and to everyone who took the time to post one.

    This shall be known as The Day Blogger Went Nuts.

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  17. And now they're back! Thank you to the Blogger fairy who found them and returned them to their rightful place! :-)

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