Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She seeks to glorify God in all that she writes—except for that graffiti phase she went through as a teenager.
She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. An Anglophile at heart, she runs away to England every chance she gets, under the guise of research. Really, though, she’s eating excessive amounts of scones while rambling around a castle.
Keep up with her adventures at her blog WRITER OFF THE LEASH or visit michellegriep.com
— Tell me about your new novel, Brentwood’s Ward. What came to you first, the story or the characters?
The story. I ran across an old newspaper advertisement put out by Magistrate Henry Fielding, dating back to the eighteenth-century. It encouraged the public to send a note to Bow Street as soon as any serious crime occurred so that “a set of brave fellows could immediately be dispatched in pursuit of the villains.” I wondered about those “brave fellows” and what kind of villains they might come up against, and thus was born Nicholas Brentwood.
— Brentwood’s Ward is the first of a series. How many books do you have planned and who are the dishy heroes?
Technically I suppose it’s a trilogy, but each book is standalone in story format. Each novel features a different Bow Street Runner.
BRENTWOOD’S WARD hero is NICHOLAS BRENTWOOD, a hero who’s a little rough around the edges, colorful as a Dicken’s character, and observant enough to be a forerunner of Sherlock.
MOORE’S MAIDEN hero is ALEXANDER MORTON, a man who’s too handsome for his own good, witty to a fault, with a compassionate heart that sometimes gets him into trouble.
LORD ABERLY’S LADY hero is SAMUEL THATCHER, a shadow of the night, roaming the byways hunting down highwaymen, so quick and quiet, one wonders if he’s but a dream.
— What is it about the Regency period that appeals to you? Why do you like to write historic novels?
Of course I’m romanticizing the era, but it seems to me that though poverty was rampant, dignity still held priority. Even the grubbiest street people wore a dress coat, though it might’ve been little better than a rag.
I’ve always had an interest in history. No, really. Even as a preschooler, I sat beneath the dining room table and held conversations with Daniel Boone. My mom thought there was seriously something wrong with me, so she took me to a doctor. He assured he I was just imaginative. Mix creativity with a love of the past and voila . . . historic fiction.
— There’s a fine line in Christian fiction writing between being preachy and inspiring the readers. How do you deal with that?
Story is the best medium to convey Biblical truth through plot and character. I try to show people their desperate need for God rather than whap them upside the head with a Bible or sermon.
— You also have a new non-fiction book about writing. What can you tell us about it?
Are you a writer at heart? How can you tell? And if you are, how do you go about composing and selling the next Great American Novel? WRITER OFF THE LEASH answers these questions and more–all in an easy to understand, tongue-in-cheek style. This is more than a how-to book. It’s a kick in the pants for anyone who wants to write but is stymied by fear, doubt, or simply doesn’t know how to take their writing to the next level. This is my attempt to blow the lid off stodgy old-school rulebooks and make it clear that writing can–and should–be fun.
— What advice would you give to someone wanting to write a book?
First, run over to Target and purchase yourself a pair of big kid undies. You’ll need them. Writing a book is not for the faint of heart. That being said, there’s nothing like the supreme sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when you type The End. My best advice is to persevere. Hang in there. Keep at it. JUST DO IT!
Thanks, Michelle, for stopping by!